On Friday at Total Mortgage Arena, the Hershey Bears took a 2-1 lead at the 12:38 mark of the first period in an AHL contest against the Bridgeport Islanders. And that score held up, as Hershey improved to 28-21-4-3.
Hershey defenseman Lucas Johansen fired a shot at 5:04 from the left point, up and over the glove of Bridgeport netminder Cory Schneider to make it 1-0. It was Johansen’s sixth goal of the season, with teammates Mason Morelli and Marcus Vela getting the assists.
Bridgeport pulled even at 12:29, when Jeff Kubiak collected his sixth marker of the season, sliding a shot past Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley.
Nine seconds after Kubiak’s goal, Hershey regained the lead on Beck Malenstyn’s eighth goal of the season.
Malenstyn stole the puck from Bridgeport’s Seth Helgeson. He attempted to pass the puck to teammate Eddie Wittchow, but it ricocheted off an Islander and under Schneider to give Hershey the 2-1 lead.
Copley shut the door the remainder of the game, one that included a disallowed goal when a Bridgeport player prevented him from getting in position for a shot.
He finished with 27 saves, including 10 in the third period. Hershey improved to 4-0-0-1 versus Bridgeport this season with the win, and the Bears also recorded the franchise’s 2,997th victory all-time.
Shots favored the Islanders, 28-23. Bridgeport was 0-for-1 on the power play while Hershey was not awarded a power play.
The Bears are back in action on Sunday when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms visit Giant Center for a 5 p.m. start. The Bears will be wearing St. Patrick’s Day jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game.
The Bears have held Bridgeport to 0-for-12 on the power play in the season series.
Copley played in his 154th game for Hershey, three less than Dave Parro, who currently stands in eight-place on the Bears all-time list, and his 84th win moved him into sixth place all-time.
Hershey goaltender Zach Fucale’s back-to-back shutouts became the first Hershey goaltender since Ilya Samsonov (Jan. 12 and Jan. 16, 2019) to post shutouts in two straight starts.