HERSHEY, Pa – Brandon Manning deposited the rebound of a shot from Petr Straka with 3:22 left in overtime, sending the Adirondack Phantoms to a season-opening 4-3 victory over the Hershey Bears on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
The Phantoms took control of the opening period, scoring twice in the first 3:48 and displaying a stingy penalty kill. Ben Holmstrom opened the scoring at 1:13, finishing off a two-on-one rush with Michael Raffl with a shot that beat Philipp Grubauer high.
Tye McGinn made it 2-0 just 2:35 later on a similar play. Forward Jason Akeson forced a turnover and sent Nick Cousins in with a shot that Grubauer blocked aside, but McGinn was able to chip the puck past Grubauer’s outstretched stick.
The Phantoms went on to snuff out three Bears power plays in the opening twenty minutes, with goaltender Yann Danis turning aside all seven shots he faced.
The Bears completely turned the tide on the visitors in the middle of the game. Defenseman Nate Schmidt joined an offensive rush into the Phantoms’ zone on the second shift of the period. Backing from the slot to the right circle, he collected a Peter LeBlanc pass and ripped a snap shot over the blocker arm of Danis just 49 seconds into the middle frame, putting the Bears on the board.
Adirondack appeared to have the game in control when they embarked on their first power play with a one-goal lead just before the second period was halfway complete. But it was Michael Latta who took over, stripping the puck away and breaking in on Danis from center ice. He deked to the backhand and back to the forehand to tuck a shot through Danis’ pads at 9:44, tying the game.
On the very next Adirondack power play, it was Latta again who stole the puck away on the right half wall. He spotted Derek Whitmore in front, and the veteran forward beat Danis with a wrist shot from in close at 14:39, giving the Bears a 3-2 lead.
The Phantoms would tie the game at 8:25 of the third on their third chance with the man advantage. Brandon Alderson would carry the puck into the right circle, and take a snap shot that beat Grubauer over the left arm.
Adirondackcompleted their come-from-behind effort on Manning’s overtime winner.
The Bears picked up one point with the overtime loss to start the season. Grubauer turned aside 26 of 30 Phantoms shots, while Danis finished the night with 25 saves for his first win with Adirondack.
The Bears will visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins next Saturday, October 12 at 7:05 PM. The team returns home on Saturday, October 26 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The first 3,000 fans receive a keytag schedule courtesy of Hershey/CKC Pharmacy.
Individual tickets for all 2013-2014 Hershey Bears regular season games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting TicketMaster.com on the internet. Information on full season, 22-game, 12-game and flex plans, as well as group packages, are available by calling (717) 508-BEAR.