For the first time this season, the Bears went to the shootout and came out victorious. It was the sixth time the Bears have been in a shootout this season. In Bridgeport Sunday evening, Hershey earned a 2-1 victory over the Sound Tigers in three rounds. Connor Carrick and Travis Boyd each netted their attempts while Justin Peters turned away Joe Whitney and Taylor Beck to secure the win.
Trailing 0-1 after three periods, Sean Collins finally evened the game just over two minutes into the third period on a Power Play goal that was assisted by Chris Bourque and Riley Barber. Peters posted a stellar performance, stopping 32 of 33 shots the Sound Tigers sent his way, and earned the game’s second star in the win. The victory also ensured that the Bears “won the weekend” for the second straight week after a 3-2 overtime loss to Lehigh Valley Wednesday, and a 5-3 victory over Binghamton at Giant Center Saturday.
The week started off on a sour note for the Bears as they led Lehigh Valley 2-0 Wednesday night only to see the lead dissipate in the third period. Connor Carrick got the Bears on the board early in the first period and Mike Moore added a tally midway through the second period, but the Phantoms clawed back in the third, scoring two goals on Dan Ellis over halfway through the period. Both goals were even-strength goals. In overtime, Nick Cousins, who fought Nate Walker late in the first period, scored the overtime winner, which marked the first time this season the Bears have lost in OT.
The Bears got off to a hot start in Saturday’s home contest, but just like the Lehigh Valley game, had to withstand a late-game rally. Riley Barber got the home crowd rocking a little over two minutes into the game when Erik Burgdoerfer sent a shot to the net from just inside the zone. The puck deflected off Hammond and Barber proved to be in the right place at the right time, reaching around Hammond to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Carrick then netted back-to-back scores in the first period, the second coming on the Power Play off a cross-ice pass from Travis Boyd. Chandler Stephenson added the fourth goal in the period on a 3-on-2 breakaway pass from Barber. But Binghamton fought back, scoring a pair of goals in the second and one in the third before Chris Bourque scored an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bears will continue a very busy December on the road at Lehigh Valley Friday, return home Saturday to host Toronto for the first meeting between the two teams this season, and host Syracuse Sunday. Saturday’s game marks the first of a 7-game home stand.
* Ness spent the week with Washington
Dan Ellis – 0-1 (Overtime loss) – 28 saves on 31 shots
Justin Peters – 2-0 (shoutout win) 61 saves on 65 shots
Garrett Mitchell – Out 6-8 weeks for thumb surgery (Nov. 23)
Jakub Vrana – Out for 3 months from Wrist surgery (Nov. 2)
Weekly Stars Report (opponent)
1 – Carrick (Binghamton), Boyd (Bridgeport)
2 – O’Brien (Binghamton), Ellis (LV), Peters (Bridgeport)
3 – none
Both Burgdoerfer and Gazley are AHL-only contract players.
By Julie Beidler