WILKES-BARRE, PA–The train just keeps rolling for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Coming into Friday’s matchup with the Hershey Bears, they were looking for their seventh consecutive home win. In achieving that, half their offense came from the unlikeliest of sources.
Andrey Pedan scored twice, including once on the power play, and Tristan Jarry made 25 saves to lead the Penguins to a 4-1 victory.
Hershey came out buzzing, getting most of the early chances. A little bit of luck actually got them their first goal, just 6:2 into the contest. On an odd-man rush, Tyler Graovac centered a puck to Riley Barber. Barber got the slightest piece of it, and it hit off the Penguins’ Gage Quinney, over Jarry’s head and into the net.
It looked like Hershey might take the 1-0 lead to the dressing room, but some luck went Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s way to tie it up with 2:01 left. A shot wide from Jean-Sebastien Dea went wide and caromed around the back of the net.
Pedan stepped into a one-timer at the top of the left circle that found its’ way through a screen, and ultimately, Bears’ Goaltender Pheonix Copley. The goal was Pedan’s sixth of the season. The goal also broke a string of 15 unsuccessful power plays for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
After a scoreless second, the Penguins’ blew the game open with three in the final frame.
After giving an odd-man rush to Hershey, the Penguins got one of their own and made it count. Greg McKegg made a perfect pass that found Pedan in the slot, and his wrist shot beat Copley five-hole at 5:34. The goal, Pedan’s seventh of the season, tied a career-high set with the Utica Comets in 2015-16.
Just over six minutes later, Kevin Czuczman’s third of the season pushed the lead to two. Similar to Pedan’s goal, Czuczman’s shot from the left point beat Copley. Zach Aston-Reese got an assist on the play, giving him 20 points in his last 20 games.
Hershey coach Troy Mann pulled Copley with four minutes left, and 16 seconds later, Daniel Sprong found Jarrett Burton wide open to the puck past Bears’ Defenseman Aaron Ness and into the empty net to seal the game.
Notes: Pedan finished an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick, having fought Hershey’s Zach Sill five seconds into the game. Penguins Forward Ryan Haggerty left late in the first with an unspecified injury. He did not return. The win was also a milestone for Head Coach Clark Donatelli, marking his 100th victory behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench. Defenseman Kevin Spinozzi played his first game since January 13th, filling in for an injured Jarred Tinordi.
With the goal, Riley Barber gains sole possession of the Bears team lead in goals with 13, surpassing Chris Bourque. Barber has now equaled his goal total from last season in what was an injury-shortened season of just 39 games. It’s taken him 46 games to hit the mark this time around.
The loss sends Hershey to their ninth consecutive defeat. The Bears last victory came almost a month ago on January 7th, a 3-0 win on home ice over Charlotte. The Checkers just so happen to be the Bears next opponent on back-to-back days at Giant Center on Saturday night and a Super Bowl Sunday matinee at 2 pm.
3 Stars: 3) WBS-Daniel Sprong (Two Assists)
2) WBS-Tristan Jarry (25 Saves)
1) WBS- Andrey Pedan (Two Goals)
Up Next: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finishes their Pennsylvania rivalry weekend on Saturday when they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday at 7:05 P.M. EST