Hershey Bears Come Out of Hibernation for Shootout Win

Two hat tricks in one night is exceptionally rare in the hockey world, but the GIANT Center was treated to just that—or, at least a version of that—on Wednesday night. In addition to Evan Rankin’s three goals for the Syracuse Crunch, the Gordie Howe Hat Trick’s namesake was in attendance for Hershey’s 4-3 win over Syracuse.

Mr. Hockey himself witnessed the Crunch’s early lead over the Bears, and looked on as Hershey brought a victory home in an 11-round shootout. When told about Howe’s presence at the game Coach Mike Haviland said:

“That’s pretty cool. Certainly one of the best to player to ever play the game, so that’s pretty special.”

Hershey Bears Alternate Captain Tyson Strachan vs Syracuse Crunch 18 December 2013. (Annie Erling Gofus/Olympus Athletics)

Hershey Bears Alternate Captain Tyson Strachan vs Syracuse Crunch 18 December 2013. (Annie Erling Gofus/Olympus Athletics)

Slow Start Ends in Shootout Win for Hershey

After ‘Cuse lit the lamp 31 seconds into the first period, Hershey trailed until the third when, with 3:02 left on the clock, Brandon Segal’s wraparound goal tied it up with help from David Kolomatis and Nate Schmidt. After an unsuccessful overtime, Hershey and Syracuse faced off in a shootout that ran 11 rounds.

Ryan Stoa’s goal kicked things off, and was followed by Stan Galiev sinking one past Kristers Gudlevskis. Rankin and Cedric Paquette scored in the second and third rounds to tie the shootout. After seven rounds of shooters were denied by David Leggio and Gudlevskis,  John Mitchell scored in the eleventh round prompting the Bears to empty their bench for an on-ice celebration.

Hat Trick for Syracuse as Gordie Howe Looks On

Hershey’s win at home can’t overshadow Rankin’s extraordinary showing. After burying a shot 31 seconds in, the Syracuse ringwinger followed up with a second lamp-lighter in the first period and rounded off his hat trick 7:49 into the second period. Unfortunately for the visiting player, not a single hat was thrown on the ice in celebration. But perhaps tallying three goals in two periods with the legendary inventor of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick as witness was good enough.

Gordie Howe is a retired Canadian hockey player famous for his scoring, strength and lengthy career. Howe is the only NHL player whose career stretched between five decades, from the 1940s to the 1980s. A four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, he won six Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player and six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer. A Gordie Howe Hat Trick is achieved when a player scores a goal, records an assist and fights all in one game. It’s named after the infamous Howe who recorded his first namesake hat trick on December 22, 1920.

Howe attended Wednesday’s game with his son Mark Howe, a scout for the Detroit Red Wings. Discussing Howe’s presence at the GIANT Center added a level of glee to  post-game interviews.

“It’s pretty amazing that he’s still coming to all these games,” Segal commented with a smile.

Hershey Bears Julien Brouillette vs Syracuse Crunch 18 December 2013 (Annie Erling Gofus/Olympus Athletics)

Hershey Bears Julien Brouillette vs Syracuse Crunch 18 December 2013 (Annie Erling Gofus/Olympus Athletics)

Hershey witnessed an outstanding performance from the Nicolas Deschamps-Ryan Stoa-Segal line combination on Wednesday night.

“They cycle, they support each other down low, they hold onto it and they attack the net,” Coach Haviland described the trio. “They’re playing with confidence and they’ve been huge for us.”

“We’ve got some good chemistry going,” Segal said of his linemates. “We moved the puck really well down low. Just a matter of getting in there.”

Hershey Bears' Nate Schmidt and Goaltender David Leggio vs Syracuse Crunch 18 December 2013. (Annie Erling Gofus/Olympus Athletics)

Hershey Bears’ Nate Schmidt and Goaltender David Leggio vs Syracuse Crunch 18 December 2013. (Annie Erling Gofus/Olympus Athletics)

“This game is a lot about confidence.” – Coach Haviland

After their win over Syracuse, the Bears are feeling confident going into this weekend’s match-up against the Worcester Sharks.

