ABBANDONATO SOARS, BUT PENGUINS SUNK IN OT, 4-3
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – A wild game ended with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins losing to the Springfield Thunderbirds in overtime, 4-3, on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Springfield defenseman Matthew Kessel scored the game-winning goal with 23.9 seconds left in the extra session, forcing a split with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (10-8-3-0) in the teams’ home-and-home weekend series.
Like the previous night, the opening frame ended in a 0-0 tie. That changed when Peter Abbandonato potted his first goal as a Penguin 74 seconds into the second period. With carryover power-play time to start the second stanza, Sam Houde muscled a shot towards the net that Abbandonato steered across the goal line.
The Thunderbirds evened things up with a two-man-advantage tally from Zachary Bolduc during the middle frame.
Drew Callin put Springfield ahead, 2-1, at 4:31 of the third period, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s response was swift. Valtteri Puustinen scored on a delayed penalty after a vigorous battle for a loose puck around the T-Birds’ net-front.
Operating on their eighth power play of the game, Matthew Peca put the T-Birds a one-goal lead with under four minutes to play.
When all hope seemed lost for the Penguins, Abbandonato struck again. His equalizer arrived with 99 seconds remaining and gave the recent trade acquisition the 100th point of his AHL career.
A heart-pounding, end-to-end overtime came to a screeching halt when Kessel tipped in a drive by Mathias Laferrière.
Penguins netminder Joel Blomqvist made 27 saves. Vadim Zherenko matched that effort with 27 stops for Springfield.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Dec. 8, when it squares off with the Cleveland Monsters for the first time this season. Opening puck drop between the Penguins and Monsters is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Season-ticket packages for the Penguins’ 25th season of hockey 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. Individual-game tickets are also available by visiting Ticketmaster.com, the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office or calling the Penguins’ front office at (570) 208-7367.