Bears Roar Past Phantoms
HERSHEY, Pa. – Travis Boyd scored twice on the power play and added an even-strength goal for his first professional hat trick while Chris Bourque and Jakub Vrana chipped in three points each, helping the Hershey Bears ease their way to a 5-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 10,216 on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
The Bears earned their first power play in two games just 3:43 into this game, and capitalized on a nifty passing play. Vrana fed a pass from the goal line out to the point for an open Bourque, who faked a shot before passing to his left. Boyd ripped the puck past Jason LaBarbera from there at 4:10 for a 1-0 lead.
Bourque made it a 2-0 game, finishing a two-on-one rush that started deep in Hershey territory. Joey Leach won a battle in the corner and moved the puck along to Chandler Stephenson, who fed Bourque before joining him up ice. Bourque skated down the right wing and snapped a shot over the glove of LaBarbera at 11:16.
Two successful penalty kills and a beautiful glove save by Justin Peters on Chris Conner kept the Bears ahead by two at the intermission.
Boyd took the spotlight in the middle period, scoring two more goals to complete the team’s second consecutive home-ice hat trick. His first goal was a shot from the left circle that sailed past LaBarbera at 9:18 that made the score 3-0.
Vrana would score a highlight-reel tally for the 4-0 lead, skating through center ice and letting a wrist shot go while surrounded by coverage. The shot flew over LaBarbera’s shoulder and into the upper-right corner.
Aaron Palushaj would momentarily stop the bleeding when he collected a short pass from Kevin Goumas, sped behind the defense and lifted a shot over Peters’ glove at 16:09.
That momentum lasted 41 seconds. Boyd’s third goal followed and was undoubtedly the most difficult. Battling coverage in the low slot, he got his stick in front of a waist-high slapper by Erik Burgdoerfer and tipped it down into the net at 16:48.
Martin Ouellette came on for the Phantoms in goal for the third period and put in a strong performance, stopping all 16 shots he faced to settle the visitors down. But without any further offense, the Bears carried their 5-1 lead to the final horn.
Peters made 26 saves and improved to 11-6-5 on the season. LaBarbera took the loss, making 10 saves on 15 shots in two periods of work and fell to 6-11-0.
The win was the club’s fourth in a row and extended its point streak to 11 games (8-0-2-1).
The Bears finish up the weekend with the only AHL game on the schedule tomorrow, February 7. The Binghamton Senators are in town for a special 2:00 PM face-off. All fans in attendance will receive a complimentary one-day pass to HERSHEYPARK, valid through July 31, 2016. Individual tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: ; The Bears scratched RW Chris Brown, RW Dustin Gazley, RW Caleb Herbert, D Tyler Lewington and D Mike Moore…The Phantoms scratched C Tim Brent, D Christian Marti, RW Michael Parks, D Logan Pyett, LW Jay Rosehill, LW Kevin Sundher and LW Petr Straka…Boyd’s hat trick was the second consecutive three-goal performance on home ice, following up Riley Barber’s trick last Saturday vs. Syracuse…The Bears have scored nine second-period goals on 16 second-period shots over the last two games…Hershey’s fourth consecutive win matched the team’s longest of the season.
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