(Hershey, PA) … In a meeting between the American Hockey League’s two oldest teams, the Hershey Bears (25-13-2-3) scored three times in the third period on their way to a 4-1 win over the Rochester Americans (21-13-2-4) Sunday in the weekend finale at Giant Center.
The matchup, which was the 460th all-time meeting among the league’s cornerstone franchises, results in a season split for the two teams after the Amerks prevailed with a 5-1 victory in the only other get-together with the Bears back on Oct. 23 in Rochester.
Despite the loss, the Amerks show a 16-10-1-3 record over their last 30 games dating back to Nov. 1, earning points in 20 games over that span. Rochester remains just six points out of first place behind the Utica Comets and are four points back of the Belleville Senators in the AHL’s North Division standings to close out the weekend. The Amerks also have two games in hand on the Comets and one on the Senators following Sunday’s contest.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Forward Remi Elie provided the lone Amerks tally in the final minute of regulation with his fourth of the season from Jean-Sebastien Dea while rookie goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (0-1-1) made his second appearance of the weekend. The Finnish netminder made 32 saves but suffered the loss.
Tyler Lewington registered his second straight two-point (0+2) outing for Hershey while Martin Fehervary, Brian Pinho and Garrett Pilon all chipped in a goal. Riley Sutter rounded out the scoring as he netted his first professional goal. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of 31 shots he faced to improve to 13-7-1 on the season.
Trailing by a goal early in the third period, Andrew Oglevie left a drop pass for Will Borgen just inside the Hershey blueline. The Amerks defenseman neatly maneuvered around a Bears’ skater before dishing a back-door feed to Casey Mittelstadt, but the tap-in attempt skipped across the goal-line and off the right post, keeping Rochester off the board.
Less than three minutes later, Hershey increased its lead to 3-0 with a pair of goals 56 seconds apart as Pinho and Pilon each scored from nearly the same spot for their 12th and 11th goals of the season, respectively.
The Bears added their final tally at the 13:48 mark of the third period when Sutter wrapped around Luukkonen’s cage and slipped the puck between the left pad and near post to make it a four-goal Hershey advantage.
With the game out of reach and less than a minute remaining in regulation, Elie snapped a shot off the glove of Vanecek to break the shutout for his fourth of the season at the 19:32 mark. Dea picked up the lone assist, his team-leading 28th point of the season.
Following a scoreless first period, Fehervary put the home team on the board as he backhanded a shot from the right of the goal-mouth of the Amerks net to give Hershey a 1-0 lead with 4:28 left in the middle stanza.
The Amerks return to action for their final three games before the annual All-Star break beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 22 when they travel to Cleveland for a rematch against the Monsters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: R. Elie (4)
HER: M. Fehervary (4), B. Pinho (12), G. Pilon (11), R. Sutter (1)
ROC: U. Luukkonen – 32/36 (L)
HER: V. Vanecek – 30/31 (W)
ROC: PP (0/5) | PK (5/5)
HER: PP (0/5) | PK (5/5)
1. V. Vanecek (HER)
2. T. Lewington (HER)
3. R. Sutter (HER)