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BY DON SCOTT

The Hershey Bears started the recent week on Wednesday with a 4-3 road loss to Lehigh Valley, then defeated the same Phantoms 4-1 on Saturday in the Giant Center, followed by Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Binghamton Devils.

On Wednesday Lehigh Valley scored twice on eight third-period shots to claim a 4-3 comeback win over the visiting Bears. The loss snapped Hershey’s eight-game point streak at Lehigh Valley, and dropped the Bears’ record to 5-2-2-0. 

Linus Sandin gave the Phantoms a first period 1-0 lead at 9:52, when the teams combined for just eight shots on goal, but that changed dramatically in the middle stanza, when the Bears took a 3-2 lead that included two shorthanded markers.

Hershey’s Martin Fehervary tied the game just 52 seconds into the period, scoring on a two-on-one rush off a feed from Riley Sutter. Lehigh Valley responded at 2:47, when Tanner MacMaster scored on a deflection off an Isaac Ratcliffe shot, making it 2-1 Phantoms. 

The Bears’ Shane Gersich tied the contest again at 9:21, beating Lehigh Valley goaltender Felix Sandstrom on a faceoff win by Sutter to make it 2-2, for his first of the season.

Hershey’s second shorthanded goal at 12:16 of the period, by Axel Jonsson-Fjallby made it a 3-2 advantage. Brett Leason was able to poke the puck away at center ice and send Jonsson-Fjallby in on the breakaway that beat Sandstrom to give Hershey its first lead of the tilt. 

In the third period, the Bears out shot the Phantoms 14-8, but it was Lehigh Valley that scored both goals to earn the comeback win.

Cal O’Reilly tied the game at 12:22, deflecting a shot past Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley, and then at 14:01, Derrick Pouliot scored the winner for the Phantoms, blasting a slap shot from the left point past Copley’s glove. 

The Bears were 0-3 and the Phantoms 0-4 on the power play. The Bears out shot Lehigh Valley 26-19, but the Phantoms have won all three meetings with Hershey so far this season.

Bears Notes: Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon served as head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders from 2008-10, and during his tenure in Long Island, he coached current Hershey captain Matt Moulson and worked along side Hershey assistant coach Scott Allen.

Allen worked alongside Gordon for parts of two seasons before Gordon’s dismissal in November 2010. 

In Saturday’s rematch with the Phantoms, theBears scored three times in the first 3:46 of the second period, on their way to a 4-1 victory. Hershey goaltender Zach Fucale came within 1:11 of recording his second shutout in his three starts this season.

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored twice for the Bears, his first coming at 18:22 of the first period, sending a shot from the top of the circles past Lehigh Valley goaltender Felix Sandstrom to make it 1-0. 

In the middle stanza, the Bears found the back of the net three times in the space of 2:01 to take a 4-0 lead.

Jonsson-Fjallby picked up his second goal of the game and fourth of the season, on a pass from Brett Leason from behind the net at 1:45.

Mike Sgarbossa scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season at 2:52, to make it 3-0. That goal sent Sandstrom to the bench, after he allowed three goals on eight shots, which brought in Zane McIntyre.

Kale Kessy wasted no time making it 4-0, on his first goal as a Bear, at 3:46. For Kessy, it was his first AHL goal since Mar. 25, 2018, as a member of the Cleveland Monsters. 

“It was phenomenal to see Kale get rewarded, because we put him in the lineup to give us that injection of energy that we needed every shift and not just for his physicality,” said Hershey coach Spencer Carbery. “He not only brought that to his game but it rubbed off on all the other guys. He was our player of the game in the locker room tonight.”

Fucale’s bid for a second straight shutout was spoiled by a late Chris Mueller deflection goal with the Phantoms on a power play at 18:49. The power-play goal was Lehigh Valley’s first versus Hershey since Dec. 15, 2019.

That marker chased Sandstrom who was replaced by Zane McIntyre in net for Lehigh Valley after allowing three goals on eight shots. The move didn’t pay off for the Phantoms as the Bears scored again. Kale Kessy struck for his first goal as a Bear at 3:46 to make it 4-0 Hershey. For Kessy, it was his first AHL goal since Mar. 25, 2018 as a member of the Cleveland Monsters. 

Zach Fucale earned the win in net for Hershey, stopping 17 shots. He improved to 3-0-0-0 on the season with a 0.67 goals-against average and a .973 save percentage. Fucale’s bid for a second straight shutout was spoiled by a late Chris Mueller deflection goal on the power play for the Phantoms at 18:49 of the third period.

“Our game is centered around being difficult to play against,” coach Spencer Carberry said. “What that means is puck pursuit, tracking and closing in the defensive zone that are the things we take so much pride in doing for 60 minutes and I felt those things were missing in our three previous games with Lehigh Valley.”

Hershey out shot the Phantoms 23-18 in the win. The Bears went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Phantoms were 1-for-3. The win was Hershey’s first in four tries versus the Phantoms this season. 

In Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win over Binghamton, the Bears enjoyed a 2-0 lead in the second period, before the Devils pulled even 33 seconds into the third period and then tied it again at 3-3, with :33 seconds remaining in regulation.

Kody Clark got the Bears on the scoreboard at 18:54 of the first period, on a goal set up by Matt Moulson and Shane Gersich, Defensively, Hershey held the Devils to no shots on goal for more than 11 minutes.

At 6:40 of the second period, Brett Leason took advantage of a turnover and Kessy fed him for a shot that eluded goaltender Evan Cormier’s glove for his fourth of the season, all against the Devils, to make it 2-0.

Binghamton pulled even with Danick Martel also scoring in the middle stanza and Ben Street :33 into the third.

The Bears regained the lead on what looked like the game-winner, when Garrett Pilon scored at 12:14 of the third period, with a shot that eluded a screened Cormier for a 3-2 edge.   

A late Hershey penalty allowed the Devils to go on the power play, and they pulled their goalie for another skater. It paid off when Marian Studenic tied the contest with just 33 seconds remaining.

In the overtime, Fehervary came onto the ice to replace Rob O’Gara and no Binghamton player picked him up, before Pilon hit him with a pass in front of the net for the game-winner at the 3:20 mark.

“I thought Garrett was off a little bit tonight but, he had a great finish to help us get the goal in overtime, but overall he has been fantastic all year,” Carbery said. “He took it personally when he didn’t go to the bubble with the Capitals, and said to tell him what he needed to do to play in the NHL, and he has been a man on a mission ever since that.”

Bear Notes: Both teams fired 27 shots. The Devils were 2-for-3 on the power play while Hershey was 0-for-2. 
The two teams will meet again on Friday in Newark, New Jersey. The Bears are 4-0-0-0 versus Binghamton this season

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