PENGUINS DEFEAT BEARS, CLAIM FIFTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Joe Vitale scored two goals, one shorthanded, and Brad Thiessen turned aside 30 shots to help the Penguins to their fifth consecutive win to start the season, 3-2 over the Hershey Bears.
For the first time on home ice, the Penguins tallied the game’s first goal and it came while the squad was killing a Bears penalty. Vitale managed to block a Bears pass along the boards and carry it along to lead a two-on-one rush. With only Sheldon Souray defending, Vitale took advantage of the room he was given and wristed a shot in off the glove of Hershey backstop Dany Sabourin at 16:08. The goal was the team’s second shorthanded marker of the season.
The Penguins opened up a 2-0 advantage early in the second period off of hard work from the defense. Steve Wagner managed to send a pass to the right point for blueline partner Corey Potter on a zone entry. Potter’s slapper deflected off a Bears stick across the slot to an open Vitale, who slid a puck through Sabourin at 5:17.
But the Bears finally managed to solve Thiessen at the end of a power play. Defenseman Patrick Wellar had enough time and space to launch a shot from the left point toward traffic in front of the net. The puck was chipped high into the upper right corner over Thiessen’s glove by Boyd Kane, who picked up his first tally of the year.
The Penguins shrugged that off and regained their two-goal cushion on a late-period power play. With Bears defenseman Brian Fahey serving a stick-holding penalty, the Penguins were able to work the puck back to the blue line, where Robert Bortuzzo picked the upper left corner with a slap shot off the left post for his first goal this season.
Once again, the Bears made things interesting late in the game with Sabourin pulled for the extra attacker. Kyle Greentree, after being knocked on his stomach deep in the right corner, managed to sneak a puck in front of the net where Andrew Gordon lifted a shot past Thiessen’s glove with just 1:47 left in regulation. But the Penguins managed to get the puck deep in Hershey territory in the game’s final half minute to hold on for the win.
The Penguins will host the Binghamton Senators for the first time this season tomorrow, October 23 at 7:05 pm. Great seats remain, and fans can purchase them at the PennStar Box Office at Mohegan Sun Arena, through any Ticketmaster outlet, online at ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
10-game flex books, 12-game and 22-game partial plans are also available by calling the Penguins’ offices at (570) 208-PENS.
NOTES: The teams honored the memory of long-time AHL executive Jack Butterfield with a moment of silence before the game…The Penguins scratched defenseman Drew Fata and forwards Nick Petersen, Ryan Schnell, and Brett Sterling… the Penguins claimed two consecutive wins over Hershey for the first time since January 23 and January 30, 2009... G Brad Thiessen has made 30 saves in all three of his victories.