PUUSTINEN, PENGUINS DEFEAT BEARS IN OVERTIME, 3-2
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins returned to the win column by defeating the Hershey Bears in overtime, 3-2, on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (21-20-2-4) was taken to the limit by Hershey yet again, as the two clubs required extra time for the sixth time this season. Valtteri Puustinen notched the game-winner for the Penguins 91 seconds into OT.
How Did the Penguins Beat the Bears?
Sensing an opportunity to strike, Puustinen accelerated through the neutral zone while teammate Tyler Sikura had the puck. Sikura saw Puustinen take off and floated an area pass into the Bears’ zone. Puustinen corralled the puck without breaking stride and flew past Hershey’s defenders for a breakaway, then slipped the puck through Hunter Shepard’s five-hole to win the game.
Penguins goaltender Taylor Gauthier celebrated just as hard as Puustinen when the sudden-death goal was tallied, having just secured a 34-save victory on his 22nd birthday.
The Penguins drew first blood on a power-play goal from Drake Caggiula. Mitch Reinke unloaded a slap shot low, along the ice that ramped off of Caggiula’s blade and to the top corner of the Bears’ net at 16:43 of the opening frame.
Mason Morelli responded for Hershey just 98 seconds later, tying the game at one goal apiece.
Gauthier and Shepard took over during the second period, keeping the game at 1-1 through the second intermission.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton seized another lead when Puustinen set-up Filip Hållander at 5:24 of the third period. Hållander fumbled Puustinen’s backdoor pass, but as Shepard lunged post-to-post, the wobbling puck slipped underneath his equipment and slowly crossed the goal line.
Shepard then dialed in for multiple point-blank stops on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to keep Hershey within striking distance. Those saves proved paramount when Hershey pulled Shepard for an extra attacker late in regulation, and Bobby Nardella knotted the score with 1:29 left to go.
Gauthier added two saves in overtime before watching Puustinen seal the win from the other side of the ice.
Don’t Miss the Next Game!
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Saturday, Feb. 18, when the team treks down the PA Turnpike to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop between the Penguins and Phantoms is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at PPL Center. The Penguins then come right back home for a Sunday matinée against the Bridgeport Islanders on Feb. 19. Game time for the Penguins and Islanders will be 3:05 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.
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