WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were catapulted to a huge victory on Saturday night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers thanks to an explosive first period and four-point performance by rookie Jake Guentzel.
The Penguins (7-1-1-0, first in the Atlantic Division) erupted for four goals in the first period alone, their highest total in one period so far in 2016-17, lifting them to a 7-1 rout of the Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.
Just 1:02 into the game, Tom Kostopoulos forced a turnover and fed Guentzel in front of the Sound Tigers’ net for the first goal of the contest.
Reid Gardiner scooped up a rebound at 4:40 of the first period and popped it into the top corner for a 2-0 Penguins lead. Gardiner’s tally was also his first professional goal.
Bridgeport responded with Devon Toews burying a rebound goal of his own, cutting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s lead in half at 7:51 of the opening frame.
Guentzel returned the favor to Kostopoulos by setting the captain up for a one-timer that whizzed past Sound Tigers goalie Stephon Williams at 7:51, making it 3-1.
Before the first period ended, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton added yet another goal on its first power play of the game and took a 4-1 advantage into the first intermission. Carter Rowney ripped a shot through traffic and beat Williams with 58.2 seconds left in the period for the Penguins’ fourth marker of the game.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wasted no time adding to its lead, with Guentzel batting in a high-rising shot 1:50 into the second period. Guentzel’s second goal of the game also granted him his second four-point performance this season.
Garrett Wilson converted on a penalty shot at 11:49 of the middle frame, making it 6-1 in favor of the Penguins.
Another power play goal for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton came from Steve Oleksy 1:17 into the third and final period of regulation, giving the Penguins a season-high seven goals.
Casey DeSmith finished the game having made 28 saves. Williams, who tended goal for Bridgeport in the first and third periods, recorded 14 stops on 19 shots faced. Christopher Gibson stepped in to tend the Sound Tigers’ crease for the second period and denied the Penguins on nine of 11 shots.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 5, against the Providence Bruins at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
The Penguins’ next home game is Friday, Nov. 11, when they take on the Toronto Marlies at home for the only time this season.
Individual tickets for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton home games can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, through Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.