The Hershey Bears earned 5 of 6 possible points over the weekend with wins over in-state rivals Lehigh Valley and division leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and a 4-3 shootout loss at Hartford.
Friday in Hartford, the Bears fell for the fifth time this season in a shootout. Hershey got on the board early with a goal from Nathan Walker minutes into the game. Sill and Carrick were credited with the assists. Despite the early goal, the Bears headed to the locker room trailing 2-1 after a pair of goals from the Wolfpack.
Carrick once again found his way onto the scoresheet, notching his fourth goal of the season in the second period to tie the game at 2, but the Wolfpack countered and took a 3 2 lead into the final period.
In the waning seconds of the game, Chandler Stephenson, with assists from Carrick and Bourque, netted his first goal of the season in dramatic fashion to send the game into overtime. Hartford was assessed a minor penalty at 19:00 for delay of game, so with the Bears on the power play, Mann elected to pull Peters for a 6-on-4.
In overtime, Jayson Megna was awarded a penalty shot, but Peters denied him and the game headed to the shoutout where the Wolfpack ended it by sliding their first two shots past Peters.
The Bears returned home Saturday and exacted revenge for a pair of November shoutout losses to the Phantoms on Washington Capitals Night. Dustin Gazley and Chris Bourque each scored in the third period to lift the Bears to a 2-1 victory. Bourque’s goal came with just 21 seconds left marking the second time in as many nights that the Bears registered a last-minute goal.
The Hershey defense was stellar, allowing only 15 shots on Dan Ellis while the Bears peppered the Phantoms goalie, Anthony Stolarz, with 44 shots, earning him the game’s second star.
The Bears defense continued to protect their goalies on Sunday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a 4-1 victory over the Penguins. Justin Peters faced 23 shots, coming up just one save short of a shutout on a shot that was deflected into the net late in the third period.
Eric Burgdoerfer scored the game’s first goal just past the midway mark in the first period. That goal unleashed 18,115 teddy bears, breaking last year’s Teddy Bear Toss Night record.
In the second period, Carrick continued his hot-streak, taking a feed from Sean Collins who carried the puck down the ice and slid it across to Carrick.
But the Penguins refused to quit, scoring with a little over 2 minutes to go in the game after pulling their goalie for a 6-on-5.
With Murray still on the bench, Walker streaked down the ice to beat out an icing call and was rewarded with an empty net goal a minute later. Bourque then scored off the faceoff after Walker’s goal to ensure the Hershey victory.
The Bears will continue a very busy December on the road at Lehigh Valley Wednesday, return home Saturday to host Binghamton for the first meeting between the two teams this season, and head to Bridgeport Sunday.
Weekly Prospect and Two-Way Contract Players Report
By Julie Beidler