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Bears Solve Phantoms

BY DON SCOTT

Joe Snively and Mason Morelli each scored twice to lead the Hershey Bears (27-8-4-1) past the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (19-15-3-2) 5-2 on Wednesday night at the PPL Center. The win extended Hershey’s overall point streak to seven games at 5-0-2-0, pushed its road point streak to six games at 5-0-1-0 and improved the Bears to 6-0-0-0 against their I-78 rivals this season.

Hershey opened the scoring 1:15 into the game when Dylan McIlrath’s drive from the right point rebounded off the pads of goaltender Samuel Ersson, and Connor McMichael tapped home his ninth of the season. Snively received the secondary assist on the goal.

The Phantoms countered at 3:23 when Jordy Bellerive sent a pass from behind the net into the slot for Elliot Desnoyers, who beat Hershey netminder Zach Fucale.

The Bears regained the lead in the second period on Joe Snively’s power play strike at 6:47. Garrett Pilon started the play with a pass to Henrik Borgstrom, who quickly dished the puck to Snively for his fourth of the season and 100th career pro point.

The Phantoms pulled even when Hayden Hodgson beat Fucale at 13:44.

Snively struck again early in the third period, as he raced up the right side and wired a wrist shot into the top-left corner of the net to put Hershey up 3-2, exactly one minute into the frame. McIlrath and Gabriel Carlsson earned assists on the goal.

For McIlrath it was his first multi-point game in exactly a year, after previously notching a pair of assists on Jan. 25, 2022 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Morelli converted on another power play advantage at 8:43 when he deflected McMichael’s shot past Ersson for his sixth of the season to make it 4-2. Mike Vecchione received the secondary helper, giving him his 200th career pro point.

Morelli netted his second of the contest at 10:54 when he backhanded a rebound off the end boards past Ersson to make it 5-2. Vincent Iorio and Pilon received the assists.

Shots finished 27-22 in favor of Hershey. The Bears were 2-for-5 on the power play; Lehigh Valley went 0-for-1 with the man advantage.

Hershey concludes its four-game road trip with another clash with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:05 p.m. at the PPL Center. 

The Bears return home to Giant Center for their annual Teddy Bear Toss, as they host the Bridgeport Islanders on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. All fans are encouraged to bring new, stuffed teddy bears and items to the game to toss onto the ice when the Bears score their first goal.

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