A late third-period goal by Philippe Maillet, along with a pair of shootout saves by Pheonix Copley and goals by Maillet in round one and Christian Djoos in round two, earned the Hershey Bears a comeback 3-2 road victory Saturday over the Providence Bruins.
The win kept the Bears tied with 59 points for the top spot in the Atlantic Division with Hartford who defeated Lehigh Valley 4-2. Providence stayed in third place at 55 points.
The game was scoreless in the first period with Hershey holding a 10-9 edge in shots. The deadlock was ended by Liam O’Brien at 17:42 of the middle stanza.
Beck Malenstyn set the goal up for Hershey despite a heavy hit from Providence’s Alex Petrovic. Malenstyn bounced off the check, sent the puck behind the net, and found an open O’Brien at the top of the crease for his 8th goal of the season.
Riley Sutter also picked up an assist.
The Bruins took the lead in the third period on a pair of goals from Peter Cehlarik. He beat Copley by banking a shot off the netminder and into the net at 3:49, then put Providence ahead at 7:29 with a slap shot on a power-play advantage.
Providence’s Jack Studnicka took a penalty at 18:11 and the Bears pulled Copley to make it a 6-on-4 advantage. With 21.5 seconds to play, Maillet whipped a shot from the left-wing past goaltender Max Lagace to send the tilt into overtime. Bobby Nardella and Brian Pinho started the play.
Hershey outshot Providence 7-2 in the five minute overtime but were unable to score, forcing a shootout.
Copley (13-6-4), who made 29 saves through the regulation and overtime, stopped both shooters he faced while Maillet scored in round one and Christian Djoos ended the affair with the winner in round two.
The Bears are idle during the AHL All-Star break until Friday, Jan. 31 at Bridgeport for a 7 p.m. start in the Webster Bank Arena.