WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins downed the St. John’s IceCaps, 5-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to pick up their fifth straight win and sixth in a row on home ice. The victory was also John Hynes’ 115th as head coach of the Penguins and pulled him into a tie for first with Glenn Patrick on the franchise’s all-time win list.
The Penguins pounced on the IceCaps early and ran ahead to a 2-0 lead just over three minutes after the opening faceoff. Eric Tangradi worked toward the right post and centered a pass through the slot that was eventually collected by Simon Despres and wristed through the pads of IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale at 1:23.
Warren Peters then put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton up by two at 3:07 as he redirected a shot to the bottom of the net after defenseman Dylan Reese kept a St. John’s clearing attempt in at the right point.
Despite holding the IceCaps without a shot for the first 15 minutes of the game, the Penguins would see their lead cut in half 1:10 before the first intermission during 4-on-4 hockey. Standing on the far post, Jason Jaffray tapped a puck into the wide open cage behind goalie Jeff Zatkoff thanks to a great feed by Paul Postma.
St. John’s continued to battle back and evened the score 3:45 into the second period. Jaffray sent a faceoff win back to the blueline where Julian Melchiori let loose a shot that was deflected past the left side of Zatkoff.
The Penguins took the lead for good during a 5-on-4 advantage late in middle frame. Reese once again controlled the puck inside the St. John’s zone, releasing a shot that tipped off of an IceCaps stick and trickled across the goal line with 19.8 seconds left.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Benn Ferriero and Spencer Machacek for the IceCaps traded goals in the third period before Riley Holzapfel notched an empty-netter with 1:05 remaining in regulation.
Zatkoff won his six consecutive start, making 13 saves to raise his record to 10-5-0 on the season. Pasquale’s three-game win streak came to an end as he turned aside 24-of-28 shots.