HERSHEY, Pa. – Dominik Simon returned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night, and paid immediate dividends. Just hours after being reassigned to the team from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Simon scored the overtime winner in a 2-1 victory against the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center.
Simon was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (18-10-2-1) at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday and notched the overtime game-winner at 9:20 p.m. to send the Penguins into the New Year on a two-game winning streak.
The Penguins came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, but couldn’t solve Bears goalie Vítek Vaněček despite out-shooting their opponent, 15-6, in the first period. Simon accounted for four of the Penguins’ shots in that opening period.
Stellar goaltending carried over into the second stanza, as well, with Vaněček and Anthony Peters trading jaw-dropping saves. It required a perfect shot to beat either netminder, and that’s exactly what Zach Aston-Reese delivered at 7:26 of the middle frame. After Jean-Sébastien Dea and Ryan Haggerty combined to win a battle along the boards in the Bears’ zone, Aston-Reese ripped a beautiful, bar-down wrister from the slot past Vaněček for the game’s first goal.
Hershey finally got a puck across Peters’ goal line when Tyler Graovac tucked a shot inside the far post, tying the game, 1-1, at 3:10 of the third period.
The game was nearly decided twice in the final seconds of regulation with the two teams skating four-on-four. Hershey barreled down the ice on a four-on-one odd man rush with 15 seconds remaining in the third period only to be denied the go-ahead goal and watch Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Chris Summers break loose for a clean breakaway immediately afterwards. Vaněček shut the door on Summers right before the sound of the buzzer, signaling the end of regulation.
Simon rocketed a wrist shot behind his fellow countryman 3:10 into the extra period, improving the Penguins to 4-0-1-1 against the Bears this season.
Peters finished the game having made 20 saves, while Vaněček turned in a 36-stop performance in the overtime loss.
The Penguins’ next game will be in the New Year, as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers visit Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. 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 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.