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Ebbett with three points as Penguins double up Bulldogs 4-2

Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 9:45 PM The Canadian Press

HAMILTON - Two power-play goals 1:39 apart in the second period helped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-2 win over the host Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday in American Hockey League play.

Adam Ebbett had two goals and an assist for the Penguins (31-20-8) and Tom Kostopoulos and Denver Manderson scored a goal apiece.

Peter Mannino made 30 saves for the win.

Gabriel Dumont and Mike Blunden scored for the Bulldogs (25-27-5), who dropped their second game in as many nights. Robert Mayer stopped 31 shots in a losing effort.

The Penguins were unlucky not to take an early lead just two minutes into the game, as Jayson Megna came free along the left wing and fired a rising wrist shot that rang off Mayer's crossbar.

It was a shaky period for the Bulldogs netminder, who nearly gifted the opening goal to the Penguins six minutes later when he misplayed the puck behind his net.

Davis Drewiske showcased his stickhandling ability to create Hamilton's best scoring chance of the period when he broke past two defenders and out-waited Mannino, but could not slide the puck behind the downed goaltender.

Hamilton put an end to the trend of near misses when, as its power play expired, it found the game's opening goal at 15:17.

An initial point shot was kicked aside by Mannino, but the puck came to Martin St. Pierre at the right circle, and he slid a cross-ice pass to Dumont, who easily fired a one-time shot into the gaping net.

Momentum appeared to be in the Bulldogs' corner as they emerged from the first period with the lead.

But an early collapse to begin the second would drastically change the landscape of the game.

Ebbett tipped in a point shot from Nick Drazenovic just 42 seconds into the period to level the game at a goal apiece, and the Penguins struck again just 1:39 later.

After St. Pierre was whistled for hooking, Ebbett won the ensuing faceoff in the Hamilton zone straight back to Kostopoulos at the blue line, who took a heavy slap shot that beat Mayer over the near shoulder to give the Penguins the lead.

Play moved almost exclusively into the Hamilton zone after the quick goals, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton built on its lead when a cross-checking penalty to Greg Pateryn sent it back to the power play.

Adam Payerl wrong-footed Mayer with a wrap-around play, and the goaltender was just able to deny his first effort with his foot. But his hold on the post was weak, and Manderson successfully swooped in to bang in the rebound at 10:59 of the second.

The Bulldogs cut into the deficit on a power play of their own at 3:53 of the third period.

Having already scored a goal, Dumont took his turn as creator, threading a cross-ice pass to Blunden in the low slot. The winger tipped the puck through the legs of Mannino, who was fooled by the sudden change of pace.

That goal appeared to galvanize Hamilton, as the Bulldogs pressed furiously for the tie as the period wore on.

Sven Andrighetto came closest to scoring the equalizer when he fired a heavy shot from the top of the left circle that beat Mannino only to hit his crossbar and deflect clear.

Ebbett put the game out of reach at 19:04, when he scored his second goal of the night into an empty net.

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