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A Night to Forget: Baby Pens defeat Bears, 3-1

Graham Mink and Niko Dimitrakos exchange words after a big hit. Photo by Kyle Mace.

It’s always an interesting game when the in-state rivals play. Tonight, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were in Chocolatetown, ready to put up a fight against Hershey’s point streak.

The drama came in the first period when Sean Collins hit Eric Tangradi. Collins definitely got his arm up high but it was unclear whether it was a hit to the head or to the chest. I saw some of other angles of the hit and I’m still not sure of where the hit landed but I can understand arguments either way. Collins was initially put in the penalty box but, after some discussion, the penalty was called off.

The Bears were unable to get a lot of momentum going during the first period because of all the penalties against them. Thankfully, Braden Holtby was very sharp and made a lot of big saves to keep the Bears in it.

The only goal he gave up in the first period was a deflection by Brian Gibbons during a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton power play. It was the second night in a row that the Bears gave up the first goal.

Unfortunately, the bad luck would continue past the first period. Even when the Bears killed off a 5-on-3 and got a power play of their own, they couldn’t score and had their power play cut short by yet another penalty. To make matters worse, the Penguins intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and Simon Despres scored. Later, a tic-tac-toe play extended the Penguins lead once more.

As for the third period, well, it was rinse and repeat. It’s hard to make a comeback when you are in the box over and over again and allowing your frustration to take over. The only thing the Bears could get right tonight was the hitting. Bodies were flying but the Penguins couldn’t be shaken off their game.

The Bears finally showed up with less than four minutes left in the game. Boyd Kane deflected a Matt Ford shot to end Brad Thiessen’s shutout bid. But when it takes that long to get going, you’re not going to recover in time. Sure enough, the Penguins beat the Bears, 3-1. It was Hershey’s first regulation loss.

Tonight’s Notes:

  • We finally got an update on Ryan Potulny, who recently had his status downgraded from day-to-day to week-to-week. Tim Leone reported on Twitter that Potulny had a sports hernia and is expected to sit for six weeks.
  • Garrett Mitchell got a spot in the line-up tonight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great game for the youngster. He finished his first game of the season with no points, two shots on goal, and two penalties. However, he was not on ice for any goals against.
  • Even though the penalties were a  major problem for the Bears, at least the penalty kill unit put up a good fight against the Penguins. They successfully killed off eight of nine penalties.
  • Wait, did we really get through an entire Bears-Penguins game without any fighting majors?? Slackers.

Video Highlights:

Lines and Pairings:

Bourque – Aucoin – Mink
Kane – Sjogren – Ford
Micflikier – Eakin – Hanson
Bouchard – Carroll – Mitchell

McNeill – Collins
Brouliette – Orlov
Wellar – Miskovic

Three stars of the game:

1. Bryan Lerg (WBS)
2. Brad Thiessen (WBS)
3. Colin McDonald  (WBS)

More Photos from Kyle Mace.

The Bears raise their sticks in a touching tribute to Frank O’Connell, Hershey Entertainment’s General Manager who passed away this week.

The Penguins celebrate their first goal of the night.

The trainer tends to Eric Tangradi after a controversial hit by Sean Collins.

Another goal against the Bears.

Bodies were flying all night. This time Graham Mink delivered a big hit.

This series of photos show Christian Hanson’s almost goal that unluckily bounced off both posts.

Jacob Micflikier celebrates Boyd Kane’s goal.

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