Phantoms Thump Bears, 5-1; Aliaksei Protas Scores 2nd Goal Of The Season

Screen cap: AHL TV

The Hershey Bears fell to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 5-1, Saturday night at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. Aliaksei Protas scored his second goal in eight games with the Bears but the Phantoms responded with five unanswered goals for the road win. The Bears record falls to 29-11-4-1 (63 points) on the season.


Hunter Shepard (12-2-3-1, 2.05 GAA, .920 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Samuel Ersson (12-10-1-0, 2.78 GAA, .906 sv%) got the start in goal for the Phantoms. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Mike Vecchione –Mike Sgarbossa – Ethen Frank
Joe Snively – Connor McMichael – Henrik Borgstrom
Aliaksei Protas – Hendrix Lapierre – Garrett Pilon
Beck Malenstyn – Riley Sutter – Mason Morelli

Gabriel Carlsson – Dylan McIlrath
Aaron Ness – Bobby Nardella
Lucas Johansen – Vinny Iorio

Scratches: Sam Anas (abdominal surgery, out indefinitely), Kale Kessy (upper body injury), Jake Massie, Shane Gersich, Julian Napravnik, Logan Day, Henrik Rybinski and Matthew Strome.

Bears head coach Todd Nelsen was not with the team for personal reasons. Patrick Weller and Nick Bootland took over head coaching duties for tonight’s game.


The Bears opened the scoring with a power play goal from Aliaksei Protas (2) at 14:13 of the first period. 6’6″ Protas has essentially been tasked with standing in front of the goaltender on the Bears first power play unit, and the strategy has shown early dividends. Ethen Frank (16) and Mike Sgarbossa (25) had the assists.

That would be it for the first frame. Hershey led in shots 11-5 in the first 20 minutes. The Bears were 1 for 2 on the power play while the Phantoms did not have a man advantage in the first 20 minutes.


The Phantoms tied the game early in the middle frame. Jackson Cates (9) notched the tying tally just 2:21 into the second period. Max Willman (9) and Bobby Brink (4) had the assists.

The Phantoms took their first lead of the night on a power play goal from Tyson Foerster (17) at 8:16. Olle Lycksell (25) and Egor Zamula (10) were credited with the assists.

Beck Malenstyn, who turns 25 today, dropped the gloves with Louis Belpedio late in the middle frame.

The second period concluded with the Phantoms leading 2-1. The Phantoms out-shot the Bears 12-8 in the second period, with Hershey leading 19-17 after two periods. Hershey was 1 for 3 and Lehigh Valley 1 for 2 on the power play after 40 minutes.


Lehigh Valley stretched their lead to 3-1 early in final frame. Jordy Bellerive (6) potted the Phantoms’ third goal at 2:55 of the third period. Bobby Brink (5) and Egor Zamula (11) had the helpers.

The Phantoms added a power play goal with three minutes remaining in regulation to make it 4-1. Bobby Brink (6) scored at 16:49 of the third. Louie Belpedio (12) and Ronnie Attard (12) had the assists.

The Phantoms added a late empty net goal for the 5-1 final.

The Bears are now off for the AHL All-Star break and will return to action on Friday when they visit the Utica Comets. Puxk drop is scheduled for 7PM.


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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12 Responses to Phantoms Thump Bears, 5-1; Aliaksei Protas Scores 2nd Goal Of The Season

  1. novafyre says:

    Rays had better luck winning 3-1 but not a lot of contributions from the loaners. Clay was backup, Bear had 3 sog, Has 2, Maass 1. Third game tomorrow afternoon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bears all of sudden look terrible. My how fast things can change. The Teddy Bear curse!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      72 game season. Gotta play them all. It’s an endurance test as much as anything. Will be interesting to see if they can quickly right the ship right after the break.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

  4. Anonymous says:

    Strange how Nelson leaves team for final few games before all star break.

  5. novafyre says:

    AHL AllStars festivities are supposed to be free on AHLtv today and tomorrow:

    “AHLTV will also be offering a free video stream of both nights of the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic to AHL fans worldwide, as well as of the 2023 AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony on Monday, Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. ET. ”

    Mike Vecchione will be in the accuracy shooting and the breakaway relay. Former Bear Riley Barber will also be participating.

    Bear Hughes scored a goal five minutes into today’s Rays game so his drought is over!

  6. novafyre says:

    In the third game of the three game weekend Clay stopped 27 of 29 for the win. I believe he has the second best save percentage and goal against average in the ECHL. Bear scored the first goal, Maass had an assist, and Has did play but no stats.

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