While the taste of victory is always sweet on one side, it leaves a bitter taste on the loosing end. The Hershey Bears on Saturday rematch-ed the Adirondack Phantoms a night after blowing a late third-period lead in the outdoor classic. They erupted for three third-period goals and revenged the Phantoms 5-2 in front of a Giant Center sell-out crowd of 10,815.
Saturday night hockey has been a tradition in Hershey for 74 years. For Philadelphia franchises, the tradition is cheesesteaks and winning, or at least coming close to winning. In 2009 the beloved Philadelphia Phantoms’ franchise moved to Glens Falls in up-state, New York. Fans of the former Philadelphia Phantoms made the short ride to Hershey to see the two former rivals face-off once more.
8:13 into the opening 20 minutes, Andrew Rowe sent a pass through the slot that hit the skate of Dany Richmond in front. Similar to the night before, the Phantoms’ hit pay-dirt for the first time on a pass through the slot get tipped on the door-step of the net. Friday it was Zack Miskovic deflecting the puck into his own cage off his knee pad. Richmond got a piece of the puck with his skate blade.
Right when the Bears looked deflated and were about to go into the middle period down a goal, Chris Bourque stormed the far wing after Keith Aucoin won a puck battle along the boards. Bourque fired a wrist shot through the wickets of Michael Leighton to tie the game at 1-1 with 32 seconds left in the stanza. It was Hershey’s league leading 8th shorthanded mark of the season, following a Ryan Potulny penalty.
Into the middle frame both teams tallied within the first five minutes to extend the score to 2-2. Boyd Kane gave the Bears their first lead of the night off a beautiful tip in front of Leighton off a Patrick McNeil shot from the point. Only 2:28 later at the 4:57 mark, Tyler Brown was left uncovered on a 2-on-2 rush and received a pass wide open on the back-door side. He slipped a soft shot low, past Dany Sabourin to foil Hershey’s short-live lead.
Shots after two periods were 24-20 in favor of Adirondack, with each team facing one power-play opportunity.
Into the final frame with the game close all night long, the Giant Center sell-out crowd entered the heads of the young Adirondack Phantoms team. After drawing a penalty in the opening minute of the stanza, Jacob Micflikier from the right face-off dot wrist-shotted a quick laser top-shelf, glove-side on Michael Leighton. It proved to be the game-winner as less than seven minutes later, Julien Brouillette tallied his sixth of the campaign to give the Bears their first two-goal lead of the night.
Minutes later, Patrick McNeil provided “icing on the cake” tapping in the puck into a wide open net after a beautiful centering pass across the slot from Keith Aucoin. It was Aucoin’s 50th assist of the season in only his 35th game played. The Phantoms, once known as the “Minor-League Broad Street Bullies” then grew frustrated and lived up to their title.
Both teams soon got into a line brawl that started right in front of the Adirondack bench. Tom Sestito who jawed with Joel Rechlicz all game long was on the bench when the scrum started, but felt it was the proper time to get a begin throwing hay-makers at Rechlicz who was on the ice. Soon the entire Phantoms’ bench was throwing punches creating chaos. At the 16:30 mark of the third period alone, both teams combined for 108 penalty minutes.
Suspentions and fines were handed out to both teams. Rechlicz was given a one-game suspension for his action and did not play the following night at Giant Center against the Rochester Americans.
With Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren looking on from the press box, the Phantoms dropped a 5-2 decision taking one out of two from Hershey in a two-day stretch.