Bears Defeat Penguins in Hershey
The Hershey Bears and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins faced off tonight in a “Battle of the Quaker State” which Hershey would go on to win in an overtime shootout, 4-3. Tonight’s game was the 5th of 12 meetings for these two teams this season, the next rivalry match up with the Penguins will be on Sunday December 4th at the “Giant Center” in Hershey. “WBS” entered tonight’s game sitting at 9th place in league standings with a (10-5-1) record while Hershey was ranked 2nd with a record of (12-4-2).
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton immediately got off to a hot start in the first period thanks to a quick goal by Drake Caggiula in the first minute of play. Caggiula’s goal was immediately followed up with a score from teammate Valterri Puustinen around the 7:50 mark. Hershey’s Mason Morelli finally got the Bears on the board late in the first with help from Jake Massie and Vincent Iorio. The Penguins-Bears rivalry started to heat up with about 3 minutes left in the period when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s goalie Dustin Tokarski and Hershey’s Kale Kessy got a little physical in front of the net. Tokarski threw a few elbows and jabs to the back of the screening Kessy who in turn engaged Tokarski and quickly was swarmed by black and yellow sweaters. Kessy headed to the “Sin Bin” to serve a 2 minute minor for “Roughing” and Tokarski went unpenalized. The score at the end of the first period, Penguins 2- Bears 1.
Jake Massie started the rally off for the Bears by scoring a deflection goal off of his skate about 7 minutes into the second, assisted by Hendrix Lapierre and Vincent Iorio. Massie would go on to have the only goal of this period, tying the game 1-1. Kale Kessy once again found himself headed back to the box after a quick scrum in front of the net around the 20 minute mark with the Penguins Drew O’Connor. Kessy made his way off the ice and toward the dressing room but not before he frustratedly threw his gloves down the players tunnel. The Penguins ended the second period with a Powerplay chance, thanks to Kessy’s 5 minute major for fighting, 2 minute minor for instigating and 10 minutes for misconduct (served by Mike Vecchione). Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton could not capitalize on the “PP” and both teams retreated to their respected rooms for the intermission with the game still tied 1-1.
The Bears started the third period with both Kessy and Vecchione in the box, giving the Penguins Nathan Legare the opportunity to put his team in the lead early. Mid way through the third with the Bears trailing, Mike Vecchione buries a B-E-A-UTIFUL slapper from a long ways out to tie the game back up, 3-3. Vecchione’s goal assisted by Bobby Nardella and Ethen Frank would once again be the only goal scored this period. When the buzzer sounded in the “Giant Center” at the end of regulation both teams were preparing to play in overtime thanks to some outstanding work in the crease from Hershey’s Hunter Shepard and “WBS” goalie Dustin Tokarski.
Defense was the name of the game in the first round of “OT”, which would go on to end scoreless. The Bears and the Penguins combined only had 4 shots on goal for the entire first overtime period. Hershey’s Shepard started the shoot out with a beautiful save on a shot from the Pens Alexander Nylander. Connor McMichael took lead for the Bears but came up short. Once again Shepard thwarted Sam Poulin and the Pens chance at scoring, luckily for the Bears Sam Anas buried one in the net to give the “Boys in Brown” the lead 4-3. Shepard metaphorically carried the weight of the world but literally carried the outcome of the game on his shoulders as he prepared for Drake Caggiula, the Pens final shooter. Caggiula glided toward Shepard and fired a mean wrister glove side, low that Shepard easily swallowed up giving Hershey their 13th win of the season.
The Bears definitely out shot the pens with a staggering 44 shots on goal while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton only had 19. Once again this season the Bears played on the undisciplined side, racking up a whopping 19 penalty minutes while the penguins had just 6. The rowdy play doesn’t seem to be hurting the Bears chances any, which is shown by their outstanding record and league standings this season. Hershey will prepare to square off with another home state rival tomorrow night, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms host the Bears at their home barn in Allentown, PA. Puck drop is at 7:05pm E/T, fans can see all the action on the AHL TV app or listen in via Fox Sports Radio 1460 in Harrisburg.