HERSHEY, PA- Last night’s game started with a couple of early power plays and a five on three for the road team. In that instance, Hershey killed off the power plays and off they went to win. It was a much different story on Sunday afternoon. The Bears once again got into early penalty trouble but this time they couldn’t kill it off and it burned them.
The early power play opportunities by Wilkes-Barre had the Bears on their heels. The Penguins took advantage with the help of a little bit of luck. A pass from behind the Bears goal bounced off of Colby Williams’ stick and right to a waiting Christian Thomas. He one-timed the loose puck home for a 1-0 lead.
Hubert Labrie and Garrett Mitchell were locked in the penalty box when Wilkes-Barre scored again. With some room at the left point, Daniel Sprong slapped a shot over a kneeling Tyler Lewington and found the top shelf making it 2-0 Penguins.
The Bears continued to shoot themselves in the foot leading to a third goal against. Jonas Siegenthaler looking to get the puck free from the corner unintentionally put the puck on a platter for Tomas DiPauli in front of Pheonix Copley to make it 3-0.
It was a dire situation for the Bears when they finally got a power play of their own late in the first. A couple of chances yielded little result until the very last second of the power play. Riley Barber passed to Dustin Gazley in the slot on Sean Maguire’s right. Gazley collected the puck in his skates and quickly found Tyler Graovac to Maguire’s left. Graovac deposited the puck before his man and Maguire could get to him to give the home time at least a little life heading to the room down 3-1.
Dustin Gazley spots Tyler Graovac and he buries it to put the Bears on the board. 3-1 Penguins. pic.twitter.com/PMpujKY1GH
— Sin Bin Bears (@SinBinBears) December 10, 2017
In the second period the ice seemed to be tilted back toward the chocolate and white. Hershey has spells of puck possession in the Penguins zone but couldn’t manage more than one or two shots. Two power plays came and went by the wayside for the Bears compared to one for the Penguins. A much better looking period for Hershey where they outshot Wilkes-Barre 10-7 went unrewarded.
The inspired play of the second from Hershey slipped off in the third. Credit to the Penguins who did a very good job of denying the Bears of any uncontested and clean shots toward Maguire.
Discipline once again became a problem as the Bears took back to back penalties around the middle of the third. On an extended five-on-three, the Penguins moved the puck around until they could get Zach Trotman a one-timer and he scored making it 4-1.
Each team got one final power play apiece but neither scored and the remainder of the game was uneventful.
What has become a broken record in Chocolate Town, Hershey falls back to .500 at 12-12-0-3. Pheonix Copley drops to 6-4-2 and has just one win in his past seven appearances.
The Bears penalty kill was clicking right along at over 95% in its last ten games. They fell back down to Earth surrendering 2 on eight chances. You play with fire when you take eight penalties on the back end of a three game in three night stretch like Hershey is and it cost them.
Penguins goalie Sean Maguire picked up his first win of the season on this his second start. He stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced.
Hershey will at least get to enjoy some home cooking for another week as they take on the Providence Bruins Wednesday and again on Sunday. Have to think that Vitek Vanecek has a real shot to play both games.
The Penguins who snapped their four game losing streak today, head home to play Springfield on Wednesday and then head on the road to take on Hartford Friday and Bridgeport on Saturday.