Several days shy of the midway point in November, the Hershey Bears Hockey Club entered Saturday eyeing their third win of the season. The top affiliate for the New York Islanders, Bridgeport Sound Tigers came into the match up tied with Hershey in standings points near the Eastern Conference’s dungeon.
The Bears’ watched their two goal lead in the third period evaporate leading to another shootout at Giant Center. However despite a ten round marathon shootout with a combined 11 goals, Dane Byers netted the game-winner in the tenth round followed by a Philipp Grubuaer win to secure a 3-2 shootout win.
The entire first period game story completed itself within the first 18 seconds, as the Chocolate and White once again kicked off the game with an immediate start. Only 18 ticks in, captain Dane Byers deflected a Tyson Strachan slap shot from the blue line to test Anders Nilsson early. The Bears carried a 1-0 lead to the locker room after 20 minutes of hockey.
Joel Rechlicz made his presence felt on the ice only 5:19 with a heavy weight tilt against Brett Gallant. It was later followed by a Brandon Segal altercation, after he landed a hard, clean hit on a Bridgeport skater.
Through 40 minutes the Hershey power play fell to 0-for-5 and whiffed on two chances at a 5-on-3 late in the second frame. The 1-0 lead continued to hold up until the third period, as Philipp Grubauer made a bid for his second shutout of the campaign.
Hershey finally cashed in on the man-advantage in the opening minutes of the third period, after Ryan Stoa redirected into the net a centering pass from Peter LeBlanc.
However Joe Diamond minutes later tallied for Bridgeport on a power play of their own after the Bears’ were caught gambling for a shorthanded goal. Diamond received a long stretch pass through the neutral zone and walked in all alone on Grubauer to pot his third goal of the season.
The collapsed continued into the final minutes, where Ryan Strome lifted the tying goal past Grubauer from a sharp angel with 2:59 left in regulation. Once again overtime was forced at Giant Center after a late third period lead evaporated.
Once again overtime proved nothing on home ice, leading to a shootout. Ten rounds later, the Hershey Bears win their first shootout of the season after a scoring marathon between the two goalies.