It certainly wasn’t the weekend that the Bears wanted or needed. After storming back through the month of March to regain control of their playoff destiny, the proverbial train came off the track this weekend as Lehigh Valley handed Hershey their third straight loss, 4-2 Sunday evening on Giant Center ice.
After spotting Lehigh Valley a 2-0 lead in the first period, Hershey finally seemed to come to life in the second. Nathan Walker somehow managed to skate the puck east-west through traffic before unleashing a shot that gave Hershey a bit of life. The goal was his 11th of the season. Riley Barber and Chandler Stephenson earned assists.
Then 1:50 later, Jakub Vrana connected for his 16th of the season after Travis Boyd made a terrific play to set up the goal. Tom Gilbert also earned an assist on the game-tying goal.
Following a fight between Hampus Gustafsson and Andy Miele that resulted in both players heading down their respective tunnels with their team trainers, Lehigh Valley stormed right back with a second goal from Chris Conner who skated in alone on a breakaway and beat Pheonix Copley for the 3-2 lead.
The Bears had their chances again in the third, but were unable to connect. Things then went from bad to worse for Hershey as Chris Conner connected for a hat-trick. Jonas Siegenthaler dove and tried to poke the puck away, but Conner regained control and beat Copley to give the Phantoms a 4-2 lead.
Hershey’s power play was 0 for 2 while the penalty kill was 1-for-1. Copley ended the night with 30 saves on 34 shots. Full game highlights from the Hershey Bears can be viewed here.
The Bears travel to Lehigh Valley Wednesday night before heading to Rochester Friday and Toronto Saturday. Their final home contest is Saturday, April 15 against Providence following a match-up in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday the 14th.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 2, 2017