For the third day in a row, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fell behind early in the first period.
And then the goals kept coming.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers scored four times in the opening frame and left the Penguins no chance of a comeback in an 8-5 game at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday. Zach Aston-Reese recorded the Penguins’ first hat trick of the season, providing the bright spot from an otherwise uneven performance.
Anthony Peters started the game and was replaced by Tristan Jarry to begin the second. Both netminders allowed four goals.
The turning point
Bridgeport was pretty much in control from the start, but its fourth goal late in the first period was probably the most demoralizing.
Aston-Reese punched in a rebound off a power-play shot at 14:41, drawing the Penguins within a manageable two-goal deficit. However, Otto Koivula settled a bouncing puck and shoveled a quick shot that beat Peters three minutes later.
Bridgeport’s lead was never in danger the rest of the way.
■ Aston-Reese scored on the power play and shorthanded, respectively, in the third period to complete his hat trick and also had an assist. The four points were a career high and earned him third-star honors.
■ Bridgeport’s Josh Ho-Sang has a legitimate case for Player of the Week honors after recording four assists. He had eight points total over the weekend and was the No. 2 star.
■ Michael Dal Colle scored twice, including an easy power-play opportunity in the low slot in the middle period. He was star No. 1.
Stat to know
For all the struggles Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had Sunday, the power play scored three times and jumped to 20 percent on the season. Twentieth in the league entering the game, it ranked 13th by the end.
The Penguins won’t use it as an excuse, but they were playing their third game in three days right after a fairly long bus ride. Fatigue could have been a factor.
That said, they let Bridgeport have too many quality chances in transition and around the front of the net early on. Their recent trend of allowing a goal in the opening minutes is something that can’t continue.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (6-4-0-1) could have let the game completely get away down six goals but didn’t, which is the positive spin.
■ Defenseman Zach Trotman limped toward the dressing room, according to the radio broadcast, in the second period and didn’t return.
■ A scoring change after Saturday night’s press time awarded Ryan Haggerty’s goal against Hartford to Sam Lafferty, giving the rookie his third tally of the season. Haggerty and Tobias Lindberg received assists.
Haggerty’s scoreless streak now sits at 28 games after Sunday’s loss.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton begins another three-in-three weekend on Friday, with a 7:05 puck drop against the Providence Bruins at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
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Penguins 1 0 4 — 5 Bridgeport 4 2 2 — 8
First period: Scoring – 1, Bri, Toews (Dal Colle, Ho-Sang), 2:23; 2, Bri, Bellows (Bernier, Wotherspoon), 3:46; 3, Bri, Dal Colle (Wotherspoon, Ho-Sang), 9:57; 4, WBS, Aston-Reese (Prow, Lafferty), 14:41 (PP); 5, Bri, Koivula (Kubiak), 17:49. Penalties – Bri, Fritz, slashing 7:01; Bri, Jones, holding the stick 13:42.
Second period: Scoring – 6, Bri, Dal Colle (St. Denis, Ho-Sang), 7:17 (PP); 7, Bri, C. Bourque (Fritz, Toews), 13:21. Penalties – WBS, Wilson, fighting and boarding (major) 0:32; Bri, Burroughs, instigating (minor and misconduct) and fighting 0:32; Bri, Rathgeb, high-sticking 2:21; Bri, St. Denis, slashing 3:33; WBS, Aston-Reese, cross-checking 6:11; WBS, Summers, hooking 11:14; WBS, Czuczman, roughing and 10-minute misconduct (continuing altercation) 14:03; Bri, Bernie r, roughing and 10-minute misconduct (continuing altercation) 14:03; WBS, Taylor, high-sticking 16:48.
Third period: Scoring – 8, Bri, Wotherspoon (Ho-Sang, Rathgeb), 2:09; 9, WBS, Aston-Reese (Prow, Lafferty), 8:13 (PP); 10, Bri, Bellows (Fritz), 8:50; 11, WBS, Wilson, 9:13; 12, WBS, Wilson (Aston-Reese, Prow), 17:05 (PP); 13, WBS, Aston-Reese (Summers, Wilson), 19:25 (SH). Penalties: Bri, St. Denis, hooking 7:22; Bri, Bernier, interference 12:34; Bri, Ho-Sang, roughing 16:14; WBS, Burton, roughing (double minor) and unsportsmanlike conduct (10 minutes) 17:31; Bri, Gibson, 10-minute misconduct (abuse of officials) 19:25.
Shots on goal: WBS 8 10 8 – 26; Bri 10 11 9 – 30.
Goaltenders: WBS, Peters (6 saves on 10 shots; 20:00) and Jarry (16 saves on 20 shots; 40:00); Bri, Gibson (21 saves on 26 shots).
Power-play opportunities: WBS 3 for 7; Bri 1 for 5.
Referees: Geoff Miller and Jeremy Tufts. Linesmen: Brent Colby and Eric Ernst.
Source: The Associated Press