Hershey Bears Notebook: Sunbelt Sweep

The Hershey Bears (5-4-2-2) began a successful three game road swing this week, winning two games in Charlotte on Wednesday and Thursday. They outscored the Checkers (5-8-0-1) 13-4 in the two contests, with those goals accounting for 30.2% (13/43) of their total goals scored this season (43).  Below is a summary of both of games down the Sunbelt and a look ahead to their road matchup against an East Division foe Saturday night.

Bears’ Offense Breaks Out

The Hershey Bears offense broke out with one of their best performances Wednesday night, tallying five goals, with all of them coming in the first two periods in their 5-3 win. Forwards Casey Wellman and Jeff Taffe scored power play markers for the Chocolate and White, who went 2-4 on the man advantage. Forwards Nathan Walker, Brandon Segal and Ryan Stoa also scored for the Bears. Hershey improved to 4-4-1-1 when scoring first, with Walker starting the scoring just 6:15 into the game.

Carolina Hurricanes center Elias Lindholm - Photo Credit:  Andy Martin Jr
Charlotte Checkers center Elias Lindholm – Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr

Charlotte’s offense didn’t hit pay dirt until the 10:17 mark of the second period, when defenseman Michal Jordan netted his first goal of the season, coming on the power play. The Checkers’ power play finished with two goals on the night in six opportunities on the night. Rookie forward Elias Lindholm also scored on the power play for Charlotte and RW Adam Brace added an even strength goal 14:31 into the final stanza.

After goaltender Philipp Grubauer earned two starts last week at home, former Rochester Americans net minder David Leggio (2-3-1, 3.31 GAA, .898 SV %) earned the start in goal for Hershey. The veteran goalie recorded 37 saves on 40 shots for Hershey. The Bears were outshot 40-24, but improved to 2-4-2-0 when getting outshot by their opponent.

Hershey Notches Season High 

Casey Wellman continued to produce offensively Thursday night in Charlotte, recording a hat trick in the Bears’ 8-1 win over the Checkers. Nathan Walker and Peter LeBlanc added two goals apiece and Nicolas Deschamps notched his first goal of the season. Eight goals set a new season high per game.

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer (3-3-1, 2.48 GAA, .915 SV %) notched his third win of the season, registering 35 saves on 36 shots in a stellar performance. The Bears improved to 3-2-1-0 on the road and 5-4-1-1 when scoring first.


The Chocolate and White tallied the first three goals of the contest, scoring three goals in a span of 8:04, beginning just 7:15 into the game. Walker and Wellman tallied power play goals as Hershey’s man advantage unit continued to progress, converting two of their seven man advantage chances.

The Bears were outshot for the ninth time this season, but improved to 3-4-2-0 in that situation.

Look Ahead

Hershey heads back to Pennsylvania for a road matchup against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night, their third straight game away from Giant Center. Below are some numbers and notes about the Penguins.

  • Goals per Game: 3.77 (3rd)
  • Goals Against per Game: 2.92 (17th)
  • Power Play: 17.3% (16th)
  • Penalty Kill: 81.8% (16th)
  • Offensive Leaders: Brian Gibbons (17 points), Andrew Ebbett (12), Tom Kostopoulous (11) and Brendan Mikkelson (11)
  • Goalies: Jeff Deslauriers (7-2-2, 2.56 GAA, .893 SV %) and Peter Mannino (1-1, 3.40 GAA, .877 SV%)

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