Bears Defeat Phantoms, Lock up Division Title
HERSHEY,Pa. - Zach Sill scoredearly in the third period, a goal that turned out to be the winner in a 4-2decision over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday night in front of a crowdof 10,527 at GIANT Center. Withthe win, Hershey clinched the Atlantic Division title.
The Bears made their first power playof the game count just 1:38 into the contest. Riley Barber turned and fired from the slot, and his lowshot split the pads of Anthony Stolarz for Barber's 26th goal of theseason and seventh on the power play.
But the Phantoms would knot the scorewhen a one-timer from Samuel Morin went wide of the net to the right. The puck bounced wildly back toward thenet and before Justin Peters could get his pad on the chance, Dalton Smithtucked it home at 4:34.
Lehigh Valley took the lead in thesecond period on a goal that required video review to confirm. Peters would squeeze a bouncingwraparound try by Reading native Steven Swavely against the left post. After a whistle, Peters fell back intothe net with the puck under him. Agoal was awarded to Swavely at 9:51 for a 2-1 advantage.
The Bears battled for the equalizer byspending well over a minute forechecking in the Phantoms' end. The Phantoms had a chance to clear thezone but Ryan Stanton stepped off the bench and blocked the attempt. He then fed Travis Boyd, who turned andfired a shot past Stolarz at 16:21.
Sill's game-winning goal came at 2:19of the third period. Liam O'Brienand Garrett Mitchell did the grunt work of getting the puck free from behindthe net. Sill set up shop at thetop of the crease and one-timed O'Brien's feed over Stolarz for his ninth ofthe season.
Sean Collins capped off the win with anempty-net goal inside the final minute of play. Chris Bourque set it up for his AHL-leading 80th pointof the season.
Peters stopped 26 of 28 shots toimprove to 17-8-7. Stolarz made 28saves on 31 shots and fell to 20-18-7. The Bears finished the night 1-for-7 on the power play and 3-for-3 onthe penalty kill.
The Bears wrap up the regular seasonwith Fan Appreciation Night and a matchup against the Wilkes-Barre/ScrantonPenguins tomorrow, April 17. Face-off will follow a pre-game player awards ceremony set to begin at5:00 PM. All fans in attendancewill receive a scratch-off card containing one of several prizes. Individual tickets are available at theGIANT Center box office, by calling 717-508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: Hershey's first-round playoffopponent is yet to be determined and will be announced at the conclusion oftomorrow's game...Travis Boyd recorded his 16th point (9-7-16) in 14career games against the Phantoms...Chris Bourque collected the Les CunninghamAward for being voted AHL MVP prior to the game...Dylan Margonari made his AHLdebut for Hershey...Justin Peters improved to 5-0-1 in his last six starts...TheBears scratched LW Paul Carey, C Carter Camper, G Adam Carlson and RW DustinGazley...D Tyler Lewington served a one-game suspension announced by the AHLearlier in the day...The Phantoms scratched C Phil DeSimone, LW Radel Fazleev, GJason LaBarbera, D Christian Marti, LW Danick Martel, RW Aaron Palushaj, RWMichael Parks, D Logan Pyett, LW Jay Rosehill and D Travis Sanheim.
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