DESPITE INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS, SPRONG STILL HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE


Name an American Hockey League player who was more electrifying than Daniel Sprong during the 2017-18 regular season.

Go on.

We’ll wait.

Can’t do it, can you?

Sprong was sensational during his first full pro season, scoring at a point-per-game clip (65 in 65), leading all AHL rookies with 32 goals, and finishing one-point behind Manitoba’s Mason Appleton for the freshman point lead.

His 32 goals were also the most by any rookie to ever don a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton sweater, and tied him for second-most in team history. He also became the first Penguin in eight years to eclipse the 60-point mark.

Sprong expressed his disappointment with his team’s playoff exit when the Penguins held their exit meetings and locker clear-out day, but when prodded about his individual success, he lightened up a bit.

“Personally, I thought I had a really good year,” Sprong said. “I’m happy with my season. There were a lot of guys in this room that helped me this season, too. We created a lot of good memories together. I’m proud of the way my season went.”

The Netherlands native’s scoring prowess earned him several nicknames in his first full season as a pro; the Dutch Dangler, the Flying Dutchman, the King of Sprong Style.

There was never a question about Sprong’s offensive ability as he entered the season. The youngster was, however, tasked with improving his defensive play by the Penguins staff. It was a challenge he gladly accepted.

“Coming into the year, I was still cheating,” Sprong said. “I was looking for breaks. As the year went on, I started to play inside the game a little bit more. That in turn created more offense for me. That contributed to a lot of my success.”

This season, Penguins assistant coach Tim Army spent a lot of time in front of a computer screen reviewing game film with Sprong sitting right beside him. Engaged in the learning process, the rookie slowly but surely started to comprehend the benefits of not “cheating”, as he put it, and remaining an active participant in the play, even when he wasn’t carrying the puck on his stick.

This evolving play was a big reason why he was able to etch his way into Wilkes-Barre/Scranton record books, thanks in large part to his outburst of 11 goals and 19 points in his final 15 games of the regular season.

Despite the rousing success in year one, Sprong isn’t taking anything for granted this summer; he’s approaching the next campaign like someone who still has something to prove.

“There’s still a lot of months, a lot of steps between now and [the start of the season],” Sprong said. “I’m going to work hard in the summer, come back in shape and get ready to earn my spot.”

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PENGUINS LOSE GAME ONE TO CHECKERS IN OVERTIME, 3-2

 

BOXSCORE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped Game One of the Atlantic Division Semifinals to the Charlotte Checkers in overtime at Bojangles’ Coliseum on Friday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had a 2-0 lead going into the third period, but Charlotte scored twice to tie and then got an early, albeit controversial goal from Lucas Wallmark in the extra period to win, 3-2.

The Checkers had the Penguins pinned back in their zone for well over a minute when Brenden Kitchton’s point shot was tipped in by Wallmark. As a throng of bodies congregated around Tristan Jarry, contact was made with the Penguins goalie that sent him tumbling down to the ice at the same time as Wallmark’s tip. Jarry and his teammates protested the call, clamoring for goaltender interference, but the initial assessment on the ice stood, and Charlotte got the game-winner at 3:18 of overtime.

The game started with a first period marred by penalties. The two clubs combining for six man advantage opportunities over the course of the opening 20 minutes of play, but the Penguins were the only team to capitalize on the power play. Andrey Pedan’s slap shot from the point blistered past a screen set by Garrett Wilson at the front of the net and into Charlotte’s cage with 2:16 left in the first period.

Charlotte came out firing on all cylinders to start the second stanza, but its efforts were stonewalled by Jarry. Following up some highlight reel stops from the first period, Jarry denied the Checkers with a handful of post-to-post saves early in the middle frame.

