GRUDEN’S SHORTY LIFTS PENGUINS OVER WOLF PACK, 2-1
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins closed out their three-in-three weekend by gutting out a 2-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (18-7-4-0) earned five out of a possible six standings points throughout their first three games of the New Year. Sunday’s win was settled by a razor-thin margin, with Jonathan Gruden’s shorthanded goal in the second period proving to be the difference.
Sam Poulin put the Penguins on the board first, batting a rebound past Wolf Pack goalie Dylan Garand. After Colin White bullied the puck away from Hartford in the neutral zone, he charged across the blue line and put a shot on net. Poulin pounded in the rebound to open the scoring at 7:27.
When the Wolf Pack went to the power play at 11:36 of the middle frame, it presented a great opportunity to tie the game. Instead, they were fishing the puck out of their net eight seconds later. Gruden jolted to the blue line after Hartford won a face-off, and he stripped the Wolf Pack of the puck. He raced up ice for shorthanded rush and then launched the puck to the top corner, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Gruden’s shorthanded goal proved to be crucial when Hartford finally solved Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Joel Blomqvist eight minutes into the third period. Brandon Scanlin snapped a shot through traffic that found its way in to pull the Wolf Pack within one.
Blomqvist remained calm under pressure, and thwarted Hartford at every turn the rest of the way.
Blomqvist finished the game with 20 saves to secure his fifth-straight win. Garand was credited with 25 saves for the Wolf Pack.
The Penguins don’t take the ice again until Friday, Jan. 12, when they visit the Providence Bruins. Game time between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Providence is 7:05 p.m. at Amica Mutual Pavilion.
The Penguins’ next home game is Wednesday, Jan. 17, also against the P-Bruins. That game will start at 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.