“The last couple games we certainly have showed a lot of character coming back, and when we play the way we know how to play, we can hem some teams in,” Coach Haviland explained. “When everybody’s on board and really doing the right things and playing the right way, we’re a tough team to defend in the offensive end.”

The Bears improve to 11-9-2-3 after Wednesday’s win over the Syracuse Crunch. Hershey meets the Worcester Sharks at the GIANT Center on Saturday, December 21 at 7:00 PM and on Sunday, December 22 at 5:00 PM.

Annie Erling Gofus writes for Olympus Athletics. Follow Annie on Twitter (@AnnieErGo) or email her at annie.erling@gmail.com.

Originally posted at http://thehockeywriters.com/hershey-bears-beat-syracuse-crunch-in-11-round-shootout/

Hartford Wolf Pack Top Hershey Bears via thehockeywriters.com

After three years as the Connecticut Whale, the Hartford Wolf Pack is celebrating its return to a more predatory moniker by preying on the Hershey Bears. No offense to whales, but an entire pack of bloodthirsty wolves is much scarier than a pod of marine mammals, and Hartford lived up to its name change at Saturday’s game. Hartford battled through a second period deficit to come out of Giant Center with a 4-3 victory over Hershey.

Hoping for the first home win since last spring, 8,001 fans cheered on the Bears at the Giant Center. Lighting the lamp first, Bears’ Assistant Captain Taffe found the back of the net with a little help from Dmitry Orlov who tallied his fifth point in two games. Late in the first, by freak accident or sheer force from the 210-pound d-man, Orlov’s stick snapped in two allowing Wolf Pack Center Oscar Lindberg to score.

Hershey Bears Defenseman Chay Genoway moments after scoring. (Annie Erling Gofus/The Hockey Writers)
Hershey Bears Defenseman Chay Genoway moments after scoring. (Annie Erling Gofus/The Hockey Writers)

Hartford opened the second period by scoring on a Power Play, but Hershey answered with two consecutive goals. Blueliner Chay Genoway scored with an assist from Connor Carrick and Tyler Ruegsegger, followed by a goal from Michael Latta who got the assist from  Tyson Strachan and Matt Watkins.

“We couldn’t seem to get any flow to our game and it definitely showed.”

The Chocolate and White strolled into the third period leading 3-2, which was about the same time that the Wolf Pack’s killer instincts kicked in. New York Rangers forward prospect Danny Kristo sunk one in on a power-play at the front end of the third, followed only five minutes later by a snap shot from Andrew Yogan. Although they had 11 minutes and 33 seconds to retaliate, this Bear Sleuth couldn’t muster the strength to tie the game. Holding last place in the East Division, Saturday’s loss dropped the Bears to a 1-3-1-0 record through five games.

Hartford celebrates after a goal by the Wolf Pack. (Annie Erling Gofus/The Hockey Writers)

“It’s just unacceptable coming out in the third period like that,” Genoway said after Saturday’s loss. “We’ve got to learn to react better when the other team scores or ties the game up… We talked a lot in the second period. All the right things were said. We just came out flat. We couldn’t seem to get any flow to our game and it definitely showed.”

“We took another lazy penalty and they score a goal on it,” Bears head coach Mike Haviland said. “We seemed to get back on our heels a little bit. And then, again, we decide to play the last four minutes and go after them a little bit.”

“We have to go after teams all the time. And it has to be in waves and it has to be everybody and it can’t be three or four guys. We had too many passengers tonight. You can’t play the game with passengers. We need everybody on board.”

Not All Heartache Last Night

While a rough night for the Bears, there are two happier occurrences to note about Saturday’s game. The first being that the super young anthemist totally nailed The National Anthem. And the second was Coco the Bear looking on as a Hershey fan get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend—she said yes! Now that your heart has warmed slightly, remember that the Hershey Bears close their weekend series by facing the Norfolk Admirals today at the Giant Center at 5pm.

