The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continue their quest for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs against the Springfield Thunderbirds, Friday night at Mass Mutual Center.
The Penguins (43-22-6-2, 94 pts, .644%) still hold the second spot in the Atlantic Division with a three-point advantage over Providence, while the Thunderbirds (32-34-5-2, 71 pts, .486%) are in the seventh spot in the same division, but carry a three-game winning streak into tonight’s game.
Friday’s game is the fourth and final meeting between the clubs this season.
|Wednesday, December 13||WBS||Springfield||4-2 WIN|
|Friday, January 5||WBS||Springfield||6-3 WIN|
|Wednesday, February 3||Springfield||WBS||3-1 WIN|
|Friday, April 13||Springfield||WBS||7:05pm|
The Penguins exploded with offense in the first period, and leaned on their goaltender in the later stages of the game, to secure a 5-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday. Anthony Peters recorded 41 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while Adam Johnson scored twice 1:17 apart midway through the opening frame. Christian Thomas and Patrick McGrath tacked on tallies at 12:41 and 16:03 of the first period, respectively, and Gage Quinney notched a goal of his own to round out the scoring.
The Thunderbirds dominated the action from start to finish in a 2-0 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday night at the XL Center. Harri Sateri finished with 26 stops in the shutout win. Joel Lowry and Anthony Greco provided the offense for the Thunderbirds. Springfield’s offense ended the night with 48 shots.
The Penguins clinched a playoff berth for the 16th straight season last Saturday evening. The 16-year postseason streak is the longest current streak in the AHL.
Garrett Wilson’s 40 points this season are a new career high.
With 30 goals on the season, Daniel Sprong has tied the franchise record for most goals by a rookie, set by Michel Ouellet in 2003-04.
Sprong’s goal output this year marks the first 30-goal season by a Penguin since Chris Minard (34) in 2008-09.
Anthony Greco is atop the AHL with most shorthanded goals (6) and leads the AHL in shots with 244.
Springfield is tied for third in the AHL in power play opportunities (327), but they also top the league for the most shorthanded goals against with 14.
Harri Sateri was 3-0-0 in three starts on the road for Springfield last week, stopping 82 of 84 shots for a 0.67 goals-against average and a .976 save percentage, which earned him player of the week honors.
Curtis Valk leads the Thunderbirds in both points (59) and assists (40). His lead in both categories is in double digits over the next closest Thunderbird.
Forward Bobby Farnham spent parts of three seasons (2012-15) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 39 points (17+22) and 666 penalty minutes in 191 games.
Defenseman Tim Erixon spent two seasons (2015-17) with the Penguins, recording 37 points (7+30) in 119 games.