Two hat tricks in one night is exceptionally rare in the hockey world, but the GIANT Center was treated to just that—or, at least a version of that—on Wednesday night. In addition to Evan Rankin’s three goals for the Syracuse Crunch, the Gordie Howe Hat Trick’s namesake was in attendance for Hershey’s 4-3 win over Syracuse.
Mr. Hockey himself witnessed the Crunch’s early lead over the Bears, and looked on as Hershey brought a victory home in an 11-round shootout. When told about Howe’s presence at the game Coach Mike Haviland said:
“That’s pretty cool. Certainly one of the best to player to ever play the game, so that’s pretty special.”
Slow Start Ends in Shootout Win for Hershey
After ‘Cuse lit the lamp 31 seconds into the first period, Hershey trailed until the third when, with 3:02 left on the clock, Brandon Segal’s wraparound goal tied it up with help from David Kolomatis and Nate Schmidt. After an unsuccessful overtime, Hershey and Syracuse faced off in a shootout that ran 11 rounds.
Ryan Stoa’s goal kicked things off, and was followed by Stan Galiev sinking one past Kristers Gudlevskis. Rankin and Cedric Paquette scored in the second and third rounds to tie the shootout. After seven rounds of shooters were denied by David Leggio and Gudlevskis, John Mitchell scored in the eleventh round prompting the Bears to empty their bench for an on-ice celebration.
Hat Trick for Syracuse as Gordie Howe Looks On
Hershey’s win at home can’t overshadow Rankin’s extraordinary showing. After burying a shot 31 seconds in, the Syracuse ringwinger followed up with a second lamp-lighter in the first period and rounded off his hat trick 7:49 into the second period. Unfortunately for the visiting player, not a single hat was thrown on the ice in celebration. But perhaps tallying three goals in two periods with the legendary inventor of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick as witness was good enough.
Gordie Howe is a retired Canadian hockey player famous for his scoring, strength and lengthy career. Howe is the only NHL player whose career stretched between five decades, from the 1940s to the 1980s. A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer. A Gordie Howe Hat Trick is achieved when a player scores a goal, records an assist and fights all in one game. It’s named after the infamous Howe who recorded his first namesake hat trick on December 22, 1920.
Howe attended Wednesday’s game with his son Mark Howe, a scout for the Detroit Red Wings. Discussing Howe’s presence at the GIANT Center added a level of glee to post-game interviews.
“It’s pretty amazing that he’s still coming to all these games,” Segal commented with a smile.
Hershey witnessed an outstanding performance from the Nicolas Deschamps-Ryan Stoa-Segal line combination on Wednesday night.
“They cycle, they support each other down low, they hold onto it and they attack the net,” Coach Haviland described the trio. “They’re playing with confidence and they’ve been huge for us.”
“We’ve got some good chemistry going,” Segal said of his linemates. “We moved the puck really well down low. Just a matter of getting in there.”
“This game is a lot about confidence.” – Coach Haviland
After their win over Syracuse, the Bears are feeling confident going into this weekend’s match-up against the Worcester Sharks.
“The last couple games we certainly have showed a lot of character coming back, and when we play the way we know how to play, we can hem some teams in,” Coach Haviland explained. “When everybody’s on board and really doing the right things and playing the right way, we’re a tough team to defend in the offensive end.”
The Bears improve to 11-9-2-3 after Wednesday’s win over the Syracuse Crunch. Hershey meets the Worcester Sharks at the GIANT Center on Saturday, December 21 at 7:00 PM and on Sunday, December 22 at 5:00 PM.