On Sunday night at Giant Center, Hershey rallied from a 2-0 third-period and scored three times for a 3-2 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds. It was the Bears’ eighth consecutive win.
Neither team could get on the scoreboard until the second period when the Thunderbirds posted a pair of tallies by Paul Thompson and Daniel Audette. Thompson beat Pheonix Copley at 9:01 to open the scoring and Audette made it 2-0 on a redirection of a Rob O’Gara shot at 12:59.
The Bears countered with three strikes in nine minutes of the third period then shut Springfield down the rest of the way.
“I thought during the last five minutes of the second period, when they went up 2-0, we really started to push unlike the first 35 minutes so that was a good thing and showed a glimpse of what we could turn the third period into,” coach Spencer Carberry said. “I pointed out between periods they were playing their third game in three days and we had been off all week with two games at home heading into the break so why would we settle for anything less than a better effort.”
Matt Moulson started the comeback at 1:39 with a shot past goalie Philippe Desrosiers to cut Hershey’s deficit in half. Then at 7:45, Moulson, on a feed from Philippe Maillet, scored again to tie the game with another shot to the goaltender’s blocker side.
The game-winner came when Moulson hit Maillet on a stretch pass through the neutral zone for a breakaway. His shot, like the previous two goals, went between the goal post and Desrosiers’ blocker, at 10:43.
“Moulson and Maillet stepped up by getting our first goal early in the third to give us some life then pulled us even on Maillet’s shot six minutes later,” said Carberry.
Copley, making his first start in five games, didn’t have a ton of work but finished with 28 saves to improve to 7-5-4.
“He had some key, key saves after we went up 3-2 especially on Owen Tippet and Tommy Cross, so he should feel really good about his game tonight because the game could’ve easily been tied,” said Carberry. “I know he’s been chomping at the bit to get back in a game so this was really good for him.”
Hershey (16-9-2-3) trails second-place Providence by four points, but has three games in hand going into the league’s holiday break.
The Bears return to action on Dec. 27 in a road tilt against the Utica Comets, then host Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.