CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a reversal of roles from a day ago, the Hershey Bears tilted the ice in the third period of a rematch with the Charlotte Checkers in the third period. The visiting Bears pressured for nearly two full minutes in the Checkers’ zone but couldn’t break through Mack Guzda, who made 27 saves, including 12 in the final stanza, and the Checkers hung around until overtime when Chris Tierney tapped a rebound past Hunter Shepard on the rush in overtime to give the home team 3-2 win. Charlotte extends its winning streak to four games with the decision and has two overtime victories. The game was the first in the crease for Shepard, who made 31 saves.
The Bears jumped out to the lead much as they did the day before with Ethen Frank’s first goal of the season. Utilizing a new combination of lines with a few personnel changes, the speed of Mason Morelli allowed him to get past the defense and find Frank for the game’s opening goal. Charlotte would have an answer for each of Hershey’s goals, with Logan Hutsko scoring the first of two at the tail end of a power play. Zac Dalpe was able to get some time and space with a Bears defender down behind the play and fire towards the net, where Hutsko would jam the rebound past Shepard to even the score at one.
In the second, the Bears would once again jump ahead with a power play goal as Mike Vecchione would fire right onto the tape of Sonny Milano for a tap-in for his first goal in a Hershey uniform. Milano acquitted himself nicely in his first pair of games with a couple of points. It wouldn’t be long before Charlotte would tie it again with an opportunistic goal as Dalpe won the battle along the boards and found Hutsko again for his second of the night. Dalpe had another strong scoring night for the Checkers against the Bears, but the difference in sending the game to extra time was a moment in which he was stopped. At the one-minute mark in the third, Dalpe would get the puck all alone on a failed clearing attempt, but Shepard had the answer with the glove save.
The game went to overtime, but the Checkers took advantage of an odd-man rush when Tierney would finish what Hutsko started by tapping a loose puck over the goal line as Hutsko’s shot fluttered in the air off of Shepard’s shoulder and to Tierney at the side of the net for the finish. Despite a three-point night, Hutsko would not be named the game’s first star as the honor would go to Tierney for the winner. It was another case of better, but not good enough for the Bears who allowed far too many opportunities and did not capitalize on theirs. Hershey was without one of their top defenders in Aaron Ness after blocking a shot late in Friday’s game, and his status will be uncertain going into the week. Both times will be idle until Friday, when the Checkers travel to Providence to take on the Bruins while the Bears will be in Hartford to take on the Wolf Pack.
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