FINAL: Penguins 5, Bears 3 – 10/3

Here is the press release recap from tonight’s pre-season finale for the Hershey Bears:

Jakub Vrana scored two goals for the Hershey Bears and Chris Bourque returned to the Chocolate and White to set them both up, but the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins erased two deficits en route to a 5-3 win on Saturday night at GIANT Center.

Hershey got on the board first, on their first power play of the night. The hosts worked the puck around the perimiter, starting with a Paul Carey pass from the left boards up high. Bourque then slid a perfect pass for Vrana to rip past Matt Murray from the right circle at 12:16.

The Bears had a few more power play chances in the middle period, but on the first of three, it would be the visitors getting on the board. Matia Marcantuoni knocked down a pass in the slot, and had a teammate to work a two-on-none. Instead, Marcantuoni took the puck to the net and backhanded a shot past Dan Ellis at 4:33.

Riley Barber restored the Hershey lead at 14:27, taking the puck hard to the net on a two-on-one rush and deking Murray to the backhand.

Again, the Penguins would answer after a failed Hershey clear. Shane Bakker would deflect a rebound of a Reid McNeill point shot through Ellis’ pads at 17:35.

The Penguins took the lead at 5:24 of the third, when Clark Seymour floated a wrist shot through a screen and past Ellis.

Oskar Sundqvist made it 4-2 when a puck popped out of Ellis’ glove and toward the bottom of the right circle, where Sundqvist grabbed it and slammed it home at 15:23.

With Ellis off for an extra attacker, Vrana scored his second of the game by snapping a Bourque feed behind Murray from in close.

Sahir Gill ended the night by waving his stick at a Bears pass attempt. The puck deflected straight down the slot and into the net at 19:20.

Ellis finished the night with 18 saves on 22 shots, while Murray denied 21 of 24 in the win. Hershey finished 1-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.

The Bears kick off the 78th season in club history on Saturday, October 10 on the road against the Springfield Falcons. Faceoff from MassMutual Center is slated for 7:00 PM. Fans may listen to the game on the Bears Radio Network of affiliates WQIC-FM 100.1, WTKT-AM 1460 and WOYK-AM 1350, online at or via the iHeartRadio app for smartphones (WTKT-AM 1460).

The Bears open the home portion of the schedule on Saturday, October 24 at 7:00 PM against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The first 8,000 fans will receive a magnetic schedule courtesy of PNC Bank. The 1980 Calder Cup championship team will be honored prior to the game in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the title. The Bears will also wear special throwback jerseys which will be auctioned off live following the game.

Individual tickets for this and all Bears home games may be purchased at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at

Now, my picks for the Bears’ three stars:


#3 – Tyler Lewington.  An assist, a plus-1, and a big hit along the boards in the second period cap off a pretty nice night for the rookie blueliner.

#2 – Chris Bourque.  Excellent defensive coverage on a play that got away from the Bears in the neutral zone – he hustled to back-check and take possession as a third defenseman.  Not to mention his poise, vision and hands in the offensive zone.  He felled forward Tyler Biggs with his patented slapper too early on.  Two assists in his Hershey return.

#1 – Jakub Vrana.  Two goals, almost a third.  As head coach Troy Mann said, “this kid is the real deal.”

After the game, forward Max Sauve (ECHL South Carolina), goaltender Taran Kozun (ECHL Missouri) and defenseman Bobby Shea (ECHL South Carolina) were released from the camp roster.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone… thanks so much for reading.  Day off for the team tomorrow, back at it on Monday.