POWER PLAY LEADS WAY FOR BEARS
WILKES-BARRE, PA – A four-goal first period set the tone, and the Hershey Bears skated to an 8-4 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on opening night of the American Hockey League season. The loss snapped a string of three straight wins in season openers for the Penguins.
"They’re a good team, they have good players. When they have time and space, they’re going to make good plays," said head coach Dan Bylsma. "We played at their style and their pace, and gave them power play opportunities, gave them time and space. I don’t think we made them uncomfortable, I don’t think we played in their offensive zone, I don’t think we made them turn and play defense. And as a result, you saw good players make plays."
Hershey recorded five power play goals in the game, setting a new record for power play goals scored against the Penguins in a single contest. Graham Mink accounted for three of those goals himself, and added two assists to earn first star honors.
"Certainly [penalty killing is] a concern, because now it’s two games, for sure, that they’ve picked us apart," said Bylsma, referring to Sunday's 8-2 exhibition loss in Hershey. "They won more battles, they got more power play time because of it."
Hershey started scoring early, and kept up the pace throughout the game. Keith Aucoin dove to intercept a clearing attempt in the slot, then got up and flicked a shot far post that beat Dave Brown low just 1:36 into the contest.
Chris Bourque followed five and a half minutes later with a blast from the point that sailed over Brown's left shoulder and into the upper regions of the net.
Stone pulled the Pens to within one when he picked up a rebound off a Ben Lovejoy shot with six minutes left in the opening frame.
Mattieu Perrault scored off a juicy rebound at 15:46, and Mink potted his first of the evening when Bourque fanned on an attempted point shot and squirted the puck to the left side of the net, Mink had virtually the entire cage to shoot at as Brown moved to play Bourque's attempt.
Adam Berkhoel relieved Brown at the start of the second period, and played well during the middle frame, allowing just a power play goal to Mink when the HErshey forward was left all alone at the far post.
Connor James scored within the first minute of the third period to make the score 5-3, but Mink completed the hat trick at 4:12, and Andrew Gordon and Alexander Giroux followed with even strength scores to put the game well out of reach. Jonathan Filewich picked up a consolation goal during a five-on-three with .8 seconds to play.
Ryan Stone provided the home fans with some thrills, scoring twice himself and adding an assist in the loss. Connor James and Jonathan Filewich picked up the other goals for the Penguins.