PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins did an about face yesterday afternoon in a satisfying 5-1 win over the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Less than 48 hours following a sub par effort against the Bruins on Friday night, the Penguins returned to the scene where they were outskated and outplayed in nearly all facets of the game in a dour 5-1 defeat.
The Penguins, using Saturday’s win over the Portland Pirates as a springboard, roared out of the gate with three goals in the opening period and rookie goalie Eric Hartzell took the reins the remainder of the way in earning his seventh win of the season.
“We didn’t like the way we played Friday night as a team and there were certain things that we wanted to do better, and were able to do those last night,“ Pens head coach John Hynes said. “After that game, we had to get better as the weekend went on and we were able to do that.”
Rookie Anton Zlobin got things started for WBS at 2:47 in the first with assists from Dominik Uher and Zach Torquato. Torquato got his third goal of the season later in the period, finishing by hacking at a short rebound on the post to the right of Providence goalie Jeff Jakaitis.
Hartzell finished with 33 saves in the effort. Providence finally solved Hartzell on a five-on-three power play early in the third on defenseman Joe Morrow’s blast from the point.
“From a players’ standpoint, you don’t want to have a game like we did Friday night,” Hartzell said. “It’s something that sticks in our head, but coach reinforced that we had a lot of things to work on to get better and pull together as a team. I thought we did a real good job of bouncing back.”
The Bruins, sporting the fourth-ranked power play in the AHL (22.1 percent) failed to crawl back into the contest despite a number of intense flurries in close to Hartzell in the latter period.
“We pride ourselves on doing well on the PK, so I have to give the guys credit ,” said Hartzell who was the recipient of a more than a few blocked shots while skating a man down. “Can’t thank them enough tonight.”
“We skated harder (tonight) than we did on Friday,” said Hynes in explaining the positive turnabout. “We had more puck pressure, our team was faster. It wasn’t so much systematic as it was the tempo of the game. Our skating and compete level was a lot higher than it was Friday night,” Hynes said.
Jakaitis, currently on loan from the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, got his first start of the season for the Bruins. Jakaitis faced 19 shots in a first period that was dictated by the visitors.
“We know we’re a good hockey team; obviously, we’ve proved it.” Hartzell said. “There’s a lot of games left, so we’ll just throw that one (on Friday) in the back pocket and just move forward. The boys did a great job tonight. When you score four or five goals, you give yourself a chance to win every night.”
Late in the first, in a four-on-four situation, Simon Despres upped the Penguins advantage to 3-0 by lifting a backhander in the low slot past Jakaitis.
Penguins 5, Providence 1
Scoring-1, W-B/Scranton, Zlobin 5 (Uher, Torquato), 2:47. 2, W-B/Scranton, Torquato 3 (Uher, Samuelsson), 12:57. 3, W-B/Scranton, Despres 6 (Manderson, Zolnierczyk), 19:32. Penalties-Farnham Wbs (roughing), 3:56; Flick Pro (hooking), 3:56; Youds Pro (roughing), 3:56; Robins Pro (boarding), 8:34; Carman Wbs (interference, unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:43; Warsofsky Pro (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:14.
Scoring- No Scoring.Penalties-Samuelsson Wbs (delay of game), 8:19; Thompson Wbs (fighting), 14:59; Randell Pro (fighting), 14:59; Robins Pro (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:27.
Scoring-4, Providence, Morrow 4 (Camper, Cunningham), 3:11 (PP). 5, W-B/Scranton, Drazenovic 8 (Kostopoulos, Despres), 12:53. 6, W-B/Scranton, Kostopoulos 15 (Zolnierczyk), 16:16. Penalties-Harrington Wbs (cross-checking), 1:19; Torquato Wbs (interference), 1:19; Farnham Wbs (tripping), 5:02.
Shots on Goal
Power Play Opportunities
W-B/Scranton 0 / 4.
Providence 1 / 6.
W-B/Scranton, Hartzell 7-2-1 (34 shots-33 saves).
Providence, Jakaitis 0-1-0 (32 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Geoff Miller (28), Kendrick Nicholson (76).
Linesmen-Chris Aughe (74), Bob Bernard (42).