Photo: Tori Hartman
On a night in which their NHL affiliate came away with a decisive win in regulation time, the Hershey Bears had a much harder night, coming up short in a hard-fought 4-3 overtime loss to the Rockford Icehogs on home ice.
The opening frame of the contest was a rather uneventful one, with neither team generating much in terms of offense, despite one power play opportunity for the Icehogs and FOUR for the Bears. The lone goal of the period came from Rockford’s Matthew Highmore, who scored his 21st goal of the season shorthanded to put the Icehogs ahead 1-0 at the 12:35 mark.
Aside from the goal, the highlight of the period came from a fight between Hershey’s Nathan Walker and Rockford’s Luke Johnson.
The Icehogs entered the first intermission ahead on the scoreboard and in shots by s substantial margin, 20-7.
The second period featured more offense from Hershey and Rockford, with the Bears’ Liam O’Brien scoring his 14th goal of 2017-18 on an assist from Zach Sill at the 13:25 mark to tie the game at 1-1.
Less than four minutes later, Rockford’s William Pelletier potted his eighth goal of the season on one of four power play opportunities for the Icehogs to put Rockford ahead once more. Adam Clendening and Luc Snuggerud were credited with assists on the goal.
At the end of the second, the Icehogs led 2-1 and in shots, 34-10. The four power play chances of Rockford brought their total number of power play opportunities to five in the game, while Hershey had their aforementioned four in the opening period.
The Bears did not have to wait long to get their fifth power play opportunity of the game, as Icehogs left wing Alexandre Fortin was called for hooking at the 5:41 mark. The Bears took advantage of the man-advantage, with Travis Boyd putting his 15th goal of the season past Rockford netminder Collin Delia to knot the game at 2-2.
Walker and Joe Whitney were credited with the assists on Boyd’s goal. The Icehogs answered just over a minute later as Pelletier scored his second of the contest to give Rockford the lead yet again.
The Bears were granted their EIGHTH power play opportunity of the night late in the period, giving them a prime opportunity to tie the game (again). With 5:27 left in the final frame, Riley Barber put his 18th goal of the season past Delia to bring the game even.
The two teams would head to overtime, with the Icehogs ahead in shots 38-14.
The Icehogs did not need long into overtime before shattering Hershey’s dreams of a comeback, as John Hayden scored his fifth goal of the season at the 1:46 mark to give the Icehogs the final and decisive score of the contest.
The Bears lagged in shots all night and the final count ended up heavily favoring Rockford 40-14.
Troy Mann’s post game presser:
By Michael Fleetwood