FOUR GOAL FIRST HELPS PENS SINK ADMIRALS
NORFOLK, VA – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins exploded for four goals in the first 11:32 of play Wednesday night, then cruised to a 7-3 win against the Norfolk Admirals in front of 2,660 fans at the Scope. The win upped the Pens’ record to 14-10-1-1 on the season, while the Admirals fell to 8-15-1-4.
Despite playing with a somewhat depleted lineup after the recalls of Jeff Taffe and Tim Wallace, the Penguins came out in full force, jumping on goaltender Kari Ramo for four goals on their first nine shots.
Janne Pesonen, who was returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from the NHL club, proved to be a catalyst to the offensive explosion, assisting on three goals in the opening frame.
But Pesonen wasn’t the only one picking up the slack in the absence of the high-scoring Taffe and hard-hitting Wallace.
Mark Letestu, whose only other goal this season came in Norfolk about a week and a half ago, notched two goals in the opening period, while Dustin Jeffrey and Connor James also chipped in with goals to give the visitors a big lead.
Brandon Segal got the Admirals on the board at the 5:30 mark of the second period. But Paul Bissonnette showed a rare flash of offense, taking an Adam Henrich feed and beating Mike McKenna for his first goal of the season to make the score 5-1 after two periods.
Jamie Heward looked to spark to Norfolk offense with his sixth of the season just 36 seconds into the third.
But Tommy Goebel, recalled from Wheeling on Tuesday evening, recorded his first goal with the Penguins five minutes later, and T.J. Kemp tallied his first of the season to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the commanding 7-2 lead with nine minutes to play.
Justin Keller picked up a late shorthanded goal to finish off the night’s scoring.
Adam Berkhoel picked up his 10th win of the season by stopping 19 of 22 shots he faced in the game.
NOTES: Letestu added an assist on Kemp’s goal for the first three point game of his AHL career…Bissonnette, Jeffrey and Goebel each recorded a goal and an assist in the game, while Adam Henrich and Ryan Stone had two assists apiece…James’ goal was his 10th of the season, one more than he recorded during the entire 2007-08 campaign.