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Bears Downed 5-2 by Phantoms

February 1, 2023

The Hershey Bears (28-10-4-1) suffered their first loss of the season to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (21-16-3-2) following a 5-2 defeat on Wednesday night at PPL Center.

The defeat was Hershey’s first to their I-78 rivals after beginning the season series with a 7-0-0-0 run; the Bears have six more games remaining on the schedule against their Atlantic Division foe.

The loss brought an end to the Bears’ season-high seven-game road point streak (6-0-1-0) that began on Dec. 17. It was also only the second time this season that Hershey has suffered consecutive losses in regulation.


The Phantoms initially appeared to have opened the scoring 5:01 into the first period, but Cooper Marody’s apparent tally washed out due to goaltender interference to Zach Fucale.

Hershey struck first when Connor McMichael won an offensive-zone faceoff at the left circle back to the point for Lucas Johansen. The defender’s shot from the blue line was deflected by McMichael past Samuel Ersson at 8:22 for McMichael’s 10th of the season.

Louie Belpedio tied the game at 6:23 of the second period when his shot from the blue line dinged in off the crossbar to make it 1-1.

Lehigh Valley then made it 2-1 with a power-play goal as Bobby Brink received a cross-crease pass and wired a shot past Fucale at 7:57.

Kevin Connauton extended the Phantoms lead to two goals as he jumped into a rush at the left circle and beat Fucale to make it 3-1 at 10:44.

Tyson Foerster pushed the Lehigh Valley lead to 4-1 with a backdoor tap-in from Artem Anisimov at 12:16.

Hershey out-shot Lehigh Valley 11-3 in the third period, and Aliaksei Protas netted his first of the season at 15:52 when he one-handed Hendrix Lapierre’s saucer pass behind Ersson for his first of the season. Garrett Pilon received a secondary assist.

Any hopes of Hershey closing the 4-2 deficit were dashed when Olle Lycksell buried an empty-net goal for Lehigh Valley at 17:17.

Shots finished 23-22 in favor of the Phantoms. Fucale went 18-for-22 for Hershey; Ersson was 20-for-22 for the Phantoms. The Bears were 0-for-1 on the power play; Lehigh Valley finished 1-for-2 with the man advantage.

Hershey continues the 2022-23 season, presented by Penn State Health, when the Chocolate and White visit the Bridgeport Islanders on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Total Mortgage Arena. The Bears are back on GIANT Center ice when they host Lehigh Valley on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. for Pennsylvania Lottery Night, featuring a coupon offer courtesy of the Pennsylvania Lottery for the first 4,000 fans 18 and over in attendance. Purchase tickets for the game by CLICKING HERE.

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