WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Daniel Sprong notched his first regular season goal with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but the team ultimately fell, 5-2, in their 2017-18 season opener to the Charlotte Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (0-1-0-0) surrendered back-to-back shorthanded tallies to Charlotte (2-0-0-0) rookie Warren Foegele, who has kicked off his pro career with four goals and two game-winning goals in his first two games.
The Penguins’ first goal of the season came from Sprong on the power play when he scorched a wrist shot past the blocker side of Jeremy Smith at 7:40 of the opening frame.
Valentin Zykov notched a goal for Charlotte with only 1:59 remaining in the first period, evening the score at 1-1.
The second period became a special teams fest for both clubs, with Charlotte and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton combining for seven power play opportunities in the middle stanza. Thomas Di Pauli used a shorthanded goal at 14:46 of the second period to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead, but that was taken away three minutes later by a man advantage marker from the Checkers’ Phil Di Giuseppe.
Foegele gave Charlotte its first lead of the contest, 3-2, with a shorthanded tally with less than a minute left before the second intermission. Foegele found the back of the net again with yet another shorthanded goal 9:37 into the third period, making it 4-2, Charlotte.
Di Giuseppe nailed a long-distance empty-net goal in final two minutes of regulation, bringing the game to its final score of 5-2.
Tristan Jarry posted 31 saves in net for the Penguins. Smith stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Oct. 13 at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.
Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.