Pens Prevail In Overtime
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Forward Daniel Sprong got the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to overtime with his raw shooting power.
But Teddy Blueger won the game in the extra session with sheer power of will.
Blueger picked up a blocked shot and backhanded a puck on net that eluded Laval goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren 2:44 into the overtime period, making Sprong’s hat trick all the more important and giving the Penguins a 6-5 victory over the Rocket on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
After both Lindgren and Penguins (3-2) goaltender Tristan Jarry made key plays in net during the 3-on-3 frame, Blueger charged into the offensive zone and hit a Rocket defender with his initial shot. But, he quickly gathered himself to pick up the loose puck and shovel it into the twine.
“It was kind of toward the end of my shift, so me and (Dominik Simon) came out 2-on-2,” Blueger said. “I was pretty tired at that point, so I was just trying to get it to the net.
“It kind of bounced right out to my backhand, and I just whacked at it and, luckily, it went in.”
Before Blueger’s heroics, the night easily belonged to Sprong, the Netherlands product who put his wicked slap shot on display to keep the Penguins in striking distance against the vaunted Laval (3-1-1) attack.
The 20-year-old put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton ahead 5:48 in by creating space off a faceoff win by Gage Quinney and sniping the puck past Lindgren.
And after the Rocket fought back and managed to take two separate one-goal leads, Sprong continued to answer. His second goal came off a similar play, as Jean-Sebastien Dea won a draw at the right dot and shuffled the puck toward him. He went top-shelf to even the game at 2 late in the first period.
However, the third goal was by far the most dramatic. With just more than nine minutes to go and the Penguins down, 5-4, Sprong sent a bullet toward the net that got a good chunk of Lindgren, but slowly trickled in.
“I just gotta get it off quick, and that’s something I’ve been working on with the coaches,” Sprong said. “Power play, Benny out top and Dea in the middle we were creating a lot of chances and we have a lot of options.”
Sprong tied Tomas Surovy for the longest streak of games with a goal to begin a season (five) in Penguins history.
The Penguins power play converted on two of its four chances in the game, and the team managed to keep the explosive Laval man-advantage off the ice by only committing three infractions.
Jarry picked up his first victory of the season by making a couple of big saves late, including one off a turnover by Penguins defenseman Frank Corrado with the third period winding down.
Now winners of three of four games, the Penguins will look to continue that momentum tonight against Hartford.
“I didn’t like our start; I thought we were a little sloppy coming out of the D-zone,” Penguins coach Clark Donatelli said. “We got off to a rough start, but I really liked our compete (level) and our third period.”
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