HERSHEY, Pa. – It was the midst of a difficult stretch of hockey for the Hershey Bears, hosting the Rochester Americans in a matchup of the two oldest tenured franchises in the AHL.
Despite holding the lead, the Bears simply ran out of gas in the third period, and the Amerks got some fortune on the decisive goal to take a 4-3 decision at Giant Center. Ryan Bednard suffered the loss in his first start with the Bears, stopping 30 shots, while Michael Houser made 30 saves for the win.
Rochester got the party started with the lone goal of the first period. Ryan MacInnis scored on a backdoor tap-in on the first shot of the game. MacInnis got a perfect pass from Sean Malone to get the goal, his fifth of the season. Hershey was playing its third game in three nights amidst a challenging set of playing five games in six nights leading up to the Christmas break, and it seemed to take a toll on the home team. Rochester outshot Hershey by a 12-6 count in the frame.
The Bears got their scoring in the second period, starting with a goal from Ryan Dmowski for the second straight game. Garrett Pilon set up Dmowski for his third of the season on a very similar play to Saturday’s game. Later in the second, Bobby Nardella tallied his third goal of the season and second in as many nights on a screened shot to give Hershey the lead. Hershey drastically turned around the middle frame, outshooting Rochester 17-6 and opening the third with Pilon’s eighth of the season to extend the lead to two.
However, Rochester continued to press and get a few pucks past Bednard to bring the game even at three. Payton Krebs scored his first of two goals to get the Amerks back in things, and Ethan Prow got the equalizer on an odd-man rush with a perfect feed from Michael Mersch. With the game in the balance, the decisive goal came in a bit of controversy as the puck got tangled in the skates of the linesman at the Hershey blue line. With the Bears starting to break out of the zone, the puck remained in, and Brendan Warren found Krebs again for the game-winner.
In a battle of the two oldest teams in the AHL, the Rochester Americans came out with the victory, earning a comeback 4-3 win over the Bears on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/ZbvlV2BNUq
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) December 20, 2021
“I’m always disappointed after a loss,” Bears head coach Scott Allen said after the game. “Certainly, the way we lost the game makes it a tougher pill to swallow. I’m proud of our compete level, talk about a three-in-three that’s six games in nine days up to this point is certainly not an easy task. It’s going to be tough for me to sleep tonight I can guarantee you that, but we’ll have to move by it.”
“We’re certainly not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. I will not use the six games in nine nights as an excuse. It is what it is, and we’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
The only bit of good news to soften the blow of the day’s defeat was the positive impact of Joe Snively on the Washington Capitals in his National Hockey League debut, registering an assist after receiving the recall mere hours before Saturday’s contest. Hershey saw a few streaks snapped in the loss, such as Mike Vecchione’s point streak ending at eight games and the team’s three-game win streak halted. Rochester won its second in a row and second against Hershey this season. The road doesn’t get any easier for Hershey, who will get set for a home and home set with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Rochester begins a homestand hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday.
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