Hershey started a four-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds Wednesday night at the MassMutual Center. The Bears fell behind 2-0 in the first period then trailing 4-0 in the third scored twice before an empty-net tally iced it for the Thunderbirds.
Jonathan Ang took advantage of a Bears defensive zone turnover and beat Vitek Vanecek low to the ice 3:25 into the contest. Springfield made it 2-0 after scoring on the back-end of a 5-on-3 advantage at 13:20 on a power play.
Erik Burgdoerfer was penalized for holding and Liam O’Brien was called for delay of game 1:07 later to provide a two-man advantage for the T-Birds. Three seconds after the initial penalty to Burgdoerfer expired Aleksi Saarela’s point shot found the back of the net.
The T-Birds scored twice within 70 seconds in the middle stanza to open a 4-0 edge. The Bears were unable to clear the zone and Daniel Audette beat Vanecek through a screen at 15:14, then at 16:24 Ang connected for his second goal of the night.
Alex Alexeyev scored his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 5 at 1:46 of the final period to get the Bears on the scoreboard. Tyler Lewington and Matt Moulson earned the helpers on a delayed penalty call.
In the final minutes, Vanecek was pulled in favor of an extra attacker. On the 6-on-5 advantage, Philippe Maillet buried the rebound of a Garrett Pilon shot past goaltender Ryan Bednard to bring the Bears within 4-2 at 17:17.
Owen Tippett scored his 18th goal of the season in the empty net at 19:25 for the 5-2 final.
Hershey is now 8-10-2-1 when falling behind first and winless on Wednesday games this season with a 0-5-0-2 record, including 0-4-0-1 on the road.
The Thunderbirds are the most penalized team in the Eastern Conference with 665 total penalty minutes, averaging 15.5 penalty minutes per game, but spent no time in the penalty box in this tilt.
Hershey remains in Springfield for a Friday rematch in the MassMutual Center.