By Don Scott
Hershey concluded its two-game weekend with a 3-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday night at Giant Center. Led by Vitek Vanecek’s 29-save effort, it extended the team’s winning streak to six games.
The Bears scored first again at 18:20 when Axel Jonsson-Fjallby redirected Martin Fehervary’s shot past Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon.
Hershey needed just 20 seconds into the middle period to make it 2-0 on Garrett Pilon’s third goal of the season. Pilon beat Lyon for his second goal against on 10 shots, and that brought J.F. Berube off the Lehigh Valley bench, who replaced Lyon the rest of the way.
In the third period, Hershey’s penalty kill streak ended at 29. Matt Moulson was sent to the sin bin for slashing 63 seconds into the frame, followed by a Tyler Lewington roughing minor at 2:36.
Thirteen seconds later Andy Andreoff ruined Vanecek’s shutout try with a blast from the point to cut Hershey’s lead in half.
Hershey was granted one power-play opportunity all night and Bobby Nardella scored his first professional goal to provide a big insurance marker.
“They had a lot of power-play chances and we were waiting for ours so I was just trying to get the puck on net when we had the power play and I got lucky when it went in,” said Nardella. “The last couple of games we’ve been putting ourselves in 5-on-3 situations in the third period but it is huge that we can stick to it and pull out some wins when we need them.”
The Bears finished the night 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
“Vitek has been good but really both goalies have been good all year so hopefully we can keep going,” Nardella said about Vanecek and Pheonix Copley. “I guess tonight was the same story for him against a team he’s had success against so far. He came up with big stops when we needed them.
“We have this big opportunity to get wins at home where the fans are behind us and we can feed off of that,” added Nardella. “Road games are always tougher and hopefully we can continue that when we get back on the road.”
In a pre-game ceremony, the 2019 Hershey Hall of Fame inductees were honored. Players inducted included, the late Wally Kilrea and Frank Mario, along with Don Biggs and Ross Fitzpatrick. John Paddock was the Builder/Officials Category winner and the General Category inductee was the late Steve Summers.
The Bears return to action at 7 P.M. on Saturday, Dec. 21 for the first of back-to-back home ice tilts against the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Sunday contest will face off at 1 p.m.