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BY DON SCOTT

Shane Gersich started and ended the scoring for Hershey in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the visiting Bridgeport Islanders to get the 2022 portion of its season started with a win.

Gersich gave the Bears a 1-0 lead in the opening period at 9:04, when he managed to shove a rebound of Drake Rymsha’s shot past goalie Ken Appleby. While Hershey defensively held the Islanders to just one shot, that shot resulted in a goal.

The Islanders’ Chris Terry got loose on a breakaway opportunity at 12:49 to make it 1-1, with his team-leading 11th goal of the campaign.

Garrett Pilon regained the lead for the Bears at 12:40 in the second period, taking a pass from Joe Snively and beating Appleby from the right wing. Shots after 40 minutes were 21-10 Hershey. 

At 2:15 in the third period, Erik Brown made it a 2-2 score and sent the contest to an overtime session, one that ended when Gersich forced a steal at center ice and then skated in on a breakaway to beat Appleby with a five-hole shot for the game-winner.

“They got better as the game went on and we didn’t, but I’ll never apologize for a victory, because there were games this year where we deserved to win and didn’t,” Hershey coach Scott Allen said. “Good teams find ways to win games, even when they are not at their best for 60 minutes.” 

Final shots on goal totaled 27-24 Hershey. The Bears finished 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. 

Hershey returns to action on Wednesday, January 5 when it hosts the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at 7 p.m. 

Bears Notes

Hershey improved to 15-9-2-1 and 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games. 

Bridgeport’s head coach is Brent Thompson, a former Bears defenseman for three seasons (2000-03).   

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