PROVIDENCE, RI- Danish free agent signing Mathias Bau was a bit of a mystery for the Bears coaching staff when he arrived. What would his role be? How and where would he fit in? After a zero-for-seven effort by the power play on Wednesday, coach Troy Mann decided to take Bau off the number one power play unit. Bau sent a message right back to Mann: No powerplay? no problem! The big 6’7″ forward scored his first two career AHL even-strength goals including the game-winner to give the Bears a 4-1 win over Providence.
It took all of 2:22 of game time for the Hershey power play unit to get back on track. Riley Barber was perfectly positioned in the slot to rifle home a rebound from Liam O’Brien for his fourth goal of the season. Chris Bourque with the secondary assist on the goal.
The Bears weren’t done though as Tyler Graovac managed to center a puck from behind the Bruins net. His pass found Mathias Bau who promptly roofed the puck over the stick hand of Zane McIntyre for the 2-0 lead 5:57 into the first. Riley Barber was awarded the second assist for his second point of the game.
Hershey looking like the better squad in the period suddenly faced some adversity: penalties. First Bau, then Bourque and Barber were whistled for calls. Penalty killing has been a specialty for the Bears and the first period was no exception as they killed all three including a lengthy five-on-three.
A largely uneventful second period came to life 12 minutes into the frame. Mason Mitchell capitalized on a turnover by the Bruins in their offensive zone and got the puck to Anthony Peluso. At the end of his shift, Peluso battled on the boards in the Bruins zone looking for help. He got it from Bau who was able to walk in and score his second of the game.
Shortly thereafter, the Bears once again put themselves into a five-on-three. Continuing its mastery while shorthanded, the Bears stonewalled the Bruins once again keeping the score 3-0 in Hershey’s favor.
In the third, Copley was on his game early flashing his glove. Unfortunately for him, his shutout bid would soon come to an end. Mason Mitchell attempted to make a blind pass right inside the blueline of his offensive zone. Justin Hickman picked off the ill-advised pass and rushed in on a breakaway. He potted the puck past Copley on his glove side to get the Bruins on the board at 3-1. The goal was Hickman’s first goal of the season.
The teams traded power-play opportunities the rest of the way in the third period. Back and forth play but neither side was able to hit pay dirt on their opportunities. Tyler Graovac with his second point of the night iced the game with an empty netter to make it 4-1.
The Bears have now won five of their past six large in part to Copley. The win tonight goes to Pheonix Copley who has now won five straight starts. He stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced while McIntyre stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced.
Mason Mitchell recorded his first professional point on Hershey’s third goal. The Washington Capitals signed Mitchell to a two-year entry-level deal out of University of Alaska-Anchorage back in March 2017.
Hershey improves to above the .500 mark for the first time of the season at 8-7-0-2. Providence falls to 7-5-2-0 and 4-4-0 at home.
3.) Pheonix Copley 31 saves
2.) Riley Barber 1G 1A
1.) Mathias Bau 2G 1A
Hershey is off tomorrow but remains in Providence for the weekend. The two teams will be right back it on Sunday afternoon at 1 PM.