WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - Though the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins inched back from a three-goal deficit in the first period, they were unable to complete the comeback in a 3-2 loss to the Hershey Bears at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Hershey stormed out of the gate and built a 3-0 cushion before the first period had reached the halfway mark. Two seconds after a Bears power play expired, Boyd Kane was left alone on the near post to accept a pass from Steve Olesky and spin a backhander to the top of net.
Exactly four minutes later, some nifty passing helped make it a two-goal lead for the Bears when Jeff Taffe took a return pass in the slot from Jon DiSalvatore and lifted a shot a over the right shoulder of Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen.
Ryan Potulny finished off the Hershey attack 45 seconds after Taffe's marker, banking a wrist shot off the post and in. Thiessen was pulled after 9:30 of play, making four saves on seven shots.
A man-advantage late in the period sparked the Penguins offense with 4:45 to go until the intermission. Trevor Smith seemed to beat Dany Sabourin through the pads only to have the shot stopped before the goal line, but Tom Kostopoulos shoved the puck home for his 100th goal in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton uniform.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton trimmed Hershey's lead to one at 7:37 of the second period on Joey Mormina's slap shot from the right point that banged off the iron and into the net.
The Penguins managed to outshoot the Bears 25-6 over the final periods of regulation, but could not will the game-tying goal past Sabourin, who finished with 32 saves for Hershey.
Thiessen suffered the loss with four saves on seven shots, while Zatkoff turned aside the seven shots he faced over the remaining 50:30 of play.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins complete their three-game home stand on Saturday, Mar. 2 against the Albany Devils at 7:05PM.