Connor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre Score, Bears Down Phantoms, 5-3

Screen cap: AHL TV

The Hershey Bears downed the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5-3, Sunday night at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. Hendrix Lapierre scored his 8th goal of the season and Connor McMichael scored his 5th goal with the Bears in the victory. With the win, the Bears record improves to 19-6-2-1 (41 points) on the season, the best record in the AHL.


Clay Stevenson (2-0-0-0, 1.45 GAA, .941 sv%) got the start in goal for the Bears. Sam Errson (9-7-1-0, 2.58 GAA, .917 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Phantoms. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Mike Vecchione –Mike Sgarbossa – Ethen Frank
Henrik Borgstrom – Connor McMichael – Sam Anas
Mason Morelli – Hendrix Lapierre – Henrik Rybinski
Shane Gersich – Riley Sutter – Matt Strome

Aaron Ness – Logan Day
Gabriel Carlsson – Dylan McIlrath
Jake Massie – Vinny Iorio

Scratches: Garrett Pilon (lower body injury), Bobby Nardella (upper body injury), Kale Kessy, Julian Napravnik and Michael Kim.

Recalled/Re-assigned: The Capitals recalled Zach Fucale late on Saturday afternoon. As a result, “Paddie” Carey was signed by the Bears to a PTO on Saturday.

The Bears recalled Tyler Wall from ECHL South Carolina and released “Paddie” Carey from his PTO on Sunday.

The Bears also re-assigned defenseman Martin Has to South Carolina on Sunday.


The Phantoms were called for an early penalty, but the Bears were unable to convert, extending the Bears scoreless streak on the man advantage to 0 for 8 this weekend. They were 1 for 4 last weekend.

The Bears opened the scoring with a bomb by Aaron Ness (2) from the left point at 7:22 of the opening frame. Riley Sutter (3) had the lone helper. It was the 17th time the Bears scored first this season. They were 11-2-2-1 in the previous 16 games when they scored first.

Midway through the period forward Shane Gersich took a heavy hit into the boards and center Riley Sutter jumped right in to drop the gloves with Adam Ginning.

The first period concluded with the Bears leading, 1-0. Hershey led in shots 9-7 in the first frame. Hershey was 0 for 1 on the power play while Lehigh Valley did not have a man advantage in the first frame.


The Phantoms tied the game early in the middle frame on a 4-on-3 power play goal from Artem Anisimov (8) at 1:50 of the second period. Egor Zamula (4) had the lone helper.

The Phantoms took their first lead of the game on a shorthanded goal from Jordy Bellerive (2) at 10:01 of the second period. The goal was unassisted.

The Bears quickly tied the game 33 seconds later on a power play goal from Hendrix Lapierre (8) at 10:34 of the second period. Henrik Borgstrom (7) and Sam Anas (8) had the helpers. Lapierre had gone the last five games without a point.

The second period concluded with the game tied, 2-2. Lehigh Valley led in shots 12-4 in the middle frame and 19-13 after two periods. Hershey was 1 for 4 and Lehigh Valley 1 for 1 on the power play after two periods.


Henrik Rybinski did not return to the bench for the start of the third period.

The Phantoms were awarded an early power play in the final frame, but the Bears were able to kill the penalty.

The Phantoms regained the lead midway through the period on a wrap-around goal by Jordy Bellerive (3) at 9:28 of the final frame. Jackson Cates (5) had the assist.

The Bears tied the game on a goal from Mike Sgarbossa (10) at 13:59 of the frame. Ethen Frank (8) and Dylan McIlrath (6) had the assists.

Moments later the Bears regained the lead with a goal from Connor McMichael (5) late in the third period. McMichael would gather the puck at center ice, make two moves and fire a laser for the Bears’ fourth goal of the game. Henrik Borgstrom (8) had the lone helper.

Mike Vecchione would add a a late goal to make it 5-3. That would be the final.

The Bears are back in action on Wednesday when the same two teams do it again in Allentown. Puck drop is set for 7:15-ish PM.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 8,279
  • Hershey led in shots 29-28.
  • Henrik Rybinski did not return for the third period.
  • Hershey was 1 for 5 and Lehigh Valley 1 for 2 on the power play.
  • Clay Stevenson stopped 25 of 28 for a .892 game save percentage.
  • Stars of the game: 1) Mike Sgarbossa, 2) Connor McMichael and 3) Jordy Bellerive
  • Mike Vecchione’s 300th professional game.
  • The Bears scored the first goal of the game for the 17th time this season (12-2-2-1)

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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14 Responses to Connor McMichael, Hendrix Lapierre Score, Bears Down Phantoms, 5-3

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    The kids (at Hershey) are all right!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t think Lapierre had that good a game. He had the power play goal, but turned the puck over a lot tonight. I worry the season is starting to wear in him. No points in previous five games. These 3 games in 3 days are no joke. Something he hasn’t experienced before.

