Bellerive and Brooks Score in Playoff-Intensity Caliber Game
January 7, 2024
Hershey, PA – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms scrapped and clawed and kept working against the top team in the American Hockey League to take a 2-1 lead into the third period but the host Hershey Bears responded with a tying tally with under six minutes left before eventually snagging the overtime winner in a 3-2 decision on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
Jordy Bellerive (3rd) and Adam Brooks (1st) provided the offense as the hard-working fourth-liners scored back-to-back late in the second period to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead. But Mike Sgarbossa (7th) evened the score with 5:20 left before Alex Limoges (10th) ended the night by pushing his way through from the right wing.
The physical game had a rivalry and playoff-intensity about it throughout with extra energy provided by the large crowd in Chocolate Town on the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss Night. Cooper Marody had three big shot-blocks in the second and third period while Wade Allison, Garrett Wilson and others also sacrificed and came up with big blocks along the way as well.
Lehigh Valley (14-13-6) finished the first weekend of 2024 by taking three out of four points on the road via consecutive overtime games at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Hershey.
Cal Petersen was magnificent in net for the Phantoms with a number of tremendous stops among his 26 total saves.
Hershey (29-7-0) broke a scoreless deadlock early in the second period on Bogdan Trineyev’s sharp-angle connection from the bottom of the right circle that squeaked through Petersen for a 1-0 lead. The game was delayed for about 50 minutes for the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss Night as the Phantoms players exited the ice for the long break while the Hershey fans enjoyed the extended celebration and Teddy Bear Chaos.
When play resumed, the Phantoms kept the game close. Petersen kept up his solid work between the pipes with more strong stops.
Following a big penalty kill late in the second period, Bellerive bounced out of the box with an opportunity when a Hershey clearing try went right to him stepping in front of the blue line. The second-year Phantom was ready to unload and then quickly identified the shot-block rebound that came right back to him which was perfect for a conversion to the upper-right corner past the glove of Mitch Gibson with 4:15 remaining in the second period to forge a 1-1 tie.
The Phantoms penalty kill was stellar once again and held Hershey to 0-for-4 on the power play. Hershey is 1-for-22 against Lehigh Valley this season.
Less than two minutes later, it was Jacob Gaucher showing off his wheels as he out-raced a pair of Hershey defensemen to chase down a clear to the Hershey end. Gaucher flipped the puck out in front to Adam Brooks who was charging hard as the trailer. Brooks buried his first of the season right on top of Gibson after the hard effort of Gaucher to put the Phantoms ahead 2-1.
Both teams exchanged chances through a mostly even third period but eventually, the Bears broke through when Sgarbossa slipped underneath the defense to receive a feed from Chase Priskie. The veteran forward rifled home the equalizer from inside the left dot past the glove of the lefty-style Petersen with just 5:20 to go for a 2-2 tie.
Louie Belpedio almost won the game in overtime for the Phantoms on a connection from Wade Allison but his partial break was thwarted by Gibson. Moments later, it was Limoges up the right wing who was able to muscle his way in from the right boards despite some hard defending by Belpedio who appeared to get the stick of the Hershey winger. While on the move, the puck deflected off Limoges, perhaps off his skate, and past Petersen to the far post for the winning goal.
The Phantoms had a streak snapped of victories in three consecutive overtime decisions. Hershey has won two overtime games against the Phantoms this season.
The Phantoms return to PPL Center for the first home games of 2024 when they host the Hartford Wolf Pack and Hershey Bears back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. The 2-for-$24 ticket special provided fans the opportunity to purchase two tickets for $24 to ring in 2024.
2nd 4:15 – HER, B. Trineyev (5) (H. Haman Atkell, C. Priskie) (0-1)
2nd 15:45 – LV, J. Bellerive (3) (Unassisted) (1-1)
2nd 17:34 – LV, A. Brooks (1) (J. Gaucher, E. Andrae) (2-1)
3rd 14:40 – HER, M. Sgarbossa (7) (J. Snively, L. Johansen) (2-2)
OT 2:04 – HER, A. Limoges (10) (E. Frank, C. Priskie) (2-3)
LV 24 – HER 29
LV 0/3, HER 0/4
LV – C. Petersen (OTL) (26/29) (4-7-2)
HER – M. Gibson (W) (22/24) (2-0-0)
Lehigh Valley (14-13-6)
Friday, January 12 (7:05) – Hartford Wolf Pack at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Saturday, January 13 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Valley Youth House Night presented by Air Products
Wednesday, January 17 (7:05) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Rochester Americans
Friday, January 19 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters
Saturday, January 20 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Cleveland Monsters