The Bears were looking for their first win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and boy, did they get a big one.
When this game started, I’m sure everyone involved was anticipating an exciting, action-packed game. After all, the game was being played at Consol Energy Center, where the Pittsburgh Penguins normally play.They sort of got that. I’ll be honest, I thought the first two periods were kind of boring. There were a couple big hits made and both goalies made some stellar saves. But, overall, it didn’t have all the goals and excitement that people expected to see from these rivals.
The first truly exciting moment came when the Bears were on the power play at the very end of the second period. The puck was shot towards the net and it was deflected past Brad Thiessen. The goal was awarded to Keith Aucoin (who was playing his first game since being sent down from Washington), but it looked like a Penguin may have deflected into his own goal.
The third period was when things started heating up. The Bears had to protect a one-goal lead and the Penguins were running on all cylinders and making some amazing offensive plays. There were many close calls in the third period that had all the Hershey fans holding their breath. The Penguins, desperate to not get shut out on such a large stage, were dangerous. But Hershey stepped up to the challenge, even managing to kill of a few poorly timed penalties.
Braden Holtby was the number one star of the game, stopping all 25 shots that he saw. He was able to make clutch saves and shut out the hated rivals in front of the 13,567 fans inside the Consol Energy Center.The Bears set a nice standard for the Capitals to follow when they step out onto Heinz Field on January 1st. Go get ’em.
- The South Carolina Stingrays announced that Grant McNeill has been sent to join them for the second time this season. Last time we did this, a plethora of injuries forced him on a plane right back to Hershey.
- Along with Aucoin, Andrew Gordon was also sent down from Washington before this game.
- Speaking of Gordon, John Walton announced that HBO was in the building, filming the game and the dressing room to air on 24/7 Penguins/Capitals. Gordo had the special honor of wearing a mic during the game. Let’s hope a lot of that footage makes the final cut!
- A couple Capitals themselves, including John Carlson and Karl Alzner were in attendance tonight to cheer on the farm team. Before the game, Carlson tweeted his support, saying “Let’s go BEARS!”
- Several fans at the game reported that “Rechlicz Face” is back! Joel Rechlicz is sporting a pretty nice shiner, a trophy from at least one of his three fights in Hershey’s last game against Binghamton.
Lines and Pairings:
Gordon – Aucoin – Pinizzotto
Greentree – Willsie – Bouchard
Kane – Joudrey – Kugryshev
Lacroix – Bruess – Rome
Collins – Wellar
Kroll – Miskovic
P. McNeill – Fahey
Actual three stars of the game:
1. Braden Holtby (HER)
2. Brad Thiessen (WBS)
3. Keith Aucoin (HER)
Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s three stars of the game:
1. Holtby: 25-save shutout
2. Aucoin: scored only goal of the night
3. P. McNeill: assist on Aucoin’s goal
Photos (by Margaret McGuire and Laura Giannola)
An awesome view of the ice at Consol Energy Center.
The players warm up on NHL-caliber ice. McNeill and Aucoin would later link up for the night’s only goal.
Face-off time, going for the first win against the Baby Pens.
Patrick Wellar and Jessie Boulerice drop the gloves just like the NHL guys.
I spy blood on Boulerice, therefore I give Wellar the win.
Keith Aucoin scores the night’s only goal. Gordo celebrates.
Mark French gathers the troops during the 3rd period to discuss how they will stop the Pens.
Celebrating a big win on a big night!
Holtby interviewed after being announced the #1 star and Public Enemy #1 in Wilkes-Barre.