WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got back to their winning ways on Friday night, as a big-time performance by the team’s top line lifted the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The win improves the Penguins’ record to 11-3-1-0 on the season, maintaining their lead atop the Atlantic Division with 23 points. A big reason why Wilkes-Barre/Scranton still stands tall in first place in the division is the showing by the Penguins’ top line of Garrett Wilson, Carter Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos. Wilson (0G-2A) and Rowney (1G-1A) both had two-point nights while Kostopoulos potted the game-winning goal.
After a scoreless first period, Oskar Sundqvist broke the deadlock at the 9:20 mark of the middle frame when he received a pass from Ethan Prow and fired a wrist shot that beat Sound Tigers’ goaltender Stephon Williams to his glove side.
Just over a minute later, Carter Rowney collected the rebound from his own shot and took advantage of Williams’ precarious positioning, rocketing a wrist shot top shelf for a 2-0 Penguins lead. Lukas Bengtsson recorded his first AHL point with an assist on the mid-second period marker.
Similarly to Rowney’s tally, Bracken Kearns collected his own rebound that sat loose in front of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s crease and fired the puck past an outstretched Casey DeSmith at 13:02 of the second period. Kearns’ team-leading sixth goal and 13th point of the season brought the score to 2-1.
At 15:12 of the second, Jake Guentzel took advantage of a turnover in the offensive zone and fired the puck from the corner and into the slot. The feed found Jean-Sébastien Dea who tipped it in, increasing the Penguins’ lead to 3-1.
Andrew Rowe closed out the scoring in the second when he capitalized on a scrum in front of DeSmith with only 27 seconds remaining period to cut the score down to 3-2.
At 4:34 of the third period, Williams was forced into a collision with one of his defensemen behind the Bridgeport net which allowed Kostopoulos to tap the puck into the empty net for his fifth goal of the season. Though the goal was strange, it gave the Penguins breathing room in the third with a 4-2 lead.
The Sound Tigers fought hard to claw their way back late in the third as Joshua Winquist converted a chance at the doorstep at 14:55 of the period. However, Bridgeport couldn’t find an equalizer and the game concluded, 4-3.
DeSmith finished with 25 saves on 28 shots, adding to his perfect record which now stands at 5-0-0. Williams saved 24 of 28 shots faced and falls to 2-5-0 on the season. The Penguins were unsuccessful on three power plays, but were also never forced to the penalty kill at any point during the game.
The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 19, when they travel to Giant Center to take on the Hershey Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Saturday, Nov. 26, and once again its opponent will be the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Individual game tickets for next Saturday night’s game and all Penguins home games, are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at 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.