HERSHEY, Pa. – Sean Collins’ shorthanded goal with 2:41 remaining in regulation ended up as the game-winner, capping off a two-goal, one-assist game for both him and Chris Bourque as the Hershey Bears dismissed the Utica Comets by a 6-3 score on Sunday evening. A sellout crowd of 10,982 was on hand at GIANT Center.
The Bears drew first blood in this game on a nice play by Christian Djoos. The rookie blueliner knocked the puck away from a Comets forward and turned it into a perfect curl pass to Bourque. The winger then skated along the blue line and let a wrist shot go that sailed past Comets goalie Joe Cannata at 3:22 for his 15th of the season.
But Utica would tie the game just over three minutes later, when forward Mike Pereira fired a low shot from the right circle that eluded Dan Ellis at 6:30.
The Comets would take the lead at 11:17 of the second, when Hunter Shinkaruk hustled to catch up to a puck kicked out by Ellis. Shinkaruk fired quickly into the upper-left corner for a 2-1 lead.
But that lead lasted just 23 seconds. Bourque and Collins took off two-on-one, with Collins holding and beating Cannata with a snap shot over the glove.
Moments after a four-on-four turned into a Hershey power play, Liam O’Brien would drop a shot pass to Djoos, who ripped the puck off of a defender and under Cannata’s glove at 16:59 to tie the game.
The tie game held for most of the third period, until Utica was handed a glorious power play opportunity with 3:28 left in regulation. A misplayed puck by Jordan Subban allowed Dustin Gazley to break out down the right wing. He found Collins cutting to the net with a perfect pass, and the puck was tapped in for a shorthanded goal at 17:19 and a 4-3 lead.
Bourque and Garrett Mitchell would tally empty-net goals to round out the scoring.
Ellis made 28 saves and improved to 11-6-3. Cannata stopped 34 of 38 shots and fell to 9-8-2. Each team finished 1-for-5 on the power play.
The Bears head to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday, January 15. Face-off from PPL Center is at 7:05. Fans may catch the broadcast beginning at 6:25 on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WTKT-AM 1460 or online at FoxSports1460.com. Fans may also watch the game for a small fee at AHLLive.com.
Hershey then returns home to host the Springfield Falcons for a pair of games, this Saturday, January 16 at 7:00 PM and Sunday, January 17 at 5:00 PM. Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling 717-508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.