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BY DON SCOTT

HERSHEY – The Hershey Bears opened Wednesday’s home tilt against the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms with a goal at 3:19. But that would prove to be Hershey’s only marker of the evening, in a contest that concluded as a 4-1 Phantom’s victory, thanks to four second-period goals.

The Bears’ Mike Sgarbossa scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season, with an easy tap-in after Phantoms’ goalie Felix Sandstrom stopped a Garrett Pilon shot, as Hershey grabbed a 1-0 advantage.

But the middle stanza was all Lehigh Valley. Starting just 53 seconds into the period, Lehigh Valley’s Max Willman deflected a shot by teammate Cal O’Reilly past Bears netminder Pheonix Copley. It was the only even-strength goal Lehigh Valley scored all night.

The Phantoms took a 2-1 lead on Gerry Mayhew’s power-play score at 11:32, then Jackson Cates broke loose on a solo effort at 13:56, and O’Reilly made it 4-1, scoring on a 2-on-1 rush, at 14:40.

“It was a 1-1 game early in the second period, then in about 3 ½ minutes we gave up a power play goal and two shorthanded goals, then we came back on them five-on-five, but we were not able to score any more,” said Hershey head coach Scott Allen.

The third period was scoreless and the final shots on goal totaled 32-22 Hershey.

Hershey returns to action on Saturday when they visit the Syracuse Crunch, before the Charlotte Checkers visit Giant Center on Sunday with a 5 p.m. start.

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