WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Brendan Mikkelson scored with three seconds left on an overtime power play and with less than 25 seconds left in the extra session, sending the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The Bears grabbed a 1-0 lead at 13:13 of the opening period, while working on a two-man power play advantage. Jeff Taffe sent a cross-ice pass that landed for Jamie Johnson at the bottom of the right circle. Johnson and Derek Whitmore crashed the crease guarded by Penguins backstop Jeff Deslauriers, and it was Whitmore who got his tape on the puck to slide the puck home for his team-leading third goal of the season.
The Penguins would counter on a power play goal of their own at the 17:14 mark. Nick Drazenovic held the puck in the right corner, and then set up a short one-timer for Tom Kosopoulous. Philipp Grubauer made a blocker save on the quick shot, but Dominik Uher snuck in from behind the goal line and slid the rebound between Grubauer’s pads.
Hershey would regain their one-goal advantage in the second period on a line rush created by defenseman Tyson Strachan. Strachan would send a pass into neutral ice for rookie Nathan Walker, who in turn spotted Dane Byers with a cross-ice feed. Byers deked from the forehand to backhand and slid the puck past Deslauriers at 11:41 for his second goal in as many nights.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would also get their captain on the goal sheet, as Kostopoulos ripped a faceoff win by Drazenovic past Grubauer’s blocker at 7:04 of the third period.
Byers would later be the subject of controversy in the third period following an open-ice hit on Penguins defenseman Simon Despres in the Bears zone. After the hit and a scrum, which cost Byers five minutes for charging and a game misconduct, the Penguins embarked on what would turn out to be a three-minute major power play. The Bears were able to kill off the penalties to skate out of regulation with a point.
Excitement brewed in the overtime as well, after Nicolas Deschamps attempted to squeeze past Deslauriers in the trapezoid. Deschamps was called for interference, sending the Penguins to a power play.
Shortly into the man advantage, Matt Watkins stripped the puck away from a Penguins defenseman at center ice and turned back the other way on a scoring chance. He was awarded a penalty shot after being impeded on the opportunity, but Deslauriers lunged out with his left pad to deny Watkins.
With time ticking down on the power play, Grubauer would turn aside a Kostopoulos shot but saw the rebound drop to Drazenovic, who made a back-door pass for Mikkelson to chip home at 4:35 of overtime.
Grubauer drops to 1-3-0 with the setback, making 24 saves. Deslauriers improves to 6-0-1 with 22 saves on the night.
The Bears record is now at 2-3-2-0 through seven contests.
The Bears will host the Penguins tomorrow, November 2 for a 7:00 PM rematch. It is a Dietz and Watson Dollar Dog Night, on which fans can purchase hot dogs for just $1 at select concession stands.
Individual tickets for this and all Hershey Bears home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or by visiting TicketMaster.com on the internet. Information on season tickets, group tickets and flex plans for the 2013-2014 Hershey Bears regular season is available by calling (717)508-BEAR.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratch was LW Josh Brittain…Healthy scratches were D David Kolomatis, LW John Mitchell, RW Brandon Segal (vet), LW Ryan Stoa and D Patrick Wellar… Hershey finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play and 5-for-7 on the penalty kill…LW Nathan Walker’s second-period assist was his first in the AHL…LW Dane Byers has scored in back-to-back games…The Bears have scored the game’s first goal in six consecutive contests, and have scored a power play goal in five straight.