WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Jake Guentzel recorded two points (1G-1A) in his first game back from Pittsburgh, but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a 5-2 decision to the Hershey Bears on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Nathan Walker and Chandler Stephenson coming 1:31 apart late in the opening frame.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton capitalized on the team’s first power play of the game in the final minutes of the first period. Guentzel rifled a one-timer from the high slot that beat Bears goaltender Vítek Vaněček top-shelf with 1:12 left in the period, cutting the Bears’ advantage in half.
Zach Sanford, who assisted on Walker’s opening goal, picked up his second point of the contest at 14:30 of the second, finding the back of the net off of a nice string of passes from Walker and Brad Malone.
Guentzel added to his team-leading point total with an assist on Jean-Sébastien Dea’s eighth goal of the season, a wrist shot that beat Vaněček to his glove side 2:44 into the third period. Dea tied Guentzel for the most goals on the Penguins with that tally.
However, Hershey responded just 44 seconds later, forcing a turnover in Wilkes-Barre’s defensive zone which allowed former Penguin Zach Sill to snap in a Ryan Bourque feed for his fourth goal of the season.
Garret Mitchell sealed the victory for the Bears, skating in on the rush and firing a wrist shot past Tristan Jarry’s blocker with just under five minutes left in the final period.
Jarry stopped 17 of the 22 shots he faced on the night, while Vaněček saved 26 out of 28.
The two teams will face off again Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual game tickets for tomorrow night’s game and all Penguins home games, are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.