The Hershey Bears took down their fellow Pennsylvanians and fierce rival, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins 2-1 Friday night. They have now clinched a Calder Cup Playoff spot for the third season in a row under head coach Troy Mann.
The Bears return to the postseason just one year removed from a run that took them all the way to the Finals. They were swept by a Lake Erie Monsters team that only lost two games the entire playoffs.
The team needed four straight wins and some help elsewhere in the AHL to get in this year.
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) April 15, 2017
Jakub Vrana opened the scoring and eventually assisted on the game-winning goal by defenseman Christian Djoos. Pheonix Copley was stout in net, stopping 22 of the 23 shots. Tyler Lewington, Chris Bourque, and Tom Gilbert also tallied assists in the game.
(Wilkes-Barre, PA- April 14, 2017)-Christian Djoos scored the game-winning goal, and Pheonix Copley stopped 22 shots to lead the Hershey Bears hockey team to a 2-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena. With the win, and a Bridgeport loss at Springfield, Hershey clinched a spot in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Bears opened the scoring early in the game’s second period on a goal from forward Jakub Vrana. Hershey worked the puck around the offensive zone and generated several offensive chances. The Bears finally struck on a pass from behind the goal. Chris Bourque found Vrana on the right wing, and his shot beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Casey DeSmith under the right pad. The goal was Vrana’s 18th marker of the season and made it 1-0 Hershey at 3:31.
The lead would hold until the third period when the Penguins would score on the power play to tie the game. Tim Erixson’s drive from the right point deflected off the arm of Copley and into the net to make it 1-1 at 10:33.
It took Hershey just 27 seconds to regain the lead. Hershey cycled the puck in the offensive zone, and a pass found Djoos on the left point. The defender walked to the top of the left face-off circle and snapped a shot that eluded DeSmith’s glove. Djoos’ 13th goal of the season made it 2-1 in favor of the visitors. Tom Gilbert and Vrana assisted on the tally.
With the win, the Bears improved to 35-0-3-0 when leading after two periods of play. The Penguins outshot Hershey 23-21.
Hershey will either finish third or forth in the Atlantic Division, depending on the result of tomorrow’s game versus Providence. Hershey’s opponent, as well as playoff dates and times, are to be determined and will be announced Saturday evening.
Tickets to Hershey home playoff games will go on sale on Tuesday, April 18 at 10 a.m. Fans may purchase at the Giant Center Box Office, by calling 717-508-BEAR (2327), or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Hershey finishes the regular season tomorrow night at 7 p.m. versus the Providence Bruins. It is Dietz & Watson Ham Shoot Night at the Giant Center. Ticket information is available at HersheyBears.com.
Good luck boys. Give us another deep run.
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