HERSHEY, PA – 
Hershey riding the two-game win streak and picking up points in four straight started the game with confidence. Then they ran into Sam Montembeault who put them in their place with authority.   A tight defensive one-goal game, of course, required overtime but would end on a somewhat controversial play.

They jumped out to a 6-0 shot advantage and earning consecutive power plays. Unfortunately for the Bears, something which normally shifts the momentum in your favor blew up on them.  Springfield turned the game in their favor on their second penalty killing chance. Travis Boyd turned a puck over in his offensive zone. Alexandre Grenier rushed up the ice and into the Bears zone. He fired a shot at a tough angle below the circle that eluded Pheonix Copley giving Springfield the 1-0 lead. The short-handed goal was the first Hershey has surrendered this season and the sixth the Thunderbirds have scored.

The second period largely was characterized by defensive play. Both sides struggled to handle bouncing pucks and keep their sticks in their hands. Motembault and the Thunderbirds Penalty kill continued to be the story stymieing the bears.

Not until late in the third did the Bears finally breakthrough. Colby Williams spotted John Albert open in the neutral zone. Albert accepted the pass and flew over the line. Defender Mark Fayne laid on the ice an attempt to take the pass away but Albert dragged the puck around the sliding defensemen and fed Dustin Gazley. Gazley one-timed the pass home to even the game at one apiece at 14:38.

Hershey carried the momentum from there sending a season-high 17 shots on goal in the third. Despite a couple close calls, neither team could find the back of the net for the remainder of regulation.

The game would end in controversial fashion. Copley came out of his net to cover a loose puck and had it under his glove very briefly. Bobby Farnham collided with the Bears netminder jarring the puck free from beneath his glove allowing a pass to be sent to Rob Hamilton at the point. Hamilton got the puck back to Farnham who scored the game-winner with two minutes to go in overtime. Hershey was very upset with the call but the goal stood without a review.

Bears coach Troy Mann was a little frustrated by a noncall on the goal.

“Bourque got an explanation that they can’t review that play and that was really it… Not quite sure what happened there.  Probably felt that there should’ve been a whistle there because (Farnham) kneed our goalie in the head to break the puck away there so not sure, said Mann.

Montenbault was outstanding stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced. His team was outshot 17-4 in the third period. Copley will want to forget the first goal on a tough angle but finished with 21 saves on 23 shots.

The goal by Gazley marked his 100th point as a member of the Bears.

It was a forgetful night for Hershey’s power play units. The team went 0-5 with the extra man and allowed a shorthanded goal which was Hershey’s first of the year.

Despite the overtime loss, Hershey now has points in five consecutive games. A loss by Bridgeport further helps their cause to get back in the division race.

“Nights like tonight you’re going to look back and wish you got the second one but certainly we’ve put a little bit of a stretch together here in terms of getting points. It’s going to have to continue, we’re going to have to have a big January here to give ourselves a chance in February and March to make a push for the fourth spot,” said Mann.

Hershey finishes out the week with a home-and-home set with Lehigh on Saturday and Sunday starting in Allentown on Saturday. Springfield meanwhile will have the weekend’s first crack at the Phantoms as they’ll travel to Allentown on Friday. The Thunderbirds and Bears will reconvene in a week’s time up in Springfield on the 17th.

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