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Bears Defeat Monsters in Overtime

Bears Defeat Monsters in Overtime

HERSHEY, Pa. – It was deja vu at Giant Center Sunday afternoon, as the Hershey Bears and Cleveland Monsters played beyond 60 minutes for the second time in two nights. But Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and the Bears wanted to change the story in the rematch, with the Swedish forward capping the scoring off the rush to earn a 4-3 win on Sunday evening. The goal capped another tough game between two teams that are in many ways very similar, and the similarities continued as each team earned three points against each other this weekend.

Both teams faced elements of adversity in the Sweetest Place on Earth, as the Monsters were playing the third and final game of three games in as many nights, while the Bears were inserting new personnel into their lineup as injuries and recalls have plagued them heavily of late. Hershey was missing forward Kody Clark due to injury as well as Aliaksei Protas, and went with all new line combinations in this contest. The teams sported fresh netminders for the rematch, with Pheonix Copley stopping 33 of 36 shots and Daniil Tarasov making 34 saves on 38 pucks fired his way in this one.

The similarities from Saturday’s game continued on Sunday, with Cleveland once again opening the scoring with Josh Dunne burying a rebound past Copley to make it 1-0 for the visitors. The Monsters continue to get goals off the sticks of different players, as Dunne now joins six players to have two or more goals and 15 players have found the back of the net in the early going this season. Hershey struggled in the first period, and eventually tried to change momentum with a heavyweight bout between Dylan McIlrath and Brett Gallant. Gallant is no stranger to dropping the gloves in Hershey over the years, having fought the likes of Joel Rechlicz on Giant Center ice in the past.

The Bears used the momentum of the fight to bury a few goals in the second period. Jonsson-Fjallby connected on a give-and-go with Mike Sgarbossa, resulting in Sgarbossa’s third goal of the season to even the count at one. Hershey added to it less than two minutes later as Lucas Johansen launched a hard shot off a feed from Matt Moulson that was ruled to be deflected by Garrett Pilon to give the home team a 2-1 edge. Penalty trouble haunted the Bears on Halloween night, as the Monsters tied the game at three courtesy of a goal by Jake Christiansen. Hershey had finished killing off consecutive minor penalties, and the referee’s arm was up for a third when Christiansen’s blue line shot got past Copley to even the score once again.

Cleveland opened the final frame well as Liam Foudy scored with a rocket of a shot off the post just 22 seconds in to give the Monsters the early edge. The assist for Tyler Angle on the drop pass is his eighth helper of the season, and his point total leads his team after collecting one on Saturday as well. Hershey answered with a power-play goal just over 12 minutes in from defender Cody Franson, who scored his second goal in as many games on the man advantage to even the count at three as he did a day ago. Hershey was in danger of squandering an extended two-man advantage, and Franson’s goal came towards the end of the second penalty.

Overtime began with some drama as the Bears took a tripping minor at the end of regulation to set the Monsters on a four-on-three power play for a full two minutes. With the bench an extended distance in the extra session, the majority of the penalty kill was a rousing success for Copley along with Alexander Alexeyev, Michal Kempny, and Brian Pinho. Pinho made a key play to intercept and clear the puck for a line change. With no whistles in the extra frame, Mike Vecchione forced a turnover and gave the puck to Jonsson-Fjallby who wired a shot past Tarasov to give Hershey the extra point and send the Bears faithful home happy.

“I thought it was our worst start to the game all year by far,” Bears head coach Scott Allen said after the game. “I would have bet the farm that wouldn’t have happened if people could have seen the emotion, the energy, the juice in the locker room prior to heading out for that first shift. Give them credit, they came out strong and had a good push and obviously scored. After the first ten minutes we took over…when it was all said and done, Sunday afternoon was an exciting game for the fans for sure.”

“I wasn’t nervous in overtime, I had full confidence in us getting the job done on the penalty kill. If we could get the first 25-30 seconds we’d find a way to get it done and full credit goes to those four guys. Our guys played extremely sound positionally and Cleveland had to look off what they were looking for because of our positioning.”

The Bears improve to 4-1-1-1 while the Monsters drop to 4-1-1-2 on the young season. The points keep alive streaks for both teams in that regard, as the Bears have four straight with at least a point and the Monsters are up to seven games at least going beyond regulation time. Hershey opens up the month of November on Friday as they make a trip to Springfield to take on the division-leading Thunderbirds as well as a familiar face in former Bear Nathan Walker, while Cleveland returns home the same day to host the Belleville Senators.

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