Despite a late rally, the Hershey Bears’ season came to an end on Monday in a 4-3 overtime road loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. With the win, the Pens into the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs against the Springfield Thunderbirds.
The Bears scored twice in the closing minutes of the third period to tie the game, but the Penguins claimed the overtime win in the decisive Game Three of the opening round playoff series on Alexander Nylander’s goal at 8:22 of the extra session,
Hershey enjoyed a 1-0 lead in the decisive game when Mike Sgarbossa connected for his first goal of the playoffs, sending the rebound of a Garrett Pilon shot past Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Tommy Nappier.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied the game on a strange goal at 17:38 of the first period. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski’s shot from the point hit Hershey’s Beck Malenstyn’s skate and redirected past goaltender Pheonix Copley.
The second period was scoreless, before Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck twice to take a 3-1 lead. Radim Zohorna scored at 4:44, ripping a wrist shot from the deep slot that bounced off Copley’s glove and rolled over the goal line to make it 2-1 Pens.
Sam Poulin made it 3-1 at 12:05 when his shot from the left wing sailed through Copley’s five-hole.
But in the closing minutes, Hershey pulled Copley for an extra skater and forced overtime with an improbable comeback that started at 18:25, when Garrett Pilon scored on a one-timer that was setup by Lucas Johansen and Bobby Nardella, to make it 3-2.
Just 42 seconds later, the Bears tied the game. Hershey jammed the front of the net and Brett Leason banked the puck from behind the cage off Nappier and over the goal line, with 53 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
In the extra session, the Penguins controlled play, and after a turnover at center ice, Nylander took a Zohorna pass and cut to the middle of the ice, roofing a shot over Copley’s glove to end the game and the Bears’ season.
Shots finished 46-37 in favor of the Pens. Hershey was 0-for-1 on the power play, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0-for-2.
Bears Notes: The last time Hershey lost a decisive road playoff game was April 27, 2019, 3-2 at Bridgeport.