Phantoms Rally To Beat Bears, 2-1 (OT); Connor McMichael, Damien Riat Make AHL Debut

Photo: @BearsCaps18

The Hershey Bears fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2-1 (OT) in their season opener Saturday afternoon at Giant Center. The Bears gave up the lead with under a minute remaining in regulation, and would lose the game just 1:59 in to the extra frame.

STARTERS
Pheonix Copley got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Zane McIntyre got the start in goal for the visiting Phantoms. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Scratches: Cameron Schilling, Macoy Erkamps, Matt Weis, Mason Morelli, Will Graber, Alex Dubeau and Caleb Hebert.

Capitals’ forward prospects Connor McMichael and Damien Riat made their AHL debuts for the Bears.

FIRST PERIOD
The Bears and Phantoms skated to a scoreless draw in the first frame. The Bears were penalized three times (Gersich, O’Gara and Riat), but the penalty kill was perfect on all three kills. The Bears were 0 for 1 on the power play in the first frame.

The Bears led in shots on goal 8-7 for the first period.

SECOND PERIOD
The Bears would finally break the seal late in the middle frame with a goal from Kody Clark (1) at 13:02 of the second period. Eddie Whittchow (1) made a nice crossing pass on a two-on-one breakaway to set up the score.

The second period would conclude with the Bears leading 1-0. The Bears and Phantoms were tied in shots 7-7 for the middle frame. Bears led 15-14 after two periods. The Phantoms were 0 for 4 and the Bears 0 for 3 on the power play after two periods.

THIRD PERIOD
The Bears and Phantoms skated to a scoreless draw for the first half of the final frame.

Kale Kessy and Samuel Morin dropped the gloves at the 10 minute mark of the third period. It was Kessy’s first bout since being injured in a fight last season.

The Phantoms would tie it up with a goal from Wyatte Wylie with 45 seconds left in the game, sending the contest into to overtime.

OVERTIME
The Phantoms would win it in overtime with a goal from Ryan Fitzgerald at 1:59 of the extra frame.

The Bears are back in action on Thursday when they visit the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Puck drop is set for 5:00 p.m.

GAME NOTES

  • Kody Clark, Riley Sutter and Garrett Pilon all had good offensive games.
  • Paul LaDue was solid on the back-end.
  • Connor McMichael looked comfortable in his first AHL game, and made several nice plays.
  • Bears top power play unit: Snively, Johansen, McMichael, Pilon and Moulson

SHAVINGS

  • Hershey Bears Season Preview
  • Attendance: 403
  • AHL box score
  • Bears led in shots 31-25.
  • Pheonix Copley stopped 23 of 25 shots for the Bears.
  • Lehigh Valley was 0 for 5 and the Bears 0 for 3 on the power play.
  • Kody Clark (6), Rob O’gara (5) and Damien Riat (4) led the Bears in shots.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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