HERSHEY, Pa. – Brandon Segal continued his weekend dominance, registering four points in helping the Hershey Bears soar past the Manchester Monarchs by a 6-2 count on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
The Bears fended off strong Manchester forechecking and speed for the first half of the period, and Dustin Gazley would later net his first Hershey goal to open the scoring 12:33 into the game. While working on a power play, Jeff Taffe walked out of the right corner and faked a shot on net, instead passing to the top of the crease where Gazley snapped the puck past starting goaltender Jean-Francois Berube.
Gazley later helped work the puck to Dane Byers on a line rush, who in turn fed the right side. Peter LeBlanc grabbed the pass, picked his spot and beat Berube with a snap shot to the stick side at 13:42, giving the Bears a 2-0 lead.
The goal seemed to spur the Monarchs on, as the visitors would wipe out the Hershey lead with two fast tallies. Just 24 seconds after LeBlanc’s goal, Andrew Campbell carried the puck into the right corner and fired a shot from a sharp angle that goaltender David Leggio trapped at his left side. The puck sat loose just long enough for Campbell to stuff it over the line for his second goal of the season.
Manchester then evened the score while working their first power play of the night. Nick Shore grabbed the rebound of a chance started by Brandon Kozun and slipped it past Leggio from the low slot at 16:04.
Hershey would grab the lead back before the intermission, in the final seconds of the team’s third power play chance. The Monarchs were unable to grab control of the puck to clear it, allowing Taffe and Segal to pass quickly around the net front. One last pass made it to Ryan Stoa, who chipped the puck home at 18:17 – with one second left on the man advantage.
The Bears then exploded for three goals in the middle period to put the game out of reach. Manchester had a chance to tie the game with a power play that carried over from the first period, but it was Nicolas Deschamps who skated to a loose puck at center ice, raced in and beat Berube with a low shot for a shorthanded goal at 1:01.
Segal made it 5-2 when he collected a long breakout pass from Casey Wellman, skated past the Monarchs defense and deked Berube with a backhand shot that deflected off of the left post and into the net at 4:09.
The goal ended Berube’s night, and backup Mathias Niederberger would come on to make his AHL debut. After making a few saves from long-range shots, he faced a two-man Hershey power play advantage late in the period. Wellman would make it a 6-2 game when his hard snap shot from the high slot sailed past Niederberger at 19:21.
Leggio stopped his first 13 shots of the final period, but the final shot from Nick Deslauriers got past him at the 19:06 mark, rounding out the scoring.
Leggio won his third straight start with 32 saves, improving to 10-10-2 on the season. Berube was tagged with the loss, allowing five goals on 13 Hershey shots in 24:09 of work. Niederberger earned no decision, stopping 13 of 14 shots in 35:51 of relief.
The Bears improved to 15-12-3-3 on the season.
Hershey visits the Binghamton Senators on Friday, January 10 with faceoff set for 7:05 PM. The Bears return home to face the Springfield Falcons on Saturday, January 11 at 7:00 PM. Tickets for this and all Bears home games are available at the GIANT Center box office, online at TicketMaster.com or by calling (717) 508-BEAR.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratches were RW Stanislav Galiev, D Tomas Kundratek, RW Garrett Mitchell, LW Nathan Walker and D Patrick Wey…The healthy scratches were LW Josh Brittain, D Connor Carrick, RW Joel Rechlicz and LW Derek Whitmore…Hershey finished the night 3-for-5 on the power play for the second consecutive evening, and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill...LW Nicolas Deschamps’ shorthanded goal was the Bears’ AHL-leading sixth on home ice, and seventh on the season overall (tied for second in AHL)…RW Brandon Segal’s four-point night matched D Dmitry Orlov’s season high for points in a game (October 13, 2013 at St. John’s).