Goaltender Pheonix Copley gave up two goals on five first-period shots then shut the door the rest of the way and Matt Moulson scored twice in his 1,000th professional game that, when the dust settled, saw the Hershey Bears hand the Springfield Thunderbirds a 5-2 home-ice setback Friday night.
The victory kept the Bears in a first-place tie with Hartford in the Atlantic Division race.
Just 2:03 into the contest, Aleksi Heponiemi scored his first AHL goal for Springfield, then the Bears pulled even at 11:22 when Tyler Lewington connected with Shane Gersich, who fired a five-hole shot past T-Birds goaltender Samuel Montembeault.
Springfield regained the lead when Ethan Prow scored his fifth goal of the season at 16:37 to put his club up 2-1, while out-shooting the Bears 11-5.
The Bears took charge in the middle stanza with three unanswered goals, all coming from the special teams. On their first power-play chance of the night, Garrett Pilon took a pass from Philippe Maillet beneath the goal line to tie the score at 2-2.
Tyler Lewington put the Bears on the penalty kill at 7:54 and Hershey’s Brian Pinho stripped Prow of the puck at the blue line and skated in on a short-handed breakaway and beat Montembeault to the glove side, at 8:13 for his 13th goal of the season to give Hershey its first lead of the night.
Hershey used an extended power play opportunity to take a 4-2 lead when Ryan Haggerty was assessed a five-minute boarding major penalty and Moulson scored at 14:01.
Moulson closed out the game with an empty net, unassisted tally at 17:50 for the 5-2 final.
Coming into the game, Moulson led the Bears with five points (three goals, two assists) in four games. In the two previous games in Springfield this season, the Bears were outscored 13-3 after losing 8-1 in November, and most recently, 5-2, on Wednesday.
Shots on goal finished 40-27 Hershey, marking a new single-game season-high for the Bears, while the special teams finished 2-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Bears conclude their weekend with one more road game on Saturday in Providence before the 2020 AHL All-Star break. The Bears and Bruins will square off for the fifth of six meetings in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.