Photo courtesy: Liam Edson
Friday the Hershey Bears looked to leap over the Springfield Falcons on the road for their fourth win of the year. Entering against the 5-1-0-1 Falcons, Braden Holtby received the nod to start in goal. It was Holtby’s first start since his 35-save shutout over Albany, six days prior. In front of a Springfield crowd of 3,489 fans, Boyd Kane and Matt Pope found the score sheet and Stan Galiev had the game-winning goal in the shootout as the Bears topped the Falcons, 3-2 (SO).
The Bears got off to a rough start as Springfield swarmed the offensive zone and had a multitude of chances on Braden Holtby. For the first half of the stanza, puck possession was dominated by the Falcons as they rifled 11 shots on net. At 8:51, Michael Chaput tucked a rebound behind Holtby after the Bears goaltender stopped the initial shot from Dalton Smith, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Mike Carman and Garrett Mitchell battled hard in the offensive corner to the left of Springfield goaltender Curtis McElhinney to send a loose puck to a wide open Boyd Kane. The captain notched his first tally of the season, evening the game at 1-1 heading into intermission.
In the middle frame, Springfield again jumped out to a one goal advantage, but the Bears answered back to send a tied game into the dressing rooms once more. At 4:14, Johnathan Audy-Marchessault scored on a beautiful tip to the top-shelf off a Ryan Johansen pass. But only 3:01 later, Matt Pope who was robbed minutes earlier by McElhinney, redeemed himself by capitalizing off a juicy rebound following a Barry Almeida shot.
With Pope’s tally, he became the 19th different Bear of the season to pencil his name on the score sheet. Shots after 40 minutes were 24-20 in favor on Springfield.
Following a hard fought, scoreless third period, the Hershey Bears battled in their second overtime game of the season. Unlike on October 21 against Binghamton, even overtime was not enough as the Bears went to their first shootout of the season.
Into the shootout, both teams scored in the first round of the skills competition to make it 1-1. Jeff Taffe for Hershey tallied in the top of the round, as Matt Calvert answered moments later. It stayed 1-1 into round seven when Stanislav Galiev in his first AHL shootout attempt bombed a slap shot to the top-shelf of the cage.
To ice the win, ex-Bear Andrew Joudrey was stopped by Braden Holtby in the bottom of the round to hand the Bears their fourth win of the season.