|Jake Guentzel the lone bright spot for Penguins in Game Three loss to Bears. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News|
The Bears' first playoff win in Wilkes-Barre since May 5th, 2007 gives them a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series. Game Four of the Atlantic Division Finals is Monday night in Wilkes-Barre.
Chris Bourque, the AHL's regular season MVP, led the way offensively with two goals to give him 100 career AHL playoff points. Chandler Stephenson had a game-high three assists in the win for Hershey while Justin Peters picked up the win in net for the Bears - stopping all but two of the Penguins' 24 shots.
The Penguins got tallies from Nicklas Andersen and Jake Guentzel (one goal, one assist) in the loss. Casey DeSmith was pulled 2:52 into the third period after surrendering five goals on 22 shots. Tristan Jarry made his first appearance in net in the 2016 postseason, stopping all five shots he faced in relief.
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In a physical and penalty filled first period, the Penguins and Bears played to a scoreless tie through the first 18 and a half minutes despite exchanging power plays. It wasn't until after the Penguins killed off their second penalty of the period that Hershey struck first to take a 1-0 lead on Dustin Gazley's 1st of the postseason.
The two teams continue to trade off power plays in the middle frame, but the Bears took advantage early into their 5th power play chance to extend their lead to 2-0. Chandler Stephenson won an offensive zone face-off to start the power play and Chris Bourque rifled one past Casey DeSmith with 5:52 left before the second intermission.
Things went from bad to worse for the Penguins as the Bears tallied again just 1:38 later to make it a 3-0 lead on a back-door play that Jakub Vrana finished off for his third of the playoffs at 14:08.
The Bears put the nail in the proverbial coffin just 32 seconds into the third period as Bourque tallied his second of the night and third of the postseason to put the Hershey in front by a 4-0 count. Nicklas Andersen got the Penguins on the board 30 seconds later, but DeSmith's night ended 2:52 into the period when Liam O'Brien's move to the net eluded the Penguins goaltender to make it a 5-1 rout.
Jake Guentzel tallied his fourth goal of the postseason to cut the Penguins' deficit to 5-2 but that's as close as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would get in Game Three.
Scoring - 1. HER, Dustin Gazley 1 (Ness, R. Bourque) 18:40. Penalties - HER, Bowey (high-sticking) 3:52; WBS, Mouillierat (high-sticking) 6:47; HER, Bowey (roughing) 11:49; WBS, Ruopp (slashing) 15:42; WBS, Biggs (high-sticking) 20:00.
Scoring - 2. HER, Chris Bourque 2 (Stephenson) power play 12:32. 3. Jakub Vrana 3 (Camper, Bowey). Penalties - HER, Collins (high-sticking) 3:15; WBS, Archibald (holding) 6:00; HER, Camper (holding) 6:36; HER, Stanton (elbowing) 8:24; WBS, Oleksy (slashing); WBS, Kostopoulos (tripping) 14:47; HER, Bowey (roughing) 20:00; WBS, Oleksy (unsportsmanlike) 20:00.
Scoring - 4. HER, Chris Bourque 3 (Stephenson, Djoos) :32. 5. WBS, Nicklas Andersen 1 (Rowney, Guentzel) 1:02. 6. HER, Liam O'Brien 1 (Mitchell, Stephenson) 2:52. 7. WBS, Jake Guentzel 4 (Kostopoulos, Jeffrey) 8:52. Penalties - HER, C. Bourque (slashing) 3:30; C. Bourque (roughing) 3:30; WBS, Dea (slashing) 3:30; WBS, Dea (roughing) 3:30; WBS, Oleksy (double minor roughing); HER, Lewington (fighting) 5:49; WBS, Plachta (fighting) 5:49; HER, Bowey (roughing) 7:42; HER, O'Brien (roughing) 7:42; WBS, Rowney (roughing) 7:42; HER, Stanton (slashing) 7:54; WBS, Biggs (tripping) 11:37; HER, Djoos (interference) 14:22; HER, Stanton (slashing) 19:52.
Shots on goal
Penguins: 9-7-8 = 24
Hershey: 9-9-9 = 27
Penguins: 1 of 9
Hershey: 1 of 8
1. HER, Chris Bourque (two goals) 2. HER, Chandler Stephenson (three assists) 3. WBS, Jake Guentzel (one goal, one assist).
Referee - Mark Lemelin, Evgeny Romasko
Linesmen - Francois Dussureault, Tom George
Attendance - 5,108
Casey DeSmith (17 saves - 22 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins in Game Three, starting his 6th straight postseason game. Tristan Jarry again served as the team's backup goaltender but was thrust into action early in the third period with his team down 5-1. Jarry stopped all five shots he faced in relief of DeSmith.
Two lineup changes for the Pens, as defenseman Nicklas Andersen returned on defense for Ryan Parent (undisclosed) who suffered an injury in Game Two Friday night.
Up front, Tyler Biggs made his 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs debut in exchange for Sahir Gill.
Dominik Simon (concussion protocol) remained out since Liam O'Brien's charging major in Game One caught him up high.
WBS Scratches: Sean Maguire (healthy), Reid McNeill (healthy), Ethan Prow (healthy), Patrick McGrath (healthy), Sahir Gill (healthy), Dominik Uher (shoulder surgery - out for season), Ryan Parent (undisclosed) and Dominik Simon (concussion)
Kael Mouillierat - Dustin Jeffrey - Daniel Sprong
Jake Guentzel - Carter Rowney - Tom Kostopoulos (C)
Matthias Plachta - Jean Sebastien Dea - Adam Krause
Josh Archibald - Teddy Blueger - Tyler Biggs
Tim Erixon - Harrison Ruopp
Nicklas Andersen - Steve Oleksy
Will O'Neill - Barry Goers
Casey DeSmith - Tristan Jarry
ROSTER NOTES - Bears
Justin Peters (22 saves - 24 shots) got the start in net for the Bears tonight in Game Three. Dan Ellis served as the team's backup goaltender.
One change for Hershey as forward Liam O'Brien served his one-game suspension and was back in the Bears' lineup up front. Nathan Walker was scratched to make room.
Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics)
Chris Bourque (A) - Travis Boyd - Riley Barber
Jakub Vrana - Carter Camper - Dustin Gazley
Liam O'Brien - Chandler Stephenson - Garrett Mitchell (C)Ryan Bourque - Zach Sill (A) - Sean Collins
Ryan Stanton - Madison Bowey
Aaron Ness - Tyler Lewington
Christian Djoos - Erik Burgdoerfer
Justin Peters - Dan Ellis
Justin Peters - Dan Ellis