NORFOLK, Va. – Dane Byers and Michael Latta each recorded a goal and an assist, Nate Schmidt chipped in two assists and David Leggio made 31 saves to help the Hershey Bears snap a six-game winless skid and defeat the Norfolk Admirals by a 3-2 count on Friday night at Norfolk Scope.
It took until the second period for the offense of either team to get going, and it was Norfolk who grabbed the game’s first goal. With a superb individual effort that started in the Admirals’ zone, Devante Smith-Pelly carried through the neutral zone, faked around a Bears defenseman and deposited a chip shot into the upper-right corner over the glove of Leggio at 2:23.
The Bears, however, took less than two minutes to answer. Schmidt would carry the puck deep into the Norfolk zone, and got a shot on goal that netminder John Gibson padded aside. Latta broke free of coverage to grab the puck and fire it home, tying the game at 4:14.
Later, on the club’s second power play of the night, Hershey would forge ahead. Jeff Taffe would feed Schmidt at the center point, and from there, Schmidt made a one-touch pass to his left. Casey Wellman wasted no time in firing a one-timer inside the right post for his 15th goal of the season at 8:46.
The Bears grabbed the insurance marker at 13:15 of the third. Byers would grab a long cross-ice pass from Latta, carry to the top of the left circle and let a low shot go that deflected off of a Norfolk defenseman and past Gibson.
With Gibson on the bench for a sixth attacker, Max Friberg would slip a shot through traffic and past Leggio with less than six seconds remaining in the game, but the Bears held on from there for the win.
Leggio improves to 16-15-3 with the victory, while Gibson drops to 17-13-4 with 21 saves.
The win moves the Bears to 30-21-3-4 on the season, and pulls the team within three points of Norfolk and the division-leading Binghamton Senators.
The Bears and Admirals will play again tomorrow, March 8 at 7:15 PM at Scope. The game will again 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 and D Tomas Kundratek…The healthy scratches were RW Stanislav Galiev, D Chay Genoway, D David Kolomatis, RW Joel Rechlicz and LW Derek Whitmore…D Cameron Schilling played in the game, less than four hours after being assigned by Washington…Bears head coach Mike Haviland, Norfolk’s associate coach in 2012-2013, made his first return to Hampton Roads…Hershey finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill…C Jeff Taffe moved into the Bears’ scoring lead with an assist, and now shows 17-22-39 on the season...The Bears improved to 3-0-0-1 against the Admirals in the season series.