It was mentioned during the pregame show, in the last two games between the Hershey Bears and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Bears were simply the better team even strength. But in some games, that’s simply not good enough to get the victory. That was the case when Hershey fell to Lehigh Valley, 6-5 in a shootout on Black Friday.
In the fifth meeting of the season between the two clubs, the Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead via successful special teams. Chris Bourque set up a Connor Carrick bullet on Hershey’s first power play of the night at the 6:09 mark.
Hear the goal here:
The Chocolate and White did a solid job reading Lehigh’s outlet passes and continuing offensive possessions. In addition, they looked very patient with the puck in all three zones. I did not see many forced passes leading to ugly turnovers.
Into the second period, Travis Boyd used the open ice of a 4-on-4 to his advantage and set up Mike Moore for a dazzling goal. Boyd battled for the puck along the boards, shrugging off two Phantoms in doing so. He then found daylight and skated the puck to the high-slot, where he quickly connected a cross-ice pass to Moore. Moore beat Stolarz low to the ice on the cross-ice play to make it a 2-0 Hershey lead.
Boyd’s goal audio:
With 8:38 left, Lehigh Valley cashed in on an offensive shift, and it was their leading goal scorer, Petr Straka getting the job done. Straka blasted a shot short-side on Ellis that sent the water bottle flying, and cut the Bears’ lead to 2-1.
The lead was erased with 2:59 to play, as Danick Martel on the transition ripped a shot past Dan Ellis high, glove side. The goal forced overtime for the third time this season between the two clubs.
For the first time this season, the Bears would fall in the 3-on-3 overtime. Nick Cousins buried a shot on an offensive rush past Ellis to win it for the Phantoms.
Last Saturday, Anthony Stolarz nearly stole two points for the Phantoms. Tonight was the opposite, as he did steal the victory. A dominant performance by the Chocolate and White, but it was several goal posts and great stops by Stolarz keeping his club in it.
At the end of the day, it’s a point on the road before returning home for games Saturday and Sunday in front of the best fans in the AHL.
See you Saturday!
Submitted by intern Matt Trust