First Penguins win in Hershey since December 28, 2019.
It’s been a while, yes, but I wasn’t going to use the obvious “Miracle” headline on the anniversary of the US beating the USSR in Lake Placid 42 years ago.
I mean I should have, but Kyle Olson’s pair of goals stated otherwise.
I don’t want to call it a statement win because of what the Penguins didn’t do in Charlotte last week and what Hershey did last weekend (they lost two in Providence) but it’s good to finally win in Hershey after two plus years.
Penguins win 3-1. Tommy Nappier stole the show and deserved his first career shutout, but a busted stick on a shot by Alex Alexeyev thwarted that wish.
Nappier opposed Hunter Shepard, who by his own right played a good game and has thwarted Wilkes-Barre before in the past.
Here’s how they lined up:
Lineup Notes: Forwards Radim Zohorna and Drew O’Connor and defenseman Mark Friedman were all in. Forwards Felix Robert (listed as injured, he’s banged up), Kasper Bjorkqvist and defenseman Will Reilly all came out.
First Period: Bears blocked a ton of shots. Pens had a 4:00 power play they did bupkis with early on. Bears had a power play too and didn’t score on theirs either. Seemed like a feeling out period between two teams that are very familiar with one another.
Second Period: Kyle Olson bangs home his first of the night when he swept in an initial shot from Jordy Bellerive from the point past Shepard to put the Penguins on the board first.
Third Period: Penguins held on to the lead. Tommy Nappier was dialed into 10 with some really nice saves. The Penguins finally caught up to the Bears in the shot board. Both teams traded power plays with crucial chances to extend the lead if you are the Penguins or tie the game if you were the Bears. No dice.
Finally, with time dwindling, Bears head coach Scott Allen calls his time out and pulls Shepard. Well, Kyle Olson takes a puck to center and flips a back hand shot into the empty net for a 2-0 Pens lead.
But then Alex Alexeyev snaps his stick on a world be shot which turned into a pass to Brian Pinho who put one past Nappier breaking up the shutout bid with about a minute left to make it 2-1.
Allen pulled Shepard again and this time it was Jonathan Gruden who scored into an empty net at center ice that iced the game away for the Penguins.
Three Stars: Hunter Shepard (22 saves) 2) Tommy Nappier (26 saves) 1) Kyle Olson (two goals)
The Good: Great to see the Penguins finally get a win in Hershey for the first time in over two years.
The Bad: Would love to see Nappier get the shutout but it was not to be.
Turning Point: Seemed innocent at the time, but the Olson goal in the second really put the pressure on a Hershey side which has hit a cold snap. The Penguins rode as dialed in Nappier and the rest of the clock to victory.
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Pens are back to .500, still in sixth place. Charlotte is in fifth with .585 percentage points, Hershey .571, the Pens then Lehigh Valley at .478.
Wheeling Update: Nailers win in overtime on a Patrick Watling goal. Wheeling wins 4-3.
Phantoms Wednesday. More then.
Let’s Go Pens!