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BY DON SCOTT

The Hershey Bears (42-17-5-4) closed out the road portion of the regular season on Friday with a with a 3-2 victory at the Springfield Thunderbirds. Then on Saturday, Hershey continued its winning ways on with a 5-2 win over the visiting Charlotte Checkers at Giant Center.

Sam Anas’ power-play goal broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and the Hershey Bears picked up a 3-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds (36-24-3-5) on Friday night at the MassMutual Center.

Hendrix Lapierre scored his 12th of the season 2:11 into the first period with a shot that banked in off the skate of a Springfield defender past goalie Joel Hofer. Garrett Pilon started the play.

The Thunderbirds tied the game at 1-1 at 13:45 during a broken play that was initially waved off, but the video review overturned the call and awarded Mikhail Abramov a goal for Springfield.

The Bears regained the lead at 16:08 when Pilon scored an unassisted goal off a steal in the attacking zone, then fired a high shot for his 10th of the season.

Springfield drew level again in the second period with a goal from Keean Washkurak at 3:34.

Anas scored his game-winner at 5:34 of the third period, while the Bears were on a power play. Anas beat Hofer from the right circle, with assists going to Joe Snively and Bobby Nardella.

Shots finished 39-32 in favor of the Thunderbirds. The Bears were 1-for-2 on the power play; the Thunderbirds finished 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

Bears Notes:

The victory gave Hershey a 4-0-0-0 sweep of the regular season series against Springfield.

The Bears also finished their five-game road trip with a 4-1-0-0 record and a perfect 20-for-20 on the penalty kill.

The Washington Capitals have re-assigned forward Ludwig Persson from BIK Karlskoga of HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden-2) to Hershey; he will wear #48.

The Capitals also announced that they recalled forward Beck Malenstyn from Hershey. 

Hendrix Lapierre scored each of his Hershey’s first three goals to complete his first career multi-goal game and first pro hat trick as the Bears (43-17-5-4) picked up a 5-2 win over the Charlotte Checkers (36-25-5-3) on Saturday at Giant Center.

Lapierre scored his 13th of the season just 2:58 into the first period, with seconds remaining in Hershey’s first power play of the night, after Mack Guzda initially stopped Vincent Iorio’s shot, but Lapierre pounced on the loose puck in the paint and stashed it home to put the Bears up 1-0. Julian Napravnik earned the secondary assist, extending the rookie’s point streak to five games (4g, 2a).

Charlotte evened the score at 13:54 when Dennis Cesana’s shot ricocheted off the skates of Dylan McIlrath past goaltender Zach Fucale.

Lapierre scored again with the man advantage when he took a pass from Fucale and skated up the right side and beat Guzda at 9:30, to put Hershey up 2-1.

“He speaks French and has been like a mentor for me plus without his pass there was no goal for me and it meant an offensive point for him,” said Lapierre of Zucale.

The Checkers answered with a goal of their own on the man advantage, at 15:59, by Gerry Mayhew.

At 17:09 in the period, Lapierre struck again, backhanding the puck past a sprawled Guzda to complete his hat trick, with Mason Morelli and Henrik Rybinski picking up assists.

The Bears added a pair of goals in the third period, when Mike Sgarbossa teamed up with Shane Gersich for his 21st of the campaign to make it a 4-2 game at 9:14, with a secondary assist going to Matt Strome. Gersich capped the scoring with an empty-net goal from Strome and McIlrath at 18:48.

Shots finished 36-32 in favor of the Checkers. The Bears were 2-for-3 on the power play and the Checkers finished 1-for-3 with the man advantage.

Hershey continues the 2022-23 season when it hosts the Charlotte Checkers again on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m.

Bears Notes:

Hendrix Lapierre’s three-goal performance was the first by a Bears player since Axel Jonsson-Fjallby managed the feat on Jan. 22, 2022 vs. Hartford. The victory, along with a 5-3 Providence Bruins loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack allowed Hershey to regain first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

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