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Checkers Use Special Teams to Down Bears

Checkers Use Special Teams to Down Bears

HERSHEY, Pa – It was a difficult night for Hershey Bears fans on Sunday night, as their team was dropped by the visiting Charlotte Checkers by a 5-2 count at Giant Center. The Checkers scored four times on seven power-play opportunities as penalty trouble reared its ugly head once more, and the Bears were unable to generate anything with three opportunities. Hunter Shepard suffered his first loss in the AHL, making 21 of 26 stops, while Joey Daccord earned the win with 29 saves on 31 shots.

Despite the final score, Hershey had another strong start with the first goal courtesy of a highlight reel goal by Garrett Pilon. Hershey’s leading scorer carried the puck into the Charlotte zone and dragged the puck through two defenders and slipped it past Daccord to give the home team a 1-0 lead. However, the Checkers would take advantage of their power plays as Scott Wilson got a great bounce off the stick of Hershey’s Riley Sutter in front of Shepard to even the count at one. The Checkers would follow it up just over a minute later when Kole Lind would get his first of two goals, his first of the season, on a perfect deflection off a long-range shot from Chase Priskie to give Charlotte the lead after one.

The Checkers would extend their lead when Max McCormick scored his third of the season and second against the Bears, beating Shepard with a perfect shot to the top corner. Later on, Alexander True scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play, and then Lind would cap the scoring on a two-man advantage late in the third. The Bears would bookend the scoring with the first goal of the season for Sutter, who swatted in a bouncing puck for the late tally.

Bears head coach Scott Allen kept his postgame comments short, talking briefly about the special teams and lamenting his team’s inability to kill penalties before calling it a “long night” to conclude his thoughts. The loss continues a bit of a mediocre trend of late for the Bears, who have gone 4-3-2-1 in their last ten games and have lost four of their last six games. Charlotte is one of four teams nipping at the heels of the Bears for third place in the Atlantic Division tied at 13 points to Hershey’s 15, while Hartford and Springfield look to extend their points leads early. Hershey is hampered by injuries and recalls, and defense has become a recent issue allowing 13 goals in their last three games.

The Bears will get a chance to rest after a difficult stretch of six games in ten days, and will next be in action with a trip to Hartford to take on the Wolf Pack for the first time this season Saturday night. Meanwhile, the Checkers will make a trip to Lehigh Valley on Wednesday for a date with the Phantoms. The two teams will reconvene at Giant Center in a week for Hockey Fights Cancer Night, a game which will mark the end of a six-game road swing through Pennsylvania and New York for the Checkers. Hershey and Charlotte have, to this point, split their season series at two wins each with four matchups remaining.

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