ALLENTOWN, PA — The Hershey Bears traveled to in-state rival Lehigh Valley to open their 80th season of hockey, and came away on the wrong side of a 7-2 game.
The Phantoms jumped out to an early lead when Danick Martel scored his first of three goals on the evening just 2:19 into the game. Mikhail Vorobyev and Nicolas Aube-Kubel assisted on the goal that beat Parker Milner, who was filled in for injured regulars Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek.
But Hershey kept pushing and Chandler Stephenson eventually tied the game at 1-1 near the midway point of the second period. Colby Williams earned the assist.
The game didn’t stay tied long as Martel scored his second goal just 80 seconds later.
John Albert got his first goal in a Bears sweater, tying the game at 2-2 on the power play with Wayne Simpson and Williams earning assists.
Lehigh Valley would regain the lead with 69 seconds to go in the second period when Aube-Kubel scored a goal of his own.
The flood gates opened for Lehigh Valley in the third as Phil Varone, Greg Carey, Reece Wilcox and Martel all scored before the final buzzer sounded.
Hershey was 1-for-4 on the PP and 3-for-3 on the PK on the evening. Milner stopped 24 of 30 shots.
Hershey scratched Connor Hobbs, Anthony Peluso, Hampus Gustafsson, Mason Mitchell, Kristofers Bindluis, Copley, and Vanecek.
The Bears will host Belleville Saturday night and Lehigh Valley Sunday. The first 8000 fans on Saturday night will receive a PNC Bank schedule magnet. Sunday is Dietz and Watson Dollar Dog Night and the first 6000 fans will receive a AAA 80th Season car magnet.
What Went Right – Colby Williams earned a pair of assists in the loss for the Bears. Additionally, Hershey really cut down on the penalties.
What Went Wrong – Giving up 7 goals to Lehigh Valley after the Phantoms struggled mightily against the Charlotte Checkers in their preseason games does not bode well as the Checkers are now in the Atlantic Division as well. Defensively, the Bears need to limit the number of shots on goal, especially with both regular goaltenders on the mend. Offensively, the Bears looked a bit out-of-sync and Mann will definitely look for improvement.
By Julie Beidler