WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Chad Kolarik scored twice to help the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins open enough of a lead for a 4-3 victory over the HERSHEY BEARS on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
After Philipp Grubauer fanned on a pass from behind his net and nearly allowed an early goal, the Bears turned the momentum their way and grabbed the game’s first tally. Dmitry Orlov made a crafty spin move from the top of the right circle, giving himself room to skate in and take a wrist shot that eluded Brad Thiessen low to the stick side at 1:57.
The Bears had a chance to forge ahead more when Patrick Wellar, sprung on a breakaway from the penalty box on a pass from Joey Crabb at 10:02, was stopped by Thiessen’s pad on the ensuing penalty shot attempt.
The Penguins tied it up shortly afterward when Jayson Megna tipped the puck through his own legs at the side of Grubauer’s net in front. Paul Thompson had a tap-in past Grubauer at 12:13 to tie the game.
Then, on the second portion of a two-man advantage, Brian Dumoulin let a shot go from the center point that sailed low through traffic and past Grubauer at 18:26.
Kolarik’s first of the game came at 3:43 of the second period to put the hosts ahead 3-1. Winning a puck battle in the left corner, Trevor Smith hurried a pass in front that Kolarik tipped through Grubauer’s pads. He scored his second of the game just 58 seconds into the third period, after beating a Bears defenseman to a deflected shot and hurrying it past Grubauer for a power-play goal.
The Bears then chipped away at a 4-1 deficit. With Brian Gibbons in the box, rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt began the power play at the left point. He made a quick pass through a seam to the right circle for Jeff Taffe, who sent it right back across to Schmidt on his way toward the net. Schmidt passed to the back door for Ryan Potulny, who tipped the puck inside the right post at 11:14.
Peter LeBlanc made it a one-goal game when he got his own rebound and stuffed it under Thiessen at 13:48.
The Bears outshot the Penguins 16-4 in the third period but could not find the equalizer.
Grubauer made 18 saves on 22 shots and fell to 12-7-2 on the season. Thiessen improved to 15-11-12 with a 31-save performance.
The Bears begin another critical stretch of road games on Friday, April 12 with a 7:05 pm faceoff against the Atlantic Division-leading Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Bears will play their final home game of the regular season on Sunday, April 21 at 5:00 against the Manchester Monarchs. All fans in attendance will receive a complimentary pass to HERSHEYPARK valid through July 4, 2013. Tickets may be purchased at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.