LETESTU LEADS WAY IN 6-3 WIN OVER SENATORS
WILKES-BARRE, PA – Mark Letestu did his best impression of Jeff Taffe on Sunday, picking up four points (1+3) as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 6-3 win against the Binghamton Senators on Sunday evening.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Penguins, with all four coming against East Division opponents, and upped the team’s record to 20-11-1-1 on the year. It also gave the home club some separation between themselves and the Sens, who fell to 17-10-3-3, and now trail the Penguins by two points in the standings.
Letestu’s four point effort comes on the heels of back-to-back four point games from Taffe, and set a new personal best for points in a game by the third year pro.
“It is a nice trend for the position,” said the Pens’ center.
Another familiar story line was the Penguins finding a way to win after falling behind. Binghamton held 2-0 and 3-1 leads on the night, only to see the Penguins rattle off five consecutive goals in the final 29 minutes of play.
The Senators took those leads despite being outshot 10-4 in the opening frame, and scoring on two of their first five shots. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held a 30-7 advantage in shots after two periods, but the score only sat at 3-3.
“It was about sticking with it,” said head coach Dan Bylsma. “We kept talking about keep working, keep grinding them down. If we end the game with 45 shots, we felt like we were going to win. And that was what we kept talking about on the bench, the guys stuck with it.”
Ryan Shannon notched the only goal of the opening period 1:44 into the game, and Jim McKenzie upped the lead to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 7:23 of the second period.
Ryan Stone got the Pens on the scoreboard 36 seconds later from the top of the crease, but Denis Hamel regained the two goal advantage with delection past Adam Berkhoel’s midway through the second.
That power play tally was the last bit of good news for the Senators on the night, as Janne Pesonen and Bill Thomas each scored before the period was over to knot the game at 3-3.
Thomas’ goal, his first in 12 games, came off a feed from Letestu. That gave the Pens center three assists in the second, which tied a franchise record for helpers in a period.
“Testy made a great play. Their defenseman came to him and, you know left me open right on the side there,” said Thomas. “I was able to take the puck and jam it towards the net.
“We were just buzzing around. We got a good break right there.”
Luca Caputi put the Pens in front for the first time on the night 2:20 into the third, before Letestu scored off a Nick Johnson drop as time expired on a Thomas tripping call at 18:12 to pad the lead.
Chris Minard picked up the empty net goal, extending the sniper’s goal scoring streak to six games and setting a new team record.