Hershey’s Bobby Nardella scored the game-tying goal with under a minute and a half left in regulation, but the Bears (30-12-5-1) only picked up one point in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (21-20-2-4) on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Penguins scored first when Drake Caggiula redirected Mitch Reinke’s shot from the point past Hershey netminder Hunter Shepard for a power-play goal at 6:43 of the first period.
Mason Morelli answered with an unassisted goal for the Bears when he stripped Jamie Devane of the puck at the Hershey blue line and skated up the left side before cutting to the middle and beating goalie Taylor Gauthier with a backhand shot at 18:21 for his ninth of the season.
The game remained tied 1-1 until 5:24 of the third period, when Filip Hallander had the puck roll off his stick following a centering pass from Valtteri Puustinen that slid through the legs of Shepard to put the Penguins up 2-1.
Trailing late in the game, Hershey pulled Shepard for an extra attacker, and the gamble paid off when the Bears won an offensive zone draw back to the blue line, and Bobby Nardella beat a screened Gauthier from the right point at 18:31 to tie the game with his fourth of the season, from Logan Day and Hendrix Lapierre.
Puustinen won the contest for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when he took a feed from Tyler Sikura as he hustled up the right side and slipped the puck through Shepard to end the game.
Shots finished 36-27 in favor of the Bears. The Bears were 0-for-4 on the power play; the Penguins finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Hershey opens a two-game set against the Charlotte Checkers at Bojangles Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. The Bears return to Giant Center to host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
Hershey is now 5-3-3-0 this season against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with one game remaining at Giant Center on March 1.
The Bears reported that forward Mike Vecchione has signed a two-year AHL contract that begins next season, keeping Vecchione a member of the Chocolate and White through the 2024-25 campaign.
The Washington Capitals recalled Joe Snively from Hershey on Tuesday and Dylan McIlrath on Wednesday.