By Don Scott
Liam O’Brien pushed a rebound of Joe Snively’s shot past Charlotte goaltender Anton Forsberg at the 14:58 mark of the second period to end Hershey’s scoring drought at 167:42 minutes, to the delight of the near sellout Giant Center crowd Saturday night.
O’Brien’s fifth goal of the season came nine seconds after a Checkers penalty had expired, then after the Checkers tied the tilt Mike Sgarbossa fired the game-winner home in the third period on a power play for a 2-1 Hershey victory.
Rookie defenseman Alex Alexeyev started the key game-winning play with a pass to Joe Snively who made the initial shot.
“The last couple of games we made some mistakes so we just had to work harder together to have success,” said Alexeyev. “Today I did my best when we were on the power play. I’m a two-way defenseman so that means I have to do some things in the offensive zone.
“I love the fans here so much, because they come out every game and give us so much support,” added Alexeyev. “They give us a lot of enery every shift we go out there.”
At 8:27 of the middle session, the Checkers pulled even at 1-1. On the power play, Max McCormick beat Pheonix Copley in the low-slot after the puck bounced off Janne Kuokkanen’s skate and onto McCormick’s stick.
The Bears set a new single period season-high with 18 shots on goal in the second period and finished with a 37-18 shot advantage for the night in the annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night game.
Hershey’s power play finished 1-for-6 and the Bears were 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. The Bears’ record improved to 8-6-2-2 after splitting back-to-back contests with Charlotte.
The Bears return to action on Saturday, Nov. 23 when they travel to Bridgeport ro take on the Sound Tigers in the Webster Bank Arena.