The tide turned in the Penguins’ favor when Checkers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic allowed a goal from center ice midway through the second period. Daniel Sprong flung the puck towards the Checkers’ cage, and with one dramatic hop, the puck skipped over the glove of Nedeljkovic and into the net, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

The Checkers began an early onslaught of shots in the third period, and Aleksi Saarela finally solved Jarry with a sniper’s shot 6:32 into the final frame of regulation. Valentin Zykov tacked on a power play goal on Charlotte’s sixth man advantage of the game at 11:45 of the third period, tying the contest, 2-2.

The Penguins finished the third period with a flourish, peppering Nedeljkovic with shots. The second-year pro goaltender stood tall in the face of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s avalanche, and made enough saves to send the game to overtime.

Wallmark’s game-winner 3:18 onto the extra period established a 1-0 series lead for the Checkers in the best-of-five opening round series. Jarry finished the game with 35 saves, and Nedeljkovic posted 25 stops. Game Two takes place tomorrow night, Saturday, Apr. 21, at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The series will return to the Penguins’ home ice for Game 3 on Thursday, Apr. 26.

Ticket packages and individual game tickets for the Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

 

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 4/17/18

 

Penguins finish season strong, prepare for first round series with Checkers

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (45-22-6-3) begins quest for Tom Kostopoulos’ first championship

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Apr. 13 – PENGUINS 3 at Springfield 2
Daniel Sprong set the franchise record for goals by a rookie with his 31st tally of the season. Sprong’s goal opened the game’s scoring, one of only a few bids that fooled Harri Säteri. The Thunderbirds’ goalie conjured 46 saves in the loss.

Saturday, Apr. 14 – PENGUINS 1 at Lehigh Valley 2 (SO)
The Penguins lost a shootout decision to the recently crowned Atlantic Division Champions. Both teams were held scoreless until the final two minutes of the third period, during which both teams found the back of the net. By getting to OT, the Penguins clinched the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division.

Sunday, Apr. 15 – PENGUINS 3 at Hershey 2
The Penguins remained unbeaten in regulation against the Bears in the two clubs’ final matchup of 2017-18, going 10-0-1-1 to notch the best single-season record in the rivalry’s 19-year history. Sprong scored again for goal 32, and Jan Drozg earned an assist in his pro debut.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Apr. 20 – PENGUINS at Charlotte – GAME ONE
Second-seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton travels to North Carolina to take on third-seeded Charlotte in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Penguins hope to avenge a 2011 playoff series loss handed to them by the Checkers in the teams’ only postseason meeting. Charlotte closed out the season on a 10-game point streak (9-0-1-0), and won 15 of its last 18 contests.

Saturday, Apr. 21 – PENGUINS at Charlotte – GAME TWO
The Penguins went 1-3-0-0 against the Checkers in their four-game regular season series, but both teams were evenly matched on the special teams front. Both were 16.7% on the PP and 83.3% on the PK when facing one another this season.

 

Ice Chips

– Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is going to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 16th consecutive season, the AHL’s longest active streak.

– Daniel Sprong’s 32 goals not only established a new franchise record for rookie scoring, but he also tied Janne Pesonen for the second-most goals in a season in team history.

– Sprong finished the season ranked in the AHL’s top five in three categories: third in goals (32), fourth in shots (214) and fifth in points (65). Sprong also led all rookies in goals and shots, while tying fellow first-years for tops in power play goals (11).

– Five of Michael Leighton’s six starts as a Penguin have gone past regulation. He is 4-0-1 in those games.

 

FINAL DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Lehigh Valley 76 47 19 5 5 104 .684
2. PENGUINS 76 45 22 6 3 99 .651
3. Charlotte 76 46 26 1 3 96 .632
4. Providence 76 45 26 3 2 95 .625
5. Bridgeport 76 36 32 5 3 80 .526
6. Hartford 76 34 33 6 3 77 .507
7. Springfield 76 32 37 5 2 71 .467
8. Hershey 76 30 37 4 5 69 .454

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 65 32 33 65
Jean-Sébastien Dea 70 18 32 50
Teddy Blueger 70 21 24 45
Garrett Wilson 69 17 25 42
Ryan Haggerty 47 16 21 37
GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith^ 27 16-8-3 2.73 .910 2
Anthony Peters 24 12-7-3 2.71 .907 1
Tristan Jarry 16 9-5-2 3.05 .901 0

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                           TIME    

Fri, Apr. 20        Charlotte         Bojangles’ Coliseum           7:00 p.m.

