SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Connor Carrick tallied his third shootout goal of the season and second shootout winner, capping off an entertaining 4-3 victory over the Springfield Falcons on Saturday night at MassMutual Center.
Springfield’s special teams have not had much success this season, but on the strength of two power play goals and a successful penalty kill, the hosts jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead. Laurent Dauphin started things off by skating through the left faceoff circle and tucking a shot through the pads of Justin Peters at 8:33.
On the next opportunity with the man advantage, Greg Carey got a beat on the Hershey defense after accepting a breakout pass and beat Peters with a backhander at 10:01. At the other end, Niklas Treutle fought off waves of pressure from the Bears, stopping all 14 shots he saw in the opening 20 minutes.
The Bears’ pressure figured to counter their luck in the middle frame, and it certainly did. Riley Barber got Hershey on the board when he completed a nice passing play with Madison Bowey and Scott Gomez by firing a shot from the bottom of the left circle past Treutle at 10:40.
Just 1:30 later, Travis Boyd tied the contest. Set up at the top of Treutle’s crease, Boyd saw an Erik Burgdoerfer point shot deflect off his leg and into the net.
The Bears took their first lead of the game on their second power play opportunity. Gomez sent a pass from the right half-wall to the center point, where Chris Bourque teed off and beat Treutle with a rising slapper at 18:28 for his 22nd goal of the season.
The Falcons battled for the equalizer in the third, as Philip Samuelsson skated in and sent a low shot into the net at 14:48.
As usual, the three-on-three was not short of excitement. Peters came up with a huge save on Dauphin early, one of his four in the five-minute session. But no saves were bigger than his stops on Carey and Dustin Jeffrey in the shootout, allowing the goals by Carrick and Christian Djoos to stand up for the win.
Peters improved to 12-6-6 on the season with 26 saves through the first 65 minutes in addition to the perfect shootout. Treutle stopped 24 of 27 shots in regulation and overtime but fell to 9-11-5. The Bears finished 1-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Bears return home to host the Providence Bruins on Saturday, February 20 at 7:00 PM.