The Hershey Bears’ three-games-in-three-days weekend started with a Friday 4-2 loss in Hartford, followed by Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins at Giant Center and finished with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday.
Ethen Frank and Lucas Johansen scored, but the Bears dropped a 4-2 decision to the Hartford Wolf Pack (1-2-1-1) on Friday night in the XL Center. Given the result, Hershey is still seeking its first victory away from home this season.
Hartford took a 1-0 lead 3:31 into the first period when Gustav Rydahl jammed the puck through the pads of goalie Zach Fucale during a scramble. It was the first time this season through five games that Hershey had surrendered the first goal of the game.
The Wolf Pack made it 2-0 when a failed breakout in the Hershey zone resulted in a turnover to Brandon Scanlin at the blue line, and his shot was deflected by Tim Gettinger past Fucale at 17:37.
Johnny Brodzinski extended Hartford’s lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal 6:30 into the second period with a one-timer from the left circle during a four-on-three man advantage.
The Bears got on the board at 14:05 of the second stanza with a power-play goal, when Hendrix Lapierre sent the puck down the right boards to Henrik Borgstrom beneath the goal line. Borgstrom fed it to Frank, who one-timed a shot past Louis Domingue from the hash-marks.
Hartford restored the three-goal lead at 4:48 of the third when Bobby Trivigno scored.
Johansen ended the scoring with a blast from the point at 14:32 with Garrett Pilon and Dylan McIlrath getting the assists. For Johansen, it marked his first of the season in his 200th career AHL game.
Shots finished 27-21 favoring the Wolf Pack. Fucale finished the night stopping 23 of 27 shots for the Bears, while Domingue was blocked 19 of 21. Hershey was 1-for-4 on the power play and Hartford went 1-for-5.
In Saturday’s contest, the Bears (2-2-2-0) opened their regular season series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (6-0-1-0) with a 2-1 overtime loss at Giant Center.
Sonny Milano started the scoring for the Bears when he took a pass from Garrett Pilon in the slot and fired a shot past goalie Filip Lindberg 6:48 into the frame for a 1-0 lead. Mike Sgarbossa had the secondary assist.
Corey Andonovski tied it at 1-1 for the Penguins at 17:24 when he pushed the puck through the pads of Bears’ netminder Hunter Shepard.
The Bears unloaded a season-high 13 shots in the second period, but Lindberg stopped every one and Shepard blocked the eight shots he faced.
In the third period the Penguins out-shot the Bears 11-6, but the score remained deadlocked after 60 minutes of action.
In the overtime, both Shepard and Lindberg continued to put on a clinic with several key saves until the Penguins Filip Hallander beat Shepard at 3:32 for the winning tally.
“I thought both teams played well and it was a good step forward for us based on our Friday game,” Hershey coach Todd Nelson said. “We simplified things tonight and gave us a chance to win, but it didn’t happen.”
Shots finished 29-27 favoring the Penguins. Shepard finished the night stopping 27 of 29 shots for the Bears, while Lindberg went 26-for-27. Hershey was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 0-for-5.
In Sunday’s contest, the Bears took a 1-0 lead just 43 seconds into the tilt when Mike Sgarbossa scored his first goal of the season, and followed that at 12:01 with his second that became the game-winner in the 4-1 final over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The victory snapped a four-game winless skid (0-2-2-0) while simultaneously extending Hershey’s season-opening home point streak to four games (3-0-1-0).
Sgarbossa’s power-play strike at 12:01 was set up again by Mike Vecchione for a two-goal edge that held up until 15:30, when Jackson Cates grabbed an Olle Lycksell rebound off the pads of Zach Fucale and snapped the puck behind the falling net minder.
The middle stanza was scoreless, then Bobby Nardella put the Bears up 3-1 on his first goal of the season at 2:26 of the third period, when he took a pass from Hendrix Lapierre in the high slot and ripped a shot into the top corner of the net past a screened Samuel Ersson. Mason Morelli picked up a secondary assist.
“I think this was a must win game for u, because as a whole we could have done better in the last two games that didn’t go the way we wanted them to go,” Nardella said. ”Getting that early goal was the good start we needed.”
The Bears finished the scoring with another power-play goal at 7:34 when Nardella fed a stretch pass through the neutral zone to Vecchione at the Lehigh Valley blue line and he beat Ersson to the glove side, with Garrett Pilon picking up the secondary helper.
Shots finished 34-23 favoring the Bears. Hershey was 2-for-5 on the power play and Lehigh Valley went 1-for-3.
Hershey is idle until November 5 when they visit Wilkes/Scranton before hosting the Penguins in a 5 p.m. game in Giant Center on Sunday.
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