While the Bears got the shutout last night against Worcester, tonight it would be the St. John's Ice Caps who would roll into Giant Center and blank Hershey 2-0. Notwithstanding the shutout, the Bears actually played better on Sunday than they did in their win. Unfortunately, Ice Caps goalie Conner Hellebuyck came up with some big saves during Hershey's power plays in the second and third period.
Chris Brown, Kris Newbury and Conner Carrick were all notable throughout the game. In the first period, any time these guys were on the ice the Bears had some good drives to the net. Brown and Newbury really got in around the blue paint and caused some scrums in front. At one point Newbury went after one of the Ice Caps' defenders because of a behind the play shot he had given him. There were times when it seemed like the game would delve into more outright physical play after the whistle but it never did.
Hershey started the second period on a penalty kill but found themselves on the power play shortly thereafter. Despite good passing on a power play at the beginning of the period and another at the end, the Ice Caps collapsing defense kept the Bears' shot to the perimeter.
While the Bears played a strong game in the second and outshot St. John's 16-11, a defensive breakdown half way through the period left Ice Cap Chase Bailey alone in front of Copley. Bailey only needed moment to snap a quick shot over Copley's right shoulder to make it 2-0.
The Bears came out flying in the third period but frustrations set in early with Newbury and Byers battling in front of Hellebuyck. Newbury would end up taking his second penalty of the game. It was clear a lack of offense this weekend was wearing on Newbury.
Hershey had some good opportunities in the back half of the third when Dane Byers caught a rebound off Hellebuyck's pad but failed to bury the puck. Likewise, Conner Carrick had Hershey's best chance to get on the score board but his heavy shot from the point hit off the post to the right of the Ice Caps' goalie.
The Bears were 1 for 8 on the power play this week which includes the game Wednesday against the Phantoms. The puck movement and shots are there, but Hershey has to get the power play clicking more consistently. A couple power play goals in each game and the Bears could have come away with a much needed "w".