Bears Rally To Beat Thunderbirds 5-3; Devante Smith-Pelly Scores Again

Photo: Tori Hartman

The Hershey Bears rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-3 Wednesday night at Giant Center in Hershey. The win improves the Bears record to 34-22-2-4 on the season. The Bears are back in action on Friday when they host the Toronto Marlies. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.

The Thunderbirds would notch the game’s first goal late in the first period for a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. The T-Birds would take a 2-0 lead early in the middle frame on a break away goal, but the Bears would respond. Ryan Sproul would cut the T-Birds lead to one with a blast from the right point, then Devante Smith-Pelly would tie the game with a power play goal in the waning seconds of the middle frame for a 2-2 game at the second intermission. The Bears would add goals from Sgarbossa and Megna to take a 4-2 lead in the third period, but the T-birds would get one back to make it 4-3, but Mike Sgarbossa would add an empty net goal for the 5-3 win.

Ilya Samsonov (15-12-2-2, 2.82 GAA, .892 sv%) started between the pipes for the Bears. Chris Driedger (11-7-1-1, 2.56 GAA, .921 sv%) got the start in net for the visiting Thunderbirds. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

O’Brien– Sgarbossa – Barber
Walker– Megna – Smith-Pelly
Gersich – Pilon – Ikonen
Malenstyn– Pinho – Whitney

Ness – Lewington
Siegenthaler – Sproul
Johansen – Williams

Scratches: Kris Bindulis (upper body) and Joey Leach (wrist injury) were the injury scratches. Tobias GeisserConnor HobbsMax Kammerer, and Hampus Gustufsson were the healthy scratches. Mason Mitchell was re-assigned to South Carolina on Monday.

The Thunderbirds would strike first late in the first period after a Bears miscue behind their own goal. It looked like Bears goaltender Ilya Samsonov intended to leave the puck for Bears defender Colby Williams, who thought Samsonov might handle the puck. Sebastian Repo potted the goal at 17:45 of the first period.

The first period would conclude with the Thunderbirds leading 1-0. The Thunderbirds outshot the Bears 13-6 for the opening frame. There were no penalties called in the opening frame.

The Thunderbirds would make it 2-0 on a break away goal from Jean-Sebastien Dea at 4:26 of the middle frame.

The Bears would get on the board with a blast from the right point by Ryan Sproul at 17:18 of the second period.

The Bears would tie it 1:09 later with a power play goal from Devante Smith-Pelly at 18:27 of the second period. Mike Sgarbossa (27) and Aaron ness (41) had the assists.

The second period ended with the game tied 2-2. The Bears outshot the Thunderbirds 18-6 in the second period, and led 24-19 after two periods.

The Bears would grab the lead early in the final frame with a beautiful passing play from Aaron Ness to Mike Sgarbossa, to give the Bears a 3-2 lead. Aaron Ness (42) and Tyler Lewington (10) were credited with the helpers.

Jayson Megna would make it 4-2 Bears with a filthy dagger at 9:10 of the final frame. Riley Barber (26) would be credited with the lone assist.

The Thunderbirds would answer with a break away goal by Bobby Farnham at 10:39 of the third period.

Tyler Lewington made the save of the game, stopping a puck that trickled through Samsonov, with just 3:30 left in the game.


  • Stars of the game: 1) Jayson Megna, 2) Aaron ness and 3) Mike Sgarbossa
  • Mike Sgarbossa scored two goals, including the 100th of his AHL career.
  • Bears outshot the Thunderbirds 31-29.
  • Attendance: 10,317.
  • The AHL box score is here.


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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4 Responses to Bears Rally To Beat Thunderbirds 5-3; Devante Smith-Pelly Scores Again

  1. Pingback: Capitals’ Goalie Prospect Ilya Samsonov Reveals New Mask, Set to Debut Tomorrow | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Hershey Bears Earn 5-3 Comeback Win over Springfield Thunderbirds (Photos) | NoVa Caps

  3. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Mike Sgarbossa is a pretty good hockey player. I wonder why the Caps never invite him to training camp or call him up

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