HERSHEY, Pa. – Tyson Strachan scored in the 12th round of the shootout, and David Leggio added a 10th shootout save to his 32 in regulation and overtime, helping the Hershey Bears complete a brief two-game homestand perfectly with a 2-1 win over the St. John’s IceCaps on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
The two teams battled in an entertaining first period, but the first 20 minutes ended scoreless. Leggio made his best saves of the game on former Bears forward Andrew Gordon, who took a nifty pass from Jason Jaffray and got two shots from in close.
The Bears then opened up the scoring at 1:25 of the second. IceCaps netminder Tyler Beskorowany was forced to make a save on his own teammate, who inadvertently deflected a Cameron Schilling shot on goal. Taffe picked up the rebound and backhanded it home for his 18th tally of the season.
St. John’s would level the score just over five minutes later. Ben Chiarot had the puck just inside the blue line at the left point, and let fly with a long wrist shot. The puck deflected twice on its way past a screened Leggio at 6:30, with credit for the goal going to Kyle MacKinnon.
The IceCaps outshot the Bears 11-6 in the third, and 4-0 in overtime on the strength of a power play, but Leggio stood tall.
Ryan Stoa opened the scoring with his eighth shootout tally of the season to give the Bears the lead, but he was answered right away by Jerome Samson. The IceCaps went ahead on Carl Klingberg’s third-round tally, and held the lead until Dane Byers scored in the top of the fifth round. From there, Leggio denied his next eight opponents while Strachan’s backhander found the back of the net. Leggio’s final stop on Austen Brassard preserved the victory.
Leggio’s fifth shootout win of the season was his 20th overall, as he improved to 20-17-3. Beskorowany fell to 4-2-1 with 26 saves on 27 shots.
The win, coupled with another Norfolk Admirals regulation loss at home to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, brings the Bears within one point of the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.
The Bears will begin a season-long five-game road trip in Lewiston, Maine to wrap up their season series with the Portland Pirates on Wednesday, April 2. Faceoff from Androscoggin Bank Colisee is set for 7:00 PM.
The team returns home for Fan Appreciation Night on Sunday, April 13, a 5:00 PM matchup with the Binghamton Senators. All fans will earn a complimentary one-day pass to HERSHEYPARK valid through July 31, 2014, and all fans will have a chance to win great prizes as well. 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 D Nate Schmidt and RW Brandon Segal…The healthy scratches were D Julien Brouillette, F Caleb Herbert, RW Joel Rechlicz and LW Nathan Walker…Hershey finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill…C Ryan Stoa pulled into a tie for the league lead in shootout goals…G David Leggio entered the night tied for fifth in the league in shootout wins…C Jeff Taffe reclaimed the Bears’ goal-scoring lead with his 18th goal of the season.