The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have to be feeling good after capping off a home-and-home sweep of the Hershey Bears with a thrilling come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory on Sunday at GIANT Center. With the win, the Penguins are tied with Hershey with 81 points, but own the tiebreaker to occupy first place in the Atlantic Division. Here are a few things I observed from the weekend…
- Meaningful Road Win
The GIANT Center has not treated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton kindly over the last two-plus seasons. Entering Sunday’s game, the Penguins had won just once in their last 13 tries at Hershey. Striking twice early in the third to open a 5-3 lead, the Bears looked poised to continue their domination on home ice. Instead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rallied to erase the deficit and ultimately win in overtime. It was a significant victory not only in terms of points, but also in the washing away some of the mystique for Hershey’s home ice advantage. It may have been only one game, but it was a confidence-building one for the Penguins. With two games remaining in Hershey and the potential of a meeting in the postseason, Sunday’s win was huge.
- Good Impression from the New Kid
Called up to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last weekend, Adam Krause has been the newest addition to the Penguins roster. He’s earned rave reviews in his first four appearances with the Penguins. The rookie forward is a workhorse in all three zones, defensively responsible and is a solid penalty-killing forward. He also has deceptive speed, which was put on display in his first game when pulled away for a breakaway chance versus Bridgeport. He was unable to convert on that chance, but he showed the speed once again on Sunday in Hershey. With the Penguins on the penalty kill, Krause had a seemingly innocent 1-on-1 rush into the Bears zone with Chris Bourque back defending. Krause suddenly shifted into fifth gear to pull by Bourque before driving the net and lifting a beautiful backhander to the top of the net. It was his first AHL goal, his second point of the contest and the exclamation point on what’s been a very strong start to his time with the Penguins.
- Mercury Rising
It’s no secret that there is a healthy dislike between the I-81 rivals and that was more than evident through the weekend. Tom Sestito and Liam O’Brien dropped the gloves on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. The following day, a scrum developed that saw Reid McNeill face off against Tyler Lewington, while Josh Archibald simultaneously went a round with Sean Collins. Players were coming together after almost every while. Chatter between the benches was been non-stop. And, of course, there were plenty of penalties dispersed. With the temperature between the Penguins and Bears already at boiling, the final three regular season meetings should be a treat.
The Post Script
- How jam packed is the Atlantic Division? Three points separate first place and fourth place in the standings.
- The veteran leaders for the Penguins stepped up big-time over the weekend. Tom Kostopoulos knocked in the game-tying goal on Sunday to force overtime. It was part of a three-point (2G-1A) weekend for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain. Dustin Jeffrey collected three goals and an assist – including the game-winner on Saturday. Those were big-time performances from big-time players to help the Penguins sweep the weekend.
- The broken record with the song “Carter Rowney Had a Big Weekend” plays on as the third-year pro collected four assists over the two contests versus Hershey. In the process, he extended his point streak to seven games, during which Rowney has totaled 14 points. (6G-8A). Rowney now finds himself among the top 20 scorers in the AHL with 49 points.
- As always, tweet at us using the hashtag “#WBSPenguinsLive” during the games this weekend with your questions or comments (@MikeOBrienWBS & @_NickHart) and listen in to see if your tweet makes it on air.