    • @Puckstop31_ says:

      I’m not worried about Lapierre. These things happen and it’s good for young players, usually. The team is SERIOUSLY about scoring by committee! But more than that, Hendrix is playing with purpose. You see it in his reactions to things. How he defends his teammates, is starting to understand the Bears chief rivals and I can see a lot of passion in his game.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    Connor McMichael had 14 goals in 33 games in AHL during 2020-21 (Covid) season. McMichael currently has 5 goals in 14 games which is on pace for 12 goals in 33 games. Some discredit his 20-21 numbers because of Covid season, but he is essentially scoring at same rate this season.

  4. Novafyre says:

    Actually, according to the Rays, Wall wasn’t recalled by the Bears but signed with the Bears. He had a Stingrays contract. So the Rays are using two new goalies while Garin remains on the roster but unavailable. This makes 7 goalies on the roster this year.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Here is Bears press release sent to me earlier:

      Defender Martin Has loaned to Stingrays

      (Hershey, PA- December 18, 2022) – The Hershey Bears announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Tyler Wall from the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. Additionally the club has loaned defenseman Martin Has to the Stingrays. The announcements were made by Hershey’s vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer.

      Wall, 24, has appeared in nine games with South Carolina this season, posting a 6-3-0 record with a 3.14 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. He has also tallied two assists with the Rays.

      The 6’3″, 214-pound goaltender has appeared in 15 career AHL games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, holding a 4-8-1 record with a 3.83 goals-against average and a .866 save percentage. He was selected in the sixth round, 174th overall, by the New York Rangers in the 2016 NHL Draft.

      The Leamington, Ontario resident notched a 58-34-10 record with nine shutouts during his four collegiate seasons at UMass-Lowell prior to turning pro.

      Has, 21, has appeared in 12 games with the Stingrays this season, posting three points (1g, 2a). He scored in his professional debut on Oct. 29 at Greenville. He did not play during his recall to Hershey.

      • Novafyre says:

        Interesting. Not what I heard on the stingrays telecast. Maybe I misheard.

        • Mike J says:

          Nah you’re right. Bears official Twitter shows him signed

            • novafyre says:

              Man, I opened a can of worms. These were my thoughts when I heard the announcement before the game.

              It sucks being at the bottom of the food chain. They started the season with two goalies under contract to them. The Caps then loaned them two, one useful, one unavailable. The Rays get rid of their original two and hire Wall. Stevenson and Wall both perform very well. They know that Stevenson is a loaner but Wall is theirs.

              Then Darcy gets hurt and they wake up to find Stevenson gone to the Bears. They scramble around and find a replacement. So now both their goalies are under their contract.

              Then Hunter gets hurt. The Bears had gone the PTO route and decided that no one unemployed looked better than the guy the Rays were depending on and who was under their control. So the Bears made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, signed him, and now since now they controlled him, stole him away, leaving the Rays to scramble around yet again and find another unemployed goalie to bring on board.

              Not saying it’s wrong. I’m sure it’s a great step for Tyler Wall. And that is the business of hockey affiliation — Rays would not have had Clay without the Caps link. It’s just that when Rays fans watched the Atlanta Game, Tyler Wall was a Rays contract player on the Rays roster and then when they got to yesterday’s game he was a Bears player on the Bears roster. It wasn’t like Clay who had been a Caps contract from the beginning and who they knew could be recalled at any time. Wall had been theirs.

              And that’s just not the kind of situation that Caps fans, at the top of the food chain, would find themselves in. And probably not Bears fans either.

  5. @Puckstop31_ says:

    That entire sequence leading up to McMike’s goal was just awesome. The way he reacted and his celley… More please. AND McMike played really well on the PK last night. Who had that on their bingo card?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      He’s always been underrated, defensively. Having watched all his games back to his draft day, he had a really good 200’ game when he was with the London Knights, even wrote about his checking game a couple years ago.

      • Jonathan says:

        This is great to hear. I love it that he’s on the PK. The makes him a more valuable asset the NHL club, because they can’t have but a very few players who aren’t either on the PK or PP. Daniel Sprong is a great example of the problem this can be. What if Sprong was an asset on the PP or PK? I doubt he would have left as soon as he did. It didn’t help that he may have been a defensive liability. But there are other examples out there along the same lines. You really need to provide multiple roles to a team because of the huge need there is for it. Providing McM experience on the PK is going to be huge for his value to the Caps.

  6. Jonathan says:

    This is so great to see. LaPierre and McM having a great season.

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