I think we have a playoff preview on our hands. Only thing that is going to need to be decided is who gets the four seed.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins take down the Hershey Bears 3-2 in overtime in comeback fashion. Their tenth goal scored with the goaltender pulled to tie it, then a Valtteri Puustinen power play goal to end it in overtime to win it. The Bears escape with a point, but Wilkes-Barre draws ever so closer to the Bears and the four seed with two games in hand.
Tommy Nappier from THEE Ohio State University opposed Zach Fucale. Here’s how they lined up:
Lineup Notes: Anthony Angello was out and Jamie Devane was back in. Cam Lee replaced Will Reilly. Angello is still dealing with illness.
First Period: Flying start by the Penguins who go up 1-0 on a Kasper Bjorkqvist shot that bleeds through Fucale that gives the Pens a 1-0 lead.
But then Hershey responds in kind on an Ethan Frank power play goal that looks eerily similar to the Hershey power play goals of yore.
Shades of Keith Aucoin setting up Alex Giroux from that very spot. That Frank kid was probably still in elementary school.
The power play goal by Hershey ended the Pens streak of 30 consecutive kills over eight games.
Second Period: No scoring, but the Penguins had a pair of back to back power play tries they were unsuccessful on.
Third Period: Next goal huge, obviously. Hershey scores it on a power play (again) on a deflection in front by Mason Morelli.
The Penguins thought they scored a goal but referee Justin Kea washed it out immediately on account of a hand pass into the net. Replay confirmed his initial call on the ice. The fans in attendance weren’t happy, but the camera doesn’t lie.
Time dwindling, goal needed, delivered by Radim Zohorna off a deflection from a Juuso Riikola shot that ties the game at two with Nappier pulled with just over two minutes to play.
Overtime: Big save by Nappier :13 in. Brett Leason with a trip :24 in. Valtteri Puustinen a few minutes later on the power play:
There Stars: 3) Kasper Bjorkqvist (goal) 2) Radim Zohorna (goal) Valtteri Puustinen (goal)
The Good: Nice way to come back there at the end with your backs at the wall. Playoff like intensity and the Pens prevail.
The Bad: Penalty kill was a weak spot when for so long it was a strong suit.
Turning Point: In a game full of them, the Puustinen game winner that ended it gets it here.
Around the Division: Only games that matter were Hartford losing in Toronto 4-1 and Bridgeport beating Lehigh Valley to vault into sixth in the division with a 2-1 overtime win in Allentown.
Standings: 4) Hershey .535 5) Penguins .522 6) Bridgeport .514 7) Hartford .500
I think you can stick a fork in the Wolf Pack.
Wheeling Update: Nailers clinched so its all about seeding for them. They lose to Fort Wayne 2-1 at home.
In the who plays who tomorrow, Hershey is off. This is one of the two games in hand the Pens play Saturday against the Islanders.
Video Highlights: If I see them and can work the edit in…you know the rest.
Let’s Go Pens!