This one was a tough one to figure out on this Saturday afternoon. After an offensive explosion last week against Syracuse, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins go for 35 shots on goal against ECHL lifer Zach Fucale for the Bears and only come away with one goal to show. They only allow one player on the other team to score, but that player is quickly becoming the proverbial stone in the shoe for the Penguins.
A Connor McMichael hat trick, albeit on an empty net late, is all the Bears need Saturday afternoon as they beat the Penguins 3-1.
The aforementioned Fucale opposed Max Lagace.
Lineup Notes: Anthony Angello, Frederick Gaudreau and Max Lagace all made their WBS debuts. Angelo and Gaudreau went to the top line displacing Josh Currie (who was recalled) and Nick Schilkey. Schilkey dropped down to the second line. Chase Berger moved up to center the third line for Jordy Bellerive who was recalled. Jan Drozg down from the second line to this line. Nastasiuk slid over and centered the fourth line and Kyle Olson moved down from the third line to the fourth.
Defense pairs unchanged.
First Period: Teams trade power play goals. Zach Nastasiuk for the Pens to open the scoring:
Redirects for days on this shot. Nastasiuk was the last to touch it.
Hershey later responds on a give and go, shot, rebound score by Connor McMichael who scored his first of the contest.
Second Period: I think one of the keys to beating the Penguins this season is forcing the rookie defensemen to make mistakes.
Even game, tight contest, mistakes like these get magnified.
Third Period: Pens kill a penalty and then get two power plays late and can’t cash. With Lagace pulled for an extra attacker, they make a great play for Nick Schilkey who hits the post. An errant pass to no one is gobbled up by (who else) Connor McMichael who shoots from about 120 feet away and scores to complete his hat trick.
Three Stars: 3) Garrett Pilon (assist) 2) Zach Fucale (34 saves) 1) Connor McMichael (hat trick)
The Good: They scored one power play goal on six opportunities.
The Bad: They scored one power play goal on six opportunities.
Turning Point: Tight contest, McMichael’s goal 1:19 into the second period is enough for the Bears to ride out and grit out a win behind the rookies stellar play and the play in goal by Fucale who stopped 34.
Around the Division: I don’t know about you, but I kind of like these 1 pm away Saturday starts. Now I have the rest of the afternoon to myself. Anyway, Binghamton and Lehigh Valley play later at 7.
Wilkes-Barre and Hershey rematch Wednesday evening at 5 in Wilkes-Barre. More then, if not sooner.
Let’s Go Pens!