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Bears Overpower Devils

Bears Overpower Devils

HERSHEY, Pa. – It was another feisty matchup between the Hershey Bears and the Binghamton Devils on Saturday afternoon at the Giant Center that saw the Bears put up a big shot count and tally up a 6-3 decision.

Brian Pinho potted a pair of goals and Pheonix Copley made 23 saves on 26 shots in the win. Saturday’s game is Hershey’s eighth win in nine games over their North Division rival this season, and the fourth win in a row for the Chocolate and White.

The game didn’t start out the way the Bears wanted, as it saw the Devils score 2:12 in when Nate Schnarr picked a pass off of Rob O’Gara and beat Copley to give the Devils the early lead. Hershey evened the score midway through the period when the potent combination of Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas teamed up on a pretty passing play to beat Gilles Senn (41 saves).

The Devils would regain the lead right off the bat in the second period when Danick Martel got the puck on the back door all alone to make it 2-1 Binghamton. As the period went on, the Devils did a good job of weathering the storm of Hershey’s offensive pressure, and it seemed like Binghamton was in good shape. However, the Bears would break through in a big way late in the second when Shane Gersich fired home a feed from Alex Alexeyev in his first game back to even the score at two. Gersich, who has been in the middle of some heated moments during the season series this year, sparked a scrum after his goal when he bumped into Colton White and brought the two teams together. Gersich had already mixed it up with Martel when the latter took Gersich down and took a few punches at the downed Bear, leading to one of Hershey’s power plays.

The floodgates opened after the festivities as Pinho got in on the action with his first goal of the game, beating Senn with a twisted wrister that hit a defenseman’s stick and went in high on the short side to give the Bears the lead. Martin Fehervary would score again 43 seconds later by throwing the puck at the net that got a nice bounce and extended the lead to 4-2. Fireworks erupted at the end of the second when Binghamton’s A.J. Greer made contact with Copley covering the puck outside his crease with the buzzer sounding. Copley mixed it up a bit with Greer leading to some penalties on both teams, as the veteran Hershey goaltender has had his fair share of physical moments in his career.

Hershey’s power play came to life in the third when Cameron Schilling scored his third goal of the season on a two-man advantage to extend the lead to 5-2. Hershey’s power play struck just once on seven attempts, but finding the twine on this one was key in extending the lead to three goals as Binghamton responded with a goal from Fabian Zetterlund to bring the game back to a two-goal differential. Hershey would put the game out of reach with his second of the day, an empty-net goal to bring about the 6-3 decision.

The pair of goals brings Pinho to seven on the season, but remarkably four of those goals are empty-net tallies, something that head coach Spencer Carbery touched on in the postgame media conference:

“Intelligence. He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached, and he has the tools, skating to go along with it,” Carbery said of Pinho. “His anticipation and knowing where A. he needs to be and B. where the puck is about to go is really, really elite and that’s why he’s proven that he’s an NHL-caliber player and made it to that level. That’s where, in those key situations, he is so cool, calm, knows where the puck’s going and is in the right spot.”

Pinho led the team with three points in the game, but five other Bears finished with multi-point games: Leason, Fehervary, Protas, Phil Maillet, and Riley Sutter chipped in on multiple goals for the Chocolate and White to overpower the Devils. Hershey nearly matched their shot output from their last matchup with Binghamton, finishing at 47 on Saturday, and the team had hit 50 in a 3-2 win in Newark back on April 7. Hershey now owns a record of 8-1-0-0 in the season series between the two teams after Saturday’s game.

Hershey will be idle on Sunday after their game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms was postponed, the third straight game between the two teams to have been rescheduled, although the new dates have not yet been revealed. The teams will hold their breath for their matchup this coming Wednesday to play as scheduled at 7:05 at PPL Center, otherwise the Bears will be idle until a home-and-home set against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins next weekend.

Binghamton will play Lehigh Valley three straight times next weekend after a date with the Utica Comets on Wednesday, and everyone’s hoping the Phantoms will make a smooth recovery into action.

The Bears and Devils will meet again on April 28 to close out the month. As a reminder, Hershey plays through May 16 at this point, although rescheduled games could extend beyond that time frame if

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