Hershey Bears Weekly: Strong Play Continues Heading into March
(Hershey, PA) - The Hershey Bears won two of three games last week, scoring a weekend sweep over the Binghamton Devils in a home-and-home, improving the club's record to 5-1-2-0, good for 12 points, the most of any team in the North Division. The Chocolate and White have points in seven of their eight games this season, and the club is preparing for another three-game week. This Wednesday, the Bears visit Lehigh Valley, returning to the PPL Center where they have points in eight straight games. Hershey then hosts the Phantoms on Saturday at GIANT Center, before welcoming Binghamton to town on Sunday afternoon.
Last Wednesday, the Chocolate and White suffered its first regulation loss of the season, falling 4-2 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Will Graber and Mike Sgarbossa scored for the Bears, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got four goals on 19 shots, including a pair from rookie Radim Zohorna to earn the win at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Hershey got back on track last Friday in Newark, doubling up the Binghamton Devils by a 6-3 count. Hershey scored four times in the second period, and 13 different Bears had a point in the victory. Kody Clark and Brett Leason each had a pair of goals, and Ilya Samsonov earned the win between the pipes for Hershey. Samsonov made 25 saves, with 14 stops coming in the first period, including a save on a Jesper Boqvist penalty shot early in the contest.
The Bears and Devils squared off again the following day at GIANT Center, and Hershey earned a 3-0 victory. Netminder Zach Fucale was perfect in goal for the Chocolate and White with 22 saves, and Hershey got a goal each period, with Joe Snively scoring in the first, Matt Moulson striking on the power play in the second, and Mike Sgarbossa sealing the win in the third period. With the victory, the Bears are now 3-0-0-0 versus Binghamton this season. The Bears and Devils square off nine more times this season.
-Wednesday, Mar. 3 at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
-Saturday, Mar. 6 vs. Lehigh Valley, 1 p.m.
-Sunday, Mar. 7 vs. Binghamton, 4 p.m.
HERSHEY BEARS NEWS AND NOTES:
POTENT PILON: Third-year pro Garrett Pilon leads the Bears with eight points (1g, 7a) through the first eight games of the season. Pilon has points in four straight contests entering this week, collecting five points (1g, 4a) in that span. Five of his assists this season have been primary helpers and three assists have come on the power play. Heading into Wednesday's road contest at Lehigh Valley, Pilon has points in his past three games at the PPL Center (2g, 1a).
FOILED BY FUCALE: Goaltender Zach Fucale registered a 22-save shutout in just his second appearance with the Bears last Saturday versus Binghamton. Fucale has now stopped 56-of-57 shots this season and won each of his first two starts. His shutout was the third of his AHL career and his first since Apr. 8, 2017, when as a member of the St. John's IceCaps, he stopped 24 shots to blank the Binghamton Senators on the road. Fucale is 2-0-0-0 this season with a 0.50 goals-against average and .982 save percentage. He is one of three Bears netminders to win a game this season (IIya Samsonov-2, Pheonix Copley-1).
MIDDLE FRAME FIREWORKS: Through the first eight games of the season, the second period has been Hershey's best. The Bears have outscored opponents 12-5 in period two, with the Chocolate and White's four-goal second period last Friday in Newark certainly padding that stat. In the middle frame, the Bears have out shot opponents by a wide 92-56 margin. When the second period gives the Bears a lead through 40 minutes, the club is 3-0-1-0 this season.
NO SOPHOMORE JINX: Second-year pros Kody Clark and Brett Leason each scored their first career multi-goal games last Friday at Binghamton. Both players have three goals already this season, matching their total outputs from their rookie 2019-20 campaigns. Last year it took Clark until his 21st game to score his third goal, while this season it only took him seven games. Leason also scored three goals in seven games this season, a feat he didn't accomplish until his 48th contest of the 2019-20 campaign.
BEARS BITES: Rookie defender Will Graber scored his first pro goal last Wednesday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton...Forward Connor McMichael has assists in two straight games after opening his pro career with four goals...Mason Morelli has assists in two straight games, his first two points with the Bears...Mike Sgarbossa has points in three straight games (2g, 1a) entering this week...Last Saturday, defender Martin Fehervary returned from an upper-body injury that caused him to miss three games.
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