WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had a four-goal outburst in the first period and skated to a 7-2 win over the Hershey Bears on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The victory gives Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with Game Three on Wednesday in Hershey.
Seventy-nine seconds into the contest, the tone was set by Colin McDonald
. The Penguins forward gloved down a failed clearing attempt by Hershey and quickly threw a shot toward the net that ricocheted off a stick before fluttering past Bears netminder Dany Sabourin. Zach Sill
made the score 2-0 in favor of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with nine minutes left in the first, cashing in on the rebound from Ryan Craig
’s backhand shot. A little over a minute later it was Cody Wild crashing the crease to deposit his first postseason goal after Sabourin made a pad save on Jason Williams.
The offense explosion wrapped up with 3:00 until the break as Geoff Walker redirected William’s long wrist shot to the back of the net for a power play goal.
Hershey would push back at the start of the second frame and get on the board at 2:29 when defenseman Patrick McNeill beat a screened Brad Thiessen
with a wrist shot from the right circle.
Matt Rust helped the Penguins re-establish their four-goal cushion at 9:24 when he weaved through the Bears defense and put a backhand shot top shelf over Sabourin. Williams notched his third assist of night on the tally.
A Garrett Mitchell deflection of Julien Brouillette’s shot from the blueline shrunk the Bears’ deficit to three as the two teams skated into the second intermission with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on top, 5-2.
That would be the last of Hershey’s offense for the remainder of the contest with the Penguins adding a pair of special teams goals in the third period.
Ben Street was hooked from behind on a shorthanded breakaway and was awarded the fourth penalty shot in the Penguins postseason history. The second-year pro faked a shot and lifted the puck over a fallen Sabourin for the first-ever conversion in the playoffs for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. McDonald added one on the man-advantage late in the period for his second straight two-goal game.
Thiessen made 14 saves to earn his second win of the postseason. Sabourin stopped 20-of-27 for Hershey.
The Eastern Conference Quarterfinal between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Bears heads to Hershey for Game 3 on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 PM.