The Hershey Bears and Adirondack Phantoms played a see-saw game Friday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center, but the Phantoms pulled out the 5-3 win with a third period game-winning goal by Joey Mormina.
Mormina scored his fourth goal of the season on a power play, with Steve Pinizzotto sitting in the box due to a cross-checking call, to give the Phantoms a 4-3 lead at 9:48 of the third period on asssists from David Laliberte and Patrick Maroon. Jared Ross added an empty netter for the Phantoms with 12 seconds left in the third. It was his sixth goal of the season on assists from Laliberte and Mormina.
After a relatively docile two periods the third looked more like a normal Phantoms-Bears game with some crushing checks on both sides and a lot of chippy play after whistles.
The Phantoms came out strong in the second period, keeping Hershey off balance and potting three goals to close out the period, 3-3. Joonas Lehtivuorio got Adirondack on the scoreboard at 6:14 of the second on assists from Patrick Maroon and Jon Matsumoto. Phantoms forward Jason Ward tied it at 2-2 with his 10th goal of the season at 12:03 on assists from Jonathan Kalinski and Andreas Nodl. Also in the second, Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux took advantage of a power play and gave the Bears a 3-2 lead with his second goal of the game on assists from Keith Aucoin and Chris Bourque. But the Phantoms used a power play of their own to knot it at 3-3 as Adirondack’s Laliberte tallied his 12th goal of the season, with an assist from Lehtivuori at 17:34.
The second period seemed to drag on as Referee Ryan Fraser started calling a very close game on both teams, assessing seven penalties after only whistling two in the first period — both of those against Adirondack. The Phantoms weren’t pleased with several of the calls and their frustration reached a peak when Mormina was tagged with a misconduct for his complaints directed at Fraser.
Giroux opened the scoring at 6:30 of the first period with his 28th goal of the season on an unassisted goal. A little more than four minutes later, Francois Bouchard made it 2-0 with his 14th goal on assists from Bourque and Mathieu Perreault.
Braden Holtby (37 saves on 42 shots) took the loss for the Bears and dropped to 17-4-1, while Johan Backlund (15 saves on 18 shots) got the win to improve to 18-11-2.
Friday night was the opening contest for the Bears who are on a three games in three nights stretch. Hershey will continue the active schedule with seven games in 10 days through the end of February.