The Hershey Bears began their latest three-games-in four-days stretch on Wednesday with a 4-2 loss in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, then handed the Binghamton Devils a 6-3 home loss on Friday, before posting a 3-0 triumph on Giant Center ice Saturday.
On Wednesday, Radim Zohorna scored twice, including his first AHL goal, to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to its first home ice win.
In that game, Will Graber scored his first AHL goal in the opening period, and that would be the only time the Bears had a lead. He fired a shot that Penguins goaltender Max Lagace stopped, but Graber was able to control the rebound to make it 1-0, with Paul LaDue and Garrett Pilon getting the assists.
In the second period, the teams traded goals with the Penguins taking a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
Anthony Angello gave the Penguins the lead sliding a rebound past Hershey goalie Ilya Samsonov then Mike Sgarbossa scored to make it 2-2 at 9:41.
Zohorna regained the lead for the Penguins, powering his way to the net, to slide a shot past Ilya Samsonov for his second goal of the contest at 10:39 for the eventual game winner. Nick Schilkey added an insurance marker at 3:58 of the third period to secure the win.
A four-goal outburst in the second period led Hershey to a 6-3 road victory over the Binghamton Devils Friday. Kody Clark and Brett Leason each scored twice in the victory that improved the Bears to 4-1-2-0.
Hershey’s Garrett Pilon opened the scoring with a highlight-reel goal at 13:43. Off a turnover, Hershey’s Mike Sgarbossa saw Pilon alone at the net and quickly fed him the puck. In tight on goaltender Gilles Senn, Pilon put the puck between his legs and roofed a shot past Senn to put Hershey in front 1-0 for his first of the season.
It was the Devils who struck first in the second period with Nolan Foote jamming a puck over Hershey netminder Samsonov from the crease to make it 1-1 at 1:31. From there on it was Hershey responding with their best period of the season.
The Bears scored four times in the middle frame on 14 shots. Leason gave Hershey the lead at 4:05, pushing his way to the net down the right wing and beating Senn with a shot to the top corner. Less than two minutes later, Clark tallied his first of two goals, capitalizing on a rebound after Matt Moulson hit the post.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby got in on the scoring for Hershey, finishing on a breakaway at 9:18. Connor McMichael sent Jonsson-Fjallby in free and clear with a perfect up-ice pass, and the Hershey winger’s quick wrist shot beat Senn over the glove to make it 4-1 Bears.
Before the frame ended, Clark added his second goal of the game, deflecting a Rob O’Gara shot past Senn off a faceoff win by Mason Morelli, who picked up his first point as a Bear.
The Devils made the game tight in the third period, striking for a pair of goals to cut Hershey’s lead down to just two. Nick Merkley was credited with an early goal, just after a power play expired, tapping the puck past Samsonov at the post to make it 5-2 at 1:04. Marian Studenic made it 5-3, finishing a behind-the-back pass from Jesper Boqvist at 6:50.
Samsonov and the Bears held the fort, and Leason added an empty-net goal at 18:40 to give Hershey its second win in as many tries in Newark, where the Devils are playing their home games this season. Samsonov made 25 saves to earn the win, including stopping 14 shots in the opening frame that also included a penalty-shot save on Boqvist.
Zach Fucale stopped all 22 shots he faced and it became a 3-0 shutout triumph over Binghamton at Giant Center in Saturday’s tilt. The weekend sweep of a home-and-home series with the Devils improved the Hershey’s record to 5-1-2-0.
Fucale was sharp the entire game, stopping numerous point blank opportunities and was at his best in the third period, turning aside 12 Binghamton shots to preserve the whitewash for his third career AHL shutout.
“I don’t think a lot of people know Zach, but they soon will,” Hershey coach Spencer Carbery said. “He had really quality saves, especially in the third period. Most goalies are usually quiet and reserved, but he is the complete opposite. He’s vocal, has a good time, and this is while he’s playing and that gets everyone excited.”
Hershey scored once in each period in the victory, starting with Joe Snively shoving a loose puck past Binghamton goaltender Evan Cormier at 5:15 of the opening period. Pilon’s assist extended his point streak to four games, and Mason Morelli also assisted, giving him helpers in back-to-back games.
In the second period, Connor McMichael’s shot was tipped under Cormier by Matt Moulson on a power play for a 2-0 lead.
In the final period, Pilon hit Sgarbossa with a perfect feed from behind the net, and the Hershey veteran beat Cormier for his fourth goal of the season, at 5:03.
“I think after these last couple of games things are coming around and the guys are feeling good about the way they’ve been playing on a nightly basis,” Carbery said. “As we go through this year, and the uniqueness of it, I think that’s exactly what we were hoping for when we thought about how the year would play out.”
Hershey went 1-for-2 on the power play in the win, and the Devils went 0-for-3. Binghamton outshot the Bears 22-21. Hershey is now 3-0-0-0 against the Devils this season with nine more to play.
The Bears are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to the Lehigh Valley to meet the Phantoms at 7:05 p.m.