HERSHEY, PA – On a crazy night when one team went 0-for-11 on the power play and both teams scored a total of three goals with the extra attacker, it would finally be Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who prevailed in a 3-2 overtime affair in Hershey.
An early back and forth battle yielded little offensively by either side. However, the Bears found themselves caught in an extended defensive shift with a delayed penalty. Hershey was overly aggressively leaving Jean-Sebastian Dea wide open to go top corner on goalie Parker Milner for the 1-0 lead.
First Period Takeaways for Bears:
Special teams have been a point of emphasis from day one due to having only two preseason games and though the Bears didn’t score on their opportunities, they moved the puck around well. Wayne Simpson nearly scored on their first chance. The penalty kill also held up going 3-for-3.
Connor Hobbs and Things to Come:
He may have earned himself an interference penalty but he has shown he is not afraid to lower the boom as he did on Jeff Taylor. It should come as no surprise considering he earned 198 PIM in his final 125 games in the WHL.
Continuation of a trend?
A real lack of puck possession. Bears were unable to maintain puck control and were outshot 11-5 throughout most of the first period Milner handled the pressure well and was not to blame for the goal against.
The Penguins extended their lead just 1:25 into the second period. A faceoff win by Jarrett Burton right to Reid Gardner who rocketed a shot just under the bar on Milner to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. The slapper found its way through two Bears defenders and eluded Milner.
Second Period Takeaways:
The Penguins continued furious and sustained pressure mostly in the first half of the frame. By shooting from all angles and retrieving the puck, they made it tough sailing for the Bears to get much of anything going offensively.
Despite their success at five-on-five, WBS was 0-for-7 on the powerplay but carried a little over three minutes of a Wayne Simpson double-minor into the third. The Bears PK forced turnovers and refused to allow sustained pressure they faced in 5-on-5 play.
General ineffectiveness plagued both sides as the third period wore on. Finally, the Bears got themselves on the board in the middle of the frame. With a no-look pass from John Albert on the delayed penalty call on Wilkes-Barre, Dustin Gazley picked up his third goal of the preseason. Coming off the bench, Gazley was lost by the Pens and he scored to give the Bears life trailing 2-1.
The Penguins dominance in power play opportunities as Wilkes-Barre got to 10 powerplay chances. A mixture of Bears pressure and ineffectiveness allowed the Bears to go 10-for-10 on the kill.
The game fell into somewhat of a sleepy effort by both sides as they traded powerplays. The trend of extra-attacker goals continued late third. With the Bears on a power play, Dustin Gazley found Chris Bourque with Adam Carlson pulled on the powerplay and Bourque capitalized on. One-timer to tie the game at two and sent it to overtime.
After a back and forth early stretch in overtime in which both teams got golden opportunities to win the game, it would be the Penguins who came out on top. With the Bears seemingly about to make a steal and go up ice, Jean-Sebastian Dea forced a turnover and Frank Corrado got the puck and score the game winner.
The Bears have to be disappointed they had to deal with 11 power play opportunities but happy they were able to kill all 11 of them. Wilkes-Barre wore the Bears down with intense pressure for most of the game.
Goaltending for Hershey was solid. Both Miner and Carlson answered the call whenever needed. Every goal was a tough stop for them as one came off an extra attacker, a perfectly placed slapper, and a turnover.
The Bears finished up their pre-season game with the game Saturday night. The Penguins have one final game at the Binghamton Devils Sunday afternoon at 5 pm.
More cuts are expected tomorrow or Monday for Hershey, and the team is expected to get a couple cuts from the Washington Capitals this week.
Stay tuned to The Sin Bin for the latest on Hershey Bears Hockey.