As the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins wrapped up a scoreless overtime against the Toronto Marlies on Sunday, they were one point out of first place in the East Division.
Shootout goals by Tom Kostopoulos, Nick Drazenovic and Andrew Ebbett put them in a tie.
With a 4-3 shootout win over the Marlies in Toronto, the Penguins wrapped up the weekend with five points in three games and now have won four of their last six. Better yet, they move into a tie with Norfolk for the division lead and are fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.
The win, which improved the Penguins to 32-20-3-5, is their third victory in March - matching their total for all of February.
A couple of new faces to the scoresheet gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead heading into the second period. Scott Harrington scored his fourth goal of the season in the first period, and Anton Zlobin scored his first goal since Jan. 19 with less than two minutes remaining in the second period.
The Penguins outshot the Marlies 19-4 in the period, but Toronto tipped the scales in the third.
Spencer Abbott tied the score for the Marlies midway through the period on the power play, and former Penguin Trevor Smith gave them the lead five minutes later as Toronto outshot the Penguins 13-5.
Down 3-2 and with Jeff Deslauriers pulled for the extra attacker, Ebbett and Drazenovic teamed up to give the Penguins a second chance at two points. With 13 seconds left in the game, Ebbett picked up a rebound in front of the Marlies net and fed a no-look backhand pass across the crease to Drazenovic, who nailed home a one-timer to force overtime.
The Penguins didn’t muster a shot in overtime while Toronto registered two, but in the shootout the offense came back to life.
First, Kostopoulos connected in the second round of the shootout, followed by a Drazenovic shot through the five-hole. With Smith scoring the only goal for Toronto through four rounds, Ebbett sealed the win with a backhander.
After entering the game with the worst shootout percentage in the league, the Penguins found some much-needed redemption to earn the extra point.
- The Penguins went 0-for-8 on the power play while also allowing a shorthanded goal to Toronto.
- D Brian Dumoulin, who returned from an injury to play Friday and Saturday, sat out Sunday’s contest. Mike Carman also was scratched, as was Chuck Kobasew, who was sent down by Pittsburgh last week after clearing waivers.
Penguins`1`1`1`0` — 4
Toronto`0`1`2`0` — 3
Scoring – 1. WBS, Scott Harrington 4 unassisted 17:59. Penalties – WBS, Drazenovic (tripping) 8:36; TOR, Leivo (holding) 12:55; WBS, Uher (tripping) 15:17; TOR, Leivo (high-sticking) 15:22; TOR, Holzer (roughing) 19:59.
Scoring – 2. TOR, Kenny Ryan 4 (D’Amigo) shorthanded 3:16. 3. WBS, Anton Zlobin 6 (Kostopoulos, Mikkelson) 18:23. Penalties – TOR, Smith (hooking) 2:33; TOR, Granberg (cross-checking) 9:20.
Scoring – 4. TOR, Spencer Abbott 14 (Smith, Brennan) power play 10:56. 5. TOR, Trevor Smith 5 unassisted 15:59. WBS, Nick Drazenovic 12 (Ebbett, Zolnierczyk) 19:47. Penalties – TOR, Smithson (holding) 2:46; TOR, Holzer (holding) 8:31; WBS, Uher (holding) 10:43; TOR, MacWilliam (delay of game, misconduct) 11:59.
Scoring – None. Penalties – None.
Penguins – Manderson – NG; Kostopoulos – G; Drazenovic – G; Ebbett – G
Toronto – Abbott – NG; TOR Smith – G; McKegg – NG; Kozun - NG
Shots on goal: Penguins – 11-19-5-0-1-36; Toronto – 15-4-13-2-0-34. Power-play Opportunities: Penguins 0-8; Toronto 1-3. Goaltenders: Penguins, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers 19-15-3 (31 saves, 34 shots); Toronto, Drew MacIntyre 25-15-3 (32 saves, 35 shots). Starters: Penguins – G Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, D Reid McNeill, D Philip Samuelsson, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, C Nick Drazenovic, RW Tom Kostopoulos; Toronto – G Drew MacIntyre, D Andrew MacWilliams, D Korbinian Holzer, LW David Broll, C Jerred Smithson, RW Tyler Biggs
1. WBS, Nick Drazenovic (goal, shootout goal); 2. TOR, Drew MacIntyre (32 saves); 3. TOR, Trevor Smith (goal, shootout goal, assist).
Referee – Tim Mayer, Jean-Philippe Sylvain. Linesmen – Mike Hamilton, Paul Reid
Penguins 4, Hamilton 2
In a game played Saturday night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins offense truly clicked for half a period, and it was enough to beat the Bulldogs at the FirstOntario Centre.
The Penguins scored three times - including twice on the power play, in the first 11 minutes of the second period to wrestle away victory. The win improved the Penguins to 31-20-3-5 and moved them from eighth to sixth overall in the Eastern Conference.
After Hamilton carried a 1-0 lead into the second period, the Penguins wasted no time evening things up.
Andrew Ebbett kicked off the scoring during a power play that carried over. Ebbett connected just 42 seconds into the second period to make it 1-1 for his first of two goals on the night.
Less than two minutes later, Hamilton’s Martin St. Pierre was called for hooking, giving the Penguins their third power play of the night. It only took them three seconds to gain the lead when Tom Kostopoulos found the back of the net at the 2:21 mark for the Penguins’ second power play goal of the game.
Ebbett got the assist on the goal for his sixth multi-point game of the season.
And there was more to come.
Midway through the period, Denver Manderson stuffed in a shot in front for his second goal of the season to give the Penguins a commanding 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Hamilton wasn’t done, however.
Less than four minutes into the third period Mike Blunden made it 3-2 as Hamilton continued to press.
The offensive pressure earned the Bulldogs two power plays in the period and they outshot the Penguins 15-7, but failed to get another puck past Peter Mannino - who stopped 30 of 32 shots on the night for his second win in three starts since being recalled from Wheeling last week.
Ebbett scored his second goal of the night with an empty netter at the 19:03 mark after Hamilton pulled goaltender Robert Mayer for the extra attacker.
- C Zach Sill (injury), F Chuck Kobasew, F Anton Zlobin and D Barry Goers were scratched for the Penguins.