SPRINGFIELD, MA — Tyler Graovac tied the game with 2:13 left, but the Hershey Bears fell to the Springfield Thunderbirds in a shootout, 5-4, on Wednesday at the MassMutual Center. Both Wayne Simpson and Dustin Gazley had two-point nights as Hershey rallied in the third period to force overtime.

Four goals in only the first 3:16 of the contest greeted both clubs into Wednesday's tilt. The Chocolate and White opened the scoring only 1:09 in on Wayne Simpson's ninth goal of the season. Immediately following an offensive zone face-off win by John Albert, Hubert Labrie pumped a shot on goal, and Simpson cashed in on the rebound.

Hershey would double their lead 1:23 later off a power move to the crease by Anthony Peluso. After his initial shot was blocked, Peluso crashed the low-slot, found his own rebound, and scored on Springfield goaltender Samuel Montembeault.

The Bears' multi-goal lead was short lived, as the Thunderbirds would score on their first two shots of the night on Hershey goaltender Vitek Vanecek. At 3:02. Alexandre Grenier received a goal line feed from Juho Lammikko and beat Vanecek low-blocker side to make it 2-1 Hershey.

Only 14 seconds later, the Thunderbirds tied the game off a turn around shot from Dryden Hunt.

In the second period, Springfield grabbed a two-goal lead of their own, stretching their run to four unanswered, and ultimately ending Vanecek's night after 29:39. At 7:45, Anthony Greco walked in all alone shorthanded and snapped a shot past the glove hand, giving Springfield their first lead.

At 9:41, Maxim Mamin roofed a backhander to the top-shelf making it 4-2. Pheonix Copley would enter the game in relief of Vanecek and turned aside all 18 shots he faced in regulation and overtime.

The Chocolate and White began their comeback attempt after the intermission, and Gazley brought the troops one goal closer at 2:52 of the third period. After a Jonas Siegenthaler shot from the left-point was stopped, the rebound bounced to Gazley positioned on the right side of the slot for his fifth goal of the season.

As Copley began breaking to the bench in the later stages for the extra attacker, Hershey tied the game, 4-4. Following a slick spin-around move by Connor Hobbs to keep the play alive in the offensive zone, the puck was worked in the corner to Gazley, who set up Graovac at the net front. Graovac's blast tied the game and sent it to overtime.

The 3-on-3 sudden-death did not decide a victor, and the game preceded to Hershey's fifth shootout of the regular season. Despite shootout goals from Chris Bourque and Mathias Bau, the Thunderbirds capitalized in all three rounds and walked it off with a shootout dangle from Blaine Byron.

The Bears record moves to 17-17-3-4. On Springfield's fifth consecutive win, their record improves to 19-21-1-1.

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