A pair of goals by players named Kevin and 35 saves by Casey DeSmith and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins take down the Hershey Bears 2-1 on Friday night in Wilkes-Barre.
A tight, take what they give you affair. Bears struck in the first period to take an early lead then the Penguins, who only had three shots on goal in the second period, score on their third when Kevin Roy went off on a breakaway after a David Warsofsky blocked shot and scored in the final minute of the period.
Pens went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill in the second period but it was a bend but not break strategy that got them through that and then the game, really.
Kevin Czuczman navigated through bodies and fired and beat Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley that gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead that stood up the rest of the way.
From that angle, it looked like it hit crossbar and went out and would not count.
Parallax is a funny thing. I believe that was referee Alex Ross there perfectly positioned to signal goal. The Bears never protested that it wasn’t a goal at the time.
I kind of wish Coal Street built in a few Casey DeSmith saves at the end, cause he was dialed in and needed as the Bears made their final push. DeSmith never budged. Even when Hershey had a power play late and went with a 6 on 4, DeSmith kept them out.
That’s pretty much it. Sometimes they are bore fests like this one to and extent and there isn’t much to write home about. The Penguins didn’t have a single power play all game and their penalty kill against Hershey went 4-for-4.
Here’s how they lined up.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored the goal in the first period for the Bears. Niclas Almari’s struggles continued on that one as he was tangled up along the wall allowing for Fjallby to break free and score on a snipe that beat DeSmith clean. Hershey didn’t GIF the goal, but it should be in the highlight package below.
Three Stars: I am kind of writing this in reverse, but it gets better from here.
The Good: Found a way to win when they were outshot 36-19….Penalty kill was 4/4, especially in some key areas like the second trailing 1-0. Had the sense if Hershey went up 2-0 it would have been over.
The Bad: Not too many deficiencies tonight. You could say they were lucky to win and not be wrong.
Turning Point: Czuczman’s goal that put them ahead 2-1 and DeSmith’s play in goal in the closing stages get it here.
Not only that, but where would this team be if it weren’t for Casey DeSmith?
Around the Division: Binghamton beats Charlotte 2-1….Rochester beats Lehigh Valley 3-2 in overtime….Springfield beats Hartford 4-1. Bridgeport and Providence were off.
Standings: Hershey 70 — Hartford 68 — Providence 64 — Charlotte 62 — Springfield 60 — Penguins 60 — Lehigh Valley 54 — Bridgeport 44
Wheeling Update: Nailers are shutout 3-0 in Cincinnati.
They bus to Hartford for a 7 start Saturday. Gameday setup is here Saturday afternoon at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!