The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins picked up their first win over the Hershey Bears this season Wednesday night, defeating Hershey 4-0. Beau Bennett and Simon Despres tallied power play goals for the Penguins and Benn Ferriero added a shorthanded tally in the third period. Wilkes-Barre Scranton goalie, Jeff Zatkoff was sensational in his shutout effort, stopping all 15 shots he faced.
“Jeff’s [Zatkoff] played really well,” said John Hynes, head coach of the Penguins said postgame. “He’s a really athletic goaltender, but the big thing in his games has been when we’ve had the breakdowns he’s made saves that we really need at key times. That’s really been able to help us win some games.”
The first period featured fast paced play, with both teams earning some key offensive chances. Wilkes-Barre Scranton outshot the Bears 7-6 in the first stanza, but couldn’t convert on their two power play opportunities. Hershey also had two opportunities with the man advantage, with the second power play chance carrying over 41 seconds of power play time to the second period.
Wilkes-Barre would strike twice in the early part of the second period, scoring two power play goals in 1:01 of elapsed time. Penguins forward, Beau Bennett registered his fourth goal of the season on a deflection, followed by Simon Despres’s first goal of the season on a wrist shot from the point.
“Power play did a nice job of being able to recover pucks,” said Hynes. “We were able to find a way to get the puck to the net which was the most important thing. Definitely was a momentum changer for us in the game.”
The second period involved heavy hitting and high intensity play, with Matt Clackson fighting Penguins heavy weight, Steve MacIntyre. The bigger MacIntyre landed the knockout blow, but continued punching Clackson while he was down on the ice, earning a game misconduct.
“Matty’s [Matt Clackson] that type of guy,” said Bears coach Mark French of Clackson’s fight. “He’s not gonna turn down a fight with anybody. Whether it’s standing up for a teammate or a situation like that, he does his job and he does it quite well.”
The Penguins extended their lead to 3-0 early in the third period, cashing in on the penalty kill. Wilkes-Barre Scranton forward, Benn Ferriero netted a shorthanded breakaway goal 1:03 into the third stanza, following a turnover at the Bears’ offensive blue line.
Wilkes-Barre Scranton another late goal with 1:55 left in the third period, padding their lead to 4-0. Penguins forward, Warren Peters potted his second goal of the season following a setup from Bobby Farnham.
“The lack of execution maybe more than effort,” said French. “We had some waves where we had some rushes, but it didn’t get generate a shot. We need to obviously have a better shot mentality in those situations.”
Hershey hits the road Saturday night for a game against the Adirondack Phantoms, followed by a return to Giant Center on Sunday night to face the Toronto Marlies.
1. Attendance: 10,044
2. Ryan Stoa and Jonathon Kalinski remained healthy scratches for Hershey
3. Bears Healthy Scratches: Patrick McNeill, Julien Brouillette, Matt Pope
4. Forwards Barry Almeida and Stanislav Gailev were sent to the Reading Royals of the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) Wednesday morning
5. Postgame, the Washington Capitals announced Adam Oates and Calle Johansson are done coaching in Hershey and will return to Washington
1. Jeff Zatkoff (15 saves on 15 shots)
2. Benn Ferriero (one goal, one assist, plus two, six shots on goal)
3. Simon Despres (one goal, plus one, two shots on goal)