WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Boyd Kane and Zach Hamill converted second-period power play goals while Braden Holtby turned aside all 28 shots he faced in the first two periods, to help the HERSHEY BEARS skate to a 3-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The two teams battled defensively in the first period, with each team earning power plays during the final five minutes. The BEARS had the best opportunity to cash in, when Barry Almeida’s cross-crease pass landed perfectly on Hamill’s tape for a point-blank one-time shot. The right pad of Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff came across to deny Hamill the goal, and kept the game scoreless.
The BEARS then earned an early power play in the second stanza, when Warren Peters was flagged for interference. The visitors made it count as Garrett Stafford flipped a saucer pass to his defense partner Tomas Kundratek. From the left point, Kundratek sent a shot toward the net, where Kane stood uncovered to deflect the shot past Zatkoff at 1:19.
A scrum after the whistle midway through the period sent the Penguins on a power play when Steve Oleksy and Bobby Farnham dropped the gloves, but Holtby and the penalty kill stood tall. The BEARS, victimized by two-man disadvantages on Saturday, earned one of their own and capitalized early. Stafford passed to Jeff Taffe on the goal line, who in turn sent a cross-crease pass in front of Zatkoff that Hamill banged in at 16:51.
Riley Holzapfel got the Penguins on the board just past the halfway point of the third period, after the BEARS were unable to control a loose puck in the slot. Holzapfel picked up the puck and backhanded a shot along the ice past Holtby at 10:49.
The BEARS iced the victory with Bobby Farnham serving a late penalty and Zatkoff on the bench in favor of an extra attacker. Jon DiSalvatore swept the puck through the neutral zone where Taffe was waiting. He skated untouched toward the empty net and deposited the puck in with 1.1 seconds remaining.
Holtby made a total of 38 saves in the contest, and improved to 3-2-0 on the season. Zatkoff stopped 19 of 21 shots and fell to 4-5-0. The BEARS finished the night 3-for-7 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The BEARS return home tomorrow, November 10 for a 7:00 PM faceoff against the St. John’s IceCaps. 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.