Hershey ended its four game road trip with a 4-1 victory in Bridgeport Friday, adding another franchise record in its 82 nd AHL campaign, one that included Shane Gersich recording his first pro hat-trick.
The win marked the first time the Bears have won 10-plus games in consecutive months during the regular season, after they finished December with a 10-1-0-0 mark followed by a 10-4-0-0 January. The Bears record improved to 28-14-2-3 to remain deadlocked with the Hartford Wolf Pack for the Atlantic Division lead with 61 points.
Following a scoreless opening session, Gersich tallied his first of the night when he redirected a pass from Garrett Pilon past Bridgeport goaltender Christopher Gibson at 2:15. Kody Clark earned the secondary assist for his first of an eventual three-point night that set a career-high for him.
Kieffer Bellows evened the score for the Sound Tigers 37 seconds later for the only score Hershey net minder Pheonix Copley would give up the rest of the way.
Gersich countered at 6:38, then Clark scored his third goal of the season at 19:22 ripping a shot under the cross bar for a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
In the third period, the Bears killed a pair of minor penalties before Gersich hit the empty net for his initial hat-trick at 17:55. Copley stopped 19 of 20 shots to go 10-1-0 in his last 11 starts.
The Bears have won four of the five games against Bridgeport with the final regular season meeting on February 22 at Webster Bank Arena.
Since Dec. 1, the Bears have gone 20-5-0-0 in 25 games, outscoring opponents 80-53.
In that time, Hershey has a record of 12-2-0-0 at Giant Center and 8-3-0-0 on the road. In goal, Copley is 11-1-0 while Vitek Vanecek is 9-4-0.
Hershey entertains division rival Lehigh Valley Saturday night with a 7 p.m. start time.