WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – It might have been a game inconsequential to the regular-season standings, but the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins picked up right where they left off from the 2020-21 season finale on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in a spirited preseason tilt.
The Bears got a late goal credited to Ryan Dmowski, who is on a tryout contract, that capped off a 5-4 win. Hunter Shepard and Ryan Bednard shared the netminding duties in this one.
The two teams traded goals throughout the contest and exchanged the lead a couple of times. Jan Drozg scored twice for the Penguins, along with Justin Almeida and Matt Alfaro. The Penguins had a pair of one-goal leads, but Eddie Wittchow had two tallies of his own, and a power-play marker from Joe Snively gave the Bears a 3-2 lead.
The Penguins turned it around early in the third to make it 4-3, but another power-play goal from Brett Leason and the late tally off a shot from Macoy Erkamps that glanced off of Dmowski with 63 seconds on the clock to provide the difference-maker. Hershey won the special teams battle with two goals on five power-play attempts while holding Wilkes-Barre off the board in four tries.
Although the game was not streamed on AHL TV as per usual, the fans in attendance also got their value on attending as they were treated to four separate fights, with two featuring Mason Morelli alongside tilts from Erkamps and Kale Kessy. It was a strong showing from players looking to earn a regular roster spot off of strong seasons earlier in the calendar year, as Morelli had a strong game prior to being ejected as a result of his second fighting major.
Hershey got 20 saves on 22 shots from Shepard, while Bednard made 12 of 14 in the third period. Wilkes-Barre got a split contest from Felix Lindberg, who made 16 saves on 19 shots, while Alex D’Orio made 13 saves on 15 shots.
The Bears got solid contributions from their training camp invitees, as Ben Hawerchuk had an assist, while Jake Massie had two assists, and Dmowski had two helpers. They’ll get a chance to impress in front of Bears fans on Sunday evening as the Bears will take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in preseason action at Giant Center before a rematch at PPL Center Wednesday. The games will count for real on October 16, when the Bears take on the Charlotte Checkers.
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