Hershey Bears Top Binghamton Senators

The Hershey Bears 2013-13 campaign came down to the wire and the club reached the playoffs on the final day of the season. The 2013-14 Bears club could have their season’s fate determined in a similar scenario, with a late season playoff push separating Norfolk and Hershey by a tie breaker.

The Bears pulled out a huge 1-0 overtime win over the Binghamton Senators Sunday night, with Captain Dane Byers redirecting a David Kolomatis shot-pass to the back of the net to secure the victory for Washington’s AHL affiliate. The game was a quick, physical battle with both clubs getting numerous chances throughout the contest, but fended off by elite goaltending.

The Hershey Bears celebrate after a goal against the St. John's IceCaps (stat19/flickr)
The Hershey Bears celebrate after a goal against the St. John’s IceCaps (stat19/flickr)

“This time of the year it’s playoff hockey, teams aren’t giving you much and sometimes the more patient team wins,” Byers explained. “I just held on to it, got it back to Schmidty and went to the net and put my stick on the ice and Kolomatis made a beautiful shot-pass and I’m lucky I went in.”

YouTube player

Philipp Grubauer (13-11-2) and Andrew Hammond (24-18-3) squared off between the pipes, with both goalies combining to make 79 saves leading up to Byers’ tally, his 15th of the season. Grubauer made his second straight start in front of a paid crowd of 10,984 at Giant Center in Hershey.

“They’re responding,” Hershey Bears first-year coach Mike Haviland said of his team’s response to his message. “They’re confident, they believe in each other. I’m proud of what they’re doing and obviously we’re not done yet.”

The Hershey Bears’ power play remained inept, going 0-3 on the night against Binghamton. The Bears are 1-20 on the man advantage over their last seven games and have scored power play markers in just two of their last ten matchups as they close out the campaign.

“When you win and find ways to win like we have, it’s fun to be around.”

The Bears finish off their season next week, with two monumental games in Norfolk Wednesday and Friday, concluding with Hershey’s home finale Saturday night against the Adirondack Phantoms. This will be the last game for the Phantoms with Adirondack, as they move to Lehigh Valley in the 2014-15 season.

“They’re a tough team, they play very similar to all the teams in our division,” Haviland said of the challenge in Norfolk. “I would imagine it’s going to be some low scoring games, I’m kind of glad we’ve been in some of these. We’ve played pretty well down there in the two games this year, one game at a time and (we’ll) try to make the atmosphere as loose as we can.”

Game Notes

  • Attendance: 10,984
  • Bears Injuries: Tomas Kundratek, Garrett Mitchell and Matt Watkins
  • Hershey Healthy Scratches: Joel Rechlicz, Stanislav Galiev and Brett Flemming
  • Watkins sat out due to an upper body injury but should return soon
  • Stanislav Galiev was scratched for the third straight game
  • Joel Rechlicz was scratched for the eighth straight game

Bears Lines

Forwards

  • Dane Byers-Kris Newbury-Chris Brown
  • Dustin Gazley-Jeff Taffe-Caleb Herbert
  • Brandon Segal-Ryan Stoa-Casey Wellman
  • Nicolas Deschamps-Michael Latta-Ryan Potulny

Defensemen

  • Cameron Schilling-Steve Oleksy
  • Nate Schmidt-David Kolomatis
  • Chay Genoway-Patrick Wellar

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