HARTFORD, CT — Zach Sill and Mason Mitchell scored their first goals of the season, and Vitek Vanecek stopped 27 shots to earn his first win of the year, propelling the Hershey Bears to a 4-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday night at the XL Center. The win helped Hershey snap a two-game skid, and improve to 9-9-0-2.
Only 3:18 into the game, Hershey jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Forward Mathias Bau scored his sixth goal of the season to put the visitors ahead. The forward snapped a shot from just inside the blue line under the glove of Hartford goaltender Chris Nell to put the Bears on the board. Hampus Gustafsson picked up his first point of the season with an assist on the goal, while defender Hubert Labrie also added a helper.
The Bears would double the lead at 18:27 on Riley Barber’s fifth tally of the year. Hershey forward Dustin Gazley turned the puck back to the left point, where Lucas Johansen stood. The blue liner slapped a pass to the net and Barber knocked in his second swipe at the puck past Nell to make it 2-0 Hershey.
Hartford would pepper Vanecek early in the second period, but the netminder stood tall, and his team rewarded him. Down a man, Hershey scored their third shorthanded goal of the season at 7:08. Forward Zach Sill accepted a Labrie pass and raced down the right wing. He snapped a shot that beat Nell five-hole to make it 3-0 Hershey. The goal was Sill’s first of the season, and first goal since Jan. 14 versus Lehigh Valley.
The Bearsweren’t done in the middle stanza. Rookie forward Mason Mitchell struck for his first professional goal at 15:04 to give Hershey a 4-0 cushion. The forward stole the puck in neutral ice and beat Nell glove-side with a quick wrist shot. The goal ended Nell’s night, as he was removed in favor of Alexandar Georgiev after allowing four goals on 22 shots.
Vanecek stopped 27 of 28 Hartford shots on the night, including 15 stops in the third period. The lone tally that beat him came from Adam Tambellini, who scored for Hartford on a rebound at 17:13 of the final stanza.
Hershey outshot the Wolf Pack 30-28. Neither team scored on the power play as Hershey was 0-for-3 and Hartford was 0-for-4.