Vanecek Shuts Door as Hershey Bears Sweep Charlotte, 3-0
(Just Sports Photography)
The Hershey Bears completed a weekend sweep over the Charlotte Checkers with a 3-0 shutout victory on Sunday the Giant Center. Vitek Vanecek backstopped Hershey, stopping all 29 shots for his sixth victory, and second shutout of the season.
On STAR WARS night, the force was with the Chocolate and White early. Only 1:25 into the game, Riley Barber scored for the second consecutive night to give Hershey a 1-0 lead. After scoring the game-winning goal the night before, Barber capitalized on a defensive zone turnover by Trevor Carrick and beat Charlotte goaltender Jeremy Smith upstairs. The goal was Barber’s 11th marker of the season.
At 14:44, the Bears added insurance on Tyler Graovac’s fifth goal of the season. After a puck battle won along the boards, Nathan Walker found Graovac at the net front. The forward made a power move to the net and beat Smith five-hole to make it 2-0.
Vitek Vanecek stood tall in the middle frame, stopping 13 more shots including fending off several chances during a 5-on-3 penalty kill that lasted 1:55.
In the third period, Travis Boyd added an insurance marker for the Bears at 9:32 on the power play. Following a Trevor Carrick high-sticking minor, Boyd snapped a shot from the point off the glove of Smith and into the net.
Hershey proceeded to win the special team’s battle with a power play goal, and went a perfect 6-for-6 penalty kill. The Checkers outshot Hershey 29-24 in the loss.
Vanecek’s shutout is the first time the Bears have shutout the Charlotte Checkers on home ice since January 29, 2011. Seven years ago on the eve of the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic hosted in Hershey, Braden Holtby posted a 24 save clean sheet behind a Sheldon Souray goal in a 1-0 win.
The Bears rise above the .500 mark with the win and conclude the weekend at 17-16-1-3. The Checkers slide to 21-14-0-1 on the regular season following the defeat.
The Bears host the Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday, January 10 at Giant Center. It’s Hersheypark Pass Night and the puck drops at 7 p.m. Ticket information is available at HersheyBears.com.