Monday, December 15, 2014

The Bears, Pens and Overtime

Of the seven games between the Bears and Pens so far, three have gone to overtime with the Bears winning one and the Pens two (including last night). I've about had my fill of Wilkes-Barre so far this season. After the New Year's Eve game, the new year can't come soon enough.

With the third game of the 3-in-3 scheduled for 4 PM on Sunday afternoon, you know the Bears weren't going to be able to bring the same intensity as they did Saturday night. That's not to say the game against the Pens was routine. Nothing with these teams ever is.

Instead, this meeting between the Bears and Pens was one of those quirky games where the first half completely different than the second and a bunch of odd things happened that no one expected.

Another low scoring game, the first period was again strategic and tight checking with both teams only recording about a hand full of shots a piece. Since Hershey and Wilkes-Barre have trended to these types of games this season, this Sunday game seemed like it was going to be tough to slog through being scoreless after one.

Making it 1-0 with a one-timer point shot from Conner Carrick on the power play early in the second, the Bears played evenly against Wilkes-Barre despite being outshot in the period 13-8.

Taking 4 penalties in the second, Hershey's penalty kill looked outstanding and Grubauer came up with some big saves on an extended 5-on-3. Unfortunately, the Bears took one too many as the Pens finally capitalized on their 6th power play chance.

To make matters worse, the Pens came right back and scored less than a minute later when the puck found Dominik Uher in the slot. And just like that it was 2-1 Wilkes-Barre.

The end of the third period showed how an odd bounce at one end of the ice can lead to another at the opposite end. With less than a minute to go and Grubauer pulled, the Pens came through the neutral zone on a two on two but missed the empty net. The Bears came back the other way and with 2.7 seconds remaining, Chris Brown, skating over the Pens' blue line, blasted a shot past Jeff Zatkoff.

Heading to overtime, it seemed like the Bears might be able to squeak out a win. Unfortunately, Wilkes-Barre would score off the rebound of a 3-on-1. After the initial shot and an excellent save by Grubauer, the trailing Bears' defenseman wasn't able to handle the puck. Conor Sheary re-corralled the puck and shipped it to Adam Payerl, who was standing to the right of the net.

The Bears captured 3 of a possible 6 points for the weekend. There are now two more games next weekend before the Christmas break.

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