HERSHEY, Pa. – Ondrej Palat scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Riku Helenius won his second game against the HERSHEY BEARS this season, a 2-1 decision on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 10,943 at GIANT Center.
Michael Latta endeared himself to the Bears faithful with a big hit on Syracuse forward Alex Hutchings just 12 seconds into the game. Mike Angelidis came in to defend his teammate and took an extra two minutes in penalties, giving the Bears their first power play of the night. Syracuse played smothering defense on the kill and kept the Bears off the board.
Shortly after a scrap between Dane Byers and Philippe Paradis, Syracuse got on the board on Jean-Philippe Cote’s third goal of the season. Hutchings worked the puck from the left half wall toward the right point, where Cote was all alone to fire a slap shot down and in off of the crossbar at 10:07.
The Bears were charged up after Joel Rechlicz’s return to Chocolatetown was highlighted by a scrap with Eric Neilson 5:06 into the second period. Hershey was able to battle back and tie the game inside the final minute of the middle period, establishing a presence at the net front. Helenius made a nice glove save on rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt’s point shot but dropped it to the side. Jeff Taffe flipped the rebound back in front, where Byers and Crabb were stationed. Crabb got the stick on the puck to knock it home at 10:05 for his second goal with the Bears.
Palat snuck off the bench and glided down the slot to one-time a pass from Tanner Richard at 3:50 of the third, putting the visitors ahead for good.
Sabourin made 19 saves on 21 shots but fell to 9-12-3 on the season. Helenius stopped 20 of 21 shots to improve to 17-14-0. The Bears finished 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Bears wrap up the weekend with a visit to northeastern Pennsylvania and a 3:05 PM matchup against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Bears will play their final home game of the regular season on Sunday, April 21 at 5:00 against the Manchester Monarchs. All fans in attendance will receive a complimentary pass to HERSHEYPARK valid through July 4, 2013. Tickets may be purchased at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.