POULIN NABS TWO GOALS, GORDIE HOWE HATTY IN 4-3 WIN

January 26, 2024 Nick Hart

BOXSCORE

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – An inspired effort by Sam Poulin shut down a comeback by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and propelled the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-3 win on Friday night at PPL Center.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-14-5-0) saw a three-goal lead disappear throughout the course of regulation, but Poulin would not let his team lose. The 22-year-old scored two goals, including the game-winner late in regulation, to go along with an assist and a fight for a “Gordie Howe” hat trick.

Jesse Puljujärvi opened the scoring for the second time this week, potting a power-play goal four minutes into the game. Tic-tac-toe passing by the Penguins ultimately led to Puljujärvi launching a one-timer into a wide-open net.

A beautiful goal by Marc Johnstone extended Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s lead to two midway through the first frame. Johnstone, a right-hand shot, came streaking down the left-wing boards and came barreling towards the Phantoms’ net. Johnstone faked like he was going to drive across the crease and quickly flicked the puck bar-down on the short-side corner.

The Penguins went up by three when Poulin rifled a short-distance shot past the glove of Phantoms goalie Felix Sandström at 16:42 of the first period.

Garrett Wilson put Lehigh Valley on the board at 9:13 of the second period, but paid the price for a big hit six minutes later. After laying out Penguins forward Radim Zohorna, Wilson was challenged to a fight by Poulin. Poulin held his own in his bout with the AHL’s penalty minutes leader and completed his Gordie Howe hat trick in the process.

A power-play goal by Bobby Brink with 27.7 seconds left before the second intermission pulled the Phantoms within one. Another man-advantage marker courtesy of Adam Brooks tied the game, 3-3, eight minutes into the third period.

With time ticking down in regulation, Zohorna set up Poulin for a chance all alone in the slot. Poulin did not miss, scorching a shot past Sandström for the game-winner with 89 seconds left in the game.

Magnus Hellberg posted a season-high 37 saves for the Penguins, while Sandström picked up 21 saves in the loss.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 27, when the team returns to home ice to face the Hershey Bears. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is slated for 6:05 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.

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