HERSHEY – One mistake is all it took for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to drop another game to the Hershey Bears.
A Penguin turnover in the first period led to a Hershey goal and Bears' goaltender Braden Holtby stopped all 33 shots he faced to beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2-0 on Wednesday. It was just the second time the Penguins have been shutout this season.
The loss drops the Penguins to 14-12-1-1 on the season and 1-4-1-0 against Hershey. The loss also allows Hershey to pass the Penguins for third place in the East Division.
Less than four minutes into the game, Brian Strait attempted a pass from behind his own net that deflected off Hershey's Ryan Potulny in front. Jeff Zatkoff skated out to close the gap, but Garrett Mitchell picked up the puck and deposited into an open net for an early 1-0 lead.
The Penguins had two power play opportunities later in the period but failed to get on the board.
The second period brought a revamped attack from the Penguins, including a near-miss from Brian Dumoulin in the opening minutes. The Penguins continued to control the offensive play while preventing the Bears from getting a shot on goal until Tomas Kundratek got the puck on net with less than four minutes left.
The Penguins outshot the Bears 8-3 in the period but remained down by a goal heading into the third.
In the first half of the third period, the Penguins received two golden opportunities to even things up when Hershey was whistled for a pair of minor penalties. During the ensuing power plays the Penguins failed to generate much in the way of scoring chances, but they did generate some excitement on even strength.
Brian Gibbons teamed up with Zach Sill on a two-on-one early in the period, and Holtby made the save on a wrister from Gibbons while steering the rebound away from Sill.
Hershey immediately rushed the puck into the Penguins end and Jeff Zatkoff responded with a nice glove save on Potulny to keep the Bears' lead to 1-0.
Later in the period, the Penguins almost evened things up while shorthanded when Benn Ferriero skated into the Hershey end and blazed a shot that hit the post.
With two minutes left, Holtby robbed Trevor Smith of a backhanded opportunity and stopped another backhanded from Ferriero.
With less than a minute remaining and Zatkoff pulled for the extra attacker, another Penguins miscue led to a second Bears goal when Alex Grant's pass up the boards went to Hershey's Jeff Taffe who put a shot into the empty net to seal the 2-0 win.
The Penguins power play was 0-for-6 on the night and has scored just once in its last six games.
They get another chance to right the ship tonight when Hershey comes to town for a rematch at the Mohegan Sun Arena at 7:05 p.m.
First Period: 1. Scoring - HER, Garrett Mitchell 6 (Potulny) 3:56. Penalties - HER, Mitchell (delay of game) 7:20; HER, Hamill (slashing) 15:57; WBS, Strait (interference) 18:22.
Second Period: 1. Scoring - None. Penalties - HER, Berry (tripping) 9:28; WBS, Peters (tripping) 13:13; WBS, Holzapfel (delay of game) 16:31; HER, Kane (unsportsmanlike conduct) 16:55; WBS, Thompson (tripping) 19:50.
Third Period: Scoring - HER, Jeff Taffe 7 unassisted, empty net 19:51. Penalties - HER, Marshall (interference) 2:37; HER, Barlow (delay of game) 9:03; WBS, Uher (tripping) 12:08; WBS, Farnham (misconduct) 19:43.
Shots: Penguins - 13-8-12-33; Hershey - 12-3-5-20
Power play: Penguins - 0 for 6; Hershey - 0 for 5
Goaltenders: Penguins - Jeff Zatkoff (11-8-0) 18 saves - 19 shots; Hershey - Braden Holtby (12-9-1) 33-33