WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Colin McDonald scored two goals, and Brad Thiessen held the HERSHEY BEARS off of the score sheet until late in the game, helping the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 3-1 victory on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, in Game One of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
The Penguins dominated the first period, outshooting the BEARS 12-3 and starting things off with a penalty kill 45 seconds into the game. After Patrick Wellar was tripped on what would have been a HERSHEY power play, he fought Penguins defenseman Alex Grant and drew an extra roughing call. Tomas Kundratek later was whistled for tripping and sent the Penguins to their first power play. It took ten seconds for the hosts to cash in, when McDonald directed an Alexandre Picard shot past Sabourin at 14:40 and gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
Cal O’Reilly scored his first of the postseason on a second-period power play and gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Sneaking back toward the right corner, O’Reilly collected a pass from Jason Williams at the center point, a pass which came on a fake and opened up the left side of Sabourin enough for O’Reilly to slide a puck in at 11:38.
McDonald capped off his night by beating Sabourin with a blast from the right circle at 11:56 of the third, giving the Penguins a 3-0 advantage.
Mike Carman finally broke Thiessen’s shutout bid when he deflected a Kevin Marshall point shot into the net with 1:52 left in regulation. The BEARS would get Sabourin to the bench for an extra attacker but could not find any more offense.
The BEARS finished the night 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Sabourin drops to 0-1 in the postseason, making 26 saves on 29 shots. Thiessen improves to 1-0 with 19 saves.
The Penguins lead the best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinals one game to none, with Game Two set for tomorrow night at 7:05 PM at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The series returns to GIANT Center for Game Three (Game "AA") on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are on sale by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.