By Ian Oland
The Hershey Bears literally can’t stop winning.
The Capitals’ AHL affiliate came back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Rockford IceHogs 3-2 in the shootout, Saturday.
The victory was the Bears’ eleventh straight and extended the team’s franchise-record point streak to 17 games.
The game-winning shootout goal was scored by Nathan Walker.
Walker and Riley Barber both scored in the skills competition during the top of rounds one and three.
The Australian forward beat IceHogs goaltender Anton Forsberg past the blocker for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.
Bears goaltender Ilya Samsonov made saves on two of three shots. Sammy officially ended the game with a poke check on Anthony Louis in the bottom of the third round.
The Bears forced overtime due to Garrett Pilon scoring on his own rebound in the third period.
Ilya Samsonov stopped 20 of 21 shots to improve his record to 14-11-1 on the season.
The victory improved the Bears record to 31-20-0-3 and the team is a remarkable 16-0-0-1 in its last 17 games — the AHL’s current best streak.
The Bears will now get even more talent on the team. After clearing waivers earlier in the week, Devante Smith-Pelly has joined the team and will most likely play his first game on Wednesday.
More from the Bears:
BEARS KEEP STREAKS ALIVE, WIN OVER ICEHOGS
Hershey extends point streak to 17 and win streak to 11 in shootout victory
(Hershey, PA – February 23, 2019)- The Hershey Bears historic point streak reached 17, and win streak 11 in a 3-2 shootout win over the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday night at Giant Center. Garrett Pilon tied the game at 2-2 at 1:28 of the third period, and both Riley Barber and Nathan Walker scored in the ensuing shootout to lead the Chocolate and White.
In the opening minute, the Bears immediately went onto the penalty kill after Jonas Sigenthaler was whistled for holding only 33 seconds in. At 1:21, Peter Holland blasted his team-best, 21st goal of the season past Ilya Samsonov to cash in for Rockford on the man-advantage.
Hershey went 0-for-2 in the opening stanza on the power play, but drew even on an even strength goal. Ryan Sproul received credit for an unassisted goal at 14:54, after banking a sharp-angle shot off IceHogs goaltender Anton Forsberg and into the net. The IceHogs responded on a transition play in the later stages of the first period to grab a 2-1 lead before time expired. Along the left wing, Jacob Nilsson bombed a shot high-glove side on Samsonov at the 17:45 mark. Shots after 20 minutes were 11-8 Bears despite trailing 2-1.
Both teams played to a scoreless middle frame with shots 19-12 Hershey after 40 minutes. Pilon’s third period equalizer came during a persistence play following a Rockford turnover. Beck Malenstyn threw a quick pass to an open Pilon in the slot. After IceHogs goaltender Anton Forsberg made the initial stop, Pilon followed his own shot and potted the rebound.
Into the shootout, Riley Barber and Nathan Walker scored in the top of rounds one and three on Forsberg. Samsonov went 2-for-3 in save attempts, and finished the game with a poke check on Anthony Louis in the bottom of the third round to solidify the win.
Final shots were 27-23 Bears. Hershey’s win marked the first ever victory in franchise history over the Rockford IceHogs. Previously, the Bears were 0-2-1-0 in three meetings.
The Hershey Bears return to the ice tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 24 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 3:05 p.m. road tilt. The Bears will look to tie a franchise record 12th consecutive win. Voice of the Bears Zack Fisch will have the call on the Bears Radio Network.
Headline photo: @TheHersheyBears
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