Originally posted to http://thehockeywriters.com/hartford-wolf-pack-drop-hershey-4-3/ by Annie Erling Gofus

Hershey Bears Find Winners With New Coaches for TheHockeyWriters.com

This summer, while Hershey fans were cranking up the A/C and dreaming of a cool October puck drop, the Bears were busy filling a roster void of key leadership roles. With the regular season just weeks away, the American Hockey League’s oldest and most storied franchise has welcomed newly hired Head Coach Mike Haviland and Assistant Coach Ryan Mougenel into the fold.

Haviland, 45, enters Giant Center as the Bears’ 24th Head Coach with 14 years of coaching experience under his belt. Prior to his move to Chocolatetown, Haviland spent four seasons as assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, from 2008-2009 and again in 2011-2012. He arrived in Chicago after three years as a head coach for two different teams in the AHL—first for the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate Rockford Ice Hogs (2007-2008) and before that the Norfolk Admirals (2005-2007). Most recently, Haviland returned to Norfolk, the Anaheim Ducksaffiliate, for 2012-2013 as associate coach.

“Mike Haviland has coached his teams to compete and win, and we look forward to having him do the same in Hershey,” Bears General Manager Doug Yingst said in a press release.

“This is the premier franchise in the American Hockey League. To be selected and knowing some of the guys I was up against, it was an honor and a privilege,” Hershey Bears Head Coach Mike Haviland said, “When you put that sweater on you have to understand that you are playing not for the name on the back but the name on the front.”

After his 2006-2007 season with the Norfolk Admirals, Haviland was honored with the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award, a trophy awarded annually to the AHL’s most outstanding coach. In addition to winning AHL Coach of the Year, Haviland has championships on three different levels to his name. In 2010, he helped guide the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup, and between 1996-1998 he lead Elmira College to two ECAC championships as an assistant coach. Additionally, Haviland hoisted the trophy twice as a bench boss in the ECHL—he coached the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies to the Kelly Cup in 2003 and again with the Trenton Titans in 2005.

Head Coach Haviland and Assistant Coach Ryan Mougenel Have History

It was while coaching in Atlantic City that Haviland met Ryan Mougenel, new assistant coach for the Bears. In his final season as a player, Mougenel served as an alternate captain for head coach Haviland on the Atlantic City club that won the Kelly Cup. After four years as head coach of the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers hockey club, which he led to the Kelly Cup finals in 2011-12, Mougenel (pronounced moo-zhuh-NEL, in case you were curious), 37, has landed his first AHL coaching gig in Hershey. Before his head coaching job in Las Vegas, Mougenel spent four seasons as assistant coach of the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons.

“Ryan fits that bill. He understands the work ethic and the details that have to go into being successful. He also understands the relationship between the players and coaches, and he knows how to nurture them,” said Haviland. “He’s a good communicator. He’s a very personable guy. The players are going to like him and the fans are really going to like him. They’re going to take to him. He’s got a great personality.”

This duo’s history has the makings of a dynamic coaching relationship for the Bears. Being familiar with one another’s coaching and playing styles will hopefully make both Haviland and Mougenel feel comfortable and confident in their new leadership roles.

New Leaders Fill Roster Voids Left by Mark French and Troy Mann

Mougenel, a native of Ontario, follows Troy Mann, who served as Hershey’s assistant coach the past four seasons and is now head coach of the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Haviland, a New Jersey native, replaces Mark French, who finished up four years in Hershey at the end of the 2012-13 season. French has since been named head coach of the Kontinental Hockey League’s (KHL) Medvescak Zagreb in Croatia, whose mascot just happens to also be a fierce bear.

French isn’t the only Bear to make the leap to Europe. A month after French landed a job with the Medvescak Zagreb, it was announced the Washington Capitals would not be renewing Boyd Kane’s contract for the 2013-14 season. Kane, three time captain of the Chocolate and White and three time Calder Cup Champion will swap one Bear sweater for another in Zagreb. In five seasons with Hershey, Kane skated in 365 regular season games along with 58 Calder Cup Playoff games.

Originally Posted to http://thehockeywriters.com/hershey-bears-find-winners-with-new-coaches/ by Annie Erling Gofus