Ryan Russell skated toward the neutral zone, got behind the Bears defense and was fed a perfect pass by David Savard. He blazed down the left side of the ice, cut in and fired a dart past Braden Holtby to cap a fantastic comeback as the Springfield Falcons defeated the Hershey Bears 4-3 in overtime on Friday night in Springfield.
Historically, the Bears play Springfield tough and that was no exception in this game.
Hall of Famer Ray Bourque made his annual trek to The Nest to see his son play for the opposition. Tonight, Chris who rejoined the Bears after some time in Europe, made sure Ray was indeed a "proud papa" when he lit the lamp 8:14 into the second stanza.
This one was far from over however, as the Falcons were about to commence one of their more memorable comebacks.
With Aucoin in the box for a slashing penalty, the Falcons power play kicked into high gear. Some nifty puck movement in the offensive zone saw the puck come back to David Savard at the blue line.
Savard took a low wrister through a maze of bodies and Captain Dane Byers got his stick blade on it, tipping it past Holtby and getting the Falcons on the board with a huge power play goal. This was Byers' fourth goal of the season, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune time for Springfield.
The Bears seemed to have penalty troubles all night long, and with Zach Miskovic serving a cross checking minor, Tomas Kubalik, playing just his second game of the season, returned to the lineup and converted for the second Falcons goal, on the power play. Kubalik was set up by Cody Goloubef and Wade MacLeod on the play. He swooped in deep and went five hole on Holtby, cutting the Bears lead to 3-2.
The third period again saw Hershey get into penalty trouble. Goaltender Holtby was whistled for roughing at 13:18. On that power play, Cam Atkinson converted for his second goal of the season, assisted by Byers and Martin St. Pierre at 14:17, tying the game at three apiece.
Special teams were outstanding for Springfield, going 3 for 5 on the power play and holding the Bears scoreless on three penalty kill situations.
Overtime started with the Bears winning the opening draw and storming the Falcons cage. Several players from both sides ended up in Taylor's crease and the net became dislodged, thwarting the Bears early momentum.
The Falcons quickly regained their composure, with Russell capping the comeback and earning the game's #1 star.
Captain Dane Byers was the #2 star on the night and Chris Bourque took #3 honors.
The Falcons return to action on Saturday night at 7PM, when they host the St. John's Ice Caps. The Ice Caps are the early season leaders of the Atlantic Division of the AHL, with a 5-2-1-0 record.