HOLTBY, BEARS BLANK PENGUINS 4-0
HERSHEY, Pa. – Braden Holtby fashioned a 25-save shutout, and league-leading scorer Keith Aucoin registered three points to help the Hershey Bears to a 4-0 blanking of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night at Giant Center.
The Penguins thoroughly outplayed Hershey in the opening 20 minutes. They generated scoring chances off of the opening faceoff, and then earned two consecutive power play opportunities. The visitors were unable to solve the league’s best power play, but were able to stop the Bears’ top-ranked penalty kill on its first chance late in the first period. The Penguins would outshoot the Bears 8-4 after the first, but both Holtby and Penguins netminder Brad Thiessen were perfect.
The Bears would draw first blood at 1:10 of the second when Aucoin converted an offensive zone takeaway and slid a shot along the ice through Thiessen’s pads. The goal was Aucoin’s 30th of the season. Aucoin’s linemate Andrew Gordon would then score on a questionable power play, by slamming a loose puck from the paint into the net on Aucoin’s original chance in front. The goal came when rookie defenseman Alex Grant was sent off for instigating a fight with Hershey’s Greg Amadio. Grant came to the aid of Konstantin Pushkarev, who was knocked to the ice from behind on a high hit to his back by Amadio.
The Bears would add to their lead at 1:51 of the third period when Alexandre Giroux picked up a puck in the right circle and sent an off-wing wrist shot around a Penguins defender and past Thiessen. Hershey completed their scoring when Francois Bouchard finished off a two-on-one rush with Kyle Wilson. Wilson sent a pass toward the slot from the left half wall, and Bouchard promptly one-timed it past Thiessen’s glove.
Hershey outshot the Penguins 28-25 in the game, and went 1-for-5 on their power play. The Penguins were 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
Holtby’s win was his 19th of the season as the rookie improved to 19-5-1. Thiessen took the loss, stopping 24 shots, and fell to 6-10-1.
The Penguins return home on Wednesday March 10th, for a 7:05 pm battle with the Albany River Rats. Tickets can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, through any Ticketmaster outlet, or by calling toll-free 1-800-745-3000.