WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Philip Samuelsson banked home the winning goal in the third period for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who held on for a 2-1 victory over the Hershey Bears on Sunday evening at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
For the first time in pre-season the Bears allowed the game’s first goal, and it came on a two-man disadvantage. With both Erik Burgdoerfer and Peter LeBlanc serving minor penalties just 23 seconds apart, the Penguins made a perfect tic-tac-toe play to strike at the 9:48 mark. Scott Harrington’s pass from the point came down low to Brian Gibbons, who tipped the puck across the crease for Nick Drazenovic to chip past Bears netminder Brandon Anderson. The goal was also the first power-play goal allowed by the Bears in pre-season.
Hershey had three chances on the power play in the opening 20 minutes but was unable to convert. The Bears held an 8-5 advantage in shots through the first period.
The visitors then came out hard to start the second period and were rewarded with a tying goal from Ryan Stoa. With Stoa and Jamie Johnson creating havoc in front of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton net, Julien Brouillette launched the puck from the left point which Stoa deflected past Penguins goaltender Eric Hartzell at the 4:18 mark – the only tally of the period.
Goaltender Riley Gill came on at the 9:29 mark of the second period to replace Anderson, and stopped all eight shots he faced in the frame. Samuelsson was the only one to solve him, when he attempted to carry the puck behind Gill’s net. He then cut quickly toward the left post and tucked the puck over the goal line at 7:58 of the third for the winner.
With Gill sitting for a sixth attacker, Hartzell fended off a flurry of Bears shots in the closing seconds to grab the win.
Anderson finished with six saves on seven shots in 29:25 of work, earning no decision. Gill absorbed the loss but played solidly, stopping 13 of 14 in 29:26 of action.
The curtain will rise on the 76th season of Hershey Bears hockey on Saturday, October 5 as the club hosts the Adirondack Phantoms at 7:00 PM. Individual tickets are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or by going to TicketMaster.com on the internet.
Season tickets for the 2013-14 Hershey Bears regular season are on sale now, with many different flexible plans are available and start as low as $165.
NOTES: The Bears’ lone healthy scratch was defenseman David Kolomatis…Defenseman Patrick Wellar started the game at left wing…Hershey finished the night 0-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill…The Bears finished with a penalty kill of 12-for-13 (92.3%) and a power play of 3-for-16 (18.8%) in pre-season…Making their Bears pre-season debuts were Brandon Anderson, Mike Banwell, Erik Burgdoerfer, Dustin Gazley, Riley Gill, Ryan Kavanagh and Domenic Monardo.