With Steve Oleksy's goal coming just 39 seconds into the game to ignite the annual Teddy Bear Toss, it seemed like the excitement in the building would continue with the end-to-end action the Bears and Pens showed in the first period. However, no one expected the game to become a display of Hershey's outstanding penalty killing ability.
In the second period alone, Hershey had 5 penalties within twelve minutes including a 5-on-3 kill for two minutes. By the end of the second, the Bears had killed off all 7 penalties of the game while the Pens were 1 for 5 on theirs.
The frustration of the calls appeared to have gotten to the Bears when Chris Brown was called for a rather suspect tripping penalty. Brown was clearly not pleased with the penalty and even less so when Wilkes-Barres scored to take a 3-2 lead. Exiting the penalty box, Brown made his frustration known to referee Dave Lewis, who sent Brown right back in for an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty.
The Bears would get a few more calls in their favor but unfortunately weren't able to capitalize on them. The end of the game saw Hershey 1 for 8 on the penalty kill and Wilkes-Barre 1 for 7.
Another bright spot in the game was Stan Galiev continuing his torrid goal scoring pace. Three minutes into the second period and with the teams grouped in the left corner, Chris Conner found Galiev skating all alone down the slot. Taking a few strides, Galiev fired the puck into the top right corner over Zatkoff's glove hand. As Scott Stuccio commented during the broadcast, Galiev's goal was of NHL caliber. Indeed, his shots and goals recently have been hard and accurate in the way of NHL players.
While it would have been nice to see Hershey go 3-0 for the weekend, their overall play in each game shows that they're starting to turn the corner on the offensive struggles.
Next weekend sees the Bears up and down I-81 with Friday night in Syracuse, Saturday back in Hershey against Binghamton and Sunday up in Wilkes-Barre.