Despite grabbing a 2-0 first period lead on Wednesday night at Giant Center, the Hershey Bears dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the visiting Bridgeport Islanders. Michael Dal Colle scored the only goal in the shootout, after a five-minute, three-on-three overtime did not settle the contest.
The Bears used a pair of first-period shorthanded scores by Shane Gersich at 12:57 and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby at 19:01 to assume their early advantage. Riley Sutter and Tobias Geisser assisted on the first one and Jonsson-Fjallby on the second.
In the second frame, the Islanders erased Hershey’s lead with two goals in less than a minute. Seth Helgeson scored on a blast from the left point at 15:02, followed by the equalizer from Paul Thompson at 15:49.
“I felt we got away from our game a little bit in the second period and started to play the track meet style of game they were playing, and that just does not bode well for us when we try to play the opposition’s stylem because that opens up holes and weaknesses in our game,” said Hershey head coach Scott Allen. “You could tell they were playing with confidence, the timing aspect was there and they put themselves in good spots to be rewarded, and the biggest thing was they were working hard.”
Late in the third period, the Islanders took their first lead. After killing a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, Erik Brown jumped out of the penalty box and scored on a two-on-one rush for a 3-2 lead.
Hershey pulled even at 17:44 on Joe Snively’s 11th goal of the season, with Geisser and Jonsson-Fjallby assisting, to send the game into overtime, which was scoreless. The game went to a shootout to determine a winner.
Michael Dal Colle converted in the first round, and Bridgeport goaltender Jakub Skarek denied Snively, Jonsson-Fjallby and Garrett Pilon to give the Islanders the 4-3 victory.
Final shots on goal totaled 30-29 Hershey. The Bears finished 0-for-2 on the power play and three-for-three on the penalty kill.
The Bears record stands at 18-10-2-2 heading into Saturday’s contest against the visiting Toronto Marlies.
Zach Fucale became the first goaltender in Washington franchise history to record a shutout in his NHL debut when he stopped all 21 shots against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 11 at Little Caesars Arena.
In his second NHL start on Jan. 8 against the Minnesota Wild, Fucale broke a Washington franchise record for the longest shutout streak by a goaltender from the start of a tenure, besting Cristobal Huet’s mark of 80:36. In the second period, Fucale broke the NHL record for the longest career-opening shutout sequence. His streak ended at 138 minutes and 17 seconds, beating Matt Hackett’s (Minnesota) mark of 102:48 set in 2011.