Anton Zlobin potted two goals and added an assist and Peter Mannino stopped 26 shots en route to a 5-1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins win against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The victory, coupled with a Norfolk loss in Binghamton, gives the Penguins sole possession of first place in the East Division standings.
The three-point effort was a career-best for Zlobin, who now has goals in back-to-back games for the first time in the rookie’s young career.
It was a seasoned vet who opened the scoring for the Penguins though, as Andrew Ebbett converted on a penalty shot midway through the first period after being hauled down during a shorthanded breakaway chance. The goal was the 12th of the season for Ebbett, and his third in as many games.
Zlobin followed that up three minutes later with a wicked wrister from the slot that extended the Pens’ lead to 2-0.
Mike Blunden cut the advantage in half with 2:20 left in the first frame, picking up a rebound eight feet in front of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton net and sweeping home his 14th tally of the season, tying him for second place on the Bulldogs roster.
The newest member of the Wilkes-Barre roster, Chuck Kobasew, made the score 3-1 nearly 15 minutes into the second, grabbing his own rebound and beating former Penguins netminder Devan Dubnyk blocker side. It was Kobasew’s first AHL goal since April 16, 2005, when he was a member of the Lowell Lock Monsters.
Brian Dumoulin struck 23 seconds later with a shot through traffic that eluded Dubnyk and sent him to the Hamilton bench in favor of Robert Mayer. Dubnyk stopped 10 of 14 shots in 35:16 of action.
Zlobin picked up his second goal of the evening off a great individual effort, streaking in off the far boards, beating two Bulldogs defenders and stuffing a shot between Mayer’s pads for his eighth goal of the season.
Mannino picked up his third win in his past four decisions, the only blemish being a 2-1 shootout loss to the Utica Comets on March 7.
The win was the third in a row for the Penguins (33-20-3-5, 74 points), who now sit one point ahead of the Binghamton Senators (34-20-1-4, 73 points) and two points ahead of the Norfolk Admirals (32-20-1-8, 72 points) in the East Division standings. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Norfolk will face off tomorrow night at the Mohegan Sun Arena 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.
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