HERSHEY, Pa. – Zach Sill and Ryan Stanton opened up a third-period lead for the Hershey Bears, but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored three unanswered goals capped off by Will O’Neill’s overtime winner in a 6-5 decision in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,985 at GIANT Center on Sunday evening.
Not many people knew that the Penguins grabbed the game’s first goal just 1:51 into the contest. But after video review, Kael Mouillierat’s lacrosse-style wraparound from behind the Hershey net just clipped the netting under the crossbar behind Justin Peters for the 1-0 advantage.
Hershey answered right back, when Madison Bowey picked up a pass from Nathan Walker, headed down the slot and ripped a wrist shot under the right arm of Tristan Jarry at 4:09.
The Bears then took the lead when Sean Collins redirected a point shot from Christian Djoos behind Jarry at 10:05.
In the second, Dustin Jeffrey knotted the score by banging in a puck poked to him by Adam Krause. Shortly afterward, a brawl ensued behind the Hershey net that gave the Bears several power play opportunities. Jakub Vrana put the Bears back in front with a deflection of a shot from Travis Boyd, cutting through the slot and tipping the puck home at 16:57.
The Bears had a chance to open up a bigger lead with more power play time, but Krause would muscle his way to the net with the puck on his backhand and lift a shot over Peters at 18:26 for the shorthanded equalizer.
Two quick strikes by Stanton and Sill in a span of 32 seconds would then put the Bears on top 5-3. Stanton’s shot beat Jarry short-side at 3:15, while Sill carried the puck down the left wing and slipped a shot off of Jarry’s pad and over the line at 3:47.
But at 5:02, Jean-Sebastien Dea deflected a shot from Tom Sestito over Peters’ shoulder, cutting the Penguins’ deficit to one.
Tom Kostopoulos then tied the game, grabbing a puck that deflected off of two posts and slamming it home at 13:59.
In overtime, Kostopoulos took a shot from in close that also banked off of the right post. The puck came right to O’Neill for the put-back at 3:07.
Peters stopped 25 of 31 shots and fell to 13-9-6. Jarry stopped 22 of 27 shots and improved to 14-9-3.
The teams are now even in points (81) and point percentage (.633) at the top of the division.
The Bears head to Allentown for the final time this season for a matchup with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, March 23. Face-off from the PPL Center is set for 7:05 PM. Fans may catch the broadcast beginning at 6:25 PM on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WTKT-AM 1460, WOYK-AM 1350, via the Capitals Mobile App (Caps Radio 24/7) or the iHeartRadio App (Fox Sports 1460 Harrisburg), and online at CapsRadio247.com or FoxSports1460.com. Fans may watch the games for a small fee at AHLLive.com.
Hershey returns home to face the Albany Devils on Saturday, March 26 at 7:00 PM. Fans are invited to arrive early for a special pre-game ceremony to honor retiring Hershey BearsPresident/General Manager Doug Yingst. The first 5,000 fans will receive a commemorative bobblehead figurine featuring Yingst.
Individual tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: Chris Bourque added two more assists to maintain the AHL scoring lead (26-42-68)…The Bears scratched LW Paul Carey, RW Kevin Elgestal, RW Dustin Gazley, RW Caleb Herbert, D Mike Moore and D Jonas Siegenthaler…The Penguins scratched D Niclas Andersen, C Tyler Biggs, RW Sahir Gill, RW Ty Loney, D Harrison Ruopp and LW Dominik Uher.