I have used the “Taking Care of Business” headline before, but that’s exactly what the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins did tonight here against the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Ryan Haggerty’s two goals and Zach Aston-Reese’s professional debut and goal in the first period were what the doctor ordered for a Wilkes-Barre / Scranton team who is holding off a hard charging Atlantic Division as the AHL season hits its final weeks.
The Penguins defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 5-2 in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday night.
Here were the lines…
Casey DeSmith started and was backed up by Tristan Jarry.
Lineup Notes: Derrick Pouliot was reassigned Tuesday morning and Oskar Sundqvist and Frank Corrado were recalled. Story is that Tom Sestito is dealing with an upper body injury, necessitating the Sundqvist recall. Zach Aston-Reese made his highly anticipated professional debut, skating on the top line with Tom Kostopoulos and Kevin Porter. Troy Josephs was back too on the fourth line with Adam Krause, who returned also. Ryan Segalla dressed as the extra man defenseman in warmups.
First Period: Back and forth, run and gun first period by both teams. Penguins came out of the gate flying. Troy Josephs hit a post.
Penguins got behind the Hartford defense and scored twice. Josh Archibald on the first one and Ryan Haggerty on the second one…
But with each goal, Hartford responded to tie the game. Chris Brown left unmarked mid-slot that tied it at one :23 after the Archibald goal and Marek Hrivik shorthanded on a deflection :55 after the Haggerty goal.
So the Penguins needed to score in the final minute and didn’t allow the Wolf Pack to respond right back because you can’t score during intermission.
Meet Zach Aston-Reese.
I told you (well others did, I just put all of their information in a tidy blog piece) about Aston-Reese last week. He scored his first professional goal on a nice pass by Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos.
Brett Stern picked up his first AHL point with an assist on the Archibald goal by the way.
Second Period: Ryan Haggerty scored his second of the game right after the Penguins didn’t score on a power play and it was 4-2.
Wilkes-Barre would get a power play goal :13 into a Dan Catenacci high sticking penalty when David Warsofsky scored to make it 