HERSHEY, Pa. – Jon DiSalvatore had a three-point evening, Jeff Taffe registered the game-winning goal and added an assist, and Zach Hamill extended a point streak with two points of his own as the HERSHEY BEARS powered past the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-2 on Friday night at GIANT Center.
The Sound Tigers, who entered the game ranked 30th on the road in penalty killing, took care of the two HERSHEY chances in the opening period to keep the hosts off of the scoreboard.
Then, Bridgeport struck for the game’s opening goal at 5:50 of the second period. Johan Sundstrom followed up the rebound of his own long shot on goaltender Braden Holtby, slamming it underneath the netminder for a 1-0 Sound Tigers lead.
With time ticking down in the period, Taffe and DiSalvatore worked the puck out of the right corner after a Bridgeport turnover. DiSalvatore found Hamill camped at the left of the goal crease for a slam-dunk past Bridgeport goaltender Anders Nilsson at 19:26 and a tie game.
The BEARS took their first lead of the night at 6:01 of the third, after failing on a full two minutes of a two-man advantage. Ryan Potulny kept the puck alive in the left corner and then fed Dmitry Orlov. Orlov passed to the high slot for Tomas Kundratek, who found the inside of the right post with a low slap shot that beat Nilsson and gave the BEARS a 2-1 edge.
But just 47 seconds later, Bridgeport’s Jordan Hill tied the game back up on a hard individual effort. Colin McDonald set up Hill with a soft pass at the Sound Tigers blue line. Hill then did the rest, carrying down the right wing, avoiding a hip check and firing a wrist shot through traffic from the slot.
Later in the period, the BEARS put the game out of reach on Taffe’s sixth goal of the season. Taffe led an odd-man rush down the left wing and let a slap shot go that beat Nilsson over the glove hand at 14:22.
Not long afterward, the BEARS earned their seventh power play of the night and finally cashed in. Off of a faceoff win by Boyd Kane, Orlov collected the puck and passed to McNeill at the left point. McNeill sent a hard slap shot sailing past Nilsson at 16:19 for the insurance tally.
DiSalvatore then hit the empty net at 19:44 to cap off his three-point evening and send the BEARS to the 5-2 win.
HERSHEY ended the night 1-for-7 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Holtby won his third consecutive game and improved to 7-6-0, making 24 saves on 26 shots. Nilsson stopped 27 of 31 shots to fall to 4-2-0.
The BEARS remain home tomorrow, December 1 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Norfolk Admirals. Saturday is WGAL Teddy Bear Toss Night, and all fans are asked to bring a stuffed toy to toss onto the ice after the BEARS score their first goal.
Tickets for this game and all HERSHEY BEARS home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or online at TicketMaster.com.