HERSHEY — Vitek Vanecek was sensational in goal for Hershey, turning away 36 shots, but the Bears fell to the Rockford IceHogs in overtime 4-3 on Saturday.
Riley Barber scored late on the power play to force overtime at Giant Center.
The IceHogs, coming off a 6-3 defeat to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins the night before, opened the scoring. Down a man after the Bears did not cash in on a 5-on-3 chance, the Rockford scored on an odd-man rush.
At 12:35, Matthew Highmore scored on a rebound for his team leading 21st goal of the season. The tally was the fifth shorthanded goal allowed by the Bears this season, and sixth shorthanded goal scored by Rockford.
In the middle frame, Hershey drew even on their ninth shot of the night. From the right-wing, Zach Sill fed a streaking Liam O'Brien to the net on a partial break. O'Brien potted his 14th goal of the season on a snap shot past Collin Delia to even the score at 13:25.
The IceHogs took advantage of a power play opportunity late in the second period. William Pelletier slipped behind the defense on a breakaway, went to the backhand and scored on Vanecek at 17:46 to make it 2-1.
The Bears erased two separate one-goal deficits in the ensuing period and received a hard-earned standings point.
At 6:35, Travis Boyd scored his 15th goal of the season on the power play from the right-wing. Only 1:10 later Rockford took at 3-2 lead.
Hershey's resiliency erased another third period lead, and it came on the man-advantage once more.
Riley Barber banged a loose puck into the net from the low-slot past a sprawling Delia at 14:53 for his 10th power play goal of the year. The goal forced a 3-on-3 sudden-death overtime period.
In the extra session, Barber was tripped up, which gave Rockford a 2-on-1 rush. John Hayden walked down the right-side and fired a shot past Vanecek to win the contest for the IceHogs at 1:46 of overtime.
The Hershey Bears move to 23-25-4-4 and now have points in six straight. Rockford bounces back and improved to 27-23-3-3.
Hershey finishes the weekend Sunday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Puck drop is 3 at Mohegan Sun Arena.