BRIDGEPORT, CT — Shane Gersich recorded his first professional hat trick, and the Hershey Bears closed out January with a 4-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night at Webster Bank Arena. The victory marked the first time in franchise history the Chocolate and White have won 10+ games in consecutive months during the regular season. The Bears finished December with a 10-1-0-0 mark, followed by a 10-4-0-0 January.
After a scoreless opening period, Shane Gersich tallied his first of an eventual three on Bridgeport goaltender Christopher Gibson. Going to the net, Gersich redirected a perfect feed from Garrett Pilon at 2:15 of the 2nd period to open the scoring. Kody Clark earned the secondary assist for his first of an eventual three point night, setting a career-high.
Hershey's initial lead was short lived, as Kieffer Bellows evened the score for the Sound Tigers only 37 seconds later. Bellows scored his 16th of the season after a pass across from Oliver Wahlstrom beat Pheonix Copley sliding to his right. Gersich reclaimed the Bears' lead at 6:38 after beating Gibson short side with a quick snipe, and Kody Clark scored his third goal of the season at 19:22 after a curl and drag move to the inside, and a perfect snapshot under the bar. Hershey's 3-1 lead after 40 minutes came with a 26-14 lead in shots.
Next period, the Chocolate and White successfully killed a pair of minor penalties, and Gersich hit the empty net to record the hat-trick at 17:55. Copley finished the night turning aside 19 of 20 shots, and now holds a 10-1-0 record in his last 11 starts. The Bears overall record improves to 28-14-2-3 on the regular season, and remain deadlocked with the Hartford Wolf Pack for the Atlantic Division lead with 61 points.
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