Pack Drop Game Two in Hershey, 6-4May 8, 2015
(Photo courtesy of JustSports Photography)
Tim Kennedy and Jim O’Brien both scored twice for the Hershey Bears Friday night at Giant Center in Hershey, PA, in a 6-4 Hershey victory over the Wolf Pack that earned the Bears a split in the first two games of the teams’ best-of-seven, second-round series.
The Wolf Pack had won the series opener Wednesday night in Hershey, 2-1 in overtime.
The Wolf Pack had leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in Game Two, but the Bears scored the last four goals of the contest.
Defenseman Nate Schmidt added a goal and two assists for Hershey, and Chris Conner had two assists. Chris Bourque and Mat Bodie had a goal and an assist each for the Wolf Pack, and Shawn O’Donnell had two assists.
“I think we started playing into their style of play a little bit,” Bodie said of the turnaround in the game, which began after Hershey replaced starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer with Pheonix Copley following the Wolf Pack’s fourth goal. “We’re more of a team that likes to get the puck deep, go to work from end to end and not play that run-and-gun style. They seem to be pretty comfortable playing when they’re trading chance for chance, and they’ve got some skilled players over there and they made some plays.”
The Wolf Pack gave up the first goal of the game in the first period, but then responded with three straight, to take a 3-1 lead after one.
Kennedy, a former Connecticut Whale, gave Hershey a 1-0 advantage at the 5:19 mark of the first, jamming his own rebound past Wolf Pack goaltender Yann Danis (23 saves), after being set up by a great stickhandling move by Conner.
The Wolf Pack answered that goal only 2:19 later, though, at 7:33, with Joey Crabb getting his first Wolf Pack postseason goal. Oscar Lindberg worked the puck to Bourque on the right side of the slot, and Bourque passed across to Crabb, whose shot was nearly stopped by Grubauer, but went off of him and into the net.
Bourque then scored his second of the series to give the Wolf Pack their first lead of the game at 10:26, with Connor Carrick in the penalty box for holding. A pass by Chris Mueller from the left-wing boards went off of a Hershey stick to Bourque at the right point, and Bourque hammered a one-timer past Grubauer.
The Wolf Pack’s fourth line gave Hartford the first two-goal lead of the series at 13:27, with Chad Nehring scoring off of a goalmouth scramble. A shot by O’Donnell from the right-wing side was denied by Grubauer, but both Nehring and Ryan Haggerty poked away at the rebound and Nehring knocked it into the net. Nehring, O’Donnell and Haggerty all picked up their first career AHL playoff points on the goal.
Hershey cut it back to a one-goal margin at 3:40 of the second period, on Kennedy’s second goal of the game. The Bears broke 2-on-1 into the Wolf Pack zone and a Conner pass found Kennedy trailing the play, Kennedy moved in and fired a shot past Danis.
The two teams then traded goals in a span of only 12 seconds starting at 8:57, when Bodie scored his second of the playoffs, on a long shot from the middle of the blue line that hit Grubauer and deflected into the net. That chased Grubauer to the bench, after four goals-against on 17 shots, and brought in Copley.
Hershey got that goal back almost immediately, as Schmidt deflected a Chris Brown shot through Danis’ pads at 9:09.
O’Brien tied the score at four for the Bears on a power play at 15:33, with Nehring off for hooking. Casey Wellman fed a pass across the slot to O’Brien at the bottom of the left circle, and O’Brien one-timed it into the net behind Danis.
Jakub Vrana then gave Hershey a 5-4 lead with an unassisted goal, with 1:17 left in the period, that turned out to be the game-winner. The Wolf Pack’s Michael Kostka tried to pass across the middle in his own end, and Vrana intercepted the pass just inside the blue line. Vrana moved down the slot and gunned a shot past the stick side of Danis.
After nine total goals were scored in the first 40 minutes, the only scoring of the third was a shorthanded empty-net goal by O’Brien with 58 seconds left.
Copley stopped all nine shots he faced to get the win for Hershey.
“We came out well in the first game, and getting that overtime win’s always good, but we probably let this one slip away a little bit,” Bodie said. “So it stinks for right now, but you’ve got to put it in the rear-view mirror because we’re playing quick here on Sunday. It’s just a matter of re-focusing and getting ready for Game Three.”
The Wolf Pack’s first two home games of the series are set for this Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 PM and Monday, May 11 at 7:00. Due to scheduling conflicts at the XL Center, those games will be played at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. Tickets for the two games in Worcester will all be priced at $13 each (additional fees apply for on-line and phone orders). To order, go on-line to www.ticketmaster.com, call 1-800-745-3000 or visit the DCU Center Box Office.
If a Game Six is necessary in the series, it will be played at the XL Center Friday, May 15, with faceoff at 7:00. Fans can reserve their tickets now for that game, at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. If Game Six of the series is not played, a refund will be issued to the credit card used for the purchase.
Hartford Wolf Pack 4 at Hershey Bears 6
Friday, May 8, 2015 - Giant Center
Hartford 3 1 0 - 4
Hershey 1 4 1 - 6
1st Period-1, Hershey, Kennedy 2 (Conner, Schmidt), 5:19. 2, Hartford, Crabb 1 (C. Bourque, Lindberg), 7:33. 3, Hartford, C. Bourque 3 (Mueller, Bodie), 10:26 (PP). 4, Hartford, Nehring 1 (O'Donnell, Haggerty), 13:27. Penalties-Carrick Her (holding), 9:47; Vaive Hfd (roughing, roughing), 14:08; Brown Her (holding), 14:08; Newbury Her (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:08; Oleksy Her (roughing, roughing), 14:08; Brown Hfd (slashing), 18:13.
2nd Period-5, Hershey, Kennedy 3 (Conner, L. O'Brien), 3:40. 6, Hartford, Bodie 2 (Kristo, O'Donnell), 8:57. 7, Hershey, Schmidt 2 (Brown), 9:09. 8, Hershey, J. O'Brien 2 (Wellman, Schmidt), 15:33 (PP). 9, Hershey, Vrana 2 18:43. Penalties-Kennedy Her (high-sticking), 1:11; Hughes Hfd (holding), 5:54; L. O'Brien Her (hooking), 5:54; Nehring Hfd (hooking), 14:27.
3rd Period-10, Hershey, J. O'Brien 3 19:02 (SH EN). Penalties-Allen Hfd (slashing), 7:39; L. O'Brien Her (roughing), 7:39; Allen Hfd (slashing), 16:53; Wellman Her (tripping), 17:06.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 13-7-6-26. Hershey 14-9-6-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 1 / 4; Hershey 1 / 3.
Goalies-Hartford, Danis 4-2-0 (28 shots-23 saves). Hershey, Grubauer 1-1-0 (17 shots-13 saves); Copley 3-1-0 (9 shots-9 saves).
Referees-Tom Chmielewski (43), Trevor Hanson (47).
Linesmen-Trent Knorr (63), John Grandt (98).