The Hershey Bears had a pair of recent mid-week games against Atlantic Division rivals Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Lehigh Valley that resulted in a 4-3 shootout win over the Penguins at Giant Center on Tuesday and a 4-2 road win Wednesday to close out the November portion of their schedule.
The Hershey Bears (13-4-2-0) battled back from a 3-2 deficit in the third period to claim a 4-3 shootout victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (10-5-1-2) on Tuesday night at GIANT Center, giving Hershey its fourth consecutive victory.
Hershey fell behind 1-0 1:09 into the contest when Drake Caggiula converted a behind-the-net feed from Drew O’Connor to beat Bears’ goalie Hunter Shepard on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first shot of the game.
At 7:50 Valtteri Puustinen deflected a shot past Shepard to put the Penguins ahead 2-0.
The Bears scored at 15:41 when Mason Morelli redirected a shot by Jake Massie behind netminder Dustin Tokarski for his fourth of the season, at 15:41. Vincent Iorio picked up a secondary helper.
Hershey tied it in the second when Massie’s shot from the left point deflected off a Penguins player and past Tokarski for Massie’s first goal of the season at 6:52. Hendrix Lapierre and Iorio collected the assists.
A skirmish at the end of the second period between Kale Kessy and O’Connor resulted in a two-minute minor for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct for Kessy, and a two-minute minor for roughing to O’Connor, giving the Penguins a continuous five-minute man advantage to begin the third.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton power-play unit converted on a goal by Nathan Legare at 1:33 to take a 3-2 lead.
Mike Vecchione made it 3-3 when he redirected Bobby Nardella’s slap shot into the net at 11:04 for his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Ethen Frank gained the secondary assist.
Both teams secured a point with the score tied at the end of regulation, and an additional five minutes of overtime yielded no change, sending Hershey to its second consecutive game decided by a shootout.
In the penalty-shot portion of the contest, the Bears as the home team elected to shoot second. In the first round, Alexander Nylander and Connor McMichael failed to score. In the top of the second round, Shepard denied Sam Poulin when he kicked out his left leg pad at the post to deny the Penguins shooter.
Sam Anas put Hershey up with the eventual shootout-winning tally when he stumbled but recovered and got a shot off that beat Tokarski to the high glove. The game was decided when Caggiula’s shot in the top of the third round struck the right post, sealing the match for the Bears.
Shots finished 44-19 favoring the Bears. The Bears were 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Penguins were 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Massie’s goal gave him a two-point night, the second multi-point game in his AHL career and his first since Jan. 25, 2020 vs. Bridgeport.
In Wednesday’s contest, Mike Sgarbossa had a three-point outing to lead the Bears (14-4-2-0) to a 4-2 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (8-7-1-1) at the PPL Center.
Hershey took a 1-0 lead late in the first period when Bobby Nardella kept the puck in the Lehigh Valley zone following a face-off. He passed the puck to Henrik Rybinski who skated to the right side of the slot before sending it to Hendrix Lapierre, who tapped in his fifth of the season past goaltender Samuel Ersson at 16:57.
Olle Lycksell tied the score at 1-1 for the Phantoms in a similar tic-tac-toe effort at 9:19 of the second period.
Connor McMichael gave the Bears a 2-1 lead with a wrist shot from the left circle for a power-play marker at 12:43 for his second of the season. Nardella and Sgarbossa earned the assists.
The Phantoms pulled even at 18:45 when Garrett Wilson stuffed the puck past Hershey goalie Zach Fucale to knot the score at 2-2.
Hershey regained the lead at 3:28 of the third stanza when Dylan McIlrath’s shot banked in off Sgarbossa as the Bears forward crashed the net, giving Sgarbossa his fourth of the season and the Bears a 3-2 edge. Ethen Frank had the secondary assist.
Frank’s sixth of the season ended the scoring on an empty-net tally with assists going to Aaron Ness and Sgarbossa.
Shots finished 35-20 favoring the Bears. The Bears were 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Phantoms went 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Hershey returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 4 with a 3 p.m. Giant Center face-off against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The win was Hershey’s fourth consecutive road victory and fifth straight win.
The win, coupled with a 4-3 loss by the Providence Bruins at the Bridgeport Islanders, moved the Bears into first place in the Atlantic Division standings and also the entire American Hockey League.
*** For a chance to win two free tickets to an upcoming Bears’ home game, email your name, email address, home address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered in a random drawing. A drawing for two tickets will take place each week. You must send a separate email to enter each week of the season. Previous winners will not be considered.