Photo: Ted Starkey
The Hershey Bears fell to the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-4 (SO) Wednesday night in Springfield. The game opened with a furious pace, as both teams scored a pair of goals in the first 3:16 of the contest. The Thunderbirds would add two quick goals in the middle frame to take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. Dustin Gazley would cut the lead to one early and Tyler Graovac would score the equalizer late in the third period, sending the game to overtime. After a scoreless extra frame, the Thunderbirds would win it in the shootout. The Bears record drops to 17-17-3-4. The Bears return to action Saturday night when they play host to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the 2018 Outdoor Classic at Hershey Stadium. Puck drop is 7:00PM.
Vitek Vanecek got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Samuel Montembeault got the start in goal for the Thunderbirds. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:
Scratches – Jeremy Langlois, Mason Mitchell, Garrett Mitchell (veteran) and Colby Williams (suspension).
The Bears got off to a quick start in this one, when Wayne Simpson notched a tally just 1:09 into the contest. Moments later Anthony Peluso would stretch the Bears lead to 2-0 just 2:32 into the contest.
But just as quickly, the Thunderbirds struck back. Alexandre Grenier got the ‘Birds on the board at 3:02 of the first. Then Dryden Hunt tied the game at 3:16 of the opening frame. There were 5 shots in the first 3:16 of the game, four of them were goals.
Things quieted down a bit after that, with no further scoring in the first period. The Bears outshot the Thunderbirds 12-5 for the first period. Both teams were 0 for 1 on the power play.
The second period started much more calmer than the opening frame, with just one shot on goal in first five minutes of play. The Thunderbirds would take the lead with a shorthanded goal by Anthony Greco at 7:45 of the middle frame. The Thunderbirds would stretch their lead to 4-2 just moments later with a goal by Maxim Mamin at 9:41 of the second period. Vanecek was pulled from the game and replaced by Pheonix Copley. Vanecek allowed four goals on 11 shots.
The period would conclude with the T-Birds leading 4-2. Springfield outshot Hershey 13-9 for the middle frame, with Hershey leading 21-18 after two periods of play. The Bears were 0 for 2 and Springfield was 0 for 1 on the power play in the second period.
The Bears would cut the Thunderbirds lead to one with an early rebound goal by Dustin Gazley, just 2:52 into the final frame, making it 4-3. This was Gazley’s fifth goal of the season.
The Bears would tie the game late with a goal by Tyler Graovac at 17:47 of the final frame. Dustin Gazley and Connor Hobbs would be credited with the helpers. The goal was scored as Pheonix Copley was reaching the bench, after being pulled for a sixth skater, but the goal was ultimately still ruled a 5-on-5 goal.
Regulation would end with the game tied 4-4. Shots on goal were 35-26 in favor of the Bears.
There was no scoring in the extra frame. The Thunderbirds would score three times in the shootout to win the game.
- Attendance – 3,066
- AHL box score here.
By Jon Sorensen