HERSHEY – The Hershey Bears’ (6-7-2-2) offensive struggles continued to mount Wednesday night, with an uninspiring 4-2 home loss to the St. John’s IceCaps (10-8-1-2). The Chocolate and White continued to display an inconsistent product at home, falling to 3-4-1-2 at Giant Center.
“Our compete level was nowhere near like it needs to be,” said frustrated Hershey Bears Coach Mike Haviland. “They (St. John’s) came out with a bunch of energy and got pucks behind us, we didn’t match their energy till probably the nine minute mark of the first period. We looked slow, we couldn’t get any forecheck going and we chased the puck again.”
Hershey was able to tie the game following St. John’s opening tally 4:06 into the game, with Peter LeBlanc redirecting a Julien Brouillette slap pass knotting the game at one goal apiece. Forward Ryan Stoa found the net with less than four seconds left in regulation to account for Hershey’s second goal on the night.
However, like last Sunday night, the opposition eliminated any Bears’ team energy, with the IceCaps scoring three straight goals prior to Stoa’s goal with just a few ticks left on the scoreboard. The Bears have dropped their last two home games and have regressed of late, now 4-4-0-2 in their last ten contests.
“We did not win one one-on-one battle tonight,” added Haviland. “When you don’t win battles in the game, you’re not going to win. If you don’t want go to compete areas and compete for pucks and you want to stay on the perimeter that’s what happens. You can’t win hockey games staying on the perimeter, it’s as simple as that.”
Defenseman Brenden Kichton netted two goals for St. John’s, coming on the power play and with David Leggio pulled from the Bears’ net with 1:11 left on the clock. Patrice Cormier registered the opening tally and forward Kael Mouillierat added an insurance goal 10:19 into the third stanza to give the IceCaps a 3-1 advantage.
The Bears possession game played an essential role in the loss, as Hershey was outshot 32-25. The team dropped to 3-5-2-0 when getting outshot by the opposition. The Bears are now 1-3-1-1 when tied after the first period, as the club when silent after a power play goal in the opening stanza.
The Hershey Bears’ power play continued to struggle even with LeBlanc’s goal, going 1-7 on the night. They’ve converted 1-12 man advantage opportunities in their last two games, both coming in lopsided defeats.
“I thought that our power play at times had chances to score,” Haviland explained. “We have to burry chances when we have them. We’re not playing great and we’re still one goal away, it’s one shot we need to bear down on. We just don’t do it. It’s a pretty simple remedy in the game.”
“When you cheat the game you’re not going to win, and we’re back to cheating the game. What I mean by that is we’re not going to traffic areas, we’re not taking pucks to the net, we don’t want to have any battle in our game right now. You can’t win when you don’t have battle. Look at the teams that are successful in this league and our division, they battle for every inch of the ice.”
Hershey returns home Saturday night with a matchup against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins followed a Sunday night affair against the Providence Bruins.
“We’ve moved guys in and out of the lineup and guys have gone in and down nothing with it. Guys have gotten taken out and trying to wake up and they’ve done nothing with it. I don’t know what guys we’re waiting for, the next step, we all know what that is.”
Orlov’s Agent Requests Trade
Washington Capitals defensive prospect Dmitry Orlov has been called up numerous times this season to the NHL, but has yet to play in a single game. The Washington Post reported that the Capitals are calling up the Russian Native to accumulate days at the NHL level so can’t sign in the KHL, due to a clause in his entry level contract. Orlov has impressed in Hershey this season and is the Bears’ best offensive defenseman.
“That’s part of the business,” Haviland said when asked of how they’ll handle the situation. “While he’s here we’ll use him and if he gets traded we’ll wish him the best. I think the kid has a ton of talent, when he’s been down here he’s played well. I have no issues with him in his effort and his attitude.”
“Everybody has that opportunity in this game, they have agents and they can think that they want to get out of an organization. We got to coach the guys that are here and he’s here right now, so we’ll continue to coach him.”
- Attendance: 8,618
- Bears Injuries: Connor Carrick and Tomas Kundratek
- Hershey Healthy Scratches: Defensemen Chay Genoway and forwards Jamie Johnson, Josh Brittain, Joel Rechlicz and Garrett Mitchell
Nathan Walker-Jeff Taffe-Casey Wellman
Dane Byers-Peter LeBlanc-Stanislav Galiev
Derek Whitmore-Ryan Stoa-Brandon Segal
John Mitchell-Matt Watkins-Nicolas Deschamps
Cameron Schilling-Patrick Wey
Dmitry Orlov-David Kolomatis
Patrick Wellar-Julien Brouillette
- Kael Mouillierat (goal, assist, three shots on goal)
- David Leggio (28 saves on 31 shots)
- Patrice Cormier (goal, assist, four shots on goal)