WILKES-BARRE TWP. — At first, it looked like special teams might be the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ downfall on Friday night.

They allowed two quick-strike power-play goals in the first period, then were tasked with killing a series of three straight penalties and a 5-on-3 opportunity later in the game.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was up to the challenge.

The Hartford Wolf Pack got one final power-play goal on the two-man advantage, but the Penguins buckled down just enough and Ethan Prow scored the eventual winner on a third-period power-play in a 5-3 victory at Mohegan Sun Arena. Sam Lafferty and Anthony Angello also scored in the final 20 minutes, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton broke a 2-all tie and improved to 6-2-0-1 this season.

“We talk about winning third periods,” Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli said. “I liked our start (in the third). I liked that we were drawing penalties because we were moving our feet. … Obviously, you come out for a third period like that and get the first goal, it gives our team some momentum.”

The teams each scored twice in the opening period, with Lias Andersson and John Gilmour getting Hartford’s (4-7-1-0) first two power-play goals. So when the Penguins began to parade to the penalty box in the middle frame, there was a sense the game might fall out of their reach.

However, Tristan Jarry made a few big saves and got a helpful clear from Matt Abt in the slot, as the Penguins rebounded to kill a trio of penalties and set up their late charge.

Lafferty started it with a highlight-reel goal, splitting two Wolf Pack defenders at the blue line and backhanding the puck past Dustin Tokarski (37 saves). Prow sniped a shot less than three-minutes later, giving him his third point of the game, and Angello ripped a shot off a faceoff that gave the Penguins insurance.

Jarry buckled down after allowing the two early goals and finished with 30 stops total. More notably, he nearly scored when he threw the puck at the open Hartford net in the closing moments.

Even with the puck going wide, Tokarski threw his stick at the net in an effort to prevent a goal. The officials initially awarded the tally to Jarry, but because his shot from the other end of the ice was not deemed a clear scoring opportunity, they instead decided to give Tokarski a simple two-minute minor penalty for throwing equipment.

“I just tried to get as much on it as I could and ended up missing the net,” Jarry said. “It just came at me pretty slow, so I thought I’d have a good chance of getting it down and went for it.”

The Penguins received reinforcements throughout the lineup, with forwards Jarrett Burton and Ryan Haggerty and defenseman Kevin Czuczman all returning from injury. Burton had a nice steal and assist to set up a goal, while Haggerty set the tone late with a thundering hit that drew a mini melee.

Czuczman, one of the team’s best two-way defensemen from a year ago, was part of the penalty kill that helped spark the win.

“I think we definitely want to tighten things up still,” Prow said.“Down the stretch, the PK did an unreal job. Five-on-three, they got a lucky bounce; can’t do much there. But, I think the PK did a great job of keeping us in the game.”

Contact the writer: [email protected]; 570-821-2089; @CVPiccotti on Twitter

Source: The Associated Press

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