With the final two games of the regular season looming, the Bears came up big with three straight wins a week ago. Once again, it wasn’t easy to pick just three players who had the biggest influence on the week, and in fact, there is a tie for the third star this week.
Star # 1 – Riley Barber (2G, 3A)
We’re so glad this guy is back from injury and would love to see what the kid can do with a healthy season. In what had to be the most stressful week of the season to date, it was Barber who stole the show with a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s big win over Lehigh Valley.
Trailing 2-1, Barber tied the game midway through the third period when he connected for his 12th goal of the season to push the game into overtime. He had the lone assist on Travis Boyd’s game winner 3:41 into the overtime period.
On Friday night in Rochester, he tied the game once again with his 13th goal, on the power play, in the second period, which paved the way for Lewington’s game-winner.
Then on Saturday in Toronto, he had the primary assists on both Tom Gilbert’s and Chandler Stephenson’s goals.
Star #2 – Liam O’Brien (1G, 2A)
Welcome back Liam – O’Brien has been hit or miss this season, and it was certainly a great week to be on. O’Brien scored the game-opening goal against the Phantoms on Wednesday night in Lehigh Valley. His 10th goal of the season came with just a minute to play in the first period.
He then appeared on the score sheet Friday in Rochester with a pair of assists on goals from Jakub Vrana and Barber, and got the nod as the game’s third star.
The Bears will need the same level of offense from O’Brien this weekend in Wilkes-Barre and against Providence in order to make it into the playoffs.
These two guys came up big once again for Hershey this week. While we often overlook a defenseman because they might not get on the score sheet, Lewington not only got on the scoresheet, but was also a +3 for the week, proving he got it done defensively as well.
His goal, the fourth of the season, proved to be the game winner in Rochester as Pheonix Copley (who also deserved to be on this list) locked it down through the remainder of the game to preserve Hershey’s second victory of the week.
Lewington then assisted on Stephenson’s game winner the next night in Toronto.
Many guys would not be happy in the AHL after having a career like Gilbert has had, but he’s one of the exceptions. This guy just seems genuinely happy to be playing hockey and it doesn’t seem to matter where. He was perhaps the easiest interview of the season.
His assist came Wednesday night on Barber’s game-tying goal in Lehigh Valley and the goal, his third, came in Toronto Saturday in the early part of the second period. It gave Hershey a 1-0 lead. Gilbert finished the week +2. Toronto did not load video of the game.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 2, 2017