WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – A different group of Hershey Bears took on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the fourth installment of the season series between the two teams but a familiar result.
Hershey used a strong night on special teams to take their fourth straight win in the I-81 rivalry, thanks to another great night for forward Ryan Dmowski, who continued his hot play with two goals. Hunter Shepard earned his first win of the season in his second game with the Bears, making 24 saves, while Louis Domingue suffered the loss with 30 stops as the fourth goaltender to start against the Chocolate and White this season.
Both teams were jumping into action with a different lineup than usual, but it was the Penguins who opened the scoring in the first period when Sam Poulin was the only player to beat Shepard with a tricky wrist shot that hit the goaltender’s catching glove and slid in. Poulin struck on the power play in an excellent first period for the Penguins, but the Bears seemed to get better as the game went on, leading to the first night for Dmowski. Captain Matt Moulson got the puck to him inside the left faceoff circle, and as he’s demonstrated, he doesn’t need much time to get a good shot off, which evened the score at one.
The game had a lot of intensity and vitriol, as expected between two bitter foes, and it led to some fireworks after the goal. Bears defender Jake Massie put on a big hit along the boards and was challenged to a fight by Poulin. The scrap happened to wash out a Penguins goal as they continued to play on what was a delayed call, with Josh Maniscalco denied his first American Hockey League goal as a result. It led to some arguing and words exchanged between Domingue, who was at the bench on the delayed call, and Dylan McIlrath.
The difference in the game ultimately came in the third period, as the Bears dominated play with a 15-3 shot advantage and scored the game-winner early in the stanza with a power-play marker from Moulson. Although the Bears were without so many of their regulars, it was a pair of veterans connecting for the goal as Cody Franson made his return to the lineup and fired a shot for a deflection by Moulson to make it 2-1. The Bears cashed in once more on the power play with Dmowski’s second goal, as Domingue made the initial stop but could not cover the loose puck. The Bears quickly moved it to Dmowski, who fired a fast shot to the back of the net to make it 3-1. Hershey added a bit of insurance on a well-deserved goal for Beck Malenstyn, who blocked several shots in the contest and ripped a shot past Domingue for the only even-strength tally of the game. Moulson and Dmowski finished with three-point nights as the game’s top two stars.
The two teams will rematch on Wednesday night at Giant Center, with the Bears looking to extend their perfect record against the Penguins to five games for the first time in the storied rivalry and will be the last game of the calendar year for the two teams. The Penguins had a pair of games with the Cleveland Monsters postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Monsters and will play five of their next six games on the road with three at the Giant Center against the Bears.
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