Andrew Ebbett’s return to Wilkes-Barre proved to be the perfect antidote to the Penguins’ power play woes.
Re-assigned from Pittsburgh earlier in the week, Ebbett notched two goals and added an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton skated to a 5-1 win over the Portland Pirates on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Penguins (27-16-1-3, 58 points), while the Pirates (17-20-2-7, 43 points) fell for the fourth time in five games.
A low scoring affair was suddenly flung wide open by the Penguins early in the third period when Ebbett deflected a Nick Drazenovic point shot that flew over goaltender Mark Visentin’s left shoulder, giving the home team a 2-1 lead 20 seconds into the third. The goal came on the Pens’ fourth power play opportunity of the night, and snapped a string of 41 consecutive kills by the opposition.
Newcomer Spencer Machacek made his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton debut a memorable one by slamming home a Dominik Uher feed right on the doorstep just 50 seconds later to extend the Pens’ lead.
Ebbett picked up his second of the evening with a beautiful one-timer from the slot off of a tom Kostopoulos feed at 3:53 of the third.
Ebbett then returned the favor to Kostopoulos, winning a faceoff in the Portland zone and shoving the puck to the Penguins’ captain who quickly wristed a shot into the visitor’s net to pick up the Pens’ second power play tally of the night, and complete the third period onslaught.
Carter Rowney scored his first of the season for the Penguins late in the first period, and Jordan Martinook pounced on a Wilkes-Barre turnover to net the lone Portland goal of the night, a shorthanded tally at 14:48 of the second.
Eric Hartzell made 12 saves to record his tenth win of the season, and lowered his goals against average to 1.80, just .01 points behind league leader Mike McKenna of the Springfield Falcons.
The Penguins return to action on Saturday night when they host the Adirondack Phantoms at 7:05pm. The first 5,000 fans will receive an Alain Nasreddine Hall of Fame statue, courtesy of Eyewitness News.
Good seats for Saturday’s contest, as well as 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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