In front of a crowd of 6300 assembled at Giant Center, the Hershey Bears outworked and outplayed the Toronto Marlies. The Bears won 3-1 to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final of the AHL.
Early on in the game both teams traded chances but few shots as the first one came nearly halfway through the first period. Jakub Vrana nearly gave the Bears something to cheer about as he missed a back door wrap around shot. Soon after the initial rush, talented winger Kasperi Kapanen made a nice pass to set up William Nylander who made a nice move to put the puck past Bears goaltender Justin Peters.
Afterwords the game became a back-and-forth affair seeing both teams earning a lot of chances in the first period where each team had some odd man chances.Although the Bears had only five shots on net, they had a lot of odd-man rushes leading to wide shot attempts in the first period.
In the second period the Bears came out strong. Ryan Borque had a nice chance but Antoine Bibeau bailed the Marlies out again. The Marlies luck soon ran out, as Carter Camper got a nice feed from defenseman Aaron Ness that set the forward up to blast a wrist shot past Bibeau going top-shelf to tie the game.
The Bears play improved into the second period as they were quicker on their skates and constantly looking to cycle the puck. Since the second goal the game returned to its even pace with both sides getting chances in the period. Jakub Vrana throughout this period was an absolute force generating chance after chance and causing the Marlies to turn the puck over. The lone Marlies power play generated more chances for the Bears as the Bears had multiple offensive zone trips.
Controversy marked the end of the second period as Ryan Stanton put the puck into the net with what appeared to be time remaining,the referees had another feed. This period belonged to the Bears but remained tied.
In the third period, Liam O’Brien went short side to give the Bears their first lead of the night. The Bears then had a strong power play but nothing came of it. The period continued on with the Bears controlling play. With 11:48 left Zach Sill added an insurance marker on the power play to put the Bears up two goals. That would be all the scoring needed,as Toronto pushed the pace with an empty net for the last four minutes of the gam to no avail.
The same two teams play at the same 7:05 PM time tomorrow night at Giant Center. The Bears will look to take a 2-0 series lead since the next three games of the series after game two are in Toronto at Ricoh Coliseum.
Bears Youtube Channel Link (Look for highlights/Troy Mann’s post game comments soon): https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHersheyBears