PENS FALL SHORT IN SEASON OPENER
A third-period power play goal by Hershey Bears center Keith Aucoin proved to be the difference as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fell to their division rival, 3-2, in their season opener at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Trailing by one and carrying over a power play heading into the second, the Penguins knotted the contest, 2-2, just before the end of their man-advantage. Signed by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier this week, Niko Dimitrakos drove toward the low slot and sent a Colin McDonald pass under Dany Sabourin at 1:06 of the period.
The Penguins’ penalty kill was perfect through the first forty minutes of hockey, holding Bears scoreless on five opportunities including 69 seconds of 5-on-3 time in the second. The sixth power play would provide Hershey with the game-winner at 3:33 of the third as Ryan Potulny found an uncovered Aucoin in front for a wrist shot over the glove of Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen.
A back-and-forth first period saw the Bears take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Hershey got the scoring started at 11 minutes and 27 seconds when Christian Hanson stole the puck in the Penguins’ zone and hit Kyle Greentree atop of the crease, where he tucked a shot inside near post.
Penguins rookie Brian Gibbons tied things up exactly four minutes later with the Bears skating on the man-advantage. Intercepting a blueline pass, Gibbons raced down ice and fended off a Hershey defenseman before snapping a shot to the left side of the net.
It took only 20 seconds for the Bears to retake the lead as Matthew Ford fired a shot from the right wall that sneaked in short side to make it 2-1.
Thiessen turned aside 20-of-23 shots for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while Sabourin stopped 23 to help the Bears start the season 2-0-0-0.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins battle the Connecticut Whale on Sunday, October 9 at 5:05 PM. For more information, contact the Penguins at (570) 208-PENS or visit www.wbspenguins.com.