WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – In a winner-take-all Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins edged the Hershey Bears, 2-1, on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The Penguins move on to face the St. John’s IceCaps in the next round, beginning Tuesday in Newfoundland.
It took almost two periods for either team to find the back of the net, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would stun Hershey with two goals seven seconds apart in the final minutes of the second frame.
A Bears’ high-sticking call resulted in a four minute power play for the Penguins and the home team would convert. Colin McDonald knocked down a clearing attempt on the near wall and skated toward the crease where he backhanded the puck that Cal O’Reilly knocked over the blocker of Bears goalie Dany Sabourin at 17:31.
On the ensuing faceoff, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Brian Strait rimmed a puck into the Hershey zone that caromed off the corner boards into the slot. Zach Sill stepped up to whack the shot past an unsuspecting Sabourin for his second goal of the playoffs.
With their season on the line, the Bears came out flying to the start the third and needed only 23 seconds to the cut the Penguins’ lead in half. Ryan Potulny entered the offensive zone on a 3-on-2 rush and wristed a shot from the far dot that found its way over the shoulder of netminder Brad Thiessen.
That would be last goal Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Thiessen allowed as they limited Hershey to just four shots the rest of the way. The Penguins goalie made 18 saves overall for his third victory of the playoffs.
Sabourin stopped 26 out of 28 shots for the Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 1-for-3 on the man-advantage and 2-of-2 on the penalty kill.
The Eastern Conference Semifinal between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and St. John’s IceCaps will begin on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:00PM EDT at Mile One Centre.