WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 5-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on the back of Daniel Sprong’s hat trick at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.
Sprong’s second hat trick of the season and second four-point performance (3G-1A) of the year helped improve Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to 17-10-2-1 on the season.
The Penguins got the scoring started on a delayed penalty call midway through the first period. With the goalie pulled for an extra attacker and a six-on-five advantage, a slap shot by Sprong was tipped in by Colin Smith. Smith, who was playing in his 300th AHL game, gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 9:27 of the opening frame.
The Wolf Pack evened things up with under a minute to go in the first period as Joe Whitney ripped one from the top of the left circle. Whitney’s goal snapped a 16-game goalless drought, but it was the last time any member of the Wolf Pack found the back of the net on Friday.
Sprong scored his first of the night at 8:30 of the second period, accepting a drop pass from Adam Johnson and fired it by the blocker of Marek Mazanec, making it 2-1. Johnson set up Sprong again on a similar play with 4:16 before the second intermission to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.
With Hartford heading to its fifth man advantage of the game at 14:19 of the third, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Zach Aston-Reese stormed down the ice for a shorthanded goal seven seconds into the penalty kill.
Sprong completed the hat trick with an empty net goal at 18:05 of the third period. It marked the first time since the 2009-10 that a member of the Penguins recorded two hat tricks in a season (Chris Conner).
Anthony Peters posted his first win in a Penguins uniform stopping 27 shots, while Mazanec turned away 22 of the 26 bids Wilkes-Barre/Scranton threw his way.
The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 30, when they travel down I-81 to take on the Hershey Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game will be in the New Year, as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers visit Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. 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.
Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.