The Hershey Bears traveled up Interstate 81 for Game 6 of the Atlantic Division Finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. With the Pens on the brink, Wilkes-Barre put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the first period.
The Pens would win the majority of loose pucks in all three zones, and it led directly to grade “A” scoring chances. Kael Mouillerat, Game 4’s hero for WBS, opened the scoring at 10:52. Mouillerat off an overlap sent a shot past Justin Peters to the short side to make it 1-0.
With 4:44 left in the opening frame, captain Tom Kostopoulos deflected in his fifth goal of the postseason. Only 3:06 later, a defensive zone turnover led to an odd-man rush for the Pens from in close. Carter Rowney finished the passing sequence at 18:22.
Wilkes-Barre capped off the period with a strike on their first power play of the night. Will O’Neill jammed home a loose puck on the door step to complete the first period scoring.
Into the second period, it appeared any nerves the Bears may have started the game with had cleared. Hershey began sustaining continuous pressure in the offensive zone generated off winning loose pucks and 50-50 battles.
At 12:51, Travis Boyd sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Tyler Lewington on the door step who got his club on the board. The Chocolate and White would see more scoring chances in the second period with opportunities to climb back into the hockey game. Chances included a 2-on-1 chance from Riley Barber and a breakaway shot from Nathan Walker.
Seconds after Casey DeSmith stopped Walker’s breakaway, the Pens countered and made it 5-1. With 4:21 left in the period, Jake Guentzel crashed the net and deflected a shot past Dan Ellis, in relieve of Peters. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton carried the 5-1 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes.
Third period, the Pens added a sixth goal at 3:30. Carter Rowney blasted a drive from the center-point to make it 6-1. Zach Sill deflected a Chris Bourque shot from the point on a Hershey power play with 3:31 remaining to round out the scoring.
Pens take Game 6, 6-2 and force Game 7 on Sunday at GIANT Center.
Submitted by Matt Trust