The Hershey Bears skated to a 6-1 road victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, using a season-high three power play goals and a 25 save outing by Pheonix Copley to improve to 16-5-2.
Shane Gersich scored at 5:14 of the first period for a quick 1-0 lead, when his initial shot was stopped by Phantoms goaltender Felix Sandstrom, and he then slammed the puck into the net for his sixth of the season.
Connor McMichael’s first goal of the game became the eventual game-winner, when he converted a pass from Cameron Schilling in the right faceoff circle and fired a shot off the far post at 11:47.
Hershey scored on the two consecutive shots in the second period to expand its lead to 4-0.
McMichael connected for his second goal of the game on the power play with a slap shot past Sandstrom from the right circle. Matt Moulson and Cameron Schilling assisted on the rookie’s team-leading tenth goal of the season at 6:56.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, in his 100 th AHL game, followed with his fifth goal of the season at 8:31. He scored unassisted on a long-range shot that fooled Sandstrom, beating him under the catching glove to make it 4-0.
Philippe Maillet scored Hershey’s third power play goal of the game at 3:18 of the third period, then the Phantoms’ Ryan Fitzgerald ended Copley’s shutout effort with a power play goal at 6:04 to cut Hershey’s lead to 5-1.
Hershey finished the win with a shorthanded goal by Brett Leason at 11:21 to extend his point streak to five games, on a breakaway after Gersich hit him in stride with an up-ice pass. The goal was Leason’s 6th of the season, and his first against a team other than Binghamton.
The Bears outshot the Phantoms 34-26 in the victory and held the Phantoms to 1-for-6 on the power play. Hershey was 3-for-7 on the man-advantage against the league’s best penalty kill.
Hershey returns to action on Saturday at Giant Center when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visit Chocolatetown for 1 p.m. start.
Bears Notes: Axel Jonsson-Fjallby played in his 100th AHL game in parts of three seasons with Hershey and Rob O’Gara played in his 200th AHL game with the Bears, San Antonio, Springfield, Hartford and Providence.
The Bears have had a more difficult time with the Phantoms so far, going just 3-3-2-0 versus Lehigh Valley. Hershey is now 2-2-0-0 at the PPL Center this season.
It was Lehigh Valley’s first game in 16 days. The Phantoms had to postpone four games, three of those with Hershey, due to COVID-19 protocol issues.