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Bears Continue Ascent

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BY DON SCOTT

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored the first and last goals of the game to lead the Hershey Bears to a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday night at Giant Center.

The victory, combined with Hartford’s 3-0 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, moved Hershey to just two points behind the first place Wolf Pack in the Atlantic Division race.

Jonsson-Fjallby scored his ninth goal of the year at 6:11 of the opening period on a play that was started by defenseman Colby Williams, who was in uniform for just the 15th time due to an early-season injury. Chris McCarthy got the primary assist.

“It felt really good to get that assist, especially in the first period on the power play because I really haven’t had much power-play time and hopefully I can stick with it,” Williams said. “It was good to get back and I can’t compliment the medical staff enough for helping me get through a pretty tough injury. The touches and the little plays will come back once I get more playing time.”

At 16:21 of the second period, Cleveland pulled even when Adam Clendening blasted a shot through traffic and into the cage for the equalizer. The Bears countered 1:37 later on another power play. This time it was Bobby Nardella taking a pass from Martin Fehervary and firing a shot from the right point past Monsters goaltender Veini Vehvilainen.

In the final period, Kole Sherwood evened the score after a video review confirmed it at 5:59. There was a collision at the net and Sherwood was credited with his fifth goal of the season despite the net being bumped off by Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley during the play.

“The refs said they had the puck going in no matter if the net had stayed on or not so that was their defining moment,” Williams stated about the play. “They looked at the replay carefully but the bad part for me was I got a minus on the play.”

With the Monster’s goalie off for an extra skater, Jonsson-Fjallby hit the vacant net at 19:43 to close out a 4-2 final. 

The Bears power play was 2-for-6 and the penalty kill squad completed a 3-for-3 performance. It marked the first time the Chocolate and White tallied multiple power-play goals in a single game since Oct. 13 versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, ending a 35 game stretch.

Former Bears head coach Mike Eaves returned to Hershey for the first time since 1990-93, as the head coach of Cleveland. He helped guide Hershey to two playoff appearances during his tenure, and finished with an all-time record 96-109-35.

The Bears (23-11-2-3) return to action and start back-to-back games+ in Charlotte on Tuesday, Jan. 14 against the Checkers.

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