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BY DON SCOTT

Hershey finished its four-games-in five-days stretch on Tuesday with a 3-1 loss to the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Three of the four goals scored in contest came during the final two minutes of play.

After a scoreless opening period of play that included Hershey keeping the Penguins off the scoreboard during an early four-minute power play, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored at 6:57 of the second period on a fortunate bounce.

Jordy Bellerive sent a shot towards the goal from the right wing and the puck deflected off both Hershey’s Jake Massie and Cody Franson. The double deflection pulled goaltender Hunter Shepard out of position, and the puck landed on the tape of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Kyle Olson’s stick ,and he was able to tap it into the open net. 

The game remained 1-0 until an apparent Penguins’ second-period goal at 13:43 did not count following a video review.

Hershey pulled Shepard for an extra attacker in the third period and Olson scored again from center ice to make it 2-0 at 18:16. Hershey pulled Shepard again. and finally solved Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Tommy Nappier.

Hershey defenseman Alex Alexeyev ripped a slap shot that broke his stick in half. As the puck slowed down, Brian Pinho redirected it into the top corner for his sixth goal of the season, at 19:00. 

Shepard remained on the bench and Jonathan Gruden finished the scoring with another empty net goal from center ice at 19:37 to seal the 3-1 win for the Baby Pens.

Shots favored Hershey 27-25. The Bears were 0-for-3 on the power play while the Pens were 0-for-5. 

“I’m not disappointed in the effort we put forth, said Hershey head coach Scott Allen, “but I have to say it is the first time in 26 years coaching and ten years playing, that I’ve seen seven guys participating for the opposition, and how that got over looked by the officials is absolutely shocking.”

When asked for an update on the players on the injury list, Allen replied, “The one guy I can give an update on is Matt Moulson, who you will not see in a Hershey jersey the rest of the regular season. Mike Sgarbossa, Garrett Pilon and a couple other guys are either day-by-day or week-by-week.”

The win was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s second versus Hershey in 10 games this season. The Pens finished up the season series 5-1-0-0 at Giant Center.

Hershey will close out the month of February with two games against Utica starting Friday in Utica and Sunday at 5 P.M. in Giant Center.

Bears Notes:

This game was originally scheduled for Dec. 5, but was rescheduled due to COVID-19 protocol issues. Hershey visits Wilkes-Barre/Scranton twice more this year on Apr. 15 and 19. 

Shepard started the game having won his previous five decisions. In games versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, Shepard is now 3-1-0. The game marked the return of Hershey’s vintage-inspired cream third jerseys for the first of five times this year.

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