WORCESTER, Mass. - Entering the final period on top, 4-1, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had fend off a fierce rally by the Worcester Sharks and escaped the DCU Center with a 5-3 victory.
The Penguins got an important 1-0 lead on the road at 14:48 of the first period during a 5-on-3 advantage. Dylan Reese accepted a pass at the blueline from defensive partner Brian Dumoulin and whizzed a slapshot to the top right corner of the Worcester net.
The goals then came in bunches in the early going of the second period as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton upped its lead to three. Working on a power play, Chad Kolarik made the score, 2-0, as he completed a 2-on-1 rush with Riley Holzapfel and beat goalie Harri Sateri with a low wrist shot at 3:07. Trevor Smith added his second assist of the game on Kolarik's team-leading 23rd goal this year.
Twenty-three seconds later, Paul Thompson headed to the front of the Worcester net and tipped in Joey Mormina's point shot to quickly give the Penguins a 3-0 cushion.
On the ensuing faceoff, the Sharks took the draw straight into the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton zone and it was Yanni Gourde sending the puck past Brad Thiessen for Worcester's first tally of the game.
The Penguins were able to go back up by three with 3:25 remaining until the second intermission when a bouncing puck landed near the stick of a driving Holzapfel and he swept it under Sateri.
Worcester started to inch closer 2:33 into the third period when a shot from just inside the Penguins blueline by James Livingston slipped by Thiessen. Jonathan Matsumoto then shrunk the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's lead to one when he sneaked puck in between Thiessen's pad and the near post.
The Sharks received a golden opportunity in the final minute of regulation. Consecutive penalties on the Penguins, coupled with the extra attacker for the Sharks, gave Worcester a three-man advantage for 35 seconds. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's penalty kill held strong and Warren Peters iced the game on empty-net goal just before the final horn.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins complete their New England swing on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00PM versus the Portland Pirates. Tune in on 102.3 the Mountain or AHLLive.com