WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used four first-period goals to roll past the HERSHEY BEARS with a 7-2 decision on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Penguins now take a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five series.
Colin McDonald scored two goals for the second consecutive night, starting things off at 1:13 when picked up a turnover in the right circle, turned and slapped a puck that was on edge under the glove of Dany Sabourin.
Zach Sill made it 2-0 after Sabourin kicked out Philip Samuelsson’s slapper from the left wall. The rebound appeared to be tipped to the right by Ryan Craig, and Sill sent a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle over a prone Sabourin at 10:57.
Later, Sabourin stopped Jason Williams on a rush up ice, but the rebound came right out to defenseman Cody Wild who deposited it into the net at 12:19 for a 3-0 Penguins lead.
Boyd Kane was later called for a roughing penalty, and the Penguins took 13 seconds to make it 4-0. Williams’ slap shot from the center point was deflected into the upper-left corner by Geoff Walker with three minutes remaining in the opening period.
Playing with a jump in their step to start the second, the BEARS got on the board when they forced the Penguins to make a long pass out of their zone. Patrick McNeill stopped it at center ice, held the puck all the way into the right circle, and slapped a shot off the glove of Brad Thiessen and into the net at 2:29.
Matt Rust would make it a 5-1 game when he skated around some traffic and backhanded a shot high over Sabourin’s blocker at 9:24.
The BEARS would cut the deficit to three when Garrett Mitchell went to the front of the net off of a faceoff win, and tipped Julien Brouillette’s drive from the point through Thiessen’s pads at 13:54.
The BEARS were gaining some momentum when a penalty was called on Robert Bortuzzo in the third period. But Ben Street used his speed to break in shorthanded on Sabourin, and after being hooked by Chris Bourque, drew a penalty shot on which he scored with a backhand goal to push the Penguins ahead 6-2 at 12:42.
Things became chippy when Patrick Wellar was handed a major penalty for slashing the Penguins’ Paul Thompson, and Kevin Marshall was slapped with a slashing call shortly afterward. The Penguins could not score with two full minutes of a two-man advantage, but got their final goal when McDonald deflected Alex Grant’s shot past Sabourin with 1:51 remaining.
Sabourin falls to 0-2 with 20 saves on 27 shots, while Thiessen improves to 2-0 in making 14 saves on a season-low 16 BEARS shots.
The BEARS ended the night 0-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill.
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.