Bears Let Late Lead Slip Away, Fall To Phantoms, 3-2

Photo: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

The Hershey Bears fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 3-2 Sunday evening at the PPL Center in Allentown. The loss drops the Bears record to 21-13-3-2 (47 points) on the season.

The Phantoms took an early 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal from Cal O’Reilly and held the lead at the first intermission. The Bears tied the game late in the middle stanza with a power play goal from Mike Vecchione, for a 1-1 game at the second break.

Vecchione would pot his second goal of the game midway through the third period to give the Bears a 2-1 lead, but the Phantoms answered with another shorthanded goal from Cal O’Reilly late in the final frame. and added a goal from Linus Sandin for the 3-2 final.


STARTERS

The Bears started goaltender Zach Fucale (6-3-3-0, 2.85 GAA, .881 sv%) in net, while the Phantoms countered with Felix Sandstrom (4-10-3-1, 3.20 GAA, .891 sv%) in goal. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Injuries: Alex Alexeyev (upper-body injury), Garrett Pilon (upper-body injury), Mike Sgarbossa (upper-body injury), Matt Moulson (back surgery), Cody Franson (upper-body injury), Macoy Erkamps (upper-body injury) and Bobby Nardella (lower-body injury).

Signed: The Bears signed defenseman Tariq Hammond to a professional tryout agreement on Sunday.

Re-assignments: Joe Snively was recalled by the Capitals and Mike Sgarbossa re-assigned to the Bears on January 27. Ryan Dmowski was re-assigned to South Carolina on January 26.


FIRST PERIOD

The Phantoms opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal from Cal O’Reilly (7) at 8:04 of the first. The tally was prefaced by a rather weak play of the puck by Bears netminder Zach Fucale. Lucas Johansen was subsequently knocked off the puck for the turnover and score.

The period would end with the Phantoms leading 1-0. Lehigh Valley led in shots 11-7 in the first frame. Both teams were 0 for 2 on the power play in the first 20 minutes of play.


SECOND PERIOD

After a mostly scoreless middle frame, the Bears would finally tie the game with a power play goal from Mike Vecchione (8) at 17:56 of the second period. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (15) and Lucas Johansen (9) had the helpers.

The period concluded with the game tied 1-1. The Bears led in shots 11-7 in the second period. Shots were tied 18-18 after two periods. Hershey was 1 for 4 and Lehigh Valley 0 for 2 on the power play through two periods of play.


THIRD PERIOD

The Bears took their first lead of the game on Mike Vecchione’s second goal of the game, his ninth of the season, at 6:45 of the third period. Lucas Johansen (10) and Brian Pinho (6) had the assists.

But the Phantoms struck back. Cal O’Reilly scored his second shorthanded goal of the game to tie it up, 2-2 at 12:14 of the third period. Linus Sandin (5) and Linus Hogberg (5) had the assists.

The Phantoms regained the lead moments later with a goal from Linus Sandin (6) at 14:26 of the third period. Garrett Wilson (9) and Jackson Cates (6) had the helpers.

That would be the final.


SHAVINGS


SCENES FROM ALLENTOWN

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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