The HERSHEY BEARS power play has been the common negative in recent games. The team again came up empty on two tries tonight, and now stand with just two power play goals in their last 44 opportunities.
Sounds like the writeup leading into a description of a loss, but the opposite couldn’t be more true.
The BEARS played what may have been their best offensive night at even strength, pulling off a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Not sure how many people picked defenseman Kevin Marshall to net the game-winner, but indeed, Marshall netted his first career HERSHEY goal with 1:48 left in overtime to send the BEARS home winners of three straight road games and five of their last six overall. And that is NOT to downplay how Marshall has been contributing lately. He helped force a turnover at the defensive blue line and took off with T.J. Syner on a two-on-one rush. Marshall jammed the puck underneath Jeff Zatkoff for the winner, sending the BEARS leaping over the bench in celebration.
Several other players chipped in with what I feel was their best game of the season, and following explains why:
1) Mattias Sjogren. LOVED his urgency, his strength on the puck, and his decision-making once he had it. Not to mention he potted a goal and an assist in the first period alone. Sure, he took a holding penalty at a crucial situation in the game, but the Penguins could just have easily been flagged on an even-up call at a scrum in front of Dany Sabrouin’s crease in the second period. The BEARS killed it off – no harm, no foul.
2) Mathieu Beaudoin. The BEARS winger, back for his second stint in Chocolatetown, recorded his first two-point game with a goal and an assist. He set up Sjogren’s game-opening tally, then scored on a play that Sjogren helped set up.
3) Jon DiSalvatore. The veteran winger is still climbing up the ladder toward the top of the BEARS scoring leaderboard. He added two points tonight and grabbed number two star honors. DiSalvatore now shows (5-4-9) and a plus-5 over his last six games.
4) The line of Kane-Sjogren-Beaudoin. This trio scored two goals, tallied three assists and was a combined plus-7 against a Penguins team that came into the contest winners of five straight.
5) Zach Hamill. The centerman now has (3-6-9) and a plus-8 rating in his last seven games.
How about this closing statistic. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins began the season 0-4-0-0. Since then, the team has gone 13-3-1-0. Who was responsible for all four losses?
See you tomorrow at 7:00, as the BEARS try to sweep their three-game in three-night stretch with the Hamilton Bulldogs coming to town.