Sat, Apr. 21        Charlotte         Bojangles’ Coliseum           6:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Tue, Apr. 17      (LW) Sam Miletic                Reassigned from OHL

Tue, Apr. 17      (LW) Jan Drozg                       Released from ATO

Fri, Apr. 13        (G) Alex D’Orio                   Reassigned to QMJHL

Wed, Apr. 11    (C) Anthony Angello                       Signed to ATO

Wed, Apr. 11    (C) Cam Brown                                 Signed to PTO

PENGUINS BEAT BEARS IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE, 3-2

 

BOXSCORE

HERSHEY, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins ended the 2017-18 season on a high note, defeating the Hershey Bears, 3-2, at Giant Center on Sunday evening.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton ends the season with a 45-22-6-3 record worth 99 points, and it also concludes the 2017-18 campaign on an eight-game win streak against its bitter rival from Hershey.

Daniel Sprong kicked off the scoring for the Penguins on the power play at 10:32 of the opening period. Sprong notched his team-leading 11th man advantage marker and 32nd goal overall this season, which also pulled him into a tie for the second-most tallies in the AHL.

As time was ticking down in the first period, Jarrett Burton shot the puck off the post and in with 18.1 seconds left in the frame to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-0 lead. Making his AHL debut, Jan Drozg recorded his first pro point with the secondary assist on Burton’s goal.

The second period was largely uneventful until Dustin Gazley buried one for the Bears 32 seconds before the intermission.

Gage Quinney re-established the Penguins’ two-goal lead by smacking in a rebound at 6:15 of the third period. Kevin Schulze picked off a breakout pass in the Bears’ zone, tapped it over to Sprong who was denied by Vítek Vaněček, but Quinney was in the perfect spot for the loose puck. Schulze gathered his first AHL point with the assist on the play.

Desperate to try and tie the game in front of their home fans in the season finale, the Bears pulled Vaněček for an extra attacker while they were on the power play with 4:20 left in the game. The gamble paid off as Jeremy Langlois found the back of the net during the six-on-four man advantage, making it a 3-2 contest.

Hershey pulled Vaněček again in hopes of getting another extra attacker goal, but never challenged Anthony Peters again before the sound of the final buzzer.

The Penguins wrap up the season 10-0-1-1 against the Bears, the best single-season record in the 19-year history of the I-81 Rivalry.

Both goalies were billed with 27 saves.

Next up for Penguins is the first round of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. They will face-off against the Charlotte Checkers in a best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinal series, starting with Game 1 at Bojangles’ Coliseum on Friday, Apr. 20.

Ticket packages and individual game tickets for the Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

SPRONG SETS FRANCHISE RECORD IN PENGUINS’ 3-2 WIN

 

BOXSCORE

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins held on to secure two important points in the standings with a 3-2 triumph against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday night at MassMutual Center.

Daniel Sprong established a new franchise record for goals by a rookie with his 31st tally of the season that helped kick-start the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (44-22-6-2) offense.

Sprong set the Penguins’ rookie record when he opened the game’s scoring at 15:50 of the first period. Garrett Wilson slipped behind the Thunderbirds’ net and wrapped a behind-the-back pass to Sprong at the net-front, who beat Springfield goalie Harri Säteri glove-side.

If not for the strong play of Säteri, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would have built an even bigger lead before the end of the first period. The Penguins out-shot the Thunderbirds, 19-7, in the opening frame, but only carried a 1-0 advantage into the first intermission.

