SECOND PERIOD DOOMS PENS IN HIGH-SCORING LOSS TO BEARS

November 29, 2023 Nick Hart

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins lost a high-scoring contest to the Hershey Bears, 7-5, on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (9-8-2-0) had a multi-goal lead entering the second period, but that lead flipped to a multi-goal deficit after a four-goal middle frame by Hershey. Three-point outings from Joe Snively (2G-1A) and Aaron Ness (3A) played a role in the Penguins’ undoing.

Sam Houde returned to the lineup for the Penguins after a six-game injury absence, and he announced his return emphatically by scoring two goals in the first six minutes of play. His first, a deflection on the power play, came three minutes into his return. His second goal was another tip in, registered at 5:23 of the opening frame.

Newly acquired Penguin Peter Abbandonato picked up assists on both of Houde’s goals.

Hershey responded with a goal from Vincent Iorio at 12:13 of the first period, but Rem Pitlick tallied another power-play goal for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton less than a minute later. Valtteri Puustinen drove the puck on net, and Pitlick recovered the loose puck to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.

The Bears came roaring back in the second period, scoring four goals and taking a 5-3 lead into the second intermission.

Their first came from Mike Sgarbossa on the power play at 9:33 of the middle frame. Next, Snively cashed in on a breakaway two and a half minutes later, tying things up.

Pierrick Dubé found the back of the net from the slot to give the Bears their first lead of the night. Finally, Riley Sutter also drove one home from between the hashmarks with 1:07 left in the period.

A Joona Koppanen deflection brought the Penguins back within one, 5-4, at the 6:15 mark in the third.

Midway through the final frame, a puck thrown on net by Ivan Miroshnichenko snuck through on the short side and trickled across the goal line, restoring Hershey’s 2-goal lead.

With the Penguins’ net empty for an extra attacker, Jonathan Gruden made it a one-goal contest again. However, Snively hit the empty net moments later, resulting in a 7-5 final.

Joel Blomqvist stopped 14 of the 19 shots he faced and was replaced at the start of the third period by Magnus Hellberg. In relief, Hellberg allowed one goal on five shots. Hunter Shepard turned away 22 shots for the Bears.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Dec. 1, the first in a home-and-home set with the Springfield Thunderbirds. Puck drop at MassMutual Center will come at 7:05 p.m. The Penguins and T-Birds will trek back to Northeast Pennsylvania for a 6:05 p.m., Saturday night faceoff at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Season-ticket packages for the Penguins’ 25th season of hockey are on sale now. Full-Season, 22-game, 12-game, Flexbook and Premium Seating plans are available by reaching out to the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367. Individual-game tickets are also available by visiting Ticketmaster.com, the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office or calling the Penguins’ front office at (570) 208-7367.

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