PHOTOS: Utica Comets vs. Hershey Bears – 03/02/2024

John Gramlich for Inside the Rink

HERSHEY, Pa. – The Giant Center ice provided fans with an exciting match that saw the Hershey Bears lose to the Utica Comets 1-0.

Hershey entered the game on a seven-game win streak on home ice. The Bears and the Comets split last season’s meetings, with Hershey having a 10-3-2 overall record against Utica.

Both teams were prepared to get physical from the get-go. Directly after the faceoff, Hershey’s Empey and Utica’s MacKinnon squared up, and the scrap began. Both players came out swinging, with Empey getting in several shots to the head area before both players hit the ice. As the referees attempted to separate them, both players continued swinging over the top of the linesman.  No scoring occurred during the first period with both goaltenders were keeping the pucks out of the net. 

During the second period, both teams had many opportunities to shoot pucks at the goalies; Hershey’s Shepard and Utica’s Poulter had all the correct angles and were the brick walls they were expected to be.  The physicality of the game intensified as the period went on. Around the 18-minute mark, Hershey’s Osipov and Utica’s Felix threw down. Osipov came out throwing roundhouses. Felix’s jersey came up around his head, and he was throwing everything he could at Osipov. The fight ended as the players hit the ice and the referees stepped in to separate them.

Utica’s lone goal came at 9:15 remaining in the third period as Schmelzer put a pinpoint pass over to Russo (3), who fired it past Shepard’s stick side.  Utica’s goaltender, Poulter, held strong and stopped several key chances to tie the game.  In the end, both goaltenders were the stars of the game, but the fights proved to be the fan favorites.

Check out this photo gallery from Inside The Rink’s John Gramlich for highlights from the game.

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