April 25th is a special date for any old school Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fan. That’s because two of the most famous goals in the team’s history came on that date just one year apart.
APRIL 25, 2004
The Penguins opened the 2004 postseason facing off with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and it wasn’t a good start. The Sound Tigers held a commanding 3-1 lead in the East Division Semifinal round, with Game Five taking place on their home ice on April 22.
The Penguins staved off elimination in that contest when Tomas Surovy scored in overtime to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-1 victory. That forced Game Six back in Wilkes-Barre the following night, where the Penguins blew out the Sound Tigers, 5-0, behind a 23-save performance from Andy Chiodo.
Game Seven took place back in Bridgeport on April 25, and saw the Penguins take a 2-1 lead into the third period thanks to goals from Tom Kostopoulos and Konstantin Koltsov. But Rob Collins tallied just 64 seconds into the final frame of regulation, forcing overtime.
A little over midway through the OT, Matt Hussey picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, carried it over the blue line and fed Koltsov at the far face-off circle. His low writer beat goaltender Dieter Kochan far side, and the Penguins capped an epic comeback in the series.
The Penguins went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phantoms and the Hartford Wolf Pack (again in overtime of Game Seven) before falling to the Milwaukee Admirals in the Calder Cup Final.
APRIL 25, 2005
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished the 2004-05 season in fourth place int he East Division, earning them a first round meeting with the Binghamton Senators. The B-Sens led the entire AHL with 276 goals, thanks to firepower from Ottawa regulars Jason Spezza (32 goals) and Denis Hamel (39 goals), who spent the season in Bingo as the NHL lockout dragged on.
That offensive prowess was showcased in the opening two games of the series, as the Sens took 5-2 and 4-2 wins on home ice.
Game Three took place in Wilkes-Barre on April 25, with Binghamton jumping out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period thanks to a Christoph Schubert goal.
The Pens took their first lead of the series when Shane Endicott and Kris Beech scored power play goals seven minutes apart in the second, before Schubert notched his second man-advantage goal of the night to even things up, 2-2, at 15:11.
That was the last goal scored for the next 77 minutes of game time.
A scoreless third period led to two overtime frames which yielded no goals. But, as the clock approached midnight, Ryan Whitney blocked an Anton Volchenkov shot in the Wilkes-Barre zone. The shot off of Whitney’s skate found Beech in the neutral zone, and led to a three-on-one for the Pens. Defenseman Pat Kavanagh struggled to get back in the play, which allowed Colby Armstrong to sneak past on the far side. Beech found Armstrong at the far post, who redirected the shot behind Emery at 12:26 of the third OT, ending the longest game in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins history at 11:58pm.
That win turned the tide in the series, as the Penguins posted three more wins in a row to oust the heavily-favored Senators from the playoffs.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Providence Bruins are currently tied, 1-1, in the best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinals.
The series moves to Wilkes-Barre where the Penguins will play host to the Bruins in Games Three (Thursday night) and Four (Friday night) at 7:05pm.
Individual tickets for both games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 570-208-7367.
Penguins postseason ticket packages, which include tickets to every home contest during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, are on sale now. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every home game in the playoffs, as well as their same seat guaranteed throughout the team’s playoff run. Fans can secure their seats for every home game by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.
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