Pivotal Game Three between the Hershey Bears and Bridgeport Sound Tigers tonight
Hershey’s 68th AHL playoff appearance started off great, then faded to black, before the roller coaster ride would take off in a positive direction. The Bears took a 2-0 in game one against the Sound Tigers, before a quick power play goal would bring the Tigers within one at 2-1. Hershey Bears defenseman Aaron Ness would be injured as he was taken down, made contact with the goal post then went head first into the corner boards before laying still. A scary moment for the Bears, fans, and close family. Ness would be stretchered off the ice and taken to a near by hospital. The game would continue however. At the 17:52 mark of the third period Steve Bernier would score to tie the game at two a piece. The Bears and Tigers would battle through an entire first overtime with no scoring, but chances for both teams. At the 13:36 mark of the second overtime Bellows would score to give the Sound Tigers the victory and worsen the blow on the Bears who were already shaken by the loss of Ness.
The Bears had no time to think about it as they had to turn right around and take on the Sound Tigers the very next night. More adversity hit as goaltender Ilya Samsonov who was fantastic with with 49 saves would be recalled to the Washington Capitals leave Vitek Vanecek to man the pipes in game two! It would prove to be what the Bears needed as Vitek would shut out out the Sound Tigers with 39 saves. Mike Sgarbossa would give the Bears all the scoring the Bears would need midway through the first period to make it 1-0. Riley Barber would give the Bears an insurance goal early in the second period to extend the lead to 2-0.
The series now shifts back to Hershey, Pa and the home of the Hershey Bears the Giant Center. The last playoff game in Hershey was May 17, 2017 when the Bears took on the Providence Bruins in game seven of the Atlantic Division Finals. A game that Vitek Vanecek was between the pipes for in a 4-2 loss. A win tonight for the Bears would set up a potential home series clinching victory opportunity on Thursday night in Hershey. A loss would set up a must win in the best of five, and would set up a potential game five winner take all in Bridgeport on Saturday April 27th.