SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rolled into the MassMutual Center in Springfield looking to continue a hot streak that started when they took three in a row over the weekend. Having taken points in seven straight contests against the Thunderbirds, the game-winner came from the unlikeliest of heroes.
Adam Johnson scored his eighth of the season, Tristan Jarry, reassigned earlier in the day from Pittsburgh made 34 saves, and newcomer Ben Sexton scored the decider in the shootout to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
The first period was a back and forth, wide open affair. The Penguins peppered Samuel Montembeault with 14 shots, but it was the Thunderbirds striking first. But the best chance for either team came before the goal. Sebastian Repo drove the net and Jarry stopped him with a two-pad stack. The rebound came to Jayce Hawryluk and while on his back, the Penguins’ netminder snagged the puck with his glove.
With 3:08 left in the frame, a Blaine Byron shot deflected off Sam Lafferty and past Jarry. Assists went to Jake Horton and Jacob MacDonald.
The Penguins controlled the second period by a wide margin. So much so, in fact, that it took Springfield almost 10 minutes to register a shot in the frame. At 8:44 of the period, Johnson’s eighth of the campaign tied the game. A Lafferty shot bounced to Jimmy Hayes, and rather than forcing a shot on Montembeault, held on to the puck and found Johnson, and slammed the puck into a yawning cage.
The assist on power-play goal gave Lafferty the team lead with 13 helpers on the season.
A scoreless third led to a raucous overtime, with both teams trading chances. A scary moment in the period came when Adam Johnson drilled Josh Brown in the side of the head with a slap shot. He stayed down for a few minutes but eventually made it to the bench under his own power.
In the shootout, Johnson went backhand, Thomas Di Pauli went top shelf glove hand, and Sexton finished it off going five-hole on Montembeault. For the Thunderbirds, Henrik Borgstrom got their only tally.
Notes: Defenseman Chris Summers left 17 seconds into the contest after colliding with former Penguin Bobby Farnham in the corner, Summers did not return. If he cannot play this weekend, it might provide an opportunity for the newly acquired Macoy Erkamps to see his first action with the team.
Impressions: It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. I’ve mentioned shot volume on Twitter all season and tonight they got it, getting 42 shots through three periods. Tristan Jarry was his usual self. He’s been very good, even though his statistics may not necessarily show it. Ethan Prow was great again, as was Jeff Taylor, who seems to have hit a groove since finding a regular spot in the lineup.
Up Next: The Penguins host in-state and division rival Lehigh Valley Saturday at 7:05 pm.