HERSHEY, Pa. – Nathan Walker's first American Hockey League goal pushed the Hershey Bears to a strong game out of the gate, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
Walker's tally came just 1:35 into the game, and occurred while Norfolk defenseman Nolan Yonkman attempted to engage Bears captain Dane Byers in a scrap well behind the play. With some open ice as a result, Walker skated over the blue line and sent a hard snap shot beyond the reach of Admirals goaltender Igor Bobkov.
Midway through the period, Norfolk tied the score on a power play. The puck came quickly to the left point, where Alex Grant ripped a long-range slap shot into the upper right corner past netminder David Leggio at 12:10.
Norfolk took a 2-1 lead at 5:35 of the second, when Brett Skinner's shot from the left point deflected twice – once off of a leg and the second off of the skate of Zack Stortini who was stationed at the net front.
On Hershey's third power play of the game, the club hit paydirt and tied the game. Julien Brouillette would lead a carry through the neutral zone and deep into the right faceoff circle of the offensive end. His short-range backhand shot would beat Bobkov between the pads at 6:47 for his second point of the night.
Then with time winding down in the second, the Bears earned a crucial goal that gave the team life heading into the intermission. Peter LeBlanc would hold the puck inside the right faceoff circle, and with nowhere to pass, instead took aim and fired a slap shot past Bobkov at 19:42.
Dane Byers would cap off a hard-fought third period by blasting a slapshot over Bobkov's left shoulder with time winding down in regulation, giving the Bears the win.
Leggio picked up his first Hershey win with 17 saves, improving to 1-2-0 on the campaign. Bobkov took the loss in his first appearance of the season, with a solid 34-save effort.
With the win, the Bears end a light October with a record of 2-3-1-0.
The Bears head to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to begin a home-and-home set with the Penguins on Friday, November 1 at 7:05 PM. The Bears then host the Penguins on Saturday, November 2 for a 7:00 PM faceoff.