Week 2 of 3ICE was in Hershey, PA this past week, as four teams hit the ice for the first time this season. Team Murphy, Team Bourque, Team Mullen, and Team LeClair were all attempting to win their semi-final game to send themselves to the week two finals. The winner of each semi-final match gains one point in the standings, where they will compete against each other for an additional two points in the final. The semi-finals losers move to the consolation match, where the winner gets a half-point.
Highlight reel goals, a coaching debut, and last-minute comebacks were all features of the Hershey tour, including a hometown hero returning. 3ICE brought fans to their feet. Each team competing had a chance to find themselves tied with Team Patrick for first in the overall league standings, but which group took charge and came out victorious?
The first game of the night was Ray Bourque’s 3ICE coaching debut. He hoped to come out hot to start the season, but second-year coach Larry Murphy was in his way. Chris Bourque received a standing ovation in his return to Hershey—the city where he spent the bulk of his American Hockey League (AHL) career. Peter Lenes opened the scoring for Team Bourque, but Hank Crone tied the game up on a penalty shot seconds later. Team Murphy took a 2-1 lead into the half, as the tightly contested affair was a game of inches.
Team Murphy potted two more goals and held a 4-2 lead with just over a minute remaining in the match. At that point, Lenes drew a penalty shot and scored a mind-boggling goal to bring the game within one.
Team Bourque pulled their goalie, and Cooper Zech scored the game-tying goal with 29 seconds remaining. A game that seemed all but over went the distance. Crone scored in round one in the sudden-death shootout, winning the game for Team Murphy and sending them to the finals.
The second game of the night featured Team Mullen, the top regular season team in 3ICE from last season, taking on Team LeClair. Team Mullen opened the scoring, but two quick goals from Ian McCoshen and Colton Saucerman put Team LeClair up one. They took a 2-1 lead into the break, just as Team Murphy did in the previous game.
The second half opened, and goaltender Max Milosek took over. He made clutch save after clutch save for Team LeClair. The boost of confidence fed their offense, and Team LeClair made this the least competitive match of the night. They scored the following two goals, making it 4-1. Brandon Hawkins scored the 4th goal dagger from a booming slapshot on a partial breakaway. Team Mullen did score one more goal to make it interesting, but Colin Theisen potted an empty net goal to put the game away. The match’s final score was 5-2 in favor of Team LeClair.
Team Bourque and Team Mullen battled it out for the half-point up for grabs in the consolation match. Neither team wanted to start their season 0-2, so a tightly contested affair ensued. Team Mullen pressed early, but Team Bourque’s goaltender Ryan Bednard stopped a flurry of chances, keeping it knotted at zero. Team Bourque transitioned from defense to offense, and Patrick Grasso scored a wrap-around goal to break the ice. Grasso’s goal was the only one of the first half as Bednard stood on his head.
Cam Brown tied the game up at 5:17 in the second, and then Patrick Mullen, son of Joe Mullen, scored to make it 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in the game. For the first time this match, Team Bourque found themselves behind.
With their goalie pulled, Team Bourque tied the game at two. Shane Harper scored the game-tying goal on a cross-crease feed from TJ Hensick. Just like their first game, Team Bourque tied it up late to push the game to a shootout.
In storybook fashion, Chris Bourque, son of Ray Bourque and arguably the greatest Hershey Bear of all time, won it in the shootout. The hometown hero won it for his team in his return to Hershey, securing half a point.
Ray Bourque avoided going 0-2 in his 3ICE debut, taking the consolation game 3-2 over Team Mullen.
Like the consolation match, both teams recognized the importance of securing points early in the 3ICE season. Team LeClair jumped out to a 1-0 lead seconds into the game, making their presence known. Team LeClair added to their lead with two minutes to go in the first, making it a 2-0 game. Derek Barach scored mere seconds later, bringing his team within one. Then, Max Gerlach scored with just over 30 seconds left in the first half, tying the game up. Team LeClair’s two-goal lead disintegrated in just over a minute.
The second half became a goaltending battle. Eamon McAdam and Milosek held their own, neither allowing a single goal in the half. For the third time of the night, the teams went to the sudden-death shootout to determine a winner. McAdam stifled Hawkins’s shootout attempt, giving Team Murphy a chance to snag the all-important two points. Crone stepped up to center ice. He scored the game-winning goal in the shootout for the second time in as many games. Crone came up clutch again in the shootout as Team Murphy defeated Team LeClair 3-2 in the championship match.
Team Murphy leaves Hershey with three points, Team LeClair with one, Team Bourque with half a point, and Team Mullen with zero.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting your 3 Stars of the Night from Hershey! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ pic.twitter.com/2p7u9ys1nd— 3ICE (@3IceHockey) July 7, 2023
This week’s three stars are Peter “Swaggy P” Lenes, Max Milosek, and Hank Crone. Lenes’ spectacular penalty shot goal earns him this recognition and is likely the goal of the week honors as well, while Crone’s clutch goals helped earn his team three points. Each match this stop was a one-goal game aside from Team LeClair’s dominance of Team Mullen. The competition is fierce this season. Next week four teams travel to Grand Rapids, MI, on Wednesday, July 12. Make sure to stay tuned to The Hockey Writers for all your 3ICE coverage throughout the season.
The 3ICE season began on June 28, and will be broadcast live by CBS Sports, TSN and TVA Sports. The season will run for six weeks before the championship game tes place on Aug. 12 in Philadelphia. Stay tuned for more content about 3ICE as the season progresses, and make sure to tune into 3ICE this summer to enjoy the best part of hockey each and every week.