The Hershey Bears and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers were scheduled to meet on January 24th, but Mother Nature and the Blizzard of 2016 had other plans. It resulted in a Wednesday night edition of Bears hockey at GIANT Center, with both teams entering red hot.
The Chocolate and White entered 9-0-2-1 in their previous dozen games, and also winners of the last five. Bridgeport entered with a six game winning streak on the line.
Hershey drew first blood 2:33 in, and it came via Connor Carrick. Following a pass from Riley Barber, Carrick put a shot on goal from the point surprising Christopher Gibson. At the 8:29 mark, the Sound Tigers responded on a short side stuff attempt. Kevin Czuczman caught Justin Peters leaving the post too early and found just enough daylight.
Colin Markison tallied his first goal of the season on a penalty shot goal with 9:34 left in the period. It gave Bridgeport their first lead of the evening near the midway mark of the opening period.
But the reigning AHL player of the week, Jakub Vrana cashed in on a power play attempt to tie the score for Hershey. A tic-tac-toe passing play started by Scott Gomez was finished by Vrana at the side of the net, sending a 2-2 game into first intermission.
A goal scoring fest ensued in the second period, and it landed Christopher Gibson on the bench. It started with Bridgeport’s Bracken Kearns only 10 seconds into the second period, giving his club their second lead of the night.
The Chocolate and White quickly roared back, scoring three unanswered to grab a 5-3 advantage. Hershey’s power play remains sizzling hot, as Travis Boyd beat Gibson at 1:24 to tie the game 3-3. 2:34 later, Zach Sill entered the offensive zone on a semi-breakaway and grabbed his third goal of the campaign. Fast froward another 72 seconds, Riley Barber capitalized on a goal mount scrum to end Gibon’s night.
The final line of Christopher Gibson reads 10 stops on 15 shots through 25:10.
Kearns grabbed his second goal of the night on a shorthanded breakaway to cut Hershey’s lead to 5-4 at 6:50. Five goals combined for both teams in the first 6:50, but the Bears enter the dressing room after 40 minutes ahead 5-4.
Vrana’s second goal of the night at 1:54 of the third period extended the lead to 6-4. Bridgeport rallied back with goals by Scott Mayfield at 6:20 and the equalizer by Andrew Rowe with 1:37 left.
Overtime was forced, extending Hershey’s point streak to 13, but the five game winning streak would come to an end in the shootout. The Sound Tigers won the shootout 1-0 with the lone strike coming from Rowe, wrapping up a 7-6 decision.
Submitted by intern Matt Trust