The Hershey Bears spotted the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 2-0 first-period head start on Tuesday, then scored six times, including a pair of unassisted-shorthanded goals from Joe Snively to claim a 6-2 victory.
A power play goal by Juuso Riikola at 7:49 and a five-on-five strike by Nathan Legare at 10:56 would become the only pucks to elude Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley the rest of the way. Shots after 20 minutes were 13-9 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Hershey started its comeback at 4:05 of the middle stanza, when Garrett Pilon was able to beat Penguins net minder Alex D’Orio with a wrap-around rebound of a shot by Axel Jonsson-Fjallby. Marcus Vela tied the game at 2-2 on a delayed penalty call at 15:18.
Dylan McIlrath earned the secondary assist on both goals for a multi-point night.
“I certainly didn’t like our first period, but I loved the way we responded the rest of the way,” said Hershey head coach Scott Allen. “Our goaltending is outstanding and we know whoever is in net gives us a chance to win, and that’s all we want out of our goalies. But we have to perform in front of them.”
Christopher Brown scored on a short-side bullet at 18:44 for his first AHL goal, with Colby McAuley earning the primary assist for his first point as a Bear, to put Hershey in front 3-2.
“I loved the fact that we had some guys who had not played for awhile that stepped up like Chris Brown on his first AHL goal and Marcus Vela who chipped in with a goal, and as far as Snively, what more can you say about him, plus we got some five-on-five goals,” said Allen.
Snively started – and finished – the third-period scoring with an unassisted shorthanded goal, following a mid-ice steal at 11:54. Kale Kessy made it 5-2 at 16:00 with this third goal of the campaign that was setup by Tobias Geisser and Marcus Vela.
Snively’s second unassisted, shorthanded strike into the Penguins empty net came at 17:56.
Final shots totaled 34-28 Hershey. The Bears went three-for-four on the penalty kill and were held without a power play.
The Bears return to action on Saturday against the visiting Bridgeport Islanders at 7 p.m., and then get on the bus for a 3 p.m. Sunday start at the Laval Rocket.
Hershey (20-12-3-2) jumped from fourth to first place in the Atlantic Division with the win.
Snively’s two unassisted/shorthanded goals in a game were the first to ever be recorded for a Hershey player.
The Bears are hopeful that the injured Brian Pinho will be ready to return to the lineup for the weekend games.