HERSHEY, Pa. – Zack Boychuk hit the empty net with less than two seconds left in regulation to cap off a hat trick, and Justin Peters provided a 37-save effort to send the Charlotte Checkers to a 6-3 victory over the Hershey Bears on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
The Bears were three seconds away from getting to the first intermission scoreless, but two late penalties against the hosts put them two men down. Chris Terry would grab an Aaron Palushaj cross-ice pass and rip a shot past David Leggio at 19:57, putting Charlotte on top at the intermission.
Charlotte cashed in on another power play chance to make it a 2-0 game at 7:33 of the second period. Mark Flood would float a shot from the right point through abundant traffic, and the puck found the upper-right corner of the net.
Less than three minutes later, a slap shot from rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy would sail past Leggio for a 3-0 lead.
The Bears finally solved Peters at the 16:23 mark of the second period. Jeff Taffe stepped into a slap shot from the left side, and the puck beat Peters to the glove side for Taffe’s team-leading 17th goal of the season.
Tyson Strachan would cut the deficit to one, when he held the puck just onside and set a wrist shot toward the net. The puck deflected up into the air, and landed in the net at 7:08 of the third period.
The Bears would draw no closer than one goal however, as Boychuk scored his first two goals on the night in a span of 7:26 to put Charlotte ahead 5-2.
Ryan Stoa would backhand a loose puck from the top of the crease past Peters at 16:45, but Boychuk’s empty-netter would seal the win.
Leggio stopped 20 of 25 shots, and his record fell to 15-15-3 on the season. Peters improved to 3-1-1 with the win.
The Bears winless slide hit six games as the club’s record stands at 29-21-3-4.
The Bears will play their first road games of the season in Hampton Roads next Friday, March 7 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, March 8 at 7:15 PM, a pair of contests against the Norfolk Admirals from the Norfolk Scope. Both games will be simulcast on the Bears Radio Network and on ABC-27’s RTV channel 27.2, Comcast 246, Verizon Fios 461, Blue Ridge 152 and Kuhn 67 in Central Pennsylvania.
The club returns home on Saturday, March 15 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Adirondack Phantoms.
Tickets for this and all remaining home games 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 Garrett Mitchell, D Tomas Kundratek and D Cameron Schilling…The healthy scratches were D Chay Genoway, LW John Mitchell, D Steve Oleksy, RW Joel Rechlicz, D Patrick Wellar and LW Derek Whitmore…RW Casey Wellman played in the game, less than four hours after being assigned by Washington…D Jack Hillen, in for his second game on a conditioning loan from Washington, netted his first two assists for the Bears… Bears head coach Mike Haviland was ejected from the game at the 10:15 mark of the second period, with assistant coach Ryan Mougenel taking over the rest of the game…Hershey finished the night 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-6 on the penalty kill.