Teddy Blueger solved Säteri for the second time of the night when he ripped a wrist shot from the high slot four minutes into the second period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton proceeded to pepper the Finnish netminder with shot after shot. Säteri earned his 30th save of the night with 12:12 still to play in the middle frame.

Säteri was finally given some run support by the team playing in front of him when Dryden Hunt scored on the power play at 13:40 of the second stanza.

Springfield then had two separate five-on-three man advantages late in the period with a chance to tie the game, but that’s when Tristan Jarry answered Säteri’s performance at the other side of the ice and shut the door on the Thunderbirds for the Penguins to maintain their 2-1 lead.

Three minutes into the third period, Curtis Valk tipped in a shot by Hunt and tied the game, 2-2.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hopped back on top, 3-2, right after the expiration of a penalty kill. Ryan Haggerty had just been relinquished from the penalty box to see Zach Trotman unload a screaming slap shot past Säteri at 11:33 of the final frame of regulation.

The Thunderbirds pulled the goalie late for an extra attacker, but never truly tested Jarry in the final minute so the Penguins walked away with the win and the season sweep of Springfield (4-0-0-0).

Jarry made 28 saves for the victory, while Säteri made 46 stops in loss.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 14, when they face a familiar foe in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s penultimate contest of the regular season.

Ticket packages and individual game tickets for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS WIN BIG IN KOSTOPOULOS’ FINAL HOME GAME

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – It was an emotional night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday. Tom Kostopoulos was playing in his final regular season home game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and the emotion fueled the team to a 7-4 victory over the Binghamton Devils.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (42-22-6-2) also clinched a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs with Saturday’s results. This will be the Penguins’ 16th postseason appearance in a row, the American Hockey League’s active record.

Clearly running on adrenaline after pre-game ceremonies honoring Kostopoulos, the home team took a 4-0 lead in the first period starting with a power play goal 3:45 into the contest. Jean-Sébastien Dea pulled off a spinning move at the front of the net and tucked the puck around goaltender Cam Johnson, who was making the first start of his pro career. Nineteen seconds later, Tom Sestito beat Johnson down low to put the Penguins up, 2-0.

Jarrett Burton tacked on a goal by batting in his own rebound that came off the crossbar midway through the opening frame, and Zach Trotman unloaded a slap shot that navigated under Johnson with 3:24 left in the period.

Binghamton’s Jake Walman got the visitors on the board midway through the second period with a wicked wrist shot that whizzed past the blocker of Michael Leighton. Walman proceeded to set up the Devils’ next goal, too, tossing a shot towards the net that was tipped in by Blake Pietila at 18:05 of the middle frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wasted no time in re-establishing their four-goal lead, using goals from Daniel Sprong and Christian Thomas in the first 5:44 of the third period. Sprong’s 30th goal of the season arrived 35 seconds into the final frame of regulation, and Thomas notched his third point of the night with the tally that made it 6-2.

However, the Devils stormed back in the second half of the third period, as tucks by Jacob MacDonald and Jan Mandát reduced the deficit to two goals once again.

Binghamton elected the pull the goalie for an extra attacker with over three minutes left in regulation. Thomas put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to close out the scoring at 7-4, his fourth point of the game.

Leighton denied 26 Devils shots as he improved to 5-0-0 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Johnson made 29 saves in his pro debut.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Apr. 8, when they travel to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers for the final time this season.

Ticket packages for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

Individual game tickets for the postseason will go on sale on Monday, Apr. 9 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, TicketMaster.com, or also by calling the Penguins’ offices at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS DROP 4-3 CONTEST TO DESPERATE SOUND TIGERS

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a close matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.

Daniel Sprong put forth a goal and two power play assists to keep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (41-22-6-2) within striking distance, but a Bridgeport team fighting to keep its slim playoff hopes alive had the extra vigor to hang on when it was all said and done.

The Penguins took the lead 4:48 into the game when captain Tom Kostopoulos cashed in on the man advantage. Sprong unloaded a one-timer towards the net, which Kostopoulos tipped past goaltender Christopher Gibson.

