WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – It was a well-received homecoming for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, as they defeated the Hershey Bears (19-20-7-2) by a 5-1 score in front of a sell-out crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.
The Penguins (30-9-3-0), playing their first home game in two weeks, became the first team in the American Hockey League to reach 30 wins this season.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the scoring on the power play after a tic-tac-toe passing play and redirect off the shaft of Carter Rowney’s stick at 15:49 of the first period. His tenth goal on the year extended his point streak to six games since returning from injury.
Two quick strikes put the Penguins up 3-0 in the middle frame after Jean-Sébastien Dea scored at 1:13 and Ryan Haggerty ripped one home just a minute and a half afterwards. Haggerty struck again at 14:14 of the second period, making it 4-0 in favor of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Hershey finally got on the board at 3:46 of the final period with a goal from Zach Sanford. But Wilkes-Barre/Scranton reestablished a four-goal cushion at 7:08 of the third period with an exceptional effort by team captain Tom Kostopoulos, who knocked in a rebound while suspended in mid-air. Kostopoulos’ goal was his second point of the night and brought him within two points of reaching 500 in his AHL career.
Casey DeSmith made 20 saves in net for the Penguins and earned his 12th win of the season. Vítek Vaněček recorded 11 saves on 15 shots before being replaced in the second period by Joe Cannata. Cannata posted nine stops on 10 pucks the Penguins threw his way.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Wednesday, Jan. 25, when they take on the Syracuse Crunch at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop between the Penguins and Crunch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Individual game tickets for Wednesday’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.