By Don Scott
The Hershey Bears concluded their three-game weekend with a 4-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday at Giant Center, for their 13th win in the last 14 games. The Sound Tigers road woes continued in their league-leading 14 th loss.
The Bears started strong, scoring twice in the first period to take a lead they held the rest of the way, despite Bridgeport getting as close as 3-2, until Philippe Maillet closed it out on an open net score with 33 seconds remaining to play.
Brian Pinho squeezed a shot past Bridgeport goaltender Jakub Skarek, following a pass across the low-slot from Matt Moulson, 4:22 into the contest with Maillet starting the play.
Later in the period, Garrett Pilon finished an offensive rush by firing a shot home at 16:14. Mike Sgarbossa recorded the primary helper for his 100th point as a member of the Bears.
In the second period, the Sound Tigers scored on their first power-play chance in over four periods of the two-weekend games when Sgarbossa was penalized and Kieffer Bellows scored for the Sound Tigers at 4:23.
At 5:45, Kody Clark regained the lead for the Bears that eventually stood as his first professional game-winning goal with Maillet and Moulson picking up assists.
“I had just hopped on the ice and saw “Philly” driving wide and Moulson pulled back so I went to the far side and he put it right on my tape and I had an open net,” Clark said about the play. “We didn’t have our best effort again tonight but we found a way to win again. We took advantage of all those December home games so now we have to carry it into this month.”
Bridgeport’s Jeff Kublak made it 3-2 at 15:52 of the middle period but the Sound Tigers were unable to get any closer, as Vitek Vanecek made 14 of his 30 saves in the last period to improve to 12-5-1.
The downside of the night for Hershey was Mike Sgarbossa sustaining an injury in the second period that kept him out of the lineup the rest of the game.
Hershey returns to action on Wednesday when they host the Atlantic Division-leading Hartford Wolf Pack at Giant Center for another Hersheypark Pass Night for all fans in attendance.
The Wolf Pack has a two-point lead over the Bears who lead third-place Providence by four points with two games in hand over the Bruins.