The luck of the Irish was with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night. Wearing their traditional shamrock sweaters, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton downed the Norfolk Admirals, 4-0, at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The win snapped a 12-game home winless streak against Norfolk. Prior to Saturday, the Penguins’ last home win versus the Admirals came on February 26, 2011.
The Penguins (34-20-3-5, 76 points) also stretched their current winning streak to four games, and have now picked up points in their past six contests. The four consecutive wins are the most in a row by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since they opened the season with six straight victories.
The Admirals (32-21-1-7, 72 points) dropped their second straight game, and now trail the Penguins by four points in the East Division standings.
Harry Zolnierczyk snapped an eight game goal drought at 11:20 of the first period by grabbing a feed from Nick Drazenovic puck behind the Norfolk net and slipping the wrap around chance inside John Gibson’s far post. It was Zolnierczyk’s 18th goal of the season.
A few minutes later it was Adam Payerl digging a puck out of the far corner, driving to the net and sliding a pass through the crease that Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond tapped home for his second goal of the season at 16:08 to make it a 2-0 game.
A boarding call on Nolan Yonkman was followed by a high sticking double minor to Steve Eminger, giving the Penguins a two man advantage midway through the game that they would not waste. Brian Dumoulin made quick work of the extended power play, wristing a shot from the point that appeared to deflect off a defenseman and beat Gibson 25 seconds into the Eminger penalty, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Garnet Exelby throw a big shoulder into Adam Payerl in the neutral zone, touching off a scrap between the Norfolk forward and WBS defenseman Reid McNeill. Exelby got the worst of the penalties – if not the fight – receiving a major for interference, a major for fighting and a game misconduct.
The Penguins extended their advantage two minutes later when Bobby Farnham sped down the near boards and fed a streaking Chuck Kobasew on the far post, giving the Penguins a four goal cushion at 16:55 of the second.
Former Penguin Brad Thiessen relieved Gibson at the start of the third period, and stopped all 14 shots he faced during the final frame.
Mannino stopped 12 shots to record his first shutout as a Penguin, and his first since a 23-save performance as a member of the St. John's Ice Caps on October 8, 2011 against the Manchester Monarchs.
The Penguins are off until a Friday evening meeting with the Syracuse Crunch on the road, and return home next Saturday to face the Utica Comets at 7:05pm.
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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