Another Fast Start Sends Pens To Win Over Bridgeport
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have figured out the secret to starting games quickly at just the right time.
One day after using a four-goal first period to clinch their postseason spot, the Penguins had another on Sunday to fuel a 5-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. Adam Johnson scored twice in 1:17, and Christian Thomas and Pat McGrath also scored in the decisive first 20 minutes.
Anthony Peters, making his first start since March 18, made 41 saves to pick up his 11th win this season.
The turning point
Johnson played the early catalyst, giving the Penguins their fourth power-play goal in three games at 9:17 and then collecting a rebound to the left of goaltender Eamon McAdam and backhanding the puck past him. The rookie broke a 14-game drought.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was never in danger after that and rode the hot play of Peters to the finish.
■ Gage Quinney added a goal in the third period and finished with two points, taking third-star honors.
■ Peters’ 41 stops were only one off his season high, and he survived a 17-shot onslaught in the second period by only allowing one goal. He was the deserving No. 2 star.
■ Johnson had his second multigoal game and now has 31 points this season. He was the No. 1 selection.
Stat to know
With Lehigh Valley’s 6-3 win over Providence, the Penguins can finish no better than second in the Atlantic Division this season. Amazingly, it’s the Phantoms’ first division title since 2004.
The Penguins, despite playing their third game in three days, took advantage of a Bridgeport team with nothing to play for in terms of the postseason and pounced early. Hot starts like that will be crucial in a five-game playoff series.
They also built some much-needed breathing room in the three-team fight for second place in the Atlantic.
McGrath made his first start since Feb. 17 and set a new career high with his second goal this season.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton begins its final three-in-three weekend of the season 7:05 p.m. Friday at Springfield.
Visit the CV Penguins Insider page on Facebook for more news, notes and photos.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-821-2089; @CVPiccotti on Twitter
Penguins 4 0 1 — 5
Bridgeport 0 1 1 — 2
First period: Scoring - 1, WBS, Johnson (Czuczman, Blueger), 9:17 (PP); 2, WBS, Johnson (Quinney, Pedan), 10:34; 3, WBS, Thomas (Kostopoulos), 12:41; 4, WBS, McGrath (Trotman, Burton), 16:03. Penalties - WBS, Tinordi, tripping 5:17; Bridgeport, Ho-Sang, slashing 7:30; Bridgeport, Kubiak, holding 13:37; WBS, McGrath, charging and fighting 19:53; Bridgeport, Burroughs, fighting 19:53.
Second period: Scoring - 5, Bridgeport, Stevens (Bernier, Burroughs), 11:47. Penalties - WBS, Cramarossa, high-sticking 0:12; WBS, Blueger, cross-checking 0:59; Bridgeport, bench minor, too many men on ice (served by Kubiak) 2:08.
Third period: Scoring - 6, WBS, Quinney (Wilson), 8:01; 7, Bridgeport, Bernier (Mueller), 10:19. Penalties - Bridgeport, Fritz, slashing 6:00; WBS, McGrath, roughing 18:53; Bridgeport, Helgeson, cross-checking 18:53; WBS, Summers, high-sticking 19:40.
Shots on goal: WBS 14 5 8 - 27; Bridgeport 12 17 14 - 43.
Goaltenders: WBS, Peters (41 saves on 43 shots); Bridgeport, McAdam (10 saves on 14 shots) and Gudlevskis (12 saves on 13 shots).
Power-play opportunities: WBS 1 for 4; Bridgeport 0 for 5.
Referees: Chris Ciamaga and Olivier Gouin. Linesmen: Luke Galvin and Petr Hejna.