Just days after coming up short against the Rochester Americans in a 7-6 shootout loss, Hershey Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley saved the day on Sunday in a 3-2 shootout win against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
Ahead of tonight’s contest, defenseman Kris Bindulis was re-assigned to Hershey due to an injury to fellow blueliner Connor Hobbs, one that will force the dynamic rearguard to miss six to eight weeks with a fractured wrist. Tyler Lewington (yet another defenseman) also left Saturday night’s game with a lower-body injury but returned for a few shifts. Lewington was a scratch in tonight’s contest.
Just 1:18 after the first puck drop, the Penguins opened the scoring on a Daniel Sprong goal that made its way past Copley. Despite three power play opportunities, the Bears were unable to convert, and the “Baby Penguins” kept the game at 1-0 in their favor.
Near the end of the period, Lucas Johansen set up Wayne Simpson for Hershey’s first goal of the night, leveling the score at one to end the opening frame.
The second period began with Hershey killing off a 5-on-3 Wilkes-Barre Scranton power play for 1:39. Just shy of the halfway mark, the Bears’ Chris Bourque and Johansen set up forward Travis Boyd for a power play goal to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
Hershey began the third period with a one-goal advantage and on track for their first win of the weekend. The final frame started out uneventful, but Wilkes-Barre tied the game at two with just 8:21 left in regulation.
The Penguins were caught with too many men on the ice with just five minutes left to play, giving Hershey a much-needed power play. However, the Bears failed to capitalize on their golden opportunity. Wilkes-Barre took another penalty with just three minutes left in regulation, but Hershey again failed to convert, and finished the night having gone 1-7 on power play opportunities.
As overtime progressed, the momentum swung back and forth, as both teams traded opportunities. Hershey had two big chances and rung the iron with about one minute left in the period. With both teams unable to end it in sudden-death, the game headed to the skills competition.
Prior to tonight’s contest, the Bears had gone winless in two shootouts. Wilkes-Barre shot first, but failed to convert, and Simpson responded to Copley’s stop with his second shootout goal of the year. Wilkes-Barre failed to score on their second opportunity and Travis Boyd also missed his opportunity to seal the win for Hershey. Round 3 saw Wilkes-Barre again miss and Hershey walk away with the win, marking their first shootout win of the season and Copley’s first win of the season.
Hershey Bears’ game recap is here.
By Allison Shuey