Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hershey Lets One Slip Away

Bears led 3-1 before falling in Shootout to Bridgeport
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4, Hershey Bears 3 F/SO

Hershey, in front of a large home crowd of 9,401, seemed to be in complete control of this game, getting on the board early when Eric Fehr put a loose puck past Sound Tigers' goaltender Wade Dubielewicz for a 1-0 lead just 2:20 into the first period. It was the 22nd goal of the season for the talented right winger. Jakub Klepis, playing in his first game since being reassigned to the Bears, missed a chance to put Hershey up by 2 when he failed to connect on a wide open net courtesy of a pass from defenseman Timo Helbling.

Bridgeport responded with a power-play goal by Brandon Nolen after Matt Hendricks was sent to the box for hooking. That goal, Nolen's 3rd of the season, tied the game at one.

Tomas Fleichmann quickly responded for the Bears, putting Hershey back on top just 43 seconds later capitalizing on a rebound off a Joey Tenute shot that Dubielewicz was unable to secure. With 1:44 remaining in the first period Fleichmann would put in his second goal of the game and 15th of the season. Alexandre Giroux, who had the primary assist on the goal, would immediately get into an altercation with Bridgeport's Tomas Melac before he was able to celebrate the goal. Giroux would make quick work of Melac knocking him to the ice with a quick right. Matching fighting majors would follow, but Melac would get an extra roughing penalty on the play.

In what can be looked at as a turning point in the game, Maxime Daigneault was shaken up 1:50 into the second period after Drew Fata broke to the net and ran him over after failing to convert on his scoring opportunity. Daigneault would finish the period but would then be replaced by backup Daren Machesney at the beginning of the third.

Bridgeport would take advantage of this shift in momentum by cutting the lead to 3-2 when Robert Nilsson capitalized on a two man advantage by scoring his 9th goal of the season. The Sound Tigers then controlled much of the action for the rest of the game. And despite a sound relief effort by Machesney, they were able to tie the game at 3 with 6:23 remaining in the game on a goal by Eric Boguniecki, his 9th of the season as well. That score would hold up through overtime leading to a shootout to decide the outcome of the contest.

For those of you unfamiliar with the AHL rules in the shootout, they actually have 5 rounds as apposed to the NHL's 3 rounds. Goals by Bridgeport's Peter Ferraro and Steve Regier put the Sound Tigers ahead 2-0. Hershey was able to respond however and after goals by Tomas Fleichmann and Matt Hendricks the shootout was tied up at 2 after four shots. On the fifth attempt Allan Rourke put the game winner past Machesney while Dubielewicz stopped Joey Tenute's attempt to tie. Wade Dubielewicz was outstanding for the Sound Tigers, stopping 51 shots in regulation and overtime plus 3 of 5 in the shootout for the win.

It was a disappointing outcome for the Bears who were looking to make up some ground on division leading Norfolk who lost earlier in the day.

Your Top 3 Stars of the Game:
1. Wade Dubielewicz, Bridgeport 51 saves
2. Tomas Fleichmann, Hershey 2 goals
3. Eric Boguniecki, Bridgeport Game-tying goal

Note: Defenseman Jamie Hunt, who was recalled earlier in the day to Washington and did not play when Mike Green dressed, was returned to Hershey and played in tonight's game.

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