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Bears Earn Three Points in Charlotte

BY DON SCOTT

After picking up a key 6-3 road win on Saturday at Bojangles Coliseum, the Hershey Bears (31-12-5-1) dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Charlotte Checkers (28-17-2-2) in Sunday’s outing.

On Saturday, Ethen Frank put Hershey up 1-0 with a power play goal at 14:11 when he one-timed a feed at the left circle past goalie Alex Lyon for his 22nd of the season. Mike Vecchione and Mike Sgarbossa picked up the assists.

Charlotte pulled even at 13:15 of the second period when Logan Hutsko took advantage of a Hershey turnover and blasted a shot from the slot that beat goalie Zach Fucale.

Vecchione regained the lead for the Bears with another power-play goal when he deflected McMichael’s shot from the right point through the legs of Lyon at 15:58 for his 15th of the season.

Henrik Borgstrom increased the Hershey lead to 3-1, 2:20 into the third stanza when McMichael passed the puck back to the blue line off a two-on-one rush, and Logan Day drove the puck on net where Borgstrom managed to dig out the rebound and stuff it past Lyon for his seventh of the season.

Riley Nash countered for the Checkers at 3:38 to bring Charlotte back to within a goal.

Late in the period, the Bears managed to draw a delayed penalty against Charlotte, and while maintaining possession, Sgarbossa ripped a shot from the right circle past Lyon at 17:16 for his 17th of the season. Bobby Nardella and Jake Massie started the play to put the Bears up 4-2.

Lucas Carlsson scored with Lyon pulled for an extra skater to once again bring Charlotte back to within a goal. Hershey replied with empty-net tallies from Vecchione at 18:43 assisted by Vincent Iorio and McMichael at 19:29 assisted by Borgstrom to seal the win.

Shots finished 27-25 in favor of the Bears. The Bears were 2-for-4 on the power play; the Checkers finished 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

Bears Notes:

 Mike Sgarbossa, Mike Vecchione and Connor McMichael all had three-point games.

The win was Hershey’s first at Charlotte since Oct. 23, 2021, and snapped a four-game (0-3-1-0) winless stretch at Bojangles Coliseum.

The Washington Capitals loaned defenseman Dylan McIlrath to Hershey on Saturday. 

Sunday’s game saw Hershey (31-12-5-2) get goals from Ethen Frank and Shane Gersich, but the Charlotte Checkers (29-17-2-2) tied the game late and prevailed in a shootout to hand the Chocolate and White a 3-2 loss.

The contest finished a three-game road trip in which Hershey picked up four of six possible points, going 1-0-1-1.

Frank put Hershey up 1-0 for the second consecutive night when Lucas Johansen sent a pass through the neutral zone to him at the Charlotte blue line and he sent the puck between the legs of Mack Guzda for his 23rd of the season, at 1:15.

Zac Dalpe made it 1-1 at 5:56 when he dug the puck out of the left corner and threw it on net where the shot glanced off the skate of goaltender Hunter Shepard and into the net.

The Bears took a 2-1 lead at 5:58 of the second period when Gersich deflected Vincent Iorio’s shot from the right point home in the closing moments of a power play for his fourth of the season. Garrett Pilon collected a secondary helper on the goal.

Henry Bowlby tied the game for the Checkers late in the third period when he recovered a blocked shot in the slot and slipped it past Shepard at 17:12.

Tied at 2-2, each team earned a point at the end of regulation, and overtime yielded no change, sending Hershey to its fifth shootout of the season.

After Connor McMichael scored in the top of the first round, Riley Nash matched it. Mike Sgarbossa was denied in the second round, and Dalpe scored for Charlotte to put the Bears in need of a goal from Frank in the third round ,but Guzda came up with the stop to secure the win for the Checkers.

Shots finished 32-23 in favor of the Bears. Shepard stopped 20 of 22 shots in the defeat.. The Bears were 1-for-7 on the power play, including a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities. The Checkers finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Hershey continues the 2022-23 season when the Chocolate and White return home to host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

Bears Notes:

The Washington Capitals announced Sunday that the club has recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath and loaned forward Joe Snively to the Bears.

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