The Bears concluding their Canadian swing with a tough test against AHL leading Toronto. A real battle by both sides that saw an ice delay that ended the second early. The odd event wasn’t enough to cool off the red-hot Bears as they take down the Marlies on Monday afternoon.

It was the Marlies opening the scoring in this one on a power-play. It was a comedy of errors for Hershey. Connor Hobbs and Colby Williams collided stepping up just inside the blue line. Hobbs swatted the puck as he went down and it Miro Aaltonen’s stick and slide away. Unfortunately for Hershey, the loose puck hit Zach Sill’s skate and bounced right back to Aaltonen in the slot and he blasted it past Pheonix Copley for the 1-0 Toronto lead.

The Marlies earned another power play but Copley and the Bears put in an exerted effort block shots and kept them off the board. The Bears failed to score on a power play of their own despite a couple of decent looks. Garret Sparks was on his game and stoned Zach Sill on a breakaway to keep the game 1-0 after one.

The Marlies came out with furious pressure to start the second period but they couldn’t solve Pheonix Copley. When Hershey finally got an opportunity they made no mistakes. First, it was Tyler Lewington adjusted and fired a puck from the right point into a ton traffic in front of Sparks. Just as he hoped, one of the Bears in front, Tyler Graovac, got a piece of it and it eluded Sparks to even the game at 1-1.

Hershey kept up the sudden momentum by scoring 1:54 after the first goal. Colby Williams pinching in, was knocked to the ice. While lying on the ice, Williams deked the puck around a defender impressively and found Jeremy Langlois in front. He finished it off to give Hershey the 2-1 lead. It was his first goal since returning from his lengthy upper-body injury and third of the season.

Nathan Walker continued the stunning rally with his team on the power play. Connor Hobbs unleashed a slap pass to Joe Whitney who alertly tipped the puck to Walker. The Australian was perfectly positioned directly in front of Sparks and buried the pass five-hole making it a 3-1 Hershey lead.

The Marlies began tilting the ice back in their favor and pinning Hershey in the zone forcing an icing. As the Bears raced for the puck they noticed a divot in the ice along the boards to the right of their bench. The officials decided to flood the ice and have an intermission with 4:51 to go. It was to be concluded immediately preceding the third period.

In the third period, Hershey seemed to have shifted the game back in their favor. They earned a power play after a delay of game penalty. The Marlies turned the tables though as they caught four Bears below the circle and rushed up with a short-handed four-on-one break. Rinat Valiev took the pass from Aaltonen and scored cutting the lead to 3-2.

The Marlies goal would be as close as they came in this one. A back and forth affair and hard fought by both sides. Copley answered the bell when called and Hershey did a good job of keeping the puck in the Toronto end.

Liam O’Brien ice the game with a pair of empty-net goals in the final 1:25 of the third. Hershey hung on to win 5-2 good for their fourth straight win. It is the first time the team has won four straight this season.

Pheonix Copley now as consecutive wins after the shutout over Belleville on Saturday. It is the first time since December 29/January 6th that Copley has won two consecutive starts. He stopped 27 of 29 shots he faced.

For Garrett Sparks, the Marlies goalie takes the loss with 22 saves on 25 shots. After a stretch of nine wins in ten games, Sparks has lost two in a row.

Hershey starts up a three-in-three next Friday on the road in Hartford. They’ll look to continue their improbable climb against the team directly ahead of them in the Division. Toronto remains in Ontario for an 11 am game against Binghamton before closing out the weekend with a home and home with Rochester Saturday and Sunday.

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