Phantoms Fall In Game 1 Of Divisional Semi-Finals To Bears   

Bears goalie Hunter Shepard tallied his 15th career AHL playoff win Wednesday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Game One of the Atlantic Division Semifinals.

 Shepard made 30 saves in the Hershey Bears’ 2-1 victory. Shepard, the reigning AHL playoff MVP, was less than five minutes away from recording his fourth career AHL playoff shutout. Before getting beat by Lehigh Valley’s Tanner Laczynski late in the third. He also survived a final-minute, empty net push from the Phantoms.

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The Goalie

The 28-year-old netminder made several big stops in the game, including one in tight on Cooper Marody. The save, in the dying seconds of the first period, kept the score 1-0. Hershey initially got on the board for the first time in the 2024 AHL playoffs through Hendrix Lapierre.

The 22-year-old centerman celebrated his first game back with the Bears with a deflection goal just 3:29 into the first frame. Henrik Rybinski doubled Hershey’s lead with just 2:43 remaining in the second period.

Rybinski, playing in his first career AHL playoff game, stuffed home a rebound past goaltender Cal Petersen created by a great power move from linemate Bogdan Trineyev.

Rybinski grabbed his first career AHL playoff goal as the fill-in for an injured Riley Sutter on the team’s fourth line.

Laczynski made things interesting in the third, scoring just as Lehigh Valley pulled their netminder for the first time. The Bears would hold on after that though and take Game One.

 This is the first time that the Phantoms and their in-state rivals are meeting in the postseason since 2017 and the sixth time in the history of the two franchises.

Hershey is now 15-11 in those games and holds a 4-1 series record in the five previous matchups. The winner of three of the series has gone on to win the Calder Cup that season.

In the history of the Bears-Phantoms playoff rivalry, every team that has won Game One went on to win the series. Game 2 of this best-of-5 series will be in Hershey on Saturday night.

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Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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