CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Brandon Segal’s first Hershey Bears goal ended up as the game-winner, while Jeff Taffe, Casey Wellman and Ryan Stoa joined Segal with multiple-point games in a 5-3 victory over the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Bears faced some pressure from the Checkers early, but shrugged it off to take the lead just 6:15 into the game. Tyson Strachan’s shot from the right point was deflected from the hash marks by Nathan Walker past Checkers starting netminder Rick DiPietro. The goal was also set up by Taffe.
Stoa made it a 2-0 Hershey lead at the 14:28 mark. Segal started a transition play and then fed Stoa for a chance down the right wing. Stoa deked to his backhand and sent a sharp-angle shot toward DiPietro’s crease. The puck deflected into the net off of a Checkers defenseman for Stoa’s third goal in his last four games.
On the Bears’ first power play chance of the night in the second period, Wellman blasted a shot over the blocker of DiPietro at 3:03 for a 3-0 advantage.
DiPietro would then attempt to put his glove on a shot sent toward him from the left corner by Derek Whitmore. The goaltender couldn’t cover up, allowing Segal to grab the puck, wait DiPietro out and slip a shot inside the right post at 9:09 for a 4-0 lead.
Charlotte’s Michal Jordan got the home team on the board at 10:17 with a long-range power play shot that sailed through a screen and past goaltender David Leggio.
But the Bears answered right back, scoring on their second power play of the night. Taffe was allowed room to walk out of the right wing corner, and his stuff attempt slipped under DiPietro’s right arm and into the net at 11:33. John Muse would come on in relief of DiPietro and would turn aside the remaining nine shots that Hershey sent his way.
The move brought some life to the Checkers as Adam Brace beat Leggio with a shot over his blocker off of a Brett Sutter faceoff win at 14:31.
The Checkers fired 21 third-period shots at Leggio but the only one to beat him was Elias Lindholm’s first AHL goal. His off-wing shot from the left circle sailed into the net off of Leggio’s glove at 18:39. Muse would be pulled for a sixth attacker but the Bears held on for the win.
Leggio made 37 saves to improve to 2-3-1 on the season, while DiPietro dropped to 0-3-0, stopping 10 of 15 shots in 31:33 of work.
With the win, the Bears (4-4-2-2) pulled within five points of the Norfolk Admirals, who hold fourth place in the East Division, and within six points of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Senators.
The Bears will take on the Charlotte Checkers again tomorrow, November 14 at 7:00 PM. Fans may listen to the game live on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WTKT-AM 1460, WRBT-FM HD-2 94.9, and on the Bears mobile app for Apple and Android devices.
The Bears next home game is set for Saturday, November 23 at 7:00 PM against the Binghamton Senators. The first 5,000 fans will receive a car magnet courtesy of M&T Bank. 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 D Julien Brouillette, C Jamie Johnson, D Tomas Kundratek and RW Joel Rechlicz…D Chay Genoway was out due to illness…Healthy scratches were LW Dane Byers, LW T.J. Syner and D Patrick Wey…Hershey finished the night 2-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill…D Tyson Strachan served as a third alternate captain in Byers’ absence...C Jeff Taffe’s first period assist was the 300th of his AHL career.