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Bears Blank Devils Behind Fucale Shutout

Bears Blank Devils Behind Fucale Shutout

HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears earned their fifth win of the season on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Binghamton Devils for the second time in as many nights behind a 22-save shutout for Zach Fucale in his second start for the Bears. Hershey got goals from Joe Snively, Matt Moulson, and Mike Sgarbossa in the win. Evan Cormier made 18 saves in the loss for the Devils.

Hershey started strongly, much as they did in their 6-3 win on Friday night, creating scoring chances off their impressive forecheck. The Bears controlled play in the Devils’ zone for long stretches in the first period, which led to Joe Snively’s second goal of the season as he fished a loose puck free and fired it past Cormier to make it 1-0 Hershey.

The two teams were locked in a defensive struggle for much of the second period, consisting of many shot blocks, tight defensive play, and very few shots that reached their respective team’s goaltender. The Bears broke through on the power play late in the second period when Matt Moulson deflected a slap shot from Connor McMichael past Cormier to double the Hershey lead to 2-0.

Hershey scored its final goal of the period again off of a forced turnover by Binghamton that led to a goal from Mike Sgarbossa fed from the stick of Garrett Pilon, who had two assists in the game. Fucale came up large a couple of times in the third period to keep the Devils off the board. The shutout is the third in Fucale’s AHL career, and his energy during and after the game is infectious.

Bears head coach Spencer Carbery had a glowing report about Fucale after the game.

“(Fucale) made at least ten quality saves,” he said. “Most goalies are very quiet, in the zone, focused, sometimes a little bit introverted. Zach is the complete opposite. He’s vocal, he’s talking all the time, and it’s not when he’s backing up, this is when he’s playing. During timeouts, you just don’t see that. His energy and enthusiasm raises the level in the room.”

Hershey improves to 5-1-2-0 through eight games so far this season, good for first in the North Division in points with 12 but tied with Lehigh Valley and Utica for that position in points percentage after the game went final on Saturday. The Bears and Devils will get to know each other well over the course of the next month, as the two teams face off in four of Hershey’s next seven games. The feeling of animosity between the two teams was evident, as scrums broke out after the whistle a couple of times and will be interesting to watch as the teams face off nine more times in total this season.

The Devils lost their sixth game in a row with the loss and drop to 2-4-1-1 on the season. It’s the second time in the last four games that Binghamton has been shut out, and they’ll be looking to break that skid on Saturday after being outscored by a collective 9-3 to Hershey this weekend.

Hershey is in action on Wednesday as they travel to the PPL Center for the first time this season to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, while the Devils are idle until March 6 when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

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