Haggerty, Penguins Win Fifth Straight
Making his first start of the season on Saturday, forward Ryan Haggerty might have been excused for showing some early-season rust.
But instead, he was the deciding factor in a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins victory.
Haggerty raced down the right side of the ice and shoveled a shot by the right pad of Bridgeport goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis late in the second period, giving the Penguins the lead en route to a 5-2 decision over the Sound Tigers at Webster bank Arena. He later added an empty-net insurance tally in the third period.
Tom Sestito, Christian Thomas and rookie Adam Johnson also scored — it was the first professional goal for the latter — and Tristan Jarry made 18 saves in net to help preserve the win for the Penguins (6-2).
Haggerty’s tally with 2:59 remaining in the second period gave the Penguins their first lead of the game. However, they were in danger of losing it only 48 seconds later.
A bench minor for too many men on the ice put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a man down to end the frame. Bridgeport was able to generate a couple chances and test Jarry, but the penalty kill preserved the lead.
Jarry receives an honorable mention for stopping Alan Quine — in Bridgeport on a conditioning stint — on a penalty shot in the first period that would have put the Sound Tigers up, 2-0.
¦ Thomas takes the No. 3 spot after scoring his second goal as a Penguin and adding an assist. His line with Johnson and Simon has a lot of chemistry.
¦ Johnson also recorded a goal and helper, taking second honors. They were his first points since Oct. 13.
¦ Haggerty gets the No. 1 nod after scoring two goals in a game for the third time during his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tenure.
Stat to know
The Penguins’ Daniel Sprong and Bridgeport’s Scott Eansor were both held scoreless in the game. They entered Saturday with seven goals apiece, placing them tops among all AHL rookies this season.
The Penguins continued to show their resiliency, fighting back from two separate one-goal deficits for their fifth straight win. As a result, they kept pace with Charlotte, Providence and Lehigh Valley in the standings. Those four teams have already created a sizable gap on the rest of the Atlantic Division.
¦ Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos did not skate in the game. According to the radio broadcast, he participated in morning skate and was held out as a precautionary matter.
¦ With Haggerty’s start, Shavertown native Pat McGrath is now the only healthy Penguin that has not played in any games this season.
¦ Zach Aston-Reese picked up his first two points of the season with assists on both of Haggerty’s goals.
The Penguins will try to avenge their Oct. 14 loss at the PPL Center by heading on the road to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday.
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Penguins 1 2 2 — 5
Bridgeport 1 1 0 — 2
First period: Scoring - 1, Bridgeport, Bernier (Bourque), 1:19; 2, WBS, Sestito (Di Pauli, Pedan), 13:27. Penalties - Bridgeport, Vande Sompel, holding 3:17; WBS, Sprong, holding 4:29; Bridgeport, Burroughs, interfernce 14:02; WBS, Bengtsson, tripping 15:49.
Second period: Scoring - 3, Bridgeport, Holmstrom, 0:52; 4, WBS, Johnson (Simon, Thomas), 7:33 (PP); 5, WBS, Haggerty (Aston-Reese), 17:01. Penalties - Bridgeport, Helgeson, cross-checking 5:51; Bridgeport, Holmstrom, tripping 10:19; WBS, bench minor, too many men on ice (Thomas) 17:49.
Third period: Scoring - 6, WBS, Thomas (Johnson, Simon), 17:08; 7, WBS, Haggerty (Aston-Reese), 19:14 (EN). Penalties - Bridgeport, Jones, tripping 3:51; WBS, Di Pauli, tripping 6:23; Bridgeport, St. Denis, interference 8:10.
Shots on goal: WBS 9 7 9 — 25; Bridgeport 6 8 6 — 20.
Goaltenders: WBS, Jarry (18 saves on 20 shots); Bridgeport, Gudlevskis (20 saves on 24 shots).
Power play opportunities: WBS 1 for 6; Bridgeport 0 for 4.
Referees: Guillaume Labonte and Peter MacDougall. Linesmen: Glen Cooke and Petr Hejna.
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