SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Brian Gibbons and Simon Despres each gathered a goal and two assists to lead the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Syracuse Crunch at Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter. With the victory, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton put an end to a three-game winless streak and pulled into a tie for first place in East Division.
It took just 2:26 for the Penguins hop out to a 1-0 lead as Despres kicked things off with his third goal of the season. A centering pass by Tom Kostopoulos went through the crease and back to Despres, who rifled a slapshot from the near circle over the shoulder of Syracuse goalie Riku Helenius.
During 4-on-4 hockey later in the period, Despres stickhandled down from the point and backhanded a puck to the front of the net, where Jayson Megna tapped a shot under the pad of Helenius at 11:23.
Working on a power play just before end of the first, Despres made the score 3-0 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, sending in a shot from the near blueline that banked off of Chris Conner and into net with 15.5 seconds left until the intermission.
Syracuse got the offense going in the second frame and cut the Penguins’ lead down to two at 7:29 when Nikita Kucherov threw a pass from the far boards that hit a streaking Vlad Namestnikov for a wrist shot to the far post.
Kostopoulos helped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton go back up by three at the 12:55 mark of the same period with a rebound goal that was his fifth tally of the season.
At the end of the second, it was the Crunch getting a goal just before the break. Cedrick Paquette won an offensive-zone faceoff into the slot and Evan Rankin quickly sent a snapshot past Penguins goalie Jeff Deslauriers with 18.2 remaining in the period.
Gibbons converted a centering pass from Conner 1:41 into the third to push Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s cushion to 5-2. Danick Gauthier would add another goal for the Crunch with 9:22 left until the end of regulation.
Deslauriers turned aside 24-of-27 shots to raise his record to 8-2-2 on the season. Helenius made 22 saves for the Crunch.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins return home on Saturday, Nov. 16 to battle the Hershey Bears at 7:05p.m.
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