Power Play Burns Pens

December 22, 2018

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins entered Friday’s game against Hershey perfect on the penalty kill over their last four contests.

That didn’t seem to bother the Bears.

Hershey’s Mike Sgarbossa, Riley Barber and Nathan Walker netted power-play goals and the Bears held on for a 3-2 win over the Penguins at Giant Center. The loss drops the Penguins to 15-12-3-1.

Jean-Sebastien Dea and Teddy Blueger both scored for the Penguins in the first period.

Turning point

The Penguins took the lead 1:07 in, when Dea got open in the slot and sniped the puck past Hershey goaltender Vitek Vanecek. Rather than ride the momentum, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hurt itself with penalties and immediately fell behind.

Sgarbossa was left open when the entire Penguins unit zeroed in on a potential shot from Barber and he had no trouble putting the puck in the empty cage at 4:55. Then, with Ethan Prow in the box for tripping, Walker got position in front of Penguins goalie Anthony Peters and tipped an Aaron Ness shot into the twine at 8:34.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied the game, but then fell behind for good in the second after a sequence of three straight minor penalties by Matt Abt.

They didn’t allow the first goal, but the Penguins had to play from behind yet again and left themselves no margin for error. It cost them against a team that, on paper, was shorthanded because of injury woes.

Three stars

■Sgarbossa also had an assist on Barber’s winner in the second period, earning third-star honors.

■Vanecek continued to play well against the Penguins, stopping 13 shots in the third period as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pushed for the equalizer. He was star No. 2.

■Barber snapped out of a three-game point drought in a big way with three Friday (G-2A) and was named the No. 1 star. The Pittsburgh native also scored in two other games against the Penguins this season.

Stat to know

This was the Penguins’ first regulation loss at Hershey since March 4, 2017.

Pens notes

■Defenseman Macoy Erkamps made his Penguins debut and first AHL start of the season.

■Garrett Wilson returned to the lineup after being reassigned from Pittsburgh earlier in the week.

Up next

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton heads the opposite direction on Interstate 81 to meet the Syracuse Crunch tonight at 7 at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena.

Contact the writer:

tpiccotti@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2089;

@CVPiccotti on Twitter

Penguins 2 0 0 — 2 Hershey 2 1 0 — 3

First period: Scoring - 1, WBS, Dea (Haggerty), 1:07; 2, Her, Sgarbossa (Barber, Sproul), 4:55 (PP); 3, Her, Walker (Ness, Barber), 8:34 (PP); 4, WBS, Blueger (Wilson, Prow), 10:43 (PP). Penalties - WBS, Czuczman, holding 3:34; WBS, Prow, tripping 8:14; Her, Leach, tripping 9:27; Her, Barber, slashing 10:29.

Second period: Scoring - 5, Her, Barber (Sgarbossa, Ness), 18:27 (PP). Penalties - WBS, Abt, slashing 6:05; WBS, Abt, slashing 10:40; WBS, Abt, cross-checking 17:42; Her, O’Brien, slashing 19:45.

Third period: Scoring - None. Penalties - WBS, Lafferty, high-sticking (served by hayes) and roughing 3:49; Her, Williams, roughing 3:49.

Shots on goal: WBS 8 7 13 - 28; Her 13 15 5 - 33.

Goaltenders: WBS, Peters (30 saves on 33 shots); Her, Vanecek (26 saves on 28 shots).

Power-play opportunities: WBS 1 for 3; Her 3 for 6.

Referees: Guillaume Labonte and Mike Dietrich. Linesmen: Colin Gates and Scott Pomento.

Attendance: 10,545.

AHL standings

EASTERN Atlantic Division


North Division GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

WESTERN Central Division GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

Pacific Division GP W L OL SOL Pts GF GA

 Two points are awarded for a win, one point for an overtime or shootout loss.


Friday’s Games

 Bridgeport 6, Charlotte 1  Cleveland 6, Belleville 3  Hershey 3, Penguins 2  Binghamton 6, Providence 3  Hartford 4, Rochester 2  Syracuse 3, Lehigh Valley 2, SO  Utica 2, Springfield 1  Laval 2, Toronto 1  Grand Rapids 4, Manitoba 1  Iowa 8, Stockton 7, OT  Rockford 5, Chicago 4, OT  Texas 5, San Antonio 2  Bakersfield at Colorado, (n.)  Ontario at San Diego, (n.)  Tucson at San Jose, (n.)

Today’s Games

 Toronto at Laval, 1 p.m.  Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 3 p.m.  Chicago at Milwaukee, 4 p.m.  Hartford at Rochester, 5:05 p.m.  Bridgeport at Charlotte, 6 p.m.  San Diego at Ontario, 6 p.m.  Belleville at Cleveland, 7 p.m.  Binghamton at Utica, 7 p.m.  Lehigh Valley at Hershey, 7 p.m.  Penguins at Syracuse, 7 p.m.  Providence at Springfield, 7:05 p.m.  Stockton at Iowa, 8 p.m.  Texas at San Antonio, 8 p.m.  Tucson at San Jose, 9 p.m.  Bakersfield at Colorado, 9:05 p.m.

Wednesday’s Game

 Belleville at Toronto, 3 p.m.

Update hourly