The Hershey Bears rallied to beat the Charlotte Checkers 3-2 (SO) Saturday night at Giant Center in Hershey. The win improves the Bears record to 25-20-0-3 (53 points) on the season. The win gives the Bears points in eleven-straight games (10-0-0-1), lifts the Bears into fifth place in the Atlantic Division, and places the Bears just two points from a playoff spot. The same two teams are back at it on Sunday at Giant Center. Puck drop is set for 5:00 PM.
The Checkers opened the scoring with a goal late in the opening frame for a 1-0 lead at the first intermission. Jonas Siegnethaler would tie the game with a shot from the point midway through the second period to make it 1-1 at the second intermission. Both sides scored in the final frame, with Riley Barber providing the game tying tally with 1:36 left in the game, sending it to overtime. Nathan Walker would win it in the shootout.
Vitek Vanecek (11-2-8-1, 2.77 GAA, .902 sv%) started between the pipes for the Bears. Alex Nedeljkovic (22-5-3, 2.57 GAA, .907 sv%) got the start for the visiting Checkers. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:
O’Brien – Sgarbossa – Barber
Gersich– Megna – Pinho
Malenstyn – Pilon – Walker
Whitney– Gustafsson – Ikonen
Ness – Lewington
Siegenthaler – Sproul
Johansen – Hobbs
Christian Djoos was re-assigned to Washington on Friday following his two-game conditioning stint in Hershey. To make room on the Capitals roster for Djoos, Jonas Siegenthaler was re-assigned to Hershey on Friday.
The Checkers struck first with a dirty goal from Patrick Brown at 14:59 of the first period. The goal was unassisted.
And that would be all of the scoring in the opening frame. The Checkers led in shots on goal 7-5 after 20 minutes of play. The Bears were 0 for 2 and the Checkers 1 for 1 on the power play in the first period.
The Bears would tie the game early in the second period with a goal from Jonas Siegenthaler at 8:47 of the middle frame. Shane Gersich (10) and Jayson Megna (12) were credited with the helpers.
The Bears gained the momentum following the Siegenthaler goal, as they generated several quality scoring chances, but just couldn’t finish.
The second period would conclude with the game tied 1-1. The Bears outshot the Checkers 12-9 for the middle frame and led 17-16 after 40 minutes of play. The Bears were 0 for 4 and the Checkers 1 for 2 on the power play after 40 minutes.
The Bears had to kill three penalties in the first half of the final frame and the third one would cost them. Jake Bean would score the power play goal at 12:48 of the final period, giving the Checkers a late 2-1 lead.
But the sizzling hot Bears would not be denied. Riley Barber would tie the game with a crazy 6-on-5 goal in the waning moments of regulation. The sharp-angled shot came from below the goal line. The goal was Barber’s 20th of the season, and was unassisted.
And that would be the final after 60 minutes.
The extra frame was frantic with breakaways for both teams, but the period would ultimately end without a score.
The Bears would win it in the shootout. Vitek Vanecek was perfect in the shootout. Nathan Walker would score the winner.
- Stars: 1) Vitek Vanecek, 2) Nathan Walker and 3) Jonas Siegenthaler
- The Checkers outshot the Bears 34-25.
- Vitek Vanecek stopped 32 of 34 shots for a .941 game save percentage.
- The Bears were 0 for 4 and the Checkers were 2 for 5 on the power play.
- Mike Sgarbossa would lead the Bears in shots with 5.
- The AHL box score is here.
SCENES FROM HERSHEY