GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins made their first visit to Van Andel Arena in almost a decade and left with a 4-2 victory in tow, beating the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night.
It took Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (33-16-4-1) until 7:58 of the third period to grab its first lead of the game, but it managed to hold the defending Calder Cup Champions to just 19 shots throughout the course of the contest.
The Griffins wasted little time getting on the scoresheet, as Matt Puempel lit the lamp 1:43 into the game. Ben Street wheeled below the Penguins’ goal line then slid a pass to the front of the net that Tangradi tipped to a wide-open Puempel.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton used an early second period goal to even the score, 1-1. Adam Johnson raced down the ice on a four-on-two odd-man rush for the Penguins, but instead of passing, he skated behind the Griffins net and then fired a shot through Tom McCollum once he emerged on the other side of the cage. Johnson’s tally at 2:04 of the middle frame marked his eighth goal of the season and fourth goal in his last four games.
Grand Rapids pulled back on top, 2-1, midway through the second period when Tangradi tipped in a Puempel shot during their third power play of the game.
The Penguins knotted the score once again with a man advantage marker of their own. Kevin Czuczman’s bid from the left-side face-off dot was redirected by Garrett Wilson at 3:22 of the third period.
Teddy Blueger gave Wilkes-Barre/Scranton its first lead of the contest by hopping on a turnover right at the front of Grand Rapids’ net and depositing it behind McCollum at 7:58 of the final frame of regulation.
The Griffins pressured the Penguins greatly with the goalie pulled in favor of an extra attacker, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton staved off a tying tally and sealed the victory with an empty net goal from Wilson.
Anthony Peters recorded 17 saves in the win, while McCollum posted 25 stops for the Griffins.
The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 3, when they continue their swing through the Midwest and face the Rockford IceHogs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is also against Grand Rapids on Saturday, Mar. 10. The Griffins’ first trip to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza since 2009 also serves as the Penguins’ Star Wars Night.
Puck drop between the Penguins and Griffins on Star Wars Night 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 Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.