BEARS BATTLE TO 2-1 SHOOTOUT WIN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 28, 2010
BEARS TAKE 2-1 SHOOTOUT VICTORY FROM PENGUINS
WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Semyon Varlamov and Brad Thiessen put on a goaltending show, but the offense of the Hershey Bears outdueled the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
With Hershey controlling the offensive zone for much of the opening period, the Penguins took control of things inside the period’s final two minutes. Nick Johnson and Chris Conner combined on hard work in the right corner to take puck possession. Johnson flipped a pass to Ben Lovejoy at the top of the left circle, who promptly unloaded a cannon past Varlamov and gave the Penguins the 1-0 lead, electrifying the home crowd. The Penguins held the edge after one period despite being outshot 11-5.
Kyle Wilson tallied his 20th goal of the season at 10:23 of the second period to tie things up. Wilson took an Oskar Osala pass and carried the puck down the left wing, and pushed a shot off the left shoulder of Thiessen and into the net. Sean Collins earned the secondary assist on the play.
It was up to the goaltenders from that point on, as Varlamov and Thiessen each turned the opposition away through regulation and a spirited overtime. The Penguins nearly had a late overtime power play when Lovejoy was sent face-first into the corner boards by Mathieu Perreault, but Lovejoy was assessed a retaliation infraction and the teams finished overtime at even strength.
Mark Letestu and Wyatt Smith continued to showcase their shootout skills by giving the hosts a 2-0 edge in the bottom of the second round. But Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux, who were held off the scoresheet in the first 65 minutes, beat Thiessen consecutively to tie the shootout at two goals each after three rounds. Konstantin Pushkarev’s missed shot was followed up by Perreault’s fourth-round goal as the Bears took a 3-2 lead. Varlamov would deny Dustin Jeffrey and the visitors walked away with a hard-fought extra point.
The Penguins fell to 2-7-0-1 against their division rivals in the 12-game season series, but still picked up a valuable point as their record now sits at 30-27-1-2. Hershey improved to 46-12-0-2 and earned a league-best 94 points. Varlamov stopped 30 Penguins shots to earn his third win as a member of Hershey, while Thiessen turned in an equally solid performance by making 32 saves. Thiessen’s record fell to 6-9-1. The Penguins and Bears each finished 0-for-2 on the power play.
The Penguins host the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday, March 3rd at 7:05 pm at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
NOTES: The Penguins bumped up the start time of the game to 1:05 pm, to accommodate fans wishing to watch Team USA vs. Team Canada battle for the Olympic gold medal… RW Chris Conner’s assist gives him 11 points in his last three home games… Conner finished February with 18 points (10G, 8A) in 12 games played… The Penguins are 3-2 in shootouts this season.
CONTACT: Brian Coe Scott Stuccio