Bears Down Phantoms 3-1; Bobby Nardella Scores First AHL Goal; Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Garret Pilon Score

Photo: Caroline O’Connor/Hershey Bears/Great Save Productions

The Hershey Bears beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-1 Sunday evening at the Giant Center in Hershey. The win is the Bears’ 6th straight, improving their record to 14-9-2-3 (31 points) on the season. The Bears currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, six points behind Hartford and Providence.

The Bears registered the only score in the first period with Axel Jonsson-Fjallby‘s 6th of the season. Garret Pilon would stretch the Bears lead to 2-0 just 20 seconds into the middle frame for a 2-0 lead at the second intermission. The Phantoms would cut the Bears lead to one with a 5-on-3 power play goal early in the final frame, but the Bears would answer with their own power play goal less than three minutes later to restore the two-goal lead at 3-1. That would be the final. Vitek Vanecek continued to be very strong in goal, stopping 29 of 30 for the game.

Vitek Vanecek (7-4-1-1, 2.40 GAA, .906 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Alex Lyon (6-7-2-0, 2.45 GAA, .917 sv%) started in goal for the visiting Phantoms. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Scratches: Lucas Johansen (lower body injury, day-to-day), Shane Gersich (lower body injury, day-to-day), Steve Whitney (upper body injury), Eric Burgdoerfer (upper body injury) and Colby Williams (lower body injury, week-to-week) were the injury scratches. Connor Hobbs and Chris McCarthy were the healthy scratches.

The American Hockey League announced last Sunday they had suspended Beck Malenstyn three (3) games as a consequence of an elbowing incident in a game at Lehigh Valley on Dec. 6. (More here). This game was the third game of his suspension. Malenstyn is also dealing with an injury, and will likely miss additional games.

Lehigh Valley controlled a majority of the possession in the early going, leading in shots 3-1 in the first three minutes. The Bears began to even things up starting with a strong shift by the second line at the six-minute mark in the first. Shots on goal were tied 3-3 with 11:40 remaining in the opening frame.

Vitek Vanecek made three nice stops in the early going to keep the game scoreless. Lehigh Valley led in shots 7-4 with eight minutes remaining in the first period.

The Phantoms would be the benefactors of the game’s first power play after Liam O’Brien was called for tripping with 6:18 left in the first period. The Bears would kill the power play, their 27th consecutive kill.

The Bears would finally break the seal on the scoring with a nice redirect by Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (6) at 18:20 of the first period. Martin Fehervary (7) and Brian Pinho (8) had the assists.

The first period would conclude with the Bears leading 1-0. Lehigh Valley led in shots 13-9 in the first frame. The Phantoms were 0 for 1 on the power play. The Bears did not have a power play in the first period.

The Bears would quickly make it 2-0 with a goal from Garret Pilon (3) just 20 seconds into the middle frame. Christian Djoos (14) and Joe Snively (5) had the helpers.

The Phantoms would pull Alex Lyon from goal and replace him with J.F. Berube immediately following the Pilon tally. Lyon stopped 8 of 10 shots faced before being pulled.

The Bears would kill-off their 28th consecutive penalty kill after Brian Pinho was called for tripping at 1:26. They would kill their 29th consecutive penalty kill when Martin Fehervary was called for hooking at 10:27.

The second period would expire with the Bears leading 2-0. Hershey led in shots on goal 9-8 for the second period, with Lehigh Valley leading 21-18 after two periods. Lehigh Valley was 0 for 3 on the power play after two periods. The Bears did not have a power play in the first two frames.

The Bears would return to the penalty kill after Matt Moulson was called for slashing just 1:03 into the final frame. Tyler Lewington would be called for roughing at 2:36, giving the Phantoms a 5-on-3 opportunity for 27 seconds. The Phantoms would capitalize with a goal from Andy Andreoff at 2:49 of the final frame.

The Bears would get their first power play of the game when the Phantoms’ Steven Swavely was called for tripping at 4:55 of the third period. The Bears would capitalize with a goal from Bobby Nardella at 5:37 of the final frame. It was Nardella’s first AHL goal. Christian Djoos (15) and Philippe Maillet (5) had the helpers.

The Bears would be called for another penalty with 3:27 left in the game. The Phantoms pulled their goaltender for a 6-on-4 power play, but the Bears would kill the penalty.

That would be the final.


  • Attendance: 7,581
  • The AHL box score is here.
  • Stars of the game: 1) Bobby Nardella, 2) Vitek Vanecek and 3) Garret Pilon
  • Lehigh Valley led in shots 30-21.
  • Mike Sgarbossa led all Bears in shots with 4.
  • Christian Djoos had two assists.
  • Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 of 30 for a .967 game save percentage.
  • Lehigh Valley was 1 for 6 and the Bears 1 for 1 on the power play.
  • The Bears win their 6th straight game.
  • The loss was the Phantoms 10-straight on the road.

By Jon Sorensen


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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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2 Responses to Bears Down Phantoms 3-1; Bobby Nardella Scores First AHL Goal; Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Garret Pilon Score

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  2. Pingback: Capitals Prospect Bobby Nardella Is Reviving The Power Play In Hershey | NoVa Caps

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