Three First Period Goals Spark Bears Win

The Hershey Bears (26-21-3-5) were dominated by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (29-24-2-1) over the final 50 minutes Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. However, the Washington Capitals’ AHL affiliate still skated to a 3-2 victory.

The Bears dominated the first ten minutes of play, tallying three goals in the first period, and quickly chasing Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Brad Thiessen from the game. But once the midway point of the first stanza hit, it was all Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate, outshot Hershey 34-15 over the final 50 minutes, but couldn’t beat Bears’ goalie Dany Sabourin (8-8-3, 2.57 GAA).

Captain Boyd Kane and forwards Ryan Potulny and Jeff Taffe tallied first period goals for Hershey, as the Bears’ top two forward lines paved the way to victory. Sabourin totaled 32 saves on the Penguins 34 shots on goal, good enough for this eighth win on the season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Tom Kostopoulous registered his third goal of the season on the power play with 4:45 remaining in the first period following Hershey’s first three goals, bringing the Penguins within two goals through the first stanza.

Penguins’ defenseman and Captain Joey Mormina decreased the Bears advantage to one at 7:37 into the second stanza, scoring during even strength play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton dominated Hershey in the second frame, outshooting the Bears 16-2. That trend continued in the final period, as the Penguins registered nine shots on goal to Hershey’s four.

But even with all the momentum on their side, the Penguins couldn’t find twine past Sabourin.

“We’ve got two tough games left,” Bears head coach Mark French told the Patriot News’ Tim Leone. “As we said coming into the weekend, we’re just going to go game-by-game.”

Hershey returns to Giant Center for two weekend games, against the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch. The Bears now trial Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by one point for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with one game in hand.

Game Notes

1. Hershey forward Ryan Potulny scored in his third straight game.

2. The Bears improved to 7-2-2 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.

3. Bears Injuries: Dmitry Orlov and Danick Paquette

4. Hershey Healthy Scratches: Brandon Anderson, Evan Barlow, Matt Clackson and Jonathon Kalinski

5. The Bears went 0/1 on the power play and 2/3 on the penalty kill

6. Attendance: 7,417

Three Stars

1. Ryan Potulny (one goal, plus one, four shots on goal)

2. Joey Mormina (one goal, minus one, two shots on goal)

3. Jeff Taffe (one goal, two shots on goal)

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

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