ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins came close to mounting a third-period comeback against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but ultimately fell, 5-3, at PPL Center on Friday night.
The Penguins (29-9-3-0) rallied back from down 3-1 in the third period to tie the score, but saw the Phantoms promptly pop back on top and never surrender the lead from there.
Lehigh Valley jumped out to an early lead, scoring 39 seconds into the game off a snap shot from Scott Laughton. The Phantoms extended their lead to 2-0 with a power play goal by T.J. Brennan at 12:31 of the first period.
Jean-Sébastien Dea sniped the top corner after a designed face-off play, making it a 2-1 game at 16:09 of the opening frame.
The Phantoms reestablished their two-goal lead with another quick strike to start a period. Just 25 ticks into the second frame, Robert Hägg took a feed from Colin McDonald and converted on a two-on-one rush.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton entered the third period trailing Lehigh Valley, 3-1, but erased the deficit in short order with tallies from Ryan Haggerty and David Warsofsky. Haggerty redirected a point shot from Ethan Prow into the net at 9:14 of the third, and a Warsofsky slap shot tied the game 1:37 later.
However, the Penguins comeback celebration was brief, as Taylor Leier notched the game-winning goal a mere minute after Warsofsky’s equalizer. On the Phantoms’ 4-3 go-ahead goal, both Leier and McDonald earned their third points of the game.
The Penguins pressed hard until the final buzzer, but never found another tying goal. An empty net marker by Chris Conner sealed the win for Lehigh Valley, 5-3.
Tristan Jarry recorded 29 saves on 33 shots in the loss, while Anthony Stolarz posted 34 saves in net for the Phantoms during the win.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 21, when they take on the Hershey Bears. Fewer than 300 tickets remain for Saturday night’s contest against the Bears. Individual game tickets for tomorrow’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.