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McMichael, Copley Power Bears Past Devils

McMichael, Copley Power Bears Past Devils

HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears took on the Binghamton Devils in televised action on Saturday afternoon at Giant Center. Both teams were without key players in Phil Maillet and Ben Street, but played in a spirited tilt that saw the Bears come away with a 4-2 decision thanks to a late goal from Connor McMichael and an empty-net goal from Brian Pinho. Pheonix Copley was the difference in the game, making 29 of 31 saves in the game, while Gilles Senn made 16 of 19 in the game.

The Bears jumped out to an early lead in this one thanks to a goal from Conner McMichael. McMichael made a crafty move after Senn made a save on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, taking the puck behind the goal line and stashing it behind the goaltender to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Binghamton tied the game late in the first period when Ben Thomson was able to stash a loose puck behind Pheonix Copley with a fast wrap-around.

Although the opening period ended in an even shot count at nine apiece, the second period was by and large dominated by the Devils. Binghamton outshot Hershey 14-5 and it took the Bears a lengthy amount of time before registering a single shot. Despite this, some key saves from Copley kept the team in it, and the Bears were able to take the lead when Reece Willcox made a brilliant pass from the corner to the tape of Cameron Schilling, who put his own rebound past Senn to restore the Hershey lead.

The Devils would tie the game once more when Tyler Irvine scored his first AHL goal on a nifty feed from Travis St. Denis coming in on a two-on-one. Two and a half minutes later, Hershey would score the decisive goal when Jonsson-Fjallby would keep the puck in at the blue line and feed McMichael for his second of the game and his fourth in two games against Binghamton. Jonsson-Fjallby finished the game with his third assist of the game by setting up Brian Pinho for the empty-net goal to seal the win for Hershey.

Bears head coach Spencer Carbery was none too pleased with his team’s effort on this day, calling the game “average to below average” in response to a question asked in the postgame interview:

“There has to be a level of energy and enthusiasm and excitement to be able to compete and play in a game, and it shouldn’t fluctuate from game to game because yeah, you might not have your legs or the puck might not be bouncing your way or you’re not playing as much as you want to be or whatever the case may be, your energy and engagement in the game shouldn’t change.”

Carbery expressed sympathy through the unusual times but reiterated that, with 43 days to go in the season, there’s only a limited time to take advantage of the opportunity.

The game saw both teams come up empty on the power play, breaking a four-game streak with a power-play marker for Hershey, but continuing an impressive trend on the penalty kill, only allowing one goal in the past four games. Hershey has won five of its last six games overall, while the loss sent Binghamton to its fifth loss in a row.

Hershey is idle until these two teams rematch on Wednesday, and Binghamton has a date with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Monday prior to Wednesday’s contest.

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