HERSHEY, Pa. – Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots, Alex Berry scored his second consecutive game-winning goal and the HERSHEY BEARS ended the pre-season on a high note, defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by a 3-1 score on Sunday evening at GIANT Center.
Both teams battled through a scoreless, tight-checking first period before the BEARS were finally able to open the scoring. With both teams skating one man down, a collapse in defensive coverage in the Penguins’ end of the ice left Brett Flemming wide open in the high slot. Flemming took a pass from Mattias Sjogren, waited and sent a snap shot inside the right post past netminder Brad Thiessen at 10:52.
The hosts then opened up a 3-0 lead on two quick goals in the third period. Berry scored just 26 seconds into the stanza after Joel Champagne took a shot through traffic that Thiessen fought off. The rebound bounced to his left, and Berry was there to deposit the rebound up high.
One minute into the period, Flemming was whistled for a slashing penalty, but it was the BEARS who would capitalize. Jeff Taffe stole a pass in the neutral zone, turned up the speed down the left wing wall, cut to the slot and beat Thiessen over the glove for his first of the pre-season at the 1:51 mark.
Jayson Megna finally got the Penguins on the scoresheet when he completed a two-on-one down low. Megna took a cross-crease pass from Brian Gibbons and tapped the pass behind Holtby at 4:08.
The game was physical, with Steve Oleksy dropping the mitts twice in the game. Matt Clackson brought the crowd to life with his second-period tilt with the Penguins’ Adam Payerl.
Although the BEARS could not muster a power play goal on five chances, the penalty kill was perfect on the Penguins’ five opportunities.
Holtby earned the win in a solid performance, while Thiessen took the loss, making 16 saves on 19 BEARS shots.
The BEARS open the 2012-2013 regular season this Saturday, October 13 at 7:30 PM on the road against the Syracuse Crunch. The club opens their home schedule on Saturday, October 20 with a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Rochester Americans. The first 8,000 fans will receive a team schedule magnet, courtesy of PNC Bank. Tickets for this game and all HERSHEY BEARS home games are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR, or online at TicketMaster.com.