WBS Pens End 2013 With 5-2 Win Over Syracuse

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kuhnhackl (left) and Zlobin (middle) finish off a 2-on-1 to give WBS a 4-2 lead. The goal was Zlobin's first as a Penguin.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins finished off the 2013 calendar year with a 5-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch. The Pens battled back after trailing 2-1 in the first period, tallying four unanswered goals en route to improving their record to 18-9-1-3. The win puts them in first place in the East Division at the moment, pending the outcome of Binghamton vs. Norfolk.

Eric Hartzell got the start in net, but was pulled after allowing two goals on his first three shots. Jeff Deslauriers came on in relief and got the job done, stopping all 21 shots and possibly giving himself a chance to continue to be the number one goaltender in what head coach John Hynes said is " a very competitive situation" between he and Hartzell. Deslauriers had dropped four of his previous six outings.

Tonight's game was the final game of December, which means Highland Park Hockey's monthly grades will be out shortly! Look for that sometime tomorrow, along with HPH's Player of the Month.

Full recap after the jump.

Paul Thompson got the Pens off to a great start, tallying his third of the season 1:11 into the contest to give the home team an early 1-0 lead. The Pens held an early shot advantage of 9-2 and looked to be well on their way. Not so fast.

The Crunch battled back, rattling off two goals on three shots and chasing Hartzell with 6:57 left in the opening frame. It was the first time Hartzell had been pulled early in a game in his pro career. Jeff Deslauriers came on in relief of  Hartzell and played outstanding, stopping all 21 shots he faced.

The Pens entered the first intermission trailing 2-1, despite out shooting the Crunch 12-8. They got back to how they started the game in the middle frame, aided by three 2nd period power plays.

Nick Drazenovic tipped in a Philip Samuelsson point shot for his 6th goal of the season to even the score at 2-2 halfway through the hockey game. Harry Zolnierczyk added a secondary assist in his first game back with WBS since returning from Pittsburgh.

The Pens took a 3-2 lead with their first power play goal in their previous 11 attempts, after a hard-working Tom Kostopoulos slammed home a rebound from his stomach. The goal was the team captain's team-leading 12th goal of the season.

The Pens added to their lead in the third period as Anton Zlobin scored his first goal at the AHL level, knocking home a rebound of a Tom Kuhnhackl shot after he and Kuhnhackl came in the zone on a 2-on-1 fast break.

Cody Sylvester added an empty net goal with 1:29 left to cap the scoring.


Recently re-assigned from Pittsburgh, Harry Zolnierczyk and Brian Dumoulin made their return to the WBS lineup. Bobby Farnham, who didn't practice yesterday, and Harrison Ruopp were scratched in their place. The only other lineup change was Nick D'Agostino in for Barry Goers.


Zolnierczyk - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos
Zlobin - Carman - Thompson
Kuhnhackl - Torquato - Uher
Leblond - Manderson - Sylvester

Mikkelson - Samuelsson
Harrington - Dumoulin
McNeill - D'Agostino

Eric Hartzell got the start in net, but after allowing two goals on three shots in 13:03 of work he was pulled in favor of Jeff Deslauriers. It was the first time in Hartzell's pro career that he was taken out of the game.

Scratched for WBS: Peter Merth, Harrison Ruopp, Barry Goers, Bobby Farnham, Carter Rowney, Adam Payerl and C.J. Severyn.


Post a Comment