HERSHEY, Pa. – Michael Latta scored twice – including the game-tying and game-winning goals – helping the Hershey Bears come back and post a 3-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
Hershey would again draw first blood against the Crunch, after missing on two good scoring chances. Brandon Segal nearly made it 1-0 when he held the puck on an odd-man rush and fired a slap shot, but the puck sailed off the right goal post past the outstretched arm of netminder Cedrick Desjardins. The goaltender later robbed Latta with a glove save on his snap shot from the slot. But on a long-range chance by Julien Brouillette, Desjardins could only watch as the defenseman’s slap shot sailed under the crossbar for Brouillette’s sixth goal of the season at 16:43.
The Crunch would shake that goal off and counter less than a minute later. On a three-on-one chance, newly-assigned forward Richard Panik sent a saucer pass from the right corner to a streaking Cedric Paquette, who chipped a shot past David Leggio at 17:22.
In a penalty-marred second period, Syracuse would take their first lead of the game at the 6:13 mark. Moments after a four-on-four situation turned into a Syracuse power play, Tanner Richard emerged from the penalty box and raced to collect a pass from Paquette. Richard then snapped a shot high over Leggio for the goal on the man advantage.
The Bears settled down later in the period, cancelling another Crunch power play and then tying the contest. Steve Oleksy and Cameron Schilling would work the puck through the neutral zone, with Schilling finding Michael Latta with a short pass. Latta cut toward the high slot and fired a shot past the glove of Desjardins at 17:09.
Latta tallied the game-winner after stealing a Syracuse pass in the neutral zone. He skated toward the slot, faked a Crunch defenseman down and froze Desjardins with a wrist shot to the glove side at 12:28.
Leggio made 17 saves to improve to 13-2-2, while Desjardins falls to 5-10-2 with 23 saves.
The Bears won their fourth straight game and seventh straight at home to improve to 21-14-3-3 on the season.
Hershey wraps up the weekend hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow, January 26 at 5:00 PM. The Bears will wear Olympic-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off for charity following the game. Tickets are available by calling (717) 508-BEAR, by stopping into the GIANT Center box office or by visiting TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratches were RW Stanislav Galiev, D Tomas Kundratek, RW Garrett Mitchell and D Patrick Wellar…The healthy scratches were LW John Mitchell, D Patrick Wey and LW Derek Whitmore…Hershey finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill…The Bears’ seven-game home winning streak is the second-longest active streak in the AHL.