Three-in-threes are tough – just ask the Hershey Bears. After two huge wins Friday in Syracuse and Saturday at home against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Bears hosted Springfield Sunday evening looking for a sweep of the weekend. And it was a comeback for the ages as Hershey polished off a perfect week with a 4-2 victory.
After traveling to Bridgeport for three straight Sunday afternoon match-ups and with Bridgeport and Lehigh Valley both losing in regulation today, the door was wide-open for Hershey to claw a little closer to that fourth playoff spot.
But Springfield had other ideas. The Thunderbirds, who have lost all of the previous five meetings this season with Hershey, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after miscues by Hershey’s defense and a minor penalty to Domenic Monardo.
Meanwhile, Hershey’s offense was off to another sluggish start. The Bears failed to capitalize on a major penalty to Springfield’s Anthony Greco who sent Hubert Labrie hard into the boards.
But the Bears were able to get one back late in the second period while on the powerplay. Chandler Stephenson worked behind the net and found Stan Galiev, who channeled his inner Ovechkin, connected from just inside the left faceoff dot. Tom Gilbert got the secondary assist.
In the third, Galiev continued his hot streak with an assist on the game-tying goal. Galiev, from the left side found a wide-open Christian Thomas streaking in along the right and sent a beautiful pass across the ice right to Thomas’s stick. Travis Boyd earned the secondary assist thanks to a terrific effort at the blue line to get the puck to Galiev.
Then late in the third Chris Bourque fired a shot from high in the slot that bounced off of Sam Brittain’s pad. Kelly Zajac pounced on the puck for his second goal of the season for the Bears. Labrie, who thankfully was able to return after being boarded in the first, had the secondary assist.
Zajac then tacked on an empty net goal to secure the victory.
Meanwhile Vitek Vanecek bounced back from the rough start, stopping 22 of 24 in the victory.
The powerplay was 1 for 3 on the evening while the penalty kill was 3 for 4. The three stars of the game, all from Hershey, were Zajac, Galiev, and Thomas.
Hershey travels to Lehigh Valley Friday and then heads to Binghamton Saturday before returning to Giant Center to host Providence Sunday.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 5, 2017