HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears and Lehigh Valley Phantoms squared off in their latest matchup of the season on Sunday afternoon at Giant Center. In a back-and-forth contest, Lehigh Valley won their second game in overtime against Hershey in a 5-4 decision. The teams traded leads over the course of the game, but the Phantoms once again erased a Bears lead and won in overtime. Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves in the loss, while Zane McIntyre made 32 saves in the win for the Phantoms.
Hershey got on the board quickly, scoring 16 seconds into the game when Joe Snively fired a shot past McIntyre to make it 1-0 Bears. The goal was Snively’s first of the season. Lehigh Valley would get the game’s next three goals, with Logan Day, Zayde Wisdom, and Matthew Strome tallying for the Phantoms. Wisdom’s goal was his first at the AHL level in the last minute of the first period.
Hershey would rattle off the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead, as Cameron Schilling would tally in his first game back with the Bears, followed by a goal from Mike Sgarbossa. Hershey would take the lead when Rob O’Gara would surprise McIntyre with a backhand shot for his first Hershey goal. Lehigh Valley tallied its fourth goal when Wisdom scored his second AHL goal, picking up the puck on a bounce from a dump-in hitting off O’Gara, and beat Samsonov to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Lehigh Valley scored its second overtime goal against Hershey when David Kase scored on a mad scramble around Samsonov. All manner of pressure was on Samsonov and Kase got the loose puck for the winner.
The Bears drop the Valentine's Day matchup vs. the Phantoms in overtime. Here are the S&T Bank Highlights. ? #HBH pic.twitter.com/YKvAz2S3vm
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) February 14, 2021
In his postgame press conference, Bears head coach Spencer Carbery was not happy with how his team played in front of Samsonov.
“We completely hung him out to dry. I’ll go back through the film, but some of the puck play where we were casually throwing the puck around our defensive zone, I have not seen that in two years and a month from our group,” Carbery said. “It was certainly out of character and it put us in a really, really tough spot for our goaltender. We had puck possession, and now suddenly it’s coming back at us with a grade-A chance.”
Carbery also commented on the performance of Samsonov. “Probably the best five goals against I’ve ever seen as a coach in 11 years. I know that doesn’t give him any solace or make him feel any better, but I cannot remember five goals being given up and him making 20 grade-A saves during the game.”
Samsonov was assigned to Hershey just ahead of game time in order to get him into some action after being out of the lineup in Washington for quite some time.
Carbery certainly has a point when it comes to his team’s performance, as the Bears seemed to get better as the game went on, particularly after the third goal against and some lines were shaken up. Hershey was without defenders Paul LaDue and Eddie Wittchow, who were sidelined in Hershey’s win on Thursday over Wilkes-Barre. Schilling slotted in nicely, tallying a goal and an assist in his first game, but losing those two players hurts Hershey’s defensive depth.
Hershey is in action on Wednesday when they travel to Binghamton to meet the Devils for the first time this season, while Lehigh Valley plays the Devils on Friday for the first in a home-and-home set between the two teams.
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