The Hershey Bears fell to the Utica Comets 3-2 in overtime Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York. The loss drops the Bears record to 32-21-1-3 (68 points) on the season. The Bears are back in action Saturday night when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Giant Center. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.
After a scoreless opening frame, Liam O’Brien started the scoring early in the second period with a blast from the slot, but the Comets would answer with a power play goal midway through the middle frame to make it 1-1. The Bears would score their own power play goal from Mike Sgarbossa near the end of period, making it 2-1 at the second intermission. The Comets would quickly tie it early in the final frame, and ultimately send the game to overtime. The Comets would win it 44 seconds into overtime.
Vitek Vanecek (15-9-2-1, 2.80 GAA, .903 sv% ) started between the pipes for the visiting Bears. Michael Leighton (7-4-0-0, 3.06 GAA, .903 sv%) got the start in goal for the Comets. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:
Gersich – Sgarbossa – Barber
O’Brien– Megna – Smith-Pelly
Malenstyn – Pilon – Walker
Whitney – Pinho – Ikonen
Ness – Lewington
Johansen – Sproul
Siegenthaler – Williams
Scratches: Kris Bindulis (upper body) and Joey Leach (wrist injury – long-term) were the injury scratches. Connor Hobbs, Tobias Geisser, Hampus Gustufsson, Max Kammerer and Mason Mitchell were the healthy scratches.
The Bears were recipients of the game’s first power play just 1:43 into the contest when Utica was called for a faceoff violation, but were unable to capitalize on the man advantage.
The first period would go scoreless, with the Bears outshooting the Comets 9-7 for the first frame. The Bears were 0 for 1 and the Comets 0 for 0 on the power play after 20 minutes of play.
The Bears would take the lead with a goal from Liam O’Brien at 4:56 of the second period. The goal was O’Brien’s 15th of the season. The score was setup by a nice backhanded centering pass from Devante Smith-Pelly. Smith-Pelly was credited with the lone assist, his first point with the Bears.
The Comets would tie the game with a power play goal from Zac MacEwen at 15:17 of the second period, making it 1-1.
But the Bears would answer with their own power play goal. Mike Sgarbossa would pot the power play tally at 17:06 of the second period. Aaron Ness (37) and Riley Barber (24) were credited with the helpers.
The second period would end with the Bears leading 2-1. The Bears outshot the Comets 9-8 for the second period, and led 18-15 after 40 minutes. The Bears were 1 for 3 and the Comets 1 for 2 on the power play after two periods.
The Comets would tie it with a goal from Reid Boucher at 5:14 of the final frame.
The remainder of the period would go scoreless, sending the game to overtime.
The Comets would win it 44 seconds into overtime.
- Aaron Ness’ assist on the Sgarbossa was his 200th professional assist.
- Comets outshot the Bears 26-23.
- First overtime loss this season for the Bears.
- The Bears were 1 for 4 and the Comets 1 for 3 on the power play.
- Second consecutive loss for Vitek Vanecek.
- Attendance: 3,917.
- The NHL box score is here.
By Jon Sorensen