The Hershey Bears beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4-2 Saturday night at the Giant Center in Hershey. The Bears split the home-and-home set with the Phantoms. The win raises the Bears record to 12-11-0-3. The Bears are back in action on Sunday when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Giant Center. Puck drop is 5:00 pm.
Vitek Vanecek (2-2-0, 2.00 GAA, .904 sv%) got the start in goal for the Bears. Dustin Tokarski (7-1-2, 3.05, .900 sv%) got the start in goal for the Phantoms. The Bears forward lines and defensive pairs:
Bears scratches – Connor Hobbs, Anthony Peluso, Hampus Gustafsson, Tommy Hughes, and Mason Mitchell.
The start of the game was delayed until 7:18 due to snow and a late arrival by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Bears would go shorthanded just 45 seconds into the contest when Aaron Ness was called for tripping. Tyler Lewington would be called for a delay of game penalty just 29 seconds later, giving the Phantoms a lengthy 5-on-3 power play, but the Bears would bunker down and squash Lehigh Valley’s early man-advantage.
The Bears would be awarded a pair of power plays in the middle of the opening frame, with Lucas Johansen capitalizing on the second man-advantage at the 7:36 mark of the opening frame. Johansen’s tally was setup by a nice feed from Mathias Bau from below the goal line, finding Johansen low in the slot.
Shots on goal were 4-3 in favor of Lehigh Valley with eight minutes left in the period. The period would end with the Bears leading 1-0. The Phantoms led in shots on goal 9-3 after 20 minutes of play. Lehigh Valley went 0 for 2 and Hershey went 1 for 3 on the power play in the opening frame.
The Bears would open the period having to kill their third penalty of the game when Liam O’Brien was called for cross-checking at the 2:04 mark of the middle frame, and the Bears would successfully kill the penalty.
Chris Bourque would stretch the Bears lead to 2-0 at the 4:53 mark of the middle frame. Wayne Simpson and Aaron Ness were credited with the helpers. The Bears two goals came on just 4 shots in the game to this point.
Jonas Siegenthaler and Nicolas Aube-Kubel would drop the gloves at 16:17 of the middle period.
The period would end with the Bears leading 2-0. The Phantoms led in shots on goal 7-6 for the middle frame, and 16-9 after two periods of play. Lehigh Valley was 0 for 4 and Hershey 1 for 3 on the man advantage.
The Phantoms would quickly cut the Bears lead in half with a goal by Oskar Lindblom at 2:13 of the final period, making it 2-1.
However the Bears would quickly restore the two-goal lead with a goal by captain Garrett Mitchell at 3:54 of the final frame. Dustin Gazley and John Albert were credited with the assists.
The Phantoms were once again quick to respond, reinstating the one-goal deficit with a goal by Mikhail Vorobyev at 4:48 of the third period.
Once again the Bears would answer. Tyler Graovac, who was waived by the Capitals this week, would take a feed from Riley Barber and finish top-shelf to give the Bears a 4-2 lead at 9:51 of the third period.
The Bears would hang on for the 4-2 win.
- The Phantoms outshot the Bears 26-23 for the game.
- Three stars of the game: 1) Vitek Vanecek, 2) Riley Barber, 3) Garrett Mitchell.
- Attendance: 8,539
- The AHL box score is here.
Complete game highlights from the Bears:
Head Coach Troy Mann’s postgame press conference:
By Jon Sorensen
SCENES FROM HERSHEY