STUNNING FINISH LEADS TO PENGUINS LOSS TO BEARS, 3-2
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – In a game that had a playoff-like atmosphere from start to nail-biting finish, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a heartbreaker to the Hershey Bears, 3-2, on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-15-5-0) had a tying goal disallowed with 5.9 seconds remaining in regulation, stunning a packed house and halting the Penguins’ three-game winning streak.
Radim Zohorna wasted no time giving the Penguins a head start, burying a breakaway just 70 seconds into the game. Zohorna, skating through center ice, corralled a loose puck, quickly gathered speed and beat Clay Stevenson upstairs for his first AHL goal of the season.
The Bears had a swift answer, as Ethen Frank got a friendly bounce off the crossbar, beating Joel Blomqvist 6:25 into the game.
The teams traded power-play goals during the middle frame, leading to a 2-2 tie. It began with a marker from Hershey’s Pierrick Dubé 6:24 into the period, followed by a short-side snipe by Vinnie Hinostroza when 81 seconds were left before the second intermission.
Frank struck again for what proved to be the game-winner at 11:29 of the final period.
In a last-ditch effort to tie things up again, the Penguins pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, leading to a six-on-four man advantage. After several attempts were fought off by Stevenson, Sam Poulin batted the puck out of midair and across the goal line for an apparent equalizer. The play was initially called a good goal by the referee watching from below the goal line, but after a huddle between all four on-ice officials, the call was reversed due to a high stick.
The reversal spurned Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s hopes of winning the game in overtime and denied it a chance to earn a point in the standings by heading to the extra session.
Blomqvist recorded 25 saves for the Penguins, while his Atlantic Division All-Star counterpart Stevenson turned aside 32 shots in the win.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game will be against the visiting Toronto Marlies on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Puck drop for the Marlies only visit to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this season is slated for 7:05 p.m.
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.