Wilkes-Barre, PA - The Hartford Wolf Pack’s frustrations against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continued Tuesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, as the Wolf Pack fell to 0-7-0-0 on the year against the Penguins with a 5-2 loss.
Chris Brown and Marek Hrivik had goals for the Wolf Pack Tuesday, but former Wolf Pack Ryan Haggerty scored twice for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Tom Kostopoulos and Dominik Simon had two assists apiece.
“They’ve got a really good team,” Brown said of the Penguins. “They’ve got a lot of depth, and they proved that tonight. They capitalized on a lot of Grade A opportunities. I was proud of the guys for battling in the third. I thought we had a really good third period, did some really good things, and hopefully we can build off of that momentum of positive play.”
The first period was high-scoring, with the teams combining for five goals, and the Penguins came out of it with a 3-2 lead.
Josh Archibald opened the scoring for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the 4:25, sent in on a breakaway by Teddy Blueger. Archibald fired a forehand shot that got by Wolf Pack starting goaltender Jeff Malcolm on the stick side.
It took the Wolf Pack only 23 seconds to answer, though, with Brown getting his 12th of the season at 4:48. Steven Fogarty moved down the right side in the Penguin end and fed to Brown, whose hard shot from the left side of the slot beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Casey DeSmith (19 saves).
Another breakaway goal, at 7:34, put the Penguins back in front, and this time it was Haggerty with the finish. He got a lead pass from Simon and, like Archibald had done, victimized Malcolm on the stick side.
The Wolf Pack responded quickly again, tallying a shorthanded goal on the game’s first power play. After Nicklas Jensen forechecked the puck free in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton end, Hrivik perfectly re-directed Chris Summers’ try from the right point high into the net, past DeSmith’s catching glove, at 8:29.
That tie lasted until there were only 17.2 seconds remaining in the period. That is when Zach Aston-Reese, in his pro debut out of Northeastern University, scored his first pro goal to put the Penguins back in front. Aston-Reese, who led the NCAA in goals this year with 31, got a pass from the right-wing corner from Kostopoulos, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton captain, and wired a shot from about 25 feet out past Malcolm’s glove side.
The Penguins carried that momentum into the second period, and would tack on two more early in the middle frame.
Haggerty got his second of the night at 3:36, after a John Gilmour pass went off of Taylor Beck’s stick along the boards. Jean-Sebastien Dea grabbed the puck on the left-wing side and threw it at the net, and Haggerty deflected it past Malcolm.
The Penguins then chased Malcolm from the game at the 6:39 mark with a power-play goal. With Dan Catenacci in the penalty box for high-sticking, David Warsofsky took a slap shot from the left point with Kostopoulos headed towards the net, and the puck eluded Malcolm for a 5-2 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lead.
Mackenzie Skapski replaced Malcolm, who made 14 saves, in the Wolf Pack net at that point, and Skapski was able to prevent any further damage in the second.
Skapski would end up stopping all 20 shots he faced, but the Wolf Pack could never get any closer against DeSmith, and the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins would up their record to 43-18-3-0 for 89 points.
The Wolf Pack return home to the XL Center this Friday, March 24, when they host the Providence Bruins. That is a 7:15 PM game, and, as at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.
Tickets for all remaining Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.