By Don Scott
Shane Gersich scored the game-winning shootout goal and Pheonix Copley stopped 33 of 34 shots to give the Hershey Bears a 2-1 road win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday night. Copley’s victory in goal marked his 100th professional win and Hershey won its fifth consecutive game away from Giant Center.
The opening period was scoreless, then both teams tallied their only goals of regulation in the second stanza.
Liam O’Brien fed Axel Jonsson-Fjallby who buried his eighth goal of the season just 42 seconds into the period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled even when Jamie Devane beat Copley at 12:27.
The Penguins held a 21-12 shot advantage after 40 minutes of action.
Following a scoreless third period and sudden-death overtime, when the Bears had a 4-on 3 penalty kill in the overtime, the game continued to Hershey’s fifth shootout of the season.
Copley was perfect, going 6-for-6 against the Penguins shooters before Gersich fired his shot through Tokarski’s five-hole for the win.
The Bears penalty kill was 5-for-5 and final shots on goal were 34-20 Penguins.
Hershey’s record improved to 22-11-2-3, as it remained in second place in the Atlantic Division.
The game was the halfway point of Hershey’s 2019-20 regular season schedule. Entering the contest at 10 games above the .500 mark, the Bears matched their season-best 11 games over with the victory.
With a .635 point percentage going into the game, Hershey is on pace to finish their 76 game schedule with 97 points.
The Bears conclude their weekend Saturday at Giant Center against the Cleveland Monsters starting at 7 p.m. Mike Eaves, former Hershey head coach (1990-93) is Cleveland’s head coach.