Hershey Bears Dominant In Preseason

HERSHEY – The Hershey Bears (2-0 in pre-season) skated to a 6-1 win at Giant Center Saturday night, defeating their East division rival, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (1-1-1-0). The Chocolate and White have scored twelve goals in their two preseason contests, while conceding a minuscule one goal past their net.

Led in goal by net minder Philipp Grubauer (19 saves on 20 shots) and offensively paced by fourth line forward David Marshall, Hershey dominated Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, outscoring them each period. Marshall, 28 years old, earned a Gordie Howe hat trick for the Bears, totaling two goals, along with two assists and a fight against Penguins’ forward Adam Payerl.

“You’re looking at this camp roster and you’ve got to do something to prove yourself,” said Marshall. “It’s not going to be easy to make this team especially for a tryout guy like myself. Whether it is preseason, regular season or playoffs it’s an in your face kind of game.”

Half of Hershey’s goals came in the first period, as forwards Tyler Ruegsegger, Casey Wellman and Jeff Taffe all tallied goals for the Bears.

“We’re seeing some really positive things,” said Hershey Bears head Coach Mike Haviland after the 6-1 win. “Still have work ahead of us obviously in some areas, but it’s nice to get wins and we can teach and move forward from there.”

Hershey killed off two penalties on the night, improving to 8-8 when a man down. They tallied one power play goal in five chances, as free agent signee Derek Whitmore contributed his second goal in as many nights. Hershey is 3-12 (25%) on the power play through two preseason games.

“I think the effort for me has been really good,” stated Hershey’s newest head coach. “I always felt the first three days there I knew we’d be able to execute, just watching us in practice. The way we can move the puck and you can see the depth of us is pretty good.”

“You put lines together and guys that got 15-16 goals in this league and all of a sudden you have them on each line. I knew they’d execute, but I liked the effort. We’re going to keep pushing them for even more.”

Hershey encountered former Bears center Mike Carman, who earned a fourth line and penalty-killing role for the Bears last season.

“He works hard,” said Bears forward Garrett Mitchell, Carman’s penalty killing partner in Hershey last season. “He’s a great guy and we have a good friendship, but at the same time we got a job to go do. Friends are off the ice, not on the ice.”

All In A Day’s Work

Marshall is with the Bears on a professional tryout agreement, and is improbable to make the club due to Hershey’s remarkable forward depth.

“He was really good,” added Haviland of the energetic Marshall. “I didn’t know him at all and I get to see him now and he certainly turned my head. I really like his effort, I like the way he plays. He plays the game hard and he plays the game the right way.”

Marshall’s two goals came in succession after the first frame, one 7:45 into the second period and the second 13:21 into the third stanza.

“It helps our whole team when we play with that energy. When you see those guys doing it it’s contagious and it goes through your whole team. He’s going to play again tomorrow night and you don’t know what happens with waivers or injuries. He’s certainly somebody after tonight I would have no problem calling up.”

While only facing ten shots after the first period, Grubauer played strong in goal and will share time with newcomer David Leggio between the pipes this season in Hershey.

“As a coach I think you feel really confident when you got two goalies like that,” said Haviland. “I think (Grubauer) was square, he was sharp. He made the saves he needed to make. I think early on they came with a big push like they always do, they had us a little bit on our heels early on and he made the saves that we needed and we got a couple goals at the end of the first (period).

The Bears host the Adirondack Phantoms Saturday night in their home opener to commence their 2013-14 regular season schedule.

“On Tuesday we got to hit the ground running for our full practice and gear up for our opener on Saturday.”

Game Notes

1. Attendance: 4,443

2. Coach Haviland said after the game forward Josh Brittain will likely be out a few weeks due to an arm injury sustained against in a game against the Utica Comets on Friday night

3. Haviland said roster cuts for Hershey will be made after the Bears final preseason game Sunday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and on Monday

4. Goalies Brandon Anderson and Riley Gill will split time in goal in Hershey’s final preseason game

5. Hershey forward lines:

Nathan Walker-Jeff Taffe-Jamie Johnson

Nicolas Deschamps-Casey Wellman-Garrett Mitchell

Derek Whitmore-Matt Watkins-Brandon Segal

T.J. Syner-Tyler Ruegsegger-David Marshall

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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