HERSHEY, PA –  Hershey found itself in all too common territory early on Sunday afternoon.  A Christian Djoos double minor followed by a defensive breakdown and the Bears were in a 2-0 hole after one period for the third time in their past six games. It was a hole that required great effort to dig out of.  Once they did, the lead goal never came for the Bears as they fell for the sixth time in seven games Sunday.

The start could best be described as “sleepy” as passes failed to connect and the Bears offense was only able to muster three shots on Matt O’Connor who was making his first appearance since December 26th. The Senators outshot Hershey 13-3 in the opening frame. The most exciting moment to come out of that period was Nathan Walker putting a pounding on Kyle Flanagan until his knuckles bled.

The Bears dramatically reversed their fortunes in the second. They spent the majority of the period in the offensive zone. Binghamton clogged the slot and kept the Bears to the outside. Gradually the pressure wore down the Senators and Hershey drew a penalty.
With the ice tilted and a man up, Jakub Vrana finally got Hershey on the board with a one-timer off a great set up from Christian Thomas.

The fire continued burning under the Bears in the third. More extended puck possession time for Hershey once again forced Binghamton into taking a penalty. Then, with his powerplay linemates changing, Chris Bourque called his own number from a near impossible angle. The shot from near the goal line somehow found its way in to tie the game at two.

Hershey continued to press until Zach Sanford made a costly mistake. Sanford got tied up at the offensive blue line. With no Hershey defenders behind him, Sanford lost control of the puck allowing the Senators to create a two on none from the red line in. Max McCormick caught Vitek Vanecek leaning with a pass to Chad Nehring. Nehring deposited the layup for the 3-2 Binghamton lead at the 8:27 mark.

Hershey came close to tying it back up and the game result was still up in the air. The back breaker came as a defensive breakdown left Phil Varone all alone in the slot. He blasted home his second of the night to put his team up 4-2 with 3:13 to play.

With Vanecek pulled, Hershey was thwarted by aggressive blocking and was unable to find the back of the net again before time ran out.

A positive takeaway from this game for the Bears is how disciplined they were.  The Bears had to kill off 12 power plays on Friday and five on Saturday.  After the Djoos double-minor in the first period, the Bears would not have to kill a single penalty for the rest of the game. That certainly made their comeback efforts easier later on in the game.

Another takeaway to end on a good note is how well the Bears power play is playing.  The 2/3 night was huge in keeping Hershey in the game.  The powerplay unit went 5-for-13 (38%) over the three games this weekend and has moved up to seventh in the AHL at 22.5% efficiency.

The Bears will have a chance to regain some lost ground this week with three divisional games. They’ll host Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday night.

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