WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The Hershey Bears visited the Mohegan Sun Arena for the final time this season and dropped a 5-3 decision to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday.
A late comeback attempt in the third period fell short despite tallies from Anthony Peluso and Mathias Bau. The loss was Hershey's seventh straight vs. the Penguins this season.
The scoring started only 53 seconds into the game for the Penguins. On an offensive zone entry, Teddy Blueger took a backhand shot that beat Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley through the five-hole.
At 13:41, the Chocolate and White drew even moments after an abbreviated power play expired. Connor Hobbs took a slap shot that beat Penguins' netminder Tristan Jarry to make it 1-1.
Exactly two minutes later, the Penguins reclaimed the lead on another low to the ice shot past Copley. On an offensive rush, Garrett Wilson scored on a broken play after the ensuing pass from Daniel Sprong was deflected en route.
At 10:19 of the middle stanza, Sam Lafferty scored his first professional goal, chasing Copley from the game. Vitek Vanecek finished the game in relief tending the Hershey net.
In the third period, Wilkes-Barre added an insurance tally which later proved to be the game-winner. On the power play following a Jeremy Langlois hooking minor, Sprong blasted a shot from the point that was blocked, and ricocheted right back to his tape. On the second effort, Sprong beat Vanecek for his 28th goal of the regular season.
Hershey's comeback attempt started at 13:13 on Anthony Peluso's seventh goal of the season. Following a slick curl and drag move from Ness, Peluso took a shot that beat Jarry's glove hand.
Only 2:58 later, the Chocolate and White suddenly pulled within one. After Joseph Cramarossa was called for hooking at 14:54, Hershey head coach Troy Mann aggressively elected to pull Vanecek in exchange for the extra attacker and a 6-on-4 advantage. After a barrage of stops by Jarry, Bau collected a loose puck on the right wing and deposited a scoring chance into the net to make it a 4-3 game at 16:11.
The Bears earned another 6-on-4 power play advantage in the final minute, but were unable to convert. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Jean-Sebastien Dea hit the empty net at 19:58 to seal a 5-3 game.
Tuesday's game marked the 600th game in the Hershey career for forward Chris Bourque, and the 400th professional game for team captain Garrett Mitchell.
The Bears return to action Saturday in the first of back-to-back games at the Charlotte Checkers.