By Don Scott
The Hershey Bears swept the weekend home-and-home series with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday with a hard fought – in more ways than one – 1-0 win that extended the Phantoms road losing streak to eight games (0-7-0-1).
Bears netminder Vitek Vanecek kicked out 32 shots and posted his first shutout since March 19, making 32 saves for a new single-game high for the 2019-20 season.
The only score of the physical battle came when Mike Sgarbossa beat Phantoms goaltender J.F. Berube for his ninth of the season, on a second period power play. Issac Ratcliffe was given an extra two minutes for elbowing, in addition to roughing minors assessed to himself and Tyler Lewington.
Alex Alexeyev made the pass to step up what turned out to be the game-winning shot.
Seconds into the third stanza, Sgarbossa had an opportunity to put his team up 2-0, but the shot hit the goal post then rolled harmlessly away.
Three misconduct, two game misconducts and two fighting penalties were handed out by the officials as part of the total 88 minutes of penalty time that was assessed to the two teams.
Hershey scored the game’s first goal in the fifth straight game, going 3-1-0-1 in those games, and the Bears are 7-4-0-1 overall when scoring the game’s initial goal.
The Bears finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play, and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill to extend their current successful kill streak to 16. Hershey’s win was its third consecutive victory – for the first time this season – as it improved to 11-9-2-3.
The Bears return to action and look to sweep their three-in-three stretch Sunday against another division rival, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 5 p.m.