Fucale, Alexeyev Guide Hershey to Sixth Straight Win
(Hershey, PA) - Zach Fucale made 31 saves, and Alex Alexeyev scored the game-winning goal with 3:30 left in the third period to push the Hershey Bears to a 3-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday afternoon at GIANT Center. A season-high crowd of 1,492 watched the Bears earn a sixth straight win, moving the club's record to 17-5-2-0.
Saturday's game was dominated by the goaltenders who were perfect through 40 minutes. The contest progressed to the third period with the game a 0-0 stalemate, before the Bears struck three times in the final stanza to earn the win.
Hershey's Axel Jonsson-Fjallby broke the scoreless draw with his sixth goal of the season only 3:53 into the third period. Connor McMichael skated down the right wing and fed a pass from the goal line to Jonsson-Fjallby in the slot. The forward chipped a shot that dribbled past the left pad of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Alex D'Orio to make it 1-0 Hershey. McMichael and Damien Riat assisted on the goal.
The Penguins were able to tie the score on the power play at 8:27 on Drew O'Connor's fifth marker of the season. The rookie walked the puck to the net from the right corner, sliding a shot along the ice that somehow eluded Fucale's left pad and trickled into the net. Anthony Angello and Josh Currie added helpers on the tying goal.
With the game deadlocked at 1-1, Fucale came up with his biggest save of the game, denying Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Jonathan Gruden on a penalty shot with 5:51 to play. The netminder made a glove save to move Hershey goaltenders to 3-for-3 on penalty shots this year.
Alexeyev scored the winner, striking for his first goal since returning from Russia, with just minutes to spare. The Bears fourth line tracked down a dump in and cycled the puck back to Alexeyev at the right point. He took a moment to aim his shot, and snapped a wrist shot over the blocker of D'Orio to send the GIANT Center into a frenzy. Martin Fehervary and Kale Kessy assisted on the goal at 16:30 that made it 2-1 Hershey.
Brian Pinho would once again seal the win for Hershey, scoring his fifth empty net goal of the season with .3 left on the clock to give Hershey a sixth straight win overall, and a sixth straight win at GIANT Center.
Hershey was 0-for-3 on the power play while the Penguins were 1-for-1. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outshot the Bears, 32-27.
The two teams rematch tomorrow at the Mohegan Sun Arena at 5 p.m. The game may be heard on the Bears Radio Network and watched on AHLTV.
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