Shortly thereafter, Bridgeport answered back with a power-play goal of its own. Mitchell Vande Sompel picked the short side corner over the shoulder of Tristan Jarry, evening the game at one goal apiece.  Then Steve Bernier gave the visitors their first lead of the night at 11:45 of the opening frame.

Vande Sompel later scored his second goal of the night, once again beating Jarry to the short side and just inside post. Vande Sompel’s first career multi-goal game put the Sound Tigers up, 3-1, just under five minutes into the second stanza.

Sprong pulled the Penguins within one again by unloading a wicked one-timer on a set face-off play. Teddy Blueger won the draw clean to Sprong who blasted the puck into the opposite top corner at 7:50 of the second period.

Sprong’s goal nearly served as a turning point in the contest, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton began peppering Gibson with shot after shot following the rookie’s team-leading 29th goal of the season. The Penguins almost doubled the Sound Tigers’ shot total in the middle frame, throwing 13 pucks at the net. Gibson held down the fort with some dazzling saves so that his squad could enter the second intermission with the one-goal lead.

Ben Holmstrom tipped in a cross-crease pass from Kyle Schempp eight minutes into the third period, extending the Sound Tigers’ lead to 4-2.

The Penguins reduced the deficit down to one yet again when Blueger tipped in one of Sprong’s shots during a power play late in the final frame. Down by one and with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t muster the equalizer, despite two great scoring chances for Sprong.

In the end, Jarry stopped 18 shots while Gibson recorded 25 saves on the night.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 7, against the Binghamton Devils. Saturday’s game is also Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s final home game of the regular season and will serve as the team’s annual Fan Appreciation Night. Pre-game ceremonies prior to the contest between the Penguins and Devils are scheduled to begin 7:00 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

DANIEL SPRONG NAMED TO AHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The American Hockey League announced today that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Daniel Sprong has been selected to the 2017-18 All-Rookie Team. The AHL All-Rookie Team was voted on by coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.

Sprong became the eighth Penguin ever named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team, joining Casey DeSmith (2016-17), Jake Guentzel (2016-17), Matt Murray (2014-15), Alex Goligoski (2007-08), John Curry (2007-08), Michel Ouellet (2003-04) and Toby Petersen (2000-01).

Since starting the 2017-18 campaign with seven goals and 10 points in his first five games, Sprong has put together a terrific rookie campaign with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 28 goals and 29 assists for 57 points in 59 contests with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The 21-year-old currently leads all league rookies in goals, and he ranks second in points, shots (181), power play goals (10) and game-winning goals (6). His 57 points also place him ninth in the overall AHL scoring standings.

The Amsterdam, Netherlands native was a second round pick (46th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sprong saw a stint in the NHL earlier this season with Pittsburgh, during which he registered two goals and an assist across eight games.

The full 2017-18 AHL All-Rookie Team is as follows:

GoaltenderVille Husso, San Antonio Rampage (37GP, 15-13-5, 2.32 GAA, .926sv%, 4 SO).
DefenseFilip Hronek, Grand Rapids Griffins (62GP, 9G-24A, 33PTS, +21, 4 GWG)
DefenseSami Niku, Manitoba Moose (71GP, 15G-37A, 52PTS, +18, 9 PPG)
ForwardMason Appleton, Manitoba Moose (71GP, 21G-40A, 61PTS, +13, 7 PPG, 6 GWG)
ForwardDaniel Sprong, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (59GP, 28G-29A, 57PTS, +2, 10 PPG, 6 GWG)
ForwardDylan Strome, Tucson Roadrunners (47GP, 22G-28A, 50PTS, +8, 9 PPG, 3 GWG)

Each player will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the All-Rookie Team.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Apr. 6 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with a chance to secure a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

LAFFERTY NETS FIRST PRO GOAL IN PENGUINS’ 5-3 DEFEAT OF BEARS

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fended off a late comeback attempt by the Hershey Bears to defeat their I-81 rival, 5-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Tuesday night.

