LAVAL, Qué. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins established a new season high with their seventh win in a row during a contest in which the team saw one of its players post his first career hat trick for the second consecutive night. Defenseman Andrey Pedan’s three goals fueled the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Laval Rocket on Saturday at Place Bell.
Pedan became just the second defenseman in team history to record a hat trick while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton improved to 23-10-2-1 on the season, first in the Atlantic Division.
Laval got off to a hot start with Éric Gélinas scoring 32 seconds into the game. However, Pedan’s first goal of the evening evened the score 3:07 when the Russian blueliner rushed the puck through the neutral zone, threw a shot on goal from just below the blue line that deflected off goaltender Michael McNiven’s glove and across the goal line.
The physical play ratcheted up through the rest of the first period, but neither team managed another goal before the first intermission.
The Rocket reestablished the lead with another early period goal when Adam Cracknell tipped in a shot from the point, only to see the Penguins’ Teddy Blueger answer back 23 seconds later.
Pedan got his second goal of the night on the power play at 5:49 of the second period, putting the Penguins on top, 3-2.
Laval earned its own man advantage marker with Cracknell’s second tally, gathering a rebound right on the doorstep midway through the middle frame.
Pedan nabbed his first career hat trick with a déjà vu set up on the power play, identical to the goal he scored at 5:49 of the second stanza. Once again, Pedan unloaded a shot from the top of the left circle and blistered it past McNiven with four minutes left in the middle frame.
Despite the best efforts of McNiven to keep his team within striking distance, making 11 saves on the Penguins in the third period alone, Pedan’s hat trick-completing tally stood as the game-winner and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton walked away triumphant, 4-3.
Pedan’s hat trick followed an outing in which Ryan Haggerty scored his first professional hat trick on Friday at Belleville.
Anthony Peters landed his fifth-straight win by making 23 saves. McNiven was dealt the loss even though he turned away 37 of 41 Penguins shots.
The Penguins’ next game is Wednesday, Jan. 17 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop between the Penguins and Phantoms is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. 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.