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BY DON SCOTT

The Hershey Bears needed just 16 seconds to take a 1-0 lead in Sunday’s Valentine’s Day game with the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms. But it was the Phantoms who ended up with a 5-4 overtime win.

Joe Snively’s first goal of the season was set up by Reece Willcox and Lucas Johanson for Hershey’s 1-0 edge. That lead lasted until 8:33, when Lehigh Valley’s Logan Day beat goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who had been assigned to the Bears by the Washington Capitals in time for the game.

Zayde Wisdom gave the Phantoms a 2-1 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

“The first 20 minutes was the worst I’ve seen in the time I’ve been here, with Sammy not playing for a month, and I’m surprised he wasn’t hurt the way he had to go post-to-post,” Bears coach Spencer Carbery said in his post-game comments.

Matt Strome increased Lehigh Valley’s lead to 3-1 at 2:42 of the second period, before the Bears tied the game at 3-3 on goals by Cameron Schilling and Mike Sgarbossa three-and-a-half minutes apart. Joe Snively and Lucas Johanson had the helpers on Schillings goal, with Schilling and Martin Fehervary assisting on the tying marker.

Rob O’Gara’s point shot banged off the post past goalie Zane McInytre at 5:52 of the third period to give the Bears a 4-3 lead, then Wisdom’s unassisted effort made it a 4-4 deadlock with 5:16 left in regulation.

David Kase gave the Phantoms the 5-4 decision with his goal 2:07 into the overtime.

“This was probably the best five goals against I’ve ever seen as a coach in 11 years,” Carbery, said about Samsonov’s outing. “I know it doesn’t make Sammy feel any better despite giving up five and still making about 20 Grade-A saves in the game.  

“In the second period we did some good things with Schilling and Sgarbossa scoring a few minutes apart and the other lines built off of that to help us get the lead in the third period,” added Carbery.

The Bears will play the February 5th postponed game with Binghamton on Wednesday in Newark, N.J.

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