Tristan Jarry backstopped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (41-21-6-2) to victory in a game that saw Sam Lafferty score his first professional goal and the Penguins improve to 9-0-1-1 against the Bears this season. Also, with the win, the Penguins have reduced their magic number to clinch a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs to one.

The Penguins wasted little time in scoring the game’s first goal as Teddy Blueger fired a spin-o-rama backhander through Pheonix Copley’s five-hole 53 seconds into the game.

Hershey tied things up at 13:41 of the opening frame when Connor Hobbs unloaded a perfectly placed one-timer underneath the cross-bar. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton re-established its lead exactly two minutes later. The Penguins responded when Daniel Sprong tapped the puck over to Garrett Wilson in the slot, who then beat Copley down low once again.

Midway through the second period, Lafferty ripped a snapshot past the blocker of Copley, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead. The Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania native’s first goal as a pro caused a goaltending change for the Bears, too. Copley stepped out and was relieved by Vítek Vaněček.

The goaltending switch and two-goal deficit motivated Hershey, but the visitors couldn’t muscle anything past Jarry despite a flurry of scoring chances in the second half of the middle frame. Jarry made a series of highlight reel saves, featuring a sprawling save for which he fell on his back and reached around his head to the far post so that he could rob Colby Williams of a sure goal. Jarry’s lights-out goaltending maintained the home team’s 3-1 lead going into the second intermission.

Sprong cashed in on the power play with his AHL rookie-leading 28th goal of the season to give the Penguins a three-goal lead 4:32 into the final period.

Hershey made things interesting by using goals from Anthony Peluso and Mathias Bau three minutes apart to pull within one. The Bears were also given a power play opportunity with less than a minute to go in regulation. Their late power play only yielded an empty net goal for Jean-Sébastien Dea to round out the night’s scoring at 5-3.

Jarry made 30 saves in the win for the Penguins. Copley was replaced after denying 12 of 15 shots faced, while Vaněček stepped in to turn aside 13 of the 14 bids Wilkes-Barre/Scranton threw his way.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Apr. 6 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with a chance to secure a spot in the postseason. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS LOSE HEATED BATTLE WITH BRUINS, 3-1

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a tenacious battle to the Providence Bruins, 3-1, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (40-21-6-2) outshot the visitors 35-27, but Jordan Binnington turned in a great performance in net that stymied the Penguins time and time again.

The Bruins got on the board first when Adam Payerl capitalized on the power play at 14:06 in the opening period. Payerl was able to slap a rebound behind Tristan Jarry to put the visitors up, 1-0.

With 3:12 left in the first period, Trent Frederic collected the puck on a failed clear attempt by the Penguins forwards and fired a shot past Jarry for his second pro goal. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stormed down the ice on the next shift and reduced the deficit back down to one. Jean-Sébastien Dea gathered a centering pass from Daniel Sprong and picked the corner over Binnington’s glove before the first intermission.

The Penguins and Bruins kept the chances coming in the middle frame, firing 11 and 13 shots respectively, as both goaltenders stayed strong in their crease.

Penguins came close to tying the game midway through the final period when Sprong rushed down the ice and whipped a shot at the opposing net. Garrett Wilson was there to collect the rebound only to be denied by Binnington.

The Bruins cashed in on the power play once again when Jordan Szwarz lifted the puck past Jarry into the left corner of the goal, extending his team’s lead to 3-1 at 8:32 in the third.

Binnington’s brilliance continued as he stood tall to fend off a Sam Lafferty scoring chance moments later. Lafferty collected a big rebound and threw it towards a wide open goal, but the goaltender reached behind his back, smacking the puck away in acrobatic fashion and robbing Lafferty of his first pro goal.

Binnington ended up with 34 saves, while Jarry posted 24 stops in the loss.

The Penguins’ next game is Tuesday, Apr. 3 against the Hershey Bears. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Individual tickets for the final three home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.