HERSHEY, Pa. – Three unanswered goals by the Hershey Bears wiped out a 4-1 deficit and forced extra time, but a huge penalty kill in overtime and three goals in 10 rounds of a shootout propelled the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to a 5-4 victory on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
Lehigh Valley grabbed the game’s first goal on the visitors’ first power play of the night, as Danick Martel fired a pass from Samuel Morin past the reach of Dan Ellis at 9:59.
Ellis played outstanding in the opening period, stopping 16 other shots to keep the Bears in the game. Hershey would eventually battle for the equalizer and get it at 1:40 of the middle period. Christian Djoos snuck through the slot and headed for the net to slap a pass from Travis Boyd up and over Phantoms netminder Jason LaBarbera.
Lehigh Valley then rattled off three consecutive goals to open up the contest. Petr Straka would get behind the Bears’ defense and was able to backhand a shot that handcuffed Ellis at 4:11.
Aaron Palushaj then found a blocked shot in front of the Hershey defense, and hurried a shot past Ellis at 5:39.
Straka then scored a shorthanded goal at 8:08, giving the Phantoms what appeared to be a comfortable lead. But the Bears scored a late-period power play goal when Sean Collins buried a cross-crease feed from Chris Bourque at 19:52, giving the Bears momentum heading into the third period.
At 9:18, Bourque would one-time a feed from Djoos low along the ice and past LaBarbera, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
The tying goal came from the Bears’ grinding line of Zach Sill, Liam O’Brien and Garrett Mitchell. After a relentless forecheck, Mitchell found Sill at the left hash marks. Sill lifted a shot over LaBarbera’s blocker, and the puck wedged between the left post and netting for his first Hershey goal with 2:07 left in regulation.
A hooking call on Lehigh Valley’s Tim Brent in overtime would give the Bears a monumental chance to win the game, but the Phantoms’ penalty kill survived.
The Bears saved themselves in round three of the shootout as Riley Barber answered the opening tally from Taylor Leier, and got into the drivers’ seat when Collins scored in round eight. But Brandon Alderson would match that goal, and Kevin Sundher beat Ellis in the last half of the tenth round to send the Phantoms off the bench in celebration.
Ellis made 36 saves on 40 shots but fell to 2-2-1 on the season. LaBarbera won his first game of the year, improving to 1-3-0. Hershey finished 2-for-6 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Bears travel to Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday, November 4. Face-off is at a special 11:00 AM start time. Fans may listen to the broadcast beginning at 10:20 on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WTKT-AM 1460, via the iHeartRadio app (Fox Sports 1460) and online at FoxSports1460.com or via AHL Live.
The Bears return home on Saturday, November 7 to battle the St. John’s IceCaps. Individual tickets for this and all Bears home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling 717-508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.