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Bears Down Checkers in Comeback

Bears Down Checkers in Comeback

HERSHEY, Pa – At times, it looked like a familiar script for the Hershey Bears with demons of previous losses in Sunday’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Giant Center, but the Chocolate and White used a strong defensive performance and timely scoring to down the Charlotte Checkers by a 4-2 count. Mike Sgarbossa scored twice, and Joe Snively had the eventual game-winner to earn a key win in an Atlantic Division tilt. Pheonix Copley made 24 saves for the win while Chris Gibson made 15 saves in the loss.

For the Bears, it was a familiar storyline to open the scoring as Cale Fleury scored on the first power play of the night to give the Checkers a 1-0 lead. The goal came a week after Charlotte tallied four goals on the man advantage and exposed Hershey a bit, but the home team clamped down for the remaining four opportunities. One such opportunity was on a five- on-three disadvantage for Hershey for about a minute and a half where a key save by Copley built some momentum and kept the score close. The Bears flexed their power play muscle in the second period when Matt Moulson scored his second of the season deflecting a shot from Cody Franson to even the score at one in the second period.

However, Charlotte would strike back to reclaim the lead just under a minute later when Gustav Olofsson scored on a rebound of a Zac Dalpe shot to restore the Checkers’ advantage. Hershey was able to get a response in the late going of the second period when Sgarbossa scored his first of the game by stashing a loose puck past Gibson to even the game once again at two. Sgarbossa’s performance has been great in recent times, scoring five goals in the last six games after tonight’s game.

Hershey would take its first lead just under three minutes into the third on another power play when Snively ripped a snap shot past Gibson, a perfectly placed shot to continue his hot streak to make it 3-2 Bears. Snively has risen to the occasion in the wake of Hershey’s recent personnel issues, notching his third three-point game of the season with a goal and two assists totaling ten points in his last six games. Snively’s recent hot streak comes after just three points in his first nine games and now has 13 points in 15 games.

It was a familiar script given Hershey’s previous game a day before with a 3-2 lead, but the Bears clamped down in this game thanks to some team defense that won’t show up on the box score. A few players stepped up to block shots and preserve the lead, and Sgarbossa capped off the night with a long-range empty-net goal to seal the deal at 4-2. The win lifts Hershey back into third place in the Atlantic Division while Charlotte falls to sixth, although the margin for positioning is as narrow as possibly could be.

Hershey is back in action on Wednesday when it hosts the Providence Bruins on a Thanksgiving Eve showdown, while Charlotte will return home to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday.

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