WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – It didn’t take long for college hockey’s top offensive threat to make an impression on the pro ranks. Zach Aston-Reese scored the game-winning goal for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their 5-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The Penguins (43-18-3-0) downed the Wolf Pack for the seventh time this season thanks to Aston-Reese’s well-timed strike at the end of the first period and two more tallies from Ryan Haggerty.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got off to an early lead 4:45 into the game when Josh Archibald waited ever so patiently to avoid going offside and accepted a breakaway pass that he wristed into the net. However, the lead did not last long, as Chris Brown struck back for Hartford just 23 seconds after Archibald’s goal.
Haggerty earned another breakaway opportunity for the Penguins and converted on his chance, making it 2-1 at 7:34 of the opening frame. The Wolf Pack raced to another swift answer, though, this time in the form of a shorthanded goal by Marek Hrivík coming less than a minute after Haggerty’s marker.
The rollercoaster opening frame was closed out by Aston-Reese rocketing a shot past Hartford goalie Jeff Malcolm with a mere 18 seconds remaining in the period, bringing the score to 3-2 in favor of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Haggerty’s second goal of the night gave the Penguins some breathing room at 3:36 of the second period. David Warsofsky extended that lead to 5-2 at 6:39 of the middle frame with a point shot on the power play. The power play goal spelled the end of the night for Malcolm, who was replaced in the cage by Mackenzie Skapski.
Skapski went on to make 15 saves on 15 shots faced in relief, but the team in front of him never got any closer on the scoreboard as the Penguins secured the two points. Casey DeSmith stopped 19 shots in the win for the Penguins. Malcolm turned away 14 shots.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Mar. 24 at Onondaga County War Memorial Arena against the Syracuse Crunch. Puck drop between the Penguins and Crunch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Penguins’ next home showing is on Sunday, Mar. 26 when they take on the Utica Comets for a 3:00 p.m. Sunday matinée and Kids Get In Free game.
Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
Penguins ticket packages, including 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.