WILKES-BARRE — Christian Djoos scored the game-winning goal, and Pheonix Copley stopped 22 shots to lead the Hershey Bears hockey team to a 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
With the win, and a Bridgeport loss at Springfield, Hershey clinched a spot in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Bears opened the scoring early in the game’s second period on a goal from forward Jakub Vrana. Chris Bourque found Vrana on the right wing, and his shot beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Casey DeSmith under the right pad. The goal was Vrana’s 18th marker of the season and made it 1-0 Hershey at 3:31.
The lead would hold until the third period when the Penguins scored on the power play to tie the game. Tim Erixson’s drive from the right point deflected off the arm of Copley and into the net to make it 1-1 at 10:33.
It took Hershey just 27 seconds to regain the lead. Hershey cycled the puck in the offensive zone, and a pass found Djoos on the left point. The defender walked to the top of the left face-off circle and snapped a shot that eluded DeSmith’s glove. Djoos’ 13th goal of the season made it 2-1 in favor of the visitors. Tom Gilbert and Vrana assisted on the tally.
With the win, the Bears improved to 35-0-3-0 when leading after two periods of play. The Penguins outshot Hershey 23-21.
Hershey will either finish third or forth in the Atlantic Division, depending on the result of tomorrow’s game versus Providence. Hershey’s opponent, as well as playoff dates and times, are to be determined and will be announced Saturday evening.