The Hershey Bears started their weekend series with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, with a 2-1 victory. The win was Hershey’s first road victory of the season, while handing the Penguins their first regulation loss of the year.
In Sunday’s contest on Giant Center ice, the Bears enjoyed a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes, then held on for a 4-3 victory after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored three times.
Mike Sgarbossa and Ethen Frank scored, and Zach Fucale made 30 saves to backstop the the Hershey Bears (4-2-2-0) to their first road victory of the season, a 2-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (6-1-1-0) on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The two teams played through a scoreless first period, when the Penguins outshot the Bears by a 13-6 margin.
Despite several penalties that forced them to play in the defensive zone in the middle frame, the Bears penalty-killing unit kept Wilkes-Barre/Scranton off the scoreboard.
Sgarbossa gave the Bears a 1-0 lead at 13:23, when he redirected Mike Vecchione’s pass behind goaltender Dustin Tokarski, for his third goal of the season. Vincent Iorio earned the secondary assist.
After going on the power play for the first time in the game, the Bears quickly converted with a goal by Ethen Frank at 18:30, when he one-timed a feed from Sam Anas past Tokarski, with Bobby Nardella also picking up an assist.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stepped up their offense in the third period and Alexander Nylander scored at 19:05 during a 6-on-4 man advantage, with Tokarski pulled for an extra skater. The Penguins fired 14 shots in the stanza that eventually spoiled the shutout bid for Fucale.
Shots finished 31-27 favoring the Penguins. Fucale finished the night 30-for-31 on saves for the Bears, while Tokarski was 25-for-27. Hershey was one-for-three on the power play and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went one-for-six.
The win came on the 84th anniversary of the club’s first game in the AHL, a 2-1 victory over Providence on Nov. 5, 1938.
Hershey is 10-for-11 (90.9%) on the penalty kill this season.
In Sunday’s tilt, Hershey (5-2-2—0) enjoyed a 4-0 lead going into the third period, but saw Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (6-2-1-0) rally in the third period.
Shane Gersich’s first goal of the season, unassisted put the Bears up 1-0 at 12:54, then Mason Morelli’s first of the year at 14:59, which was set up by Hendrix Rybinski, gave Hershey a 2-0 edge.
Hershey continued to control the middle frame on Ethen Frank’s fourth of the year, a tally that was set up by Rybinski and Alex Lapierre at 6:28.
Rybinski extended the lead to 4-0 at 8:07 – and that became the eventual game-winner – when he grabbed a rebound off of goalie Filip Lindberg’s pads on a shot from Aaron Ness, that became his first career pro goal. Henrik Borgstrom had the secondary helper.
Jonathan Gruden put the Penguins on the board just 13 seconds into the third stanza when Filip Hallander fed him from beneath the goal line, and Gruden beat Hunter Shepard above the blocker.
Hallander scored at the 11:41 mark on rebound of a shot by Gruden to cut Hershey’s lead to 4-2.
With a late power play and Lindberg pulled to create a six-on-four man advantage for the Penguins, Hallander netted his second of the evening and collected his third point of the night, after knocking in a rebound from Valtteri Puustinen at 18:38 to bring the Penguins to within one of the Bears .
“It was nice to know we had that lead after 40 minutes, so we have to put it all together for a whole game and we will be OK,” Shepard said. “These division games are always important, because they are four-point games and they really matter as far as the playoffs, so it doesn’t matter where we play the games.”
“The Saturday game, our penalty killing was unbelievable when we killed four or five penalties in-a-row,” added Shepard, “but tonight in the third period we had a couple bad bounces and being down 6-to-4 skaters didn’t help.”
Shots finished 33-29 favoring the Penguins. Hershey was 0-for-2 on the power play and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 1-for-4.
Hershey is idle until Friday when they host the Bridgeport Islanders at 7 p.m., and Saturday with Lehigh Valley visiting Giant Center Sunday at 5 p.m.
The win stretched Hershey’s unbeaten streak at home to start the season to five games (4-0-1-0).
One of the referees was Jack Young, the son of former Hershey goaltender and Calder Cup Champion Wendell Young. He is the only player in hockey history to have won all four cups: the Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, Turner Cup and Stanley Cup.
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