HARTFORD, Conn. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got a third-period equalizer to force overtime and got the deciding goal in the extra frame for a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack at XL Center on Friday night.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (40-20-6-2) received a three-point effort from Christian Thomas, and Daniel Sprong potted the game-winner for his team-leading 27th goal of the season. Furthermore, the Penguins achieved 40 wins for the 13th season in a row, the league’s active record.
Ethan Prow was reinserted into the Penguins’ lineup due to a pregame suspension levied to Andrey Pedan, and made an immediate impact by setting up the game’s first goal. Prow ushered the puck out of the Penguins’ defensive end and then dished it to Christian Thomas, who wired a shot through Alexandar Georgiev’s five-hole 9:16 into the contest.
The Wolf Pack unleashed three-straight goals in the second period to stun the visitors and assume a 3-1 lead. First, Gabriel Fontaine deposited a tap-in on the power play at 1:34 of the middle frame. Less than two minutes later, Dawson Leedahl’s backhander gave Hartford its first lead of the night. Cristoval Nieves delivered a behind-the-back set-up to Scott Kosmachuk for the Wolf Pack’s third goal of the frame at 11:13.
After Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t get any puck luck on a dominant man advantage, Zach Trotman unloaded a slap shot that snuck behind Georgiev and pulled the Penguins within one goal. Trotman’s tally was assisted by Thomas and Jarred Tinordi with 3:07 left in the second period.
Thomas completed his three-point night and evened the score, 3-3, with a goal at 6:25 of the third period. Tom Sestito stripped a Hartford defenseman of the puck in the Wolf Pack’s zone and fed Thomas on the backdoor for the slam dunk.
Adam Johnson was afforded an opportunity to put the Penguins back on top when he was awarded a penalty shot midway through the third period, but Georgiev slammed the door shut.
The three-on-three overtime was filled with scoring chances for both sides as the two clubs combined for 10 shots on goal. However, the final shot was the only one that mattered, coming from the stick of Sprong with 39.8 seconds left in the extra frame.
The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 31, when they host the Providence Bruins for the second time this week. Puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Individual tickets for the final four 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.