Despite once holding a 3-0 series lead and even a 2-0 lead...
Hershey’s Post-Season Ends With a 2-1 Loss in Wilkes-Barre
Capitals Outsider doesn’t normally do road-game recaps for the Hershey Bears. Tonight, we made an exception: It was Game 5, “Win or Go Home” v. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It was a game that few, if any, expected the Bears to play after losing the first two games of the series in rather distressing fashion (3-1 & 7-2, for those of you following along at home). In some ways, that accomplishment and demonstrated resilience makes tonight’s loss cut all the deeper.
Hope is a dangerous thing, and even into the last few moments of the game Hershey was always so close to pulling even. Forcing OT. Scoring that one more goal. Sadly, it was not to be: the Baby Pens won 2-1 in regulation.
There are some games where winning is all that matters. If you win, nobody cares how you got there (within reason). It you lose, any and every detail becomes the turning point. Elimination games – especially the mutually assured destruction variety – always fall into that category.
But let’s be honest, it’s too late to take back the double-minor for high-sticking that allowed the first WBS goal just 2:29 before the end of the second period. Ten separate players were on the ice for Hershey in the 8 second window that encompassed the two Pens’ tallies. There is no single D-Pair or forward line to be singled out, and that’s a good thing. Hockey is a team sport, sixty minutes of back and forth, and no final score exists in a vacuum.
That being said, Ryan Potulny does deserve to be singled out for scoring the lone Hershey goal of the evening. He’s been noted as a playoff performer previously, most recently for his OT game-winner on Wednesday, and he put Hershey on the board just :23 seconds into the third period tonight. Unfortunately, that was the only goal that the Bears earned.
In the Nets: Hershey’s Dany Sabourin earned a .929 save percentage while facing 28 shots (9 more than his Penguins counterpart, Brad Thiessen). Let it not be forgotten that he’s had a fantastic run over the second half of this series, and deserves a solid part of the credit for the Bears making the playoffs at all.
Credit Where Due: Congratulations to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on advancing to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs. They’ll face the St. John’s IceCaps.