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AHL Game Recap/Analysis

Bears Fall in OT to Rocket

#AHL | In the first and final matchup of the year between @TheHersheyBears and @RocketLaval, the difference maker lay in the power play. Or, power plays, as it were. @FPHBears has the story.

Bears Fall in OT to Rocket

LAVAL, QC. – The first and final matchup of the year between the Hershey Bears and the Laval Rocket went the distance at Place Bell on Friday night. It was the first of two games north of the border this weekend for the Chocolate and White. The Rocket erased a two-goal Hershey lead, and Joel Teasdale completed a hat trick with the winner in overtime as host Laval skated away with two points, backed by seven power play opportunities. Bears goaltender Zach Fucale played well against his old team with 38 saves on 41 shots, while Kevin Poulin snagged the win with 25 saves in the 3-2 victory.

The Bears vaulted to a first-period lead as both teams did their damage on the power play. Joe Snively had the Hershey tally, striking for his third goal of the season and in as many games. Snively has had a point in each game since his return from the Washington Capitals to continue his impressive return to the American Hockey League level as a key contributor for the Bears. Hershey got a two-goal lead in the waning moments of the opening frame as Mike Sgarbossa got the puck on the rush and beat Poulin with only five seconds to spare in the period. With an assist on the first goal, Sgarbossa tallied his team-leading tenth multi-point game of the campaign.

Things took a dramatic shift in the second period as the Rocket was awarded five consecutive power plays in the second and third periods. To their credit, Laval took full advantage of a lengthy two-man advantage as Teasdale got credit for power play goals on both chances. On the first, Teasdale struck once just before the first penalty expired, whilethe second one was on a deflection. Both goals were assisted by Anthony Richard and William Trudeau assisted in both goals. Laval pumped 23 shots in the middle stanza at Fucale as the penalties hemmed the Bears in for large portions of the frame.

Neither team could finish the game off in regulation. Although the Bears controlled the puck for nearly the entire extra session, the game ultimately was decided on a penalty Mike Vecchione took for tripping while coming off on a line change. Teasdale scored his third goal, his tenth of the season, on the ensuing power play to end the game with a 3-2 Laval decision.

The win is Laval’s third in a row, while Hershey extended its point streak to five games by taking the game beyond regulation. It’s a game Hershey certainly would have liked to win, as the Providence Bruins won out of town to decrease the Bears’ grip on first place in the Atlantic Division to just two points. Laval keeps pace with Syracuse and extends their lead on the last playoff spot in the North Division to three points as rival Belleville fell to the Toronto Marlies on Friday night.

Speaking of the Belleville Senators, the Bears will jump on the bus and pay a visit to their former head coach, Troy Mann, for the only time this season before his club returns the favor later this season. The Rocket has another tall task on Saturday night when they play host to the Toronto Marlies, who pulled to within one point of the Bears for the Eastern Conference crown riding a seven-game winning streak. The rivalry between two proximate Canadian rivals is sure to be must-watch hockey among several intriguing AHL games on Saturday’s slate.

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