Blueger, Sexton Lift Pens Past Phantoms

December 30, 2018 GMT

Same opponent and same 3-1 lead from Wednesday night.

This time, however, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins left no room for a Lehigh Valley comeback.

Ben Sexton and Teddy Blueger both scored twice, helping the Penguins rebound with a 7-3 victory over the Phantoms on Saturday at PPL Center. Tristan Jarry pitched in with 32 saves in goal for his eighth win.

WIlkes-Barre/Scranton came out determined to show it would not be pushed around, with Anthony Angello and Garrett Wilson taking part in fights 8 minutes into the game. The Penguins (16-14-4-1) took the lead in the second and pulled away from there.


Turning point

The teams traded early goals in the second period — Greg Carey for the Phantoms and Sexton for the Penguins — and it felt like the next could be a key moment in the game.

It went to the Penguins’ Jimmy Hayes, with some help from Lehigh Valley defenseman T.J. Brennan.

Brennan was carrying the puck out of his own zone and abruptly coughed up the puck, allowing Hayes to swoop in and score on a 3-on-0 rush.

Blueger scored soon after to make the cushion bigger, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton emphatically held it in the final period.

Three stars

■ Hayes also had an assist in what may have been his best game of the season. He had four shots and was part of a couple good scoring chances, earning third-star honors.

■ All of Sexton’s four goals this season have come since Wednesday and against Lehigh Valley. He was star No. 2.

■ Blueger is now comfortably in the team lead with 13 scores. His two-goal night earned him top honors.

Stat to know

Sam Lafferty didn’t score, but had two assists. His 19 total tie him for the seventh-best mark in the AHL.

The takeaway

This was quite a comeback performance off Friday’s dismal showing against Hershey.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got a big performance from some of its key contributors and was not outmuscled by its opponent. By the time Lehigh Valley started to gain any significant traction, it was already too late.

Whether it was captain Wilson, head coach Clark Donatelli or a group mediation that got the team going, hopefully the Penguins can capture this momentum and continue to ride it.

Pens notes

■ Jarry got the start after being a scratch on Friday because of illness. John Muse backed him up.

■ The Penguins made a number of lineup changes after Friday’s 5-1 loss, inserting Troy Josephs and Pat McGrath into the lineup at forward for Ryan Haggerty and rookie Linus Olund. Jeff Taylor replaced Kevin Spinozzi on the blue line.


■ Forward Sam Miletic has been upgraded to day to day with his injury, according to the radio broadcast.

Up next

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will play one final time in 2018, facing off against the Binghamton Devils at 6:05 Monday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.

Contact the writer:

tpiccotti@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2089;

@CVPiccotti on Twitter


Penguins 0 3 4 — 7 Lehigh Valley 0 1 2 — 3

First period: Scoring - None. Penalties - WBS, Angello, fighting 8:11; LV, Samuelsson, fighting 8:11; WBS, Wilson, fighting and game misconduct (secondary altercation) 8:11; LV, Goulbourne, fighting and game misconduct (secondary altercation); WBS, Sexton, unsportsmanlike conduct 12:24; WBS, Lafferty, 10-minute misconduct (abuse of officials) 12:14.

Second period: Scoring - 1, LV, Carey (Brennan, Conner), 1:34 (PP); 2, WBS, Sexton (Johnson, Prow), 3:44; 3, WBS, Hayes, 4:30; 4, WBS, Blueger (Dea, Hayes), 14:40 (PP). Penalties - WBS, Cramarossa, cross-checking 1:23; WBS, Cramarossa, cross-checking 6:46; LV, Conner, tripping 13:46.

Third period: Scoring - 5, WBS, Johnson (Lafferty), 5:07; 6, WBS, Blueger (Burton, Abt), 10:06; 7, Willcox (Vecchione, Conner), 10:41; 8, WBS, Sexton (Lafferty, Ruhwedel), 13:37 (EN); 9, LV, Brennan (Vorobyev), 16:52; 10, WBS, Ruhwedel, 18:20 (EN). Penalties - WBS, McGrath, 10-minute misconduct 18:40; LV, Brennan, 10-minute misconduct 19:06; WBS, Cramarossa, instigating, fighting and game misconduct 19:15; LV, Myers, fighting 19:15; LV, Twarynski, game misconduct (continuing altercation) 20:00.

Shots on goal: WBS 10 15 7 - 32; LV 9 10 16 - 35.

Goaltenders: WBS, Jarry (32 saves on 35 shots); LV, Lyon (25 saves on 30 shots).

Power-play opportunities: WBS 1 for 1; LV 1 for 4.

Referees: Peter Tarnaris and Michael Sheehan. Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco and J.P. Waleski.