WILKES-BARRE — The I-81 rivalry was renewed on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, as the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins kicked off their first of 12 meetings on the season. The Bears erased a 2-0 deficit, but ultimately fell 3-2 to the Penguins despite a late push.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored first, as Jean-Sebastien Dea struck at 13:05 with a delayed penalty to make it 1-0. The Penguins added to the lead thanks to a Teddy Blueger goal at 16:14 of the second period, as the forward snapped a shot off a Hershey defender and past Bears goaltender Adam Carlson's glove to make it 2-0 Penguins.
Late in the second period, Hershey began chipping away at the deficit. Following a Liam O'Brien goaltender interference infraction, the Chocolate and White cut the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lead in half while shorthanded.
Hershey forward Jeremy Langlois rushed down the wing and snapped a shot to the top-shelf past Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalteender Tristan Jarry at the 17:21 mark. The goal was Langlois first marker as a member of the Bears, and defender Jonas Siegenthaler provided the lone assist.
Down a goal after 40 minutes, Hershey answered to tie the game with 13:26 left in regulation. Forward Riley Barber finished a crisp cross-ice pass from Lucas Johansen to beat a sprawling Jarry moving from his right to left. The goal was Barber's first of the season, and John Albert also assisted on the tally.
In the end, Friday's game came down to the power play. Hershey went 0-for-7, while Wilkes-Barre would capitalize on their final of three power play chances, and it came at the most crucial and opportune time. With 9:08 left, a Kevin Czuczman shot deflected off the body of Hershey defender Hubert Labrie, and popped across the ice to an open Dominik Simon for the Penguins. Simon's shot beat a diving Carlson and stood as the game-winning goal.
Hershey edged the Penguins in the shots on goal, 32-27.The defeat drops Hershey's record to 1-5-0-1 on the campaign, while the rival Penguins improve to 5-2-0-0.
Despite taking the loss, Carlson was strong in goal for Hershey, stopping 24 shots, including several saves of the highlight reel variety.