On Thursday night, the Hershey Bears scored 1:22 into the game, then had to hold on to claim a 3-2 road win in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, despite playing part of the second and all of the third period with just four defenseman.
Just 1:22 into the game, Matt Moulson scored his first goal of the season, when Penguins goalie Emil Larmi misplayed the puck behind the net, then fell down, giving Moulson an empty. Kody Clark and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby assisted on the marker.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied it on Tim Schaller’s goal at 16:24 of the opening frame. The Penguins took a 2-1 lead at 2:10 of the middle session on a power play shot by Josh Currie, which eluded a screened Pheonix Copley hit the post and deflected into the net.
The Bears needed just 3:04 to make it 2-2, when Mike Sgarbossa took a Garrett Pilon pass and beat Larmi with a shot over his blocker. Connor McMichael, scored his first professional goal on a power play in the third period that became the game-winner.
The day before the game, McMichael had talked about what moving up to the pro level a year early, despite the limited time it might last, meant to him.
“Making the jump from Ontario Hockey League early will benefit me, because I get to know the guys around here that will help me improve,” McMichael said. “Playing in that game with Washington, and one here so far, I already found you have to make plays quicker and know what you’re going to do before you get the puck because of the speed of the game.”
Copley recorded his 61 st win in a Hershey uniform, stopping 20 shots. The Bears held the Penguins to 1-for-6 on the power play and played over half of the game with just four defensemen due to injuries.
The Bears (1-0-1-0) are back in action on Sunday at 1 p.m., hosting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at GIANT Center.