NYLANDER SNIPES AGAIN, PENGUINS FALL TO T-BIRDS, 4-2
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were downed by the Springfield Thunderbirds, 4-2, on Friday night at MassMutual Center.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (20-18-2-3) received a strong showing in net from rookie Taylor Gauthier, plus another goal from All-Star Alex Nylander. However, Springfield went perfect on the power play and then held on in the final minutes to get the win.
Springfield struck first, receiving a goal from Keean Washkurak at the four-minute mark of the first period. The T-Birds increased that lead to 2-0 on a between-the-legs, power-play tally by Matthew Highmore at 8:50 of the opening frame.
The Penguins answered back with a man-advantage marker of their own late in that first period. Colin Swoyer released a shot from the point that navigated its way to the back of the net for his first AHL goal.
The T-Birds reestablished their two-goal edge during the second period with another strike on the power play. This time, it was Martin Frk uncorking a cannonading slap shot to the top corner at 14:48.
Nylander notched his team-leading 19th goal of the season with a precision shot over Vadim Zherenko’s glove at 3:56 of the final frame.
Springfield put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton under siege for stretches of the third period, but Gauthier stopped all 15 shots with which he was tasked during that frame and kept the Penguins within one goal. When the Penguins turned the tables and began to pressure Zherenko, the T-Birds’ netminder also held firm.
Eventually, Matthew Peca sealed the victory for Springfield with an empty-net goal, his third point of the night.
Gauthier recorded an AHL career-best 37 saves, while Zherenko turned away 28 shots for Springfield.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 4, against the Hartford Wolf Pack at XL Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and Wolf Pack is slated for 7:05 p.m. The Penguins’ are back home next Saturday, Feb. 11, when they take on the Providence Bruins. Game time for the Penguins and P-Bruins will be 6:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Individual game tickets and season-ticket packages for the 2022-23 season are on sale now. Full-Season, 22-game, 12-game, Flexbook and Premium Seating plans are available by reaching out to the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.