FINAL: Bears 5 at Penguins 3 – 4/10

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Photo Courtesy JustSports Photography

The one thing I love is going into opposing buildings and hearing fans absolutely give it to the officiating crew.  Let’s be honest here, Bears fans are guilty of it too.  But in this case, rule recognition certainly helps.

David Banfield and Mike Langin wore the orange armbands tonight. I’ll give you this: two trips were missed on the Hershey side.  But they were made up later.  But one apparent mystery penalty to the Penguins for having too many men on the ice was one that rattled the Mohegan Sun Arena crowd and was later verified as the correct call: Jean-Sebastien Dea did not have his helmet when he went into the penalty box to start the third period on a carry-over penalty.  Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos came on the ice at the expiration of the two-minute penalty, and immediately the officials blew the play dead.  It was the correct call.  I judge it to be similar to having an empty penalty box at the expiration of a five-minute major.  That happened twice at GIANT Center to the Bears in the last two seasons.  You simply have to wait until a whistle to put someone on the ice if there is no one there… or in this case, if someone is there without proper equipment.

The Penguins didn’t and got caught.  And of course, the boos rained down.  But again… it was the proper call.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got two power play goals on five chances, but it still didn’t seem enough for the rival’s faithful.  It turned out that it wasn’t.  Chandler Stephenson was left all alone in the slot and after great cycling work by Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd, Stephenson collected a pass and lifted home the back-breaking goal with 1:51 left to play.  Add an empty net tally for Chris Bourque’s 30th of the season and the result is a gritty, gutsy 5-3 Hershey victory.

Click here for the official recap.  Congrats to Ryan Bourque for netting his first Hershey goal, and to Travis Boyd for joining the 50-point club.  Bourque has three more games to battle for his second league scoring title, and the Bears have one game in sight: Friday night at Binghamton.  The Atlantic Division title is the prize for a win.

Thanks for listening everyone.  And GO BEARS!!

(Click here for the box score.)

-Stucc