ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Kasper Björkqvist’s first goal of the season lifted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 2-1 win in overtime over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday night at PPL Center.
In the penultimate game of the season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (13-12-4-2) smothered its opponent for the first two periods of regulation, only for a barrage from the Phantoms to force the extra frame. Björkqvist, who was playing in his fourth game since joining the team from Finland, delivered the dagger three minutes into OT.
The Penguins opened the scoring at 11:57 of the first period. Nick Schlikey tracked down a loose puck behind the Phantoms’ net and quickly strung together a slick passing play with Drew O’Connor that ended with Jonathan Gruden burying the game’s first goal.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gave Lehigh Valley no quarter in the first half of the game, out-shooting the Phantoms by a 20-9 margin at one point. However, the Phantoms found a spark during a power play late in the second period, and if not for some excellent saves by Alex D’Orio, the Penguins would have seen their one-goal lead dissipate before the intermission.
Eventually, the Phantoms did tie the game. Ryan Fitzgerald got loose at 4:04 of the third period and tucked a breakaway shot under the crossbar.
D’Orio held firm in the line of fire throughout the rest of regulation and got the game to overtime, where Björkqvist sent the Penguins home victorious.
D’Orio finished the game with 23 saves, while Phantoms netminder Zane McIntyre turned aside 26 bids.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has one game remaining in its 2020-21 campaign, a date with the Hershey Bears scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, May 16. Puck drop for the final game of the season is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Giant Center.
Penguins fans can become a season ticket member for the upcoming 2021-22 season by contacting the team’s front office directly at (570) 208-7367.