ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins strung together their third win in a row by downing the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in overtime, 5-4, on Saturday night at PPL Center.
Frédérick Gaudreau saved his first goal as a Penguin for the overtime game-winner, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (4-2-1-0) dispatched of the Phantoms twice in the same weekend.
Both teams were evenly matched through the first several minutes, until Félix Robert broke through for the Penguins. During a delayed penalty, Robert and the Penguins sped up ice on an odd-man rush. Robert whipped a shot off the far-side post and behind Felix Sandström at 9:11 of the opening frame.
Lehigh Valley responded with a goal by Max Willman at 13:40 of the first period, set-up by a spinning pass from Zayde Wisdom.
The Penguins hopped on top again, 2-1, utilizing a goal by Jordy Bellerive 69 seconds into the following period. However, the Phantoms tied things up with another goal by Willman and then took a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal by Ryan Fitzgerald.
Trailing for the first time in their back-to-back, home-and-home set with Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton evened the scales seven minutes later. Gaudreau won a face-off in the Phantoms’ zone back to Billy Sweezey, who uncorked a shot that was tipped in by Nick Schilkey. Sweezey earned his first AHL point with the assist on Schilkey’s equalizer.
Sam Miletic put the Penguins back in the lead, turning a rebound opportunity into a 4-3, go-ahead goal 27 seconds into the third period.
Goalie Shane Starrett and the Penguins held off the Phantoms for most of the third period, until a power play late in regulation allowed Lehigh Valley to even the score. Wisdom buried a backdoor pass with 3:06 left and sent the game to overtime.
Taking advantage of a defensive zone turnover by the Phantoms, Gaudreau beat Sandström and secured victory for the Penguins 40 seconds into overtime.
Starrett made 21 saves to earn the win in his Penguins debut, while Sandström was handed the overtime loss with 31 saves to his name.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Wednesday, Mar. 3, when they take on the Syracuse Crunch. Puck drop between the Penguins and Crunch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza and will be broadcast live on WQMY MyNetworkTV and AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh in addition to WILKNewsradio.com.
Fans who wish to renew their season ticket packages with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or become a new Penguins season ticket holder can call the team’s front office directly at (570) 208-7367.