(WHTM) — After struggling the past four games, the Hershey Bears finally notched the franchise’s 3,000th victory on Tuesday. The Chocolate and White defeated Bridgeport 4-3 in overtime to snap a four-game losing streak and cross the historic milestone.
Hershey is the first team in the American Hockey League to cross that mark, and continues its legacy of the winningest franchise in AHL history.
The Bears become just the fifth professional hockey franchise to accomplish that mark, joining the NFL’s Montreal Canadiens (3,492), Boston Bruins (3,285), Toronto Maple Leafs (3,045), and Detroit Red Wings (3,015). Each of those teams were part of the Original Six teams in the National Hockey League.
With the win, the Bears improved the club’s record to 31-26-5-4 and snapped a seven-game skid on the road.
Hershey opened the scoring in the first period with net-front traffic established near Bridgeport goaltender Cory Schneider. A shot from Kody Clark whistled past Schneider with Drake Rymsha setting a screen in front. Shots after 20 minutes were even at 10-10 with the Bears holding the one-goal advantage.
The Islanders answered with a deuce in the middle frame to hold a lead going into the third period. Kyle MacLean finished a tic-tac-toe passing play off the rush at 10:28 for the equalizer. At the 16:13 mark, Jeff Kubiak tallied his eighth goal of the season for Bridgeport. Shot totals at the second intermission were 26-17 Hershey.
The Bears played inspiring come-from-behind hockey in the third period to grab a 3-2 lead on the road. Eddie Wittchow potted his first goal of the campaign after executing a 3-on-2 rush to perfection. At the 4:28 mark, Wittchow snapped a perfect shot from the left-wing for his first marker since the 2020-21 regular season finale.
Brett Leason generated his fourth goal of the season at 9:57 to give Hershey their second lead of the day. Aliaksei Protas and Alex Alexeyev earned the helpers as Leason wired home a perfect shot from the right-wing. But before regulation expired, Chris Terry scored his 25th goal of the season at 15:15 to knot the contest at 3-3.
In sudden-death overtime, Kody Clark made his mark once again with a historic goal that will go down in the Hershey Bears and American Hockey League history books. Setup by Beck Malenstyn and Lucas Johansen, Clark beat Schneider with a perfect backhander between the leg pads at 2:13.
Final shots on goal totaled 41-28 Hershey. The Bears went 0-for-4 on the power play and were not tasked with a single penalty kill. The Hershey Bears return to action on Friday, Apr. 4 to kickoff three games in three nights. Hershey will conclude their six-game road swing with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Voice of the Bears Zack Fisch will have the call of the action from PPL Center on the Bears Radio Network.