Colin Stuart’s goal eight minutes into the third period proved to be the difference, as the Utica Comets skated to a 2-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in front of a sold out Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night.
The Penguins (35-21-3-5, 78 points) saw their five game winning streak and seven game points streak snapped, while the Comets (28-28-3-4, 63 points) won for the sixth time in their past eight games.
Stuart beat a screened Peter Mannino with a nifty wrister that appeared to change course en route to the net, with the goal coming just two seconds after a tripping call on the Penguins goaltender expired. It was Stuart’s 17th goal of the season, the second highest total on the Utica roster.
After a scoreless first period, Utica opened the scoring with a power play goal off of the stick of Pascal Pelletier at 12:28 of the second. The Comets’ leading scorer swept home a quick shot into the far corner of the Pens net with Mannino blocked by one of his own defensemen. The goal was the first allowed by Mannino in 194:48 of play, which included back-to-back shutouts against the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch.
Chuck Kobasew tied the score less than three minutes later, taking a pass from Andrew Ebbett behind the Utica defense and snapping a low shot past netminder Joe Cannata. Kobasew, who was a veteran scratch in Syracuse on Friday night, has now scored one goal in each of the three games he has suited up for with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Beau Bennett made his return to action after being sidelined with a wrist injury for four months. Assigned to Wilkes-Barre on a conditioning stint by Pittsburgh earlier in the day, Bennett was held off the scoresheet, but did see time on the Pens power play unit.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is back in action in Atlantic City on Sunday afternoon, where they will face the Albany Devils at 4:00pm.
Good seats for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Group rates, flex books and mini-plans are available directly from the Penguins ticket office by calling 570-208-7367
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