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Napravnik, Strome Lead Bears to 6-3 Win Over Phantoms

March 15, 2023

Matt Strome scored his first of the season and Julian Napravnik tallied twice, as the Hershey Bears (35-16-5-2) snapped a three-game skid with a 6-3 triumph over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (31-23-3-3) on Wednesday night at the PPL Center.

With the win, Hershey is now 9-2-0-0 against Lehigh Valley this season. The win has also reduced the Magic Number for the Bears to 11 points.


Connor McMichael knocked in a Jake Massie rebound off the left post and past Samuel Ersson at 1:54 of the first period to put Hershey up 1-0 with his 13th goal of the season. Garrett Pilon earned a secondary assist on the tally.

Garrett Wilson then tied it up at 7:59 when Zach Fucale attempted to regain control as it bounced off the end-boards to the top of the crease, but Wilson corralled the loose biscuit and put it past the netminder to make it 1-1.

Wilson scored at 7:28 of the second period to put Lehigh Valley up 2-1 when Cooper Marody fed Wilson in the slot and he beat Fucale to the blocker side for his second of the evening.

The Bears drew level when Beck Malenstyn found Strome at the left circle, and the forward snapped a low shot past the glove of Ersson at 12:01 for his first as a Bear. For Strome, it was his first goal since a two-goal performance as a member of the Phantoms on March 4, 2022 against Charlotte.

Napravnik then put Hershey ahead 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he toe-dragged the puck around a sliding Wyatte Wylie and beat Ersson stick-side for his second of the season at 12:37. Shane Gersich and Henrik Rybinski earned assists on the tally.

A good effort on the forecheck by Napravnik led to a Phantoms turnover, and Bobby Nardella’s pass along the left half-wall found Gersich in the slot, who buried his fifth of the season through the legs of Ersson at 5:38.

Wilson answered with a hat-trick goal at 9:31 on a give-and-go play that saw him deke to his backhand and beat Fucale to make the score 4-3.

Napravnik tallied his second of the night when Rybinski found his fellow rookie at the right circle during a 4-on-4 sequence and Napravnik slipped the puck through the pads of Ersson at 10:58. Lucas Johansen earned a secondary assist.

Nardella capped the scoring with an empty-net goal at 17:10 for his fifth of the season. Dylan McIlrath and Mason Morelli earned the assists; Morelli’s helper gave the forward his 100th professional point.

Shots finished 30-21 in favor of the Bears. Fucale went 18-for-21 for Hershey in his 19th victory of the season; Ersson was 24-for-29 for Lehigh Valley. The Bears were 0-for-3 on the power play; the Phantoms finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Hershey continues the 2022-23 season, presented by Penn State Health, when the Chocolate and White face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center on Friday, March 17 at 7:05 p.m. The Bears return home to GIANT Center where they will host the Rochester Americans for Hall of Fame Night and Print Works On Demand Poster Night on Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets for the game by CLICKING HERE.

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