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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Hershey Bears

Tokarski, Penguins Blank Bears

Tokarski, Penguins Blank Bears

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Two of the stingiest teams in the American Hockey League met for the fourth time of 12 games on Friday evening at Mohegan Sun Arena, but this time it would be Dustin Tokarski and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins that blanked the Hershey Bears 4-0. Tokarski, one of the hottest goaltenders in the league, stopped all 26 shots he faced as the Penguins got back in the win column after losing four straight games while Zach Fucale suffered the loss with 18 saves as Hershey’s win streak came to a close at six games.

It was a defensive showdown once again for the vast majority of this contest as Wilkes-Barre got on the board first with a rebound goal for Drake Caggiula, his first of the season just over four minutes into play. The Penguins entered play with perhaps their best lineup of the season after receiving players back from their healthy National Hockey League affiliate in Pittsburgh, but it ultimately fell to their goaltender to earn the win with 18 saves over the first two periods of play. Wilkes-Barre’s special teams performed well in the win by killing off all five of Hershey’s power plays including a brief two-man advantage in the third period.

The Bears nearly evened the score in the second period on a goal that would ultimately be disallowed for goaltender interference as Vincent Iorio was denied his second AHL goal from the blue line, but Kale Kessy brushed against Tokarski just enough to be deemed interference. It ultimately proved to be a back-breaking move as the Bears were held off the scoreboard for the first time this season as the Penguins added three goals in the third period off the sticks of Jonathan Gruden, Sam Houde, and Filip Hallander, with the last goal coming on the empty net to pick up where Hallander left off against the team from the Sweetest Place on Earth.

Hershey is left to pick up the pieces with a pair of games at Giant Center with the Hartford Wolf Pack, while Wilkes-Barre hits the road for five of their six remaining games in November including a rematch with the Bears on November 29. The Bears didn’t play a poor game by any stretch, but more work has to be done in order to break through and get the puck in the back of the net. Hershey goes up against another strong netminder in Louis Domingue, who played for the Penguins a season ago, as part of the Wolf Pack tandem after failing to beat him in their last outing against the team. Wilkes-Barre is back in the win column after being on the wrong end of a few close decisions preceding this game, and for the first time in four games managed to win a game by a margin of more than a single goal.

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