HERSHEY, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins stormed back from a three-goal deficit to defeat the Hershey Bears in a shootout, 5-4, at Giant Center on Sunday evening.
Joseph Cramarossa’s goal in the ninth round of the shootout completed the dramatic victory for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (12-10-3-1), which was down 4-1 in the second period. The Penguins were also able to sweep their three-in-three weekend as a result of their refusal to quit on Sunday.
Hershey started the game with two first period strikes coming from Jayson Megna and Riley Barber, the latter of which came on the Bears’ first power play of the day. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tried to muster some offense late in the frame, but Hershey goalie Vítek Vaněček turned them aside at every chance.
The Penguins finally beat Vaněček with a bar-down shot by Kevin Czuczman at 8:50 of the second period. However, Hershey answered back in vociferous fashion, scoring twice in under a minute to assume a 4-1 lead.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton started blazing its comeback trail when Teddy Blueger collected his own rebound after a blocked shot and unleashed a spin-o-rama backhander into the Hershey net at 16:12 of the second period. Blueger later helped set up a Thomas Di Pauli goal that came with only five seconds left in the middle frame, making it 4-3.
The third period progressed with the Penguins dominating possession, but failing to find an equalizer. The Bears were held to a mere four shots on goal during the final 20 minutes of regulation, clinging to their tender one-goal advantage. Eventually, with the goalie pulled and extra attacker on the ice, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton evened the score. Ethan Prow unloaded a wicked one-timer on a scoring opportunity created by Blueger and Adam Johnson, and the defenseman’s eighth goal of the year tied things up, 4-4.
During the overtime period, the Penguins went to penalty kill, but survived by preventing Hershey from putting a single shot on goal during the man advantage.
Eight scoreless rounds of the shootout passed before Cramarossa deked out Vaněček in the bottom of the ninth and completed the weekend sweep for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
John Muse registered 22 saves in the win for the Penguins and an additional nine stops during the shootout. Vaněček posted 26 saves for the Bears and went eight-for-nine in the shootout.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Wednesday, Dec. 12 when they travel to face the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Penguins’ next home contest is Saturday, Dec. 15, and it’s Teddy Bear Toss Night against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop between the Penguins and Phantoms is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Individual tickets for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton home games can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, through all Ticketmaster outlets, or by contacting the Penguins’ offices at (570) 208-7367. Season ticket packages for the 20th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by reaching out to the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.
Fans can also keep up with the Penguins through the AHL’s brand new high definition streaming service, AHLTV. Subscriptions for AHLTV, which include live and archived games, begin at just $79.99 for the entire 2018-19 regular season. Fans can visit theahl.com/AHLTV now to register for a free AHLTV account and purchase 2018-19 subscriptions.