Sunday the Hershey Bears faced off against their I-81 rivals from Wilkes-Barre Township to close out the month of October. A night after celebrating the first win of the season at Giant Center and a stellar 35-save shutout by Braden Holtby, the Bears hung for a 3-2 victory.
Neither team managed to score in the opening period, both fired eight shots on goal. The Bears killed two penalties in the period, increasing their penalty kill streak to eleven straight kills.
Right out of the gate to begin the second period, Mike Carman danced into the offensive zone and tallied on Wilkes-Barre’s net minder, Jeff Zatkoff. After years of facing Brad Thiessen, this was the Chocolate and White’s first game against Zatkoff. Just over 13 minutes later following Carman’s goal, Dmitry Orlov was sent to the sin-bin for a tripping infraction.
While shorthanded, Zach Hamill forced a neutral zone turnover and blasted a quick shot past Jeff Zatkoff, inside the right goal post. It was Hamill’s second goal in less than 24 hours, as the Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But at the 15:20 mark, Wilkes-Barre answered with their first goal of the season against Hershey. With 4:40 to go in the stanza, Adam Payerl turned and fired a quick shot low to the ice, through a crowd of skate blades that found its way past Dany Sabourin.The Bears carried a 2-1 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes.
Into the final period, minutes after a Penguins goal was over turned via video review, Hershey scored to take their second two goal lead of the game. Ryan Stoa from the slot received a tape-to-tape pass from Matt Beaudoin and beat Zatkoff to the top shelf. Stoa’s third strike of the season came at the 4:39 mark. Interesting enough, that was the final shot of the game on Zatkoff.
At the 9:05 mark of the period, Trevor Smith was given five minutes and a game misconduct for delivering a violent cross-check from behind to Tomas Kundratek. Hershey failed to score on the lengthy power play, and the Penguins took advantage moments after.
After a Hershey bench minor for too many men, with 5:26 remaining Eric Tangradi scored for the Penguins to cut the lead down to a slim one goal margin. With Tangradi’s goal, the Bears’ penalty kill streak was snapped after 13 consecutive kills.
Despite only getting one shot on goal in the period, the Bears escaped Giant Center with a slim 3-2 win over the Penguins.
“I think we are playing responsibly,” said coach Mark French. “We’ve been given some good goal tending efforts. We’ve had better execution and some good individual performances. [Dany Sabourin] gave us a real solid goal tending performance Braden was excellent last night and Dany came in and did a real good job to give us a chance to win tonight.”
The Bears now play three straight on the road against Springfield, Bridgeport and Wilkes-Barre, before returning home November 10th to face St John’s.