Bears Fall to Phantoms in Season Opener, 7-2
October 7, 2017A four-goal third period, and a hat trick from Danick Martel, propelled the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to a 7-2 win over the Hershey Bears in the opening game of the 2017-18 season. Hershey got goals from Chandler Stephenson and John Albert in the loss Saturday night at the PPL Center.
The first period play was paced by Lehigh Valley, as the home team outshot Hershey 14-5. Martel was able to strike just 2:19 into the game to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead.
A back-and-forth second period saw Hershey strike twice. Stephenson scored Hershey’s first goal of the new campaign, tying the score at 9:54 of the middle period. Hershey defender Colby Williams intercepted a pass on the boards and found Stephenson open in the slot. He beat a sprawled Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon to make it 1-1.
After the Phantoms got a second goal from Martel at 11:14 on a redirection, Hershey responded again. Albert was in the right place at the right time on the power play for his first goal with the Bears. Hershey’s Wayne Simpson let a shot go from the slot that Lyon stopped, but the rebound sat loose. Albert chopped at the loose puck and found the back on the net to make it 2-2 at 17:34. Williams also added his second assist for the Bears.
The tie would not last long however. At 18:51, Nic Aube-Kubel scored for the Phantoms to regain the lead for Lehigh Valley. Defender T.J. Brennan broke his stick on a slap shot from the right point for Lehigh Valley. The shot was tipped and knuckled past Milner’s left pad to give Lehigh Valley a lead they would never relinquish.
The Phantoms sealed the win with four goals in the final frame. Lehigh Valley’s Phil Varone scored just 33 seconds into the third period to make it 4-2, and the Phantoms never looked back. Greg Carey scored on a wrist shot over the glove of Milner at 17:36, and Reece Willcox added an empty net goal at 18:03 to make it 6-2. Martel added the exclamation point for the sold-out crowd of 8,643, beating Hershey’s Lucas Johansen to a loose puck, and scoring short-side on Milner at 18:31 to complete the hat trick.
Each team fired 31 shots in the contest. Hershey was 1-for-4 on the power play while Lehigh Valley was held to 0-for-3.
The Bears were without top two goaltenders Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek in Saturday’s game. Both missed the contest with minor lower-body injuries.
Hershey returns to the ice next Saturday, Oct. 14 for opening night at the Giant Center versus the Belleville Senators at 7 p.m. Information on the game, as well as the 2018 Capital BlueCross Outdoor Classic, full season tickets, 22-game and 12-game plans and flex-10 ticket plans for the 2017-2018 season is available now by calling (717) 508-BEAR or by visiting HersheyBears.com. Flexible ticket plans start as low as $195 per seat.
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