HERSHEY, Pa. – Kevin Gagne tied the game with 1:02 left in regulation, and Norfolk Admirals goaltender John Gibson stopped all five Hershey Bears shooters in the shootout to add to a 40-save performance in a 4-3 victory on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
Peter Holland, assigned from the Anaheim Ducks earlier in the day, got things started for Norfolk when he sent a long-range wrist shot through traffic and past a screened David Leggio at 4:56 of the first period.
Alex Grant then scored his second goal in as many games against the Bears, with a wrist shot from the right circle that got past Leggio at 10:08.
With a sold-out house watching, the Bears played their best hockey of the season in a span of 2:49. At the 14:45 mark, Hershey would begin their comeback when Cameron Schilling’s slapper from the left point was tipped down by Ryan Stoa on its way to the Norfolk net. The puck skipped under Gibson’s glove for Stoa’s first goal of the season and Schilling’s first point.
The Bears were then awarded a lengthy two-man advantage, on which they capitalized early. Dmitry Orlov, freshly assigned from Washington, would collect a pass from Jamie Johnson and fire a high slap shot into the upper right corner at 16:09 to tie the contest.
The Bears grabbed the lead just 1:25 later on another good play by Orlov. Dane Byers, upon entering the Norfolk zone on the left side, dropped a pass to Orlov who in turn slid it right back toward the bottom of the right circle. Byers redirected the pass from a sharp angle behind Gibson for his third goal in the past four games.
The score would hold 3-2 in favor of Hershey until the final 65 seconds of regulation. With Gibson on the bench for a sixth attacker, Holland would take a shot from the left point that hit the stick of Kevin Gagne at the net front. The puck blooped over the shoulder of Leggio and into the net at 18:58 for the tying goal.
Norfolk would claim the victory when Chris Wagner beat Leggio in the fourth round of the shootout – the only player from either team to hit the back of the net.
With the loss, the Bears drop to 2-4-2-1 on the season, while Norfolk ties for the East Division lead improving to 7-2-0-3.
Leggio falls to 1-3-1 with 24 saves, while Gibson improves to 5-1-2.
The Bears host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday, November 9 at 7:00 PM. Individual tickets for this and all Hershey Bears home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or by visiting TicketMaster.com on the internet. Information on season tickets, group tickets and flex plans for the 2013-2014 Hershey Bears regular season is available by calling (717)508-BEAR.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratches were LW Josh Brittain, D Julien Brouillette and LW Matt Watkins…Healthy scratches were D Tomas Kundratek, D Patrick Wellar, RW Casey Wellman, LW John Mitchell and RW Brandon Segal (vet)…Hershey finished the night 1-for-8 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.