BY JULIE BEIDLER
HERSHEY – The Hershey Bears and Lehigh Valley Phantoms opened the season in Allentown a week ago and the Phantoms emerged with a decisive 7-2 victory. What a difference a week makes.
After dropping their home opener Saturday night, the Bears faced a rematch with Lehigh Valley on Sunday at Giant Center. And while they are still looking for their first win of the season, they came away with a point, after coming from behind to force overtime and eventually lose in a shootout, 4-3.
Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd once again led the way for the Bears. Both players turned in two-point nights.
Bourque gave the Bears the lead when he scored a power-play goal early in the second period. Boyd won the face-off in Hershey’s offensive zone. The puck went to John Albert who put it right on the stick of Bourque.
Hershey held on to the lead until early in the third period when Lehigh Valley scored three straight goals in a span of 3:28.
First Philippe Myers scored his first AHL goal. Then Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Danick Martel each scored to make it 3-1.
But Hershey pulled within a goal just 18 seconds later when Jonas Siegenthaler scored his first AHL goal from the slot. Wayne Simpson and Bourque assisted.
“It was nice to score a goal, but I’d rather have the win,” Siegenthaler said after the game.
In overtime, Hershey had tons of chances, but a penalty assessed to Riley Barber with 1:23 left effectively killed Hershey’s chances to win it before the shootout.
In the shootout, Hershey sent out Simpson first. Hershey head coach Mann would later say that he selected Simpson due to his ability to score in practices.
After Alex Lyon stopped Simpson, it was Parker Milner’s turn. He denied Corban Knight.
Chandler Stephenson was also denied, before Mike Vecchione’s shot went wide of Milner. Lyon then stopped Boyd before former Bear Chris Conner beat Milner for the Phantoms’ victory.
Milner was in net for Hershey, as Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek were still sidelined with lower body injuries. He stopped 26 of 29 shots.
Hershey was 2-for-4 on the power play. The Bears were perfect on the penalty kill, going seven-for-seven.
What we’ve learned – Puck possession makes a huge difference. The Bears made a vast improvement from their first two games and it reflected on the scoreboard.
Who’s hot – Chris Bourque scored a pair of goals and assisted on two goals this weekend. Travis Boyd logged four assists.
Quotable – “It’s definitely tough not getting a win in the first three games,” said Chris Bourque. “It’s definitely frustrating, but you can’t get too down because there’s a lot more games.”
The road ahead – Hershey quite literally hits the road with games in Milwaukee Friday (8 PM EST), Grand Rapids Saturday (7 PM EST), and Rockford Sunday (5 PM EST).