The Hershey Bears, buoyed by three unanswered third period goals, stunned the Portland Pirates with a 5-4 comeback win at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
Hershey’s all-rookie line of Oskar Osala, Matthieu Perreault, and Francois Bouchard, which enjoyed considerable success earlier in the season but had recently been broken up, combined for the first goal of the game at 2:15 of the first period, with Osala finding the back of the net.
The homestanding Pirates took control of the game after Osala’s goal, receiving single tallies from Mark Mancari, Marek Zagrapan, and Marc-Andre Gragnani to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, Portland continued to pounce on the wounded Bears and goaltender, Daren Machesney, when Felix Schultz scored at 3:42 to give the Pirates a 4-1 lead.
Kyle Wilson, appearing in his 182nd consecutive game, started the Hershey comeback late in the second period when he netted his 25th goal of the season at 16:25 to make it a 4-2 game.
Mancari’s elbow infraction in the last minute of the second period gave Hershey a chance to cut further into the Portland lead before the second intermission. The Bears, although unable to register the man-up goal during the remainder of the second stanza, quickly capitalized on the remainder of the Mancari penalty when Alexandre Giroux lit the lamp 36 seconds into the third period.
With just under two minutes left in regulation, Giroux once again beat Portland net minder, Jhonas Enroth, earning his 49th strike of the season and tying the game at four at 18:33. Giroux’s “two-tally” period was the 6th time in the 2008-09 campaign that the AHL’s leading goal scorer has accomplished that feat.
Staffan Kronwall capped the Bears’ comeback at 19:21, beating his fellow countryman, Enroth, with a point blast that was assisted by Giroux and Graham Mink, a former Pirate.
Notes- Machesney, who did not allow a goal over the final 36:18 of the game, earned his 19th win of the year, surpassing Simeon Varlamov for the team lead in that category…Former Bear, Mathieu Darche, assisted on the Gragnani goal…Keith Aucoin, the AHL’s leading point producer, was held scoreless for the second straight game…Hershey finishes off their three game road swing on Sunday afternoon in Manchester.