HERSHEY, Pa. – Braden Holtby picked up his fourth shutout of the season and third in his last five games, making 33 saves in a 2-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday night at GIANT Center.
The BEARS got the jump early in the game on a turnover by the visitors. Defenseman Brian Strait attempted a pass directly in front of his own net, but BEARS forward Ryan Potulny knocked the pass flat with his stick. Potulny then took a shot from in close that Penguins netminder Jeff Zatkoff turned aside, but Garrett Mitchell swarmed in to drive the rebound home at 3:56.
The BEARS then killed off two penalties to hold their lead at the first intermission.
HERSHEY had the biggest opportunity to grab some insurance as they were handed three consecutive power plays late in the middle stanza, but the Penguins’ top-ranked road penalty kill turned them all aside, including 1:50 of carry-over time into the third.
Both teams’ penalty killing units were on the ice in the third period, and again were successful. With time ticking down under the final 48 seconds of regulation, the BEARS put the game away when Jeff Taffe fired a slap shot into the empty net on another Penguins turnover for his 30th point of the season.
Holtby improves to 12-9-1 with the win, while Zatkoff allowed just one goal on 19 shots but suffered the loss to fall to 11-8-0. The BEARS were 0-for-5 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS and Penguins will meet again tomorrow, December 27 for a 7:05 PM faceoff at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. HERSHEY returns home to face the Albany Devils on Saturday, December 29 at 7:00 PM. Tickets for this game and all home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.