HERSHEY, PA – 
A five-and-a-half-minute span in the second period saw four goals and a penalty shot.  Three of those markers came for the green-clad Hershey Bears as the luck of St. Patrick’s Day was on the home team’s side.  The rally was all the Bears needed to find gold and take the 4-2 win over Springfield.

Through the first, momentum ebbed and flowed between both squads. Vitek Vanecek made a couple of big saves and some at point-blank range. Hershey appeared as though they had gathered their legs when Springfield burned them. Off a faceoff loss for Hershey, Jeremy Langlois initially recovered the puck but failed to clear the zone. Ryan Horvat passed the puck down to the corner where Anthony Greco and Chase Balisy perfectly executed a give-and-go culminating and a top-shelf backhander by Greco for his 26th of the season.

Hershey made quick work in the second period to even the game up.  Matching Springfield’s give-and-go on their goal, Aaron Ness and Nathan Walker did the job for the Bears. Ness set up Walker who skated behind the goal and wrapped the puck home for the tying goal.

From there events came in rapid succession. With the Bears on a power play, Alex Grenier earned himself a penalty shot. Despite being denied that opportunity, Grenier refused to quit and earned a penalty call against Lucas Johansen. One second after the puck dropped on the ensuing faceoff the puck was in the Bears net. Jayce Hawrluk won the draw directly to Dryden Hunt who promptly gives the visitors a 2-1 lead.

The lead lasted all of 1:23 when Dustin Gazley flew in while shorthanded and rocketed a shot to the top corner making it a 2-2 game.

Nathan Walker went to the bottom corner 53 seconds later to give Hershey a 3-2 lead.

Chris Bourque earned himself an early trip to the showers. Amid a fracas, Bourque boarded Alex Grenier who was slow to get up. Bourque was given five and a game for the hit.  The result left Hershey in penalty trouble. Compounded by another minor putting Hershey on a lengthy five on three disadvantage.

Vitek Vanecek and the penalty killers survived the onslaught and got through the period with the 3-2 lead.

The final frame was slightly less eventful than the chaotic and hectic second period. Both Vanecek and Sam Motembault continued to trade saves with shots in tight. Twelve minutes in a shot finally broke through once again. Wayne Simpson sitting at the top of the circle settled a Liam O’Brien feed from the corner and slapped a shot past a screened Motembault for the insurance marker at 4-2. Lucas Johansen also picked up the assist, his second of the game.

Missing one of their top players for more than half of the game in Chris Bourque, lots of Bears stepped up and were noticeable. Nathan Walker put up two goals and continued to carry his lines momentum despite the loss of Bourque. Dustin Gazley, a key cog on the penalty kill was flying and picked up the tying shorthanded goal. Bowey playing in his second game back from Washington showed no fear moving the puck, making plays and getting shots. Johansen had an up and down game but ultimately made the right plays and picked up two assists. Finally, Vitek Vanecek answered the bell whenever he was called upon and made several big saves including breakaways and a penalty shot. Ultimately earned himself the third star of the game with 22 saves on 24 shots.

Motembault to his credit was pretty good in his own right stopping 25 of 29. Greco’s goal was his 26th of the season tying him for third in goal scoring behind Chris Terry and Valentin Zykov.

Hershey travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 3:05 to close out their three-in-three. Springfield meanwhile, travels to Allentown to take on the Phantoms also at 3:05 pm.

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