HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Hershey Bears' unbeaten streak starts, and stops, with the Skipjacks -- for now.
Wes Walz scored the last two goals of the game to give Hershey a 5-3 victory over the Skipjacks last night before 7,287 at the Hersheypark Arena. The win lifted the Bears into a tie for third place with Baltimore in the AHL's Southern Division, each with 30 points.
The Skipjacks were 5-0-1 in their previous six games, last losing Dec. 5 to the Utica Devils, whom they'll face tonight at the Baltimore Arena.
Hershey is unbeaten (8-0-1) in its past nine home games. The Bears last lost here Nov. 21 to league-leading Binghamton, then started the unbeaten streak at home Dec. 2 with a 2-1 win over Baltimore. Their victory last night leaves the Skipjacks as bookends for the streak.
Walz scored the game-winner with 3:59 left, breaking a 3-3 tie. Then, when Baltimore had pulled goalie Mike Parson and put in a sixth attacker, Walz found the empty net with 24 seconds left.
What pleased Hershey coach Mike Eaves was that his team overcame a 2-0 deficit and came on to win after Baltimore's Jason Woolley had made it 3-2 in the third period.
"We were down early and came back. Then we were down late and came back," Eaves said. "I don't think early in the season we could have won a game like this."
The Skipjacks' John Slaney needed two shots in bang-bang fashion to get the game's first goal. All alone coming down the left side, Slaney shot at Hershey goalie Yanick DeGrace, who stopped the puck. It bounced directly back to Slaney, however, and this time he converted.
John Byce made it 2-0 on a power play with 1:08 left in the period. It was Byce's 19th goal, tying him with Reggie Savage for the team lead.
The second period was all Hershey. Len Barrie, recently recalled from the parent Philadelphia Flyers, scored his 17th goal on a power play, a substantial total amassed despite missing 12 Bears games when he was with the Flyers. Tim Tookey tied it at 2 halfway through the period.
It was a hectic session for Parson. Terran Sandwith's goal was disallowed when the puck glanced off Yanick Dupre's stick past Parson into the net. Parson later went down after Wes Walz slammed into him, but remained in the game.
The Skipjacks played without Mark Hunter, who had the flu and didn't make the trip. Hunter, 30, recently named team captain, skated during yesterday morning's practice, but called coach Barry Trotz later saying he couldn't make it because he was dizzy and vomiting.
"We hope it was just the 24-hour flu and that he'll be available tomorrow [tonight] against Utica," Trotz said. "We didn't want to bring him because he might have given it to everybody on the bus."
In Hunter's absence, Bruce Konowalchuk served as captain.
Baltimore 2 0 1 -- 3
Hershey 0 2 3 -- 5