For the first time in 2011-12 and the first time since last January the Bears have won 4 straight games.
For the first 33 minutes of the game last night there were 0 goals. In the final 27 minutes there were 8 goals. Fortunately 5 of them were scored by Bears.
Hershey scored 4 straight to open the scoring (2 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd) and had a 4-0 lead halfway through the 3rd period. And then things started to get a little more interesting. The Whale scored 3 goals in a 5:30 span to make it a 4-3 game with just over 3 minutes to play.
The Bears hung on and added an empty netter with 1 second left to preserve the victory.
The win moves the Bears into first place in the East division as they are now tied with Wilkes-Barre and Norfolk with 31 points. The Bears hold the current tiebreaker as they have gotten to 31 in 1 fewer game.
Lucky for Hershey they can stake overall claim to the number 1 spot in the division with 2 more victories this weekend.
Tonight the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to Giant Center. It is sure to be a physical and intense game. The last time the teams played the Bears left Wilkes-Barre Township with a 3-2 shootout victory after a postgame celebration that ended in a standoff between the teams.
The Pens didn't play last night so they are rested and ready for the Bears. But this isn't the same Penguins team that was tearing up the AHL back in October/November. During one stretch earlier they had won 8 games in a row which included 3 wins against the Bears.
Since that run ended though they are 4-5-0-3. Their typical stellar defensive play and goaltending has been slightly lackluster and the offense just hasn't been there. They have given up 4+ goals 5 times in that stretch and have failed to score at least 3 goals a total of 6 times.
This will be the 6th meeting of the season with 6 more to come including 2 more this month. So far the Pens control the season series having won 3 of the contests to the Bears 2.
Should be a good one in Hershey tonight.