HERSHEY,PA-  What’s become a broken record for the 2017-2018 Hershey Bears is the need for better starts.  On a night where the organization celebrated its inductees into the Bears Hall of Fame, it was the visiting Bruins coming in with the excellent start to spoil the show. Hershey came out flat and despite a goalie fight providing a spark, Providence ultimately prevailed 6-2.

The first period belonged to the Providence trio of Austin CzarnikKenny Agostino, and Jordan Szwarz. The line was completely dominant in the first, taking advantage of Bears miscues and scoring all three of the Bruins first period goals.  After another poor start in which the Bears were badly outshot and surrendered three goals to none, head coach Troy Mann was visibly upset after the game.

“We had a number of guys that weren’t ready to play tonight for whatever reason and it’s just unacceptable. It’s going to change because that was probably the worst period in my tenure here as head coach, at least in the last two years as for sure… there’s a number of guys in that locker room that got to step up here and do a better job of leading this club and getting it in the right direction here,” Mann said.

After the poor first period, initially, Hershey looked better in the second putting more pressure on the puck.  They couldn’t make anything out of it and Providence added another from Adam Payerl to make it 4-0 Bruins.  That is where the complexion of the game suddenly changed.

A big hit by Garrett Mitchell led to a raucous and the dropping of gloves by multiple players on both sides. Bruins goalie Jordan Binnington skated up from his crease to the Bears zone where Pheonix Copley skated to meet him.

The former Chicago Wolves teammates got together, spoke and decided to go.

The two wrestled each other landing few if any punches. In the end, the goalies were tossed from the game.

The Bears ended up on a five-minute penalty kill with a Garrett Mitchell extra major for charging on his initial hit.

The Copley fight proved to be the spark the Bears needed. The Bears penalty Killers were aggressive and chased the puck deep into the Bruins zone. Zach Sill found Riley Barber skating into the high slot and he made no mistake putting Hershey on the board down 4-1.

The deficit was further cut with the Bears on a power play of their own. Aaron Ness fired a shot from the point and Liam O’Brien deflected the puck in to make it a two-goal game at 4-2.

In the third, the closest the Bears got from there was a post hit by Dustin Gazley.  Providence was on their heels at times in the third but capitalized on their opportunity when the Bears got caught on a long shift to put the game to bed with their fifth goal by Tommy Cross.  Zach Senyshyn provided the empty-netter for good measure with a little over a minute to go in regulation.

Lineup changes are coming this week. Some Bears veterans may find themselves in the press box next week.

“My loyalty is, I think, is one of my strengths as a coach and there are some guys that just aren’t getting it done and I’ve been very very patient. At the same time, we need results.”

Mann has admired and respected Dylan Margonari‘s play whenever he’s called up. Once again he earned praise from his coach who hopes his style of play will serve as an example. Expect to see more of him as long as Jeremy Langlois is out due to injury.

“Guys like (Dylan) Margonari, we’ll keep playing those guys. You can see the work ethic and the passion and how he played the game tonight. We need more of that especially from guys that aren’t contributing on the offensive side of the puck which has obviously been an issue as well,” said Mann.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Bears who are now two games under .500 at 12-14-0-3.  They’ve fallen to seventh in the Atlantic Division and will travel Charlotte to take on the second place Checkers Wednesday and Thursday.They’ll finish out the weekend at Giant Center against Binghamton on Saturday.  They will get a little help however as rookie defenseman Connor Hobbs is likely to be cleared for Thursday.  First place Providence (18-7-2-0) takes on Hartford Friday and then Springfield next Saturday.

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