02/26/2014 - WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa .– Spencer Machacek capped off a four-goal third period for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with the eventual winner, and the Hershey Bears’ comeback effort fell one goal shy in a 6-5 final on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The opening period featured a combined 12 shots on goal – six for each team – and after falling behind, the Bears would end up with the lead. Former Bears centerman Mike Carman opened the scoring just 2:36 into the game, when he converted a wraparound miss from behind the net by Bobby Farnham past goaltender David Leggio.
Captain Dane Byers would begin a strong night by posting up at the top of the net while the Bears worked their second power play of the period. Julien Brouillette started the play by feeding a pass to Ryan Potulny in the right circle. Potulny attempted a pass in front and the puck deflected off of a Penguins stick, off of Byers and past netminder Eric Hartzell at 13:45.
The Bears would fail on their very next power play opportunity, but two seconds after its expiration, Casey Wellman summoned a burst of speed into the Penguins’ zone. He then got by a defenseman and let a snap shot go from the right circle that got past Hartzell inside the left post at 16:50, putting the Bears in front at the intermission.
Farnham netted the only goal of a second period in which the Penguins fired 14 shots to the Bears’ four. He would backhand the rebound of a deflected shot by Pierre-Luc Letorneau-Leblond from a bad angle past Leggio at 9:11.
The Bears would grab a 3-2 lead just 28 seconds into a wild third period. Patrick Wey would launch a long head-man pass from the right corner of the Hershey zone right onto the tape of Byers, who was rushing over the red line. Byers then took a slap shot that deflected off of a Penguins defenseman and past Hartzell.
From this point, the hosts rattled off three unanswered goals in a span of 2:53 to claim their first two-goal lead of the night. The Bears had a chance to forge ahead by two with the first power play chance of the period, but instead Brendan Mikkelson collected a feed from Jayson Megna, and let fly with a snap shot that sailed past Leggio at the 5:00 mark for a shorthanded tying goal.
A double-minor penalty for high sticking against Dustin Gazley would then prove costly as the Penguins converted twice. Andrew Ebbett put the Penguins in front when he deflected a pass from Nick Drazenovic behind Leggio at 7:30. 23 seconds later, a pass from the left circle by captain Tom Kostopoulos would deflect off the skate of Machacek for a 5-3 lead, which was confirmed after video replay.
The Bears still showed a strong battle and brought the score to 5-4 after Jeff Taffe ripped a wrist shot past Hartzell on a clean faceoff win by Ryan Potulny at 10:01. This goal would end Hartzell’s night, and Jeff Deslauriers came on in relief.
Moments later, Machacek made it 6-4 when his slapper from the right side eluded Leggio at 12:24.
Shortly after Deslauriers denied Casey Wellman from point-blank range and just 30 seconds after Machacek’s tally, Nicolas Deschamps would slip a shot along the ice past Deslauriers off a feed from Stanislav Galiev at 12:54, bringing the Bears within one.
Hershey would pull Leggio in favor of a sixth attacker and had three good chances in the final 1:11 to tie the game. Wellman hit the crossbar on a snap shot but the Bears would not be able to find the equalizer.
Leggio dropped to 15-14-2 with the loss, making 23 saves. Deslauriers, who made just three saves on four shots in 9:59 of work, earned the win and improved to 18-14-3 on the season. Hartzell allowed four goals on 16 shots in 49:50 of ice time but earned no decision.
The loss dropped the Bears into fourth place in the East Division, with the Penguins and Norfolk Admirals now one point ahead. The loss extended the Bears’ skid to three games while snapping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s six-game slide.
Hershey heads northeast for a 7:00 PM matchup against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday, February 28. The club returns home to host the Charlotte Checkers in a pair of games on Saturday, March 1 at 7:00 PM and Sunday, March 2 at a special 4:00 PM start time. The Hershey Bears Booster Club will be collecting non-perishable food items to support the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank on Saturday, while the first 5,000 fans through the gates on Sunday will receive a baseball cap courtesy of Capital BlueCross.
Tickets for these and all remaining home games are available by calling (717) 508-BEAR, by stopping into the GIANT Center box office or by visiting TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratches were D Tomas Kundratek, C Michael Latta, RW Garrett Mitchell, D Cameron Schilling, D Nate Schmidt…The healthy scratches were LW John Mitchell, D Steve Oleksy, LW Nathan Walker, and LW Derek Whitmore…RW Brandon Segal served the first of a two-game suspension…D Jack Hillen made his Bears debut on a conditioning loan from Washington, finishing even with five shots on goal…Hershey finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill…The Bears finished the 12-game season series against the Penguins with a record of 6-5-1-0…Hershey lost in regulation for the first time this season when scoring four or more goals (20-1-0-1)…The Bears lost their third consecutive game in regulation for the first time this season, and only lost three straight on two other occasions.