WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - In a showdown with the Syracuse Crunch, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were the victors, 5-3, on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. It was the fourth win in a row for the Penguins and the first regulation road loss for the Crunch this season (9-1-0-1).
The Penguins got the early jump on the Crunch and took a 1-0 lead 3:09 into contest when Phil Dupuis looked to have scored with a backhander on a mini-breakaway. The shot clanged off the post and was eventually controlled by Dylan Reese. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman threw the puck back toward the net where Trevor Smith redirected it over the shoulder of Crunch goalie Dustin Tokarski.
Syracuse was able to even the score with 1:02 remaining until the first intermission. Radko Gudas stole a pass in the far corner of the Penguins zone and sent a backdoor pass that was knocked in by Richard Panik.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled ahead in the second period, 3-1, on goals by a pair of first-year players. Beau Bennett worked a give-and-go with Riley Holzapfel before squeezing a wrist shot inside the right corner of the net at 8:49.
Skating on the power play late in the period, Brian Dumoulin controlled a face-off win and unleashed a shot that sailed by Tokarski's blocker with 2:07 until the break. The goal was the first of Dumoulin's pro career. Tokarski finished the game with 32 saves.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton enjoyed more than six minutes of consecutive power play time in the third period and went up, 4-1, at 9:24 of the period as Bennett sauced a pass from deep inside his own zone that sprung Holzapfel for a breakaway goal.
The Crunch answered back 1:21 later on Brett Connolly's tally before Philip-Michael Devos got his team within one, sweeping a shot on the power play with 2:37 left in regulation.
Smith iced the game for the Penguins with his second marker of the game - an empty netter with 6.1 seconds remaining.
Jeff Zatkoff earned his eighth win in nine starts, making 23 saves on 26 shots to go to 9-5-0.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play the St. John's IceCaps on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:05PM at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Saturday's game will feature the first night of the Penguins' 14th Annual Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Tobyhanna Army Depot and their "Operation Santa."