There was a time when not many thought the Hershey Bears would make the playoffs. But here they are, the #3 seed in the Atlantic Division, facing Lehigh Valley in the first round, and enjoying themselves so much that 60-minutes just wasn’t enough. Nathan Walker emerged the hero with 12:22 to go in OT to give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the best of 5 series.
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie through regulation with the Phantoms holding a 15-5 shot advantage through the first period. Both goalies remained perfect through the second as well with Hershey flipping the script with a 10-4 shot advantage, and Lehigh Valley holding a 9-3 advantage in the third.
The third period got a bit nasty as Liam O’Brien and Tyrell Goulbourne dropped the gloves. Before the officials were able to put the puck back into play, some pushing and shoving ensued, but no further penalties were assessed, and the two goalies, Pheonix Copley for Hershey and rookie Alex Lyon for Lehigh Valley, sent it to OT.
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Pheonix Copley came up huge in net for the Bears on numerous occasions, but perhaps none was bigger than Lehigh Valley’s first two successive shots in OT. His opposite, Lyon was just as big until Walker’s heroics.
Tyler Lewington fired a shot on net and Walker was at the right place at the right time for the goal. Stan Galiev, who earned the secondary assist, and Riley Barber started the scoring sequence by battling along the boards.
Hershey’s PK also came up big against the Phantoms, going 4-for-4. The PP was 0-for 3.
Hershey remains in Lehigh Valley for Game 2 which is tomorrow at 7:05. Game 3 will be in Hershey Wednesday night with the puck scheduled to drop at 7:00.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 16, 2017