By Don Scott
The Hershey Bears had to overcome two one-goal disadvantages Sunday night, before pulling out a 3-2 Giant Center win over Lehigh Valley, thanks to Mike Scarbossa’s creative move in the fourth round of the shootout.
Just like the Saturday game at PPL Center, the Phantoms scored 4:32 into the first period, when Kyle Criscuolo flipped a quick shot past Vitek Vanecek on a centering pass from Greg Carey.
The Bears pulled even in the middle session when Philippe Maillet cashed in 31 seconds into a power play, sending a rebound of a Matt Moulson shot past goalie Jean-Francois Berube. It was Hershey’s first power-play goal in 37 opportunities over 11 games.
The Phantoms regained a one-goal lead at 12:24 on another well-executed transition play. Maksim Sushko sent a pass to the slot from the right face-off circle for Morgan Frost who beat Vitek Vanecek five-hole for his fifth goal of the season.
In the third period Hershey tied the tilt at 2-2 when Steve Whitney converted a pass from Chris McCarthy at 17:16 to force overtime for a second straight night.
“We were getting a lot of chances and Liam O’Brien and Chris McCarthy made a great fore-check behind the net to get the puck on my tape and I made the shot and luckily it went in,” Whitney said, about the momentum-changing tally. “Getting the win in the shootout was important because it was a huge two points for us in this division.”
“We thought we played pretty well Saturday night and could have come out on top, which we didn’t, so we wanted to keep our play at that level and felt good things would happen,” Whitney added.
In the five minute, 3-on-3 session, both teams skated in a rare 4-on-3 situation due to penalty calls at 1:51 on the Phantoms and 4:25 on the Bears.
Hershey shot first in the shootout round with Sgarbossa connecting in the fourth round then Vanecek had to stop Greg Carey to lock up the victory.
The Bears finished the weekend 1-1-1-0, getting three of the possible six points, and improved their overall record to 7-5-2-1.
Hershey travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday, Nov. 13 then entertains last season’s Calder Cup champions, the Charlotte Checkers Friday and Saturday.