We’ll just let the press release describe this one so far. A truly great battle is unfolding here. The Bears may have been outplayed in the first, but the visitors really handled a big Toronto momentum swing and lead it 3-2 after two.
The Bears’ top line came out flying and got the only goal of the period just 2:09 into the game. On a three-on-two rush, Jakub Vrana flipped a pass to his right. Chris Bourque collected it, skated to the bottom of the right circle and beat Garret Sparks with a short-side shot into the upper-right corner for his 23rd goal of the season.
At the other end, Dan Ellis turned away all 14 shots with one that will be seen for a while. With a Marlies player lying along the goal line in his crease, he lunged up to tip a Brett Findlay shot away from what was an empty net.
Toronto would turn up the pressure and strike twice in a span of 1:15 to take a 2-1 lead in the middle period. At 3:52, Nikita Soshnikov powered his way to the net and stuffed a shot inside the far post to tie the contest. Moments later, on Hershey’s first power play of the game, Zach Hyman and Sam Carrick applied furious pressure on a Bears breakout attempt, stole the puck and took the lead when Hyman found the upper corner.
But the Bears battled back with ferocious pressure of their own and took a 3-2 lead into the locker room. Vrana tied the contest by spinning off the left boards and taking the puck to the net. His shot bounced through the pads of Sparks at 8:42.
Dustin Gazley then blocked a shot attempt by David Kolomatis and had a breakaway all the way from his own blue line. He stuffed a shot under Sparks from the top of the crease, putting the Bears in front at 13:40 and ending Sparks’ night in net. Antoine Bibeau came on in relief, and immediately faced another breakaway, this time by Vrana. The netminder kept his pads together to deny Vrana’s low attempt.