The line of Mike Vecchione (2g, 2a), Mike Sgarbossa (1g, 1a) and Ethen Frank (1g, 3a) led the way with a 10-point night as the Hershey Bears (16-5-2-0) picked up a 4-2 road victory over the Bridgeport Islanders (13-5-4-0) on Friday night. The victory was Hershey’s fifth consecutive win on the road, and also moved Hershey back into first place in the American Hockey League’s overall standings.
The Islanders scored 1:34 into the contest to take the early lead when Ruslan Iskhakov skated down the right wing and sent a backhand shot that snuck through the pads of goalie Zach Fucale.
Vecchione tied the game for the Bears when Dylan McIlrath sent a pass through the neutral zone to Frank, who made his way into the offensive zone and sent a behind-the-back pass from the right circle into the slot to Vecchione. It was Vecchione’s eighth goal of the season.
The Bears finished the first period with 21 shots on goal, a new season-high.
Hershey took a 2-1 lead in the second period when Bridgeport netminder Schneider misplayed the puck on a dump-in from Frank, giving it away to Vecchione, who located Sgarbossa in the slot at 4:16 for his sixth of the season.
Vecchione tallied his second of the evening at 16:54 when he teamed up with Frank on an odd-man rush and buried a feed from Frank behind Schneider to make it 3-1.
The Islanders made it 3-2 just 22 seconds into the third period when Cole Bardr beat Fucale.
Frank completed his career night when he netted an empty-net tally from Vecchione and Sgarbossa, with Schneider pulled, at 19:13. The goal was Frank’s seventh of the season.
Shots finished 41-22 favoring Hershey, as the Bears matched their single-game season-high for shots on goal.
Fucale stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced to pick up his tenth win of the season. The Bears were 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Islanders went 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Hershey will host the Cleveland Monsters for the first time at Giant Center on Saturday at 7 p.m., and then again on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The Bears were 8-3-0-0 going into the game when leading after the first period.
Hershey entered the game riding a 13-game point streak against Bridgeport, dating back to the team’s days as the Sound Tigers. Hershey won six consecutive meetings with Bridgeport starting Dec. 14, 2019, followed by a 4-3 shootout loss on Jan. 12 last season, after which Hershey proceeded to win its next six games, for an overall 12-0-0-1 stretch.
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