The Hershey Bears won their first game of the 2016-17 AHL season, defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-2 at GIANT Center, Saturday night. Five different Bears scored including several top prospects. 2014 third-round pick Nathan Walker netted his first goal of the season after going one-on-one with a Sound Tiger defenseman and overpowering him to the net. Walker was shoved into goaltender Stephon Williams and the puck somehow went in. Meanwhile Madison Bowey also scored a spectacular empty-net goal in the game’s final minute from the Bears zone. The goal gave Bowey the team lead in points (1 goal, 2 assists). Paul Carey, Aaron Ness (PP), and Brad Malone also scored.
Before tonight’s blowout, the Bears (1-2-0) were outscored 8-4 during their opening two games of the season. They will play rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow night.
Here’s the game recap from the Bears:
Goals from five different players, and 24 saves from netminder Joe Cannata, led the Hershey Bears to 5-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the club’s home opener at the GIANT Center Saturday night.
The Bears brought the GIANT Center crowd of 8,085 to its feet only 4:22 into the contest. Forward Paul Carey scored his first goal of the season to make it 1-0 Hershey. With the Bears pushing in the offensive zone, Carey collected the puck in the high-slot. He fired a turn-around wrist shot that beat Bridgeport netminder Stephon Williams over the glove.
The Bears would add to the lead in the second period as former Sound Tiger Aaron Ness scored his first goal of the season on the power play at 7:44. He beat Williams through the five-hole on a shot from the left wing to double Hershey’s lead.
The third period saw five goals scored, including three from Hershey. The frame started with the two teams trading three goals in a span of 1:50. Hershey’s Brad Malone scored his second goal of the season at 2:07 to make it 3-0 Bears. However, just 27 seconds later, Tanner Fritz scored his first of two goals for the Sound Tigers to make it 3-1.
At 3:57, Hershey would regain a three-goal lead as forward Nathan Walker scored his first goal of the season. Walker charged down the right wing and crashed the net of Williams. He was pushed into the goaltender, but the puck crossed the line prior to contact. Hershey’s Colby Williams assisted on the goal, collecting his first professional point in his professional debut.
After Fritz scored again at 15:57 on power play for the Sound Tigers to make it 4-2 Bears, Bridgeport would pull Williams for an extra attacker. Hershey took advantage as Madison Bowey sealed the win with an empty net goal with 36 seconds to play. Bowey finished the evening with a goal and an assist. The Bears got six points from defenders in the win.
Hershey’s penalty kill was busy, but held Bridgeport to just 1-for-8 on the power play. Hershey was 1-for-5. The Sound Tigers outshot Hershey 26-21 in the contest. Cannata’s victory was his first with Hershey in his second start of the season.
The Bears are back in action tomorrow evening at the GIANT Center as the rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town at 5 p.m for Hersheypark Pass Night.
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