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BY DON SCOTT

Hershey started a bizarre stretch of four games in five days on Friday, with a 2-0 victory at Springfield, then followed that with an 8-3 Saturday win over visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Giant Center.

Sunday it was a different story with Rochester coming back from a 3-1 deficit to steal a 4-3 win on Giant Center ice. Hershey’s record is now 12-8-2-1, after it ended the week with a 3-1-0-0 mark.  

Mike Vecchione and Matt Moulson provided the offense and Pheonix Copley had a 28-save shutout effort during the 2-0 road victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds, who were held scoreless for a third consecutive game. 

Vecchione opened the scoring at 15:27 of the first period shortly after a Bears power play expired.

Michal Kempny fired a shot from the center point and Joe Snively was stopped on the rebound. On the third-chance effort, Vecchione connected for his second goal of the season, and the eventual game-winner, to extend his point-streak to seven.

The Bears increased their lead to 2-0 at 16:23 of the second period on Moulson’s fourth goal of the season.

Garrett Pilon picked up his 100th career pro point by finding Moulson at the net. Snively recorded the secondary assist for his team-best seventh multi-point game of the season.

Shots finished 28-27 Springfield. Hershey finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Bears Notes:

Pheonix Copley’s 10th shutout tied him with Peter Budaj for 10th place and his 141st win tied him for 10th place with Vitek Vanecek on Hershey’s all-time lists.

On Saturday, the Bears scored three times in the first 40 minutes, with eight different players finding the back of the net, and 14 different skaters registering a point, on the way to the 8-3 decision.

“We didn’t get to the arena until after 3:30 this morning, but everyone seemed to have their legs from the start tonight and that’s what we wanted to do by keeping it simple, and it paid off for us,” Kody Clark said.

Kale Kessy took a pass from Clark at 9:44 for his second of the season, a play that brought this additional comment from Clark. “People don’t realize how good he is at the little things because he is a smart guy who makes a lot of good plays and is real easy to play with and that goes unnoticed a lot of times.”

Clark’s unassisted goal made it 2-0 at 13:04, and Ryan Dmowski beat starting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s goaltender Alex D’Orio at 14:47, before the Penguins Jordy Bellerive made it 3-1.

Tommy Nappier started the middle stanza in goal for the visitors, but that didn’t improve the situation for them when the Bears again scored three consecutive times for a 6-1 edge.

Mike Vecchione scored the eventual game-winner at 4:18 of the middle stanza, followed by a Bobby Nardella power play tally at 8:26. Less than a minute later, Mason Morelli skated in all alone at 9:10 for his third of the season.

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored a second Hershey power-play goal at 4:10 of the third period. Matt Bartkowski pulled the Penguins to within 7-3 at 10:34 then Shane Gersich completed the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 19:06.

Bears Notes:

The eight goals were a season high for Hershey.

Pheonix Copley made 33 saves to improve to 8-4-1 for the season and recorded his 142nd win for the Bears. He has won four straight starts and six of his past seven outings. This was the first time he has played on consecutive days since Feb. 7-8, 2020.

In Sunday’s match, the Rochester Americans scored three unanswered goals in the third period for a comeback 4-3 victory.

Rochester recorded the only first period goal at 3:20, when Sean Malone fed Ryan MacInnis at the crease for his fifth goal of the season.

The Bears took a 2-1 lead in the middle frame with goals by Ryan Dmowski and Bobby Nardella.

Dmowski finished a slick passing play off a rush started by Michal Kempny, and continued by Garrett Pilon before he scored at 3:56. Nardella provided Hershey with a 2-1 lead at 15:00, when he connected on a wrist shot from inside the blue line.

Pilon gave the Bears a 3-1 edge in the third period 56 seconds into the stanza, with Dylan McIlrath getting the assist.

The Americans’ comeback started with a power play goal from Peyton Krebs at 7:12, followed by the equalizer by Ethan Prow at 12:09. Krebs then scored the eventual game-winning goal, one that was helped by confusion at the blue line with the linesman that allowed Krebs to get in alone and slam his own rebound past Ryan Bednard at 17:09.

“I’m always disappointed after a loss, certainly the way we lost this one, because the linesman got caught in the play at the blue line that resulted in the winning goal,” said Hershey coach Scott Allen. “Monday will be all about rest because, we have to come back and play again Tuesday and Wednesday before the Christmas break.”

The Bears return to action on Tuesday at Lehigh Valley, then host the Phantoms on Wednesday at Giant Center.

Bears Notes:

Ryan Bednard started in goal because Pheonix Copley had started the Friday and Saturday games and Zach Fucale, who had just been returned to the Bears, was not available.

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