The Hershey Bears were 0-for-4 on the power play and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Casey DeSmith made several late-game saves to give the Penguins a comeback 2-1 win on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
For the seventh consecutive game, the Bears scored first, at 17:13 to grab a 1-0 lead, and they are now 23-6-1-1 when scoring the game’s opening goal.
Hershey’s Phoenix Copley and DeSmith each stopped breakaway chances early in the period before Axel Jonsson-Fjallby took a pass from Beck Malenstyn and fired a shot from the right side past the Pens’ netminder.
The Bears misfired on three power-play opportunities in the second stanza, and WB/S pulled even with a late period strike. Brian Pinho’s shot from the left point was blocked by David Warsofsky, who fed Kevin Roy for a solo breakaway from center ice against Copley at the 19:39 mark.
The Pens scored the only third-period goal at 3:48 for the game-winner. Ex-Bear Riley Barber skated the puck into the Pens’ attack zone, and Myles Powell left a drop pass for Kevin Czuczman who unloaded a shot just under the crossbar for his second goal of the season.
From that point DeSmith took over, denying all 18 Hershey shots in the third period that finished 36-19 Hershey.
Bears stats: Despite the loss, Hershey maintained its slim two-point Atlantic Division edge over second-place Hartford, a 4-1 loser in Springfield. The Wolf Pack has played two fewer games.
Hershey was denied a power-play goal for the first time since Feb. 1.
The Bears are now 14-5-0-2 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in their last 21 meetings dating back to the start of 2018-19. Hershey had won three straight at Mohegan Sun Arena since Jan. 3, and is now 3-1-0-1 in WB/S this season with one more visit remaining.
Hershey has 21 games remaining in the 2019-20 season, 13 against Atlantic Division opponents. The Bears are 26-13-2-2 versus the Atlantic Division, while going 6-4-1-1 against the North Division.
On Thursday the Pittsburgh Penguins completed a deal with the Montreal Canadians that sent Riley Barber and Phil Varone to WB/S. Barber spent his last four seasons (237 GP; 90G, 90A) with the Bears before signing with Montreal during free agency in July.
The Bears return to action and conclude their brief, two-game weekend set Saturday night in Bridgeport, for the sixth and final game this season at 7 p.m.