By Don Scott
Shane Gersich scored with 49.5 seconds left in regulation to give the Hershey Bears a thrilling 2-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday night, to the delight of the 8,366 fans at Giant Center.
The teams traded goals in the first period with the Sound Tigers drawing first blood. At 12:09 Andrew Ladd beat Pheonix Copley as he was moving to his left.
Later in the period, the Bears enjoyed three power plays and Matt Moulson converted on the second advantage to even the score at 16.31. Following a Bridgeport defensive zone turnover, Moulson moved to the net and stuffed the puck past Sound Tigers goalie Jared Coreau, for his team-leading 13 th of the season.
Hershey finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and was not whistled for a single penalty kill for the first time this season.
Tied at 1-1 late in the third period, defenseman Connor Hobbs had a good look from the low slot that Coreau handled but did not control.
“I had a couple good rips there at the end when Snively had a chance then a short time later his stuff attempt bounced to Gersich who had an open net for his fourth of the year and the game-winner,” Hobbs said. “This was a hard-fought game for both teams and we were lucky enough to come out on top. I thought we showed good signs. It wasn’t our best effort but we got the win and that says something about this team.”
Final shots on goal totaled 32-22 Hershey, in the Bears’ 20th win of the season.
The Sound Tigers have now lost five straight away games and are 5-13-2-0 on the road this season. The 13 road losses are tied with Lehigh Valley for the most in the AHL.
The Hershey win, combined with a Providence loss, moved them into second place in the Atlantic Division, four points behind Hartford with one game in hand.
Hershey’s record improves to 20-10-2-3 entering Sunday afternoon’s rematch against the Sound Tigers. Puck drop at Giant Center is 3 p.m.