Bears Drop Season Opener to Crunch, 3-2
(Hershey, PA ) - Liam O'Brien opened the scoring 3:45 into the game, but the Syracuse Crunch erased a 2-1 deficit to top the Hershey Bears, 3-2 in the club's first game of the season on Saturday night at Giant Center. Bears Goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 28 of 31 shots in his AHL debut in front of a crowd of 10,066.
The Chocolate and White jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the contest. With Hershey on an odd-man rush, O'Brien broke to the net and beat Syracuse goaltender Eddie Pasquale five-hole to open the scoring.
Minutes later, Hershey newcomer Sergei Shumakov was penalized for hooking at 6:46, and the Crunch later capitalized on their lone power play chance of the first period. Carter Verhaeghe roofed a cross-ice feed from Alex Barre-Boulet to tie the game at the 7:49 mark.
In the final minute of the first period, Mike Sgarbossa scored his first goal as a Bear to give Hershey a 2-1 lead into first intermission. Sgarbossa potted a cross-ice feed from Riley Barber at 19:03 to make it 2-1 Hershey. Both Barber and Colby Williams assisted on both of Hershey's goals.
Syracuse drew even at 14:02 in the second period with the lone tally of the stanza. Taylor Raddysh banged home a lively rebound after Samsonov made several stops from the low slot. Shots after 40 minutes were 23-18 Crunch.
In the third period, the Crunch again took advantage on the power play for the eventual game-winning tally. After Connor Hobbs was whistled for a slashing infraction at 4:40, Barre-Boulet scored the game-winner at 5:26. He walked the goal line along the right wing and stuffed a low shot through the pads of Samsonov.
Hershey finished the night 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill. Final shot totals were 32-31 Hershey. The Bears return to the ice tomorrow for a 5 p.m tilt against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Chocolate and White celebrate the defending Stanley Cup Champions with Washington Capitals Night at Giant Center. The Bears will wear special Capitals themed jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game. The Stanley Cup will also be on hand to view for all ticketed fans. Ticket information is available online at HersheyBears.com.
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