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Monsters Outlast Bears in Shootout

HERSHEY, Pa – It had to end eventually in a game between the Hershey Bears and Cleveland Monsters on Saturday night at Giant Center. With each coach looking up and down his lineup in the eighth round for a hero, the Monsters found theirs when Kevin Stenlund beat Zach Fucale for the second point in a 2-1 decision. Both teams got stellar performances from their goaltenders, with Fucale making 28 saves on 29 shots and Jean-Francois Berube stopping 34 of 35 on the night.

Cleveland got the scoring started on their first shot of the game when Liam Foudy was able to burst past Hershey’s defense and had his shot leak through Fucale to establish a 1-0 lead. The goal was Foudy’s second of the season and moves him into a five-way tie in the lead for goals as the Monsters have gotten a wide array of goal scorers early this season. Both teams fought the puck and each other all night, with neither team giving up much defensively.

There were plenty of opportunities for either side to break through on special teams, as a total of nine power plays were doled out over the course of play this night. Special teams played a factor in Hershey’s 3-2 overtime loss on Wednesday, and the team had a much better showing tonight with a power-play goal for Cody Franson in the second period. With the Bears up two men, Franson blasted a shot past Berube to even the count at one with his first goal in the chocolate and white. Hershey went one for six on the night while Cleveland came up empty on three tries.

Although the Bears had the power-play goal, they were unable to come up with a goal in a late power play and in overtime, leading to their first shootout of the season. Much as the two netminders had dueled in regulation, they continued to make life difficult for the shooters until Stenlund earned the winner, the lone puck to find twine in the skills competition.

“Our power play certainly needs to improve,” Bears head coach Scott Allen said after the game. “It’s something we are working on and will improve. Huge five-on-three goal to tie the game, then late in the game we did enough to generate another power play and those are situations where, as time goes on, we’ll put teams to rest.”

When asked about the team’s overtime losses, Allen added:

“The opposition always has a say in the outcome of the game, right? It’s not always what you do, it’s how you prepare and come back strong. Every game’s a different game, it’s a new story and a new ending, we certainly would like to be more effective offensively, there’s some areas we need to clean up defensively and it’s early in the season. We’re focused on getting better on a daily basis.”

There was no update following the game on right shot forward Kody Clark after the game, who blocked a shot in the third period and limped off the ice. Allen mentioned in his postgame thoughts that, while he had not yet gotten a recent update, the training staff ruled him out from returning quickly, which does not bode well for the Bears. Hershey is already short of right-wing forward Brett Leason, who made his NHL debut on Friday night with the Washington Capitals as they battle injury issues of their own, and it leaves a big question mark for the Bears.

The Bears and Monsters will rematch at Giant Center again on Sunday evening to cap off the weekend. For Cleveland, it’ll conclude a six-game road swing over two weeks, while the Bears are in the midst of six of seven games at home. Hershey drops to 3-1-1-1, while Cleveland improves to 4-1-0-2 on the season.

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