HERSHEY, Pa. – It’s one of the things about the Teddy Bear Toss event that everyone thinks about, but no one wants to see happen. The Hershey Bears could not score the goal to make the fur fly at the annual Teddy Bear Toss event Sunday, as goaltender Jakub Skarek posted his first shutout of the season with 39 saves, and Arnaud Durandeau scored twice to give the Bridgeport Islanders a 2-0 win. Hunter Shepard made 19 saves in the loss as the Islanders snapped the Bears’ eight-game point streak.
The Bears and their fans set a new world record with 67,309 teddy bears tossed benefitting local charities. The mark of 67,309 surpassed last year’s count of 52,341 by nearly 15,000. The closest Bears have come to not seeing bears thrown on the ice during regulation was in 2017, when Liam O’Brien‘s goal sent the fur flying at the 13:27 mark of the second period.
At the end of the day, the children of our community are the true winners. #TeddyBearTossHershey has once again established a new WORLD RECORD of 67,309 teddy bears collected for over 35 local charities. THANK YOU for your generosity! #HersheyBearsCares pic.twitter.com/fPwgU8nnM6
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) January 30, 2023
Both of Durandeau’s goals came courtesy of the power play, where the Islanders struck twice on three opportunities. The pair of goals proved to be all that the Islanders would need in this game, with both tallies featuring assists for Chris Terry as two of Bridgeport’s top scorers had multiple points in this game.
The Bears dialed up the pressure in the second and third periods, firing a combined 30 shots on goal, but Skarek came up with some big saves at key times and earned first-star honors for his performance as Scrooge in this game.
The pressure hit a boiling point towards the end of the game as fans were informed by the public address to hold onto their teddy bears inside of the last few minutes of play in the event that the Bears could mount a comeback, but it never came to fruition. Instead, fans took matters into their own hands by starting the toss with just over five seconds left on the clock in the game. The game ended as a result, and the fans still donated a massive amount of teddy bears for a good cause, which was the real win of the day.
Bears head coach Todd Nelson spoke to the frustration a bit in his postgame remarks.
“I’ve been through it before,” Nelson said. “This is the second time I’ve been part of a game, I think I was playing, we were in Grand Rapids and didn’t score a goal. There were maybe five minutes left in the game, and all of a sudden, you see one small teddy bear from the top row come flying down and almost hit the ice, [then] it was an onslaught. Once that first one went, I knew it was game over.”
“Last night I had a funny feeling, we were riding back from Lehigh, we score seven goals and I’m thinking ‘I hope we didn’t waste all the goals tonight.’ It crept in my mind.” – Hershey Bears Head Coach Todd Nelson
“There were some things that were off. The announcers here announced the wrong starting lineup. I’m a pretty superstitious guy, and that’s why I’m superstitious because it turned out to be true.”
The two points keep the Islanders in seventh place in the Atlantic Division. If there was a day for the Bears to fall flat on, Sunday may have been the day, as the second-place Providence Bruins lost in regulation to keep Hershey’s lead at four points.
It sets the stage for an interesting week for the Bears, who will have a mid-week contest against Lehigh Valley, before traveling to Connecticut to play the Islanders Friday night.
Despite the disappointing outcome, the real winners are all those who benefitted from the charitable donations made by Bears fans to continue such a proud tradition in the Sweetest Place on Earth that’s unlike any other in hockey.
Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!
- PHOTOS: Colorado Eagles vs. Rockford IceHogs – 03/17/2023
- PHOTOS: Adirondack Thunder vs. Worcester Railers – 03/22/2023
- PHOTOS: Huntsville Havoc vs. Macon Mayhem – 03/18/2023
- Bears Roll Amidst Lineup Changes
- Breaking Down Atlanta’s Path To The Postseason
- The Holy GrAHL Podcast Episode 59: Obstructed View
- PHOTOS: Atlanta Gladiators vs. Reading Royals – 03/18/2023
- PHOTOS: Fort Wayne Komets vs. Cincinnati Cyclones – 03/19/2023
- IceHogs Ready For Big Trip To Manitoba
- PHOTOS: Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs vs. Knoxville Ice Bears – 03/18/2023