WILKES-BARRE, PA — It had been awhile. It had been awhile since Jean-Sebastien Dea had scored a goal. 15 games, to be exact. For Casey DeSmith, it had been awhile since he had had a shutout, way back on October 13th.
On Saturday night, both those things happened. Dea scored twice, DeSmith had a 24-save shutout, and Christian Thomas, Zach Trotman and Ethan Prow added goals as the Penguins coasted to a 6-0 victory over the Belleville Senators at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The teams traded power play opportunities early, with no success for either side. Shortly after, the Penguins finally broke open the scoring.
On a rush, Thomas floated a wrister on net from just inside the blue line. The innocuous shot beat Senators’ goalie Chris Driedger top shelf and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was off and running.
Belleville’s best chance in the period came just after the first media timeout when Max McCormick caught the defense napping, but could not beat Desmith on the breakaway. Moments later, Trotman’s second marker of the season extended the Penguins lead.
Much like the first goal, a seemingly harmless shot from the half wall finds the back of the net from the half wall. Freddie Tiffels picked up a secondary assist, marking his first in the American Hockey League.
Belleville pushed back in the second period, and while they had a lot of puck possession and zone time, they didn’t have many quality chances. The momentum swung back to the Penguins later in the middle frame. The Senators’ Jordan Murray misplayed a puck in the neutral zone, Christian Thomas pushed the puck to the slot, and Dea put it past Driedger at 16:22. The power play goal was his seventh of the season and the first in more than 30 tries for the Penguins.
The Penguins owned the third and kept their foot on the gas in the process. Dea’s second goal of the game at 6:25 was a thing to behold. Ryan Haggerty found him with a feed from the boards. Driedger made the initial save, but Dea followed the rebound below the goal line and banked it off the goalie’s back and into the net.
Seven minutes later, Greg McKegg found Prow at the point, and his shot through traffic found the back of the net for his first of the season. Thomas closed out the scoring 3:43 later when he took a pass from Kevin Czuczman, walked into the slot and chipped the puck over Driedger’s shoulder, cementing the Penguins’ fifth straight victory.
Note: Dea’s multi-goal game was only the second of his pro career, with the other coming in a victory to Hartford on March 5th, 2017.
Three Stars of the Game:
3) WBS – J.S. Dea (Two Goals)
2) WBS – Casey DeSmith (24 Saves, Shutout)
1) WBS – Christian Thomas (Two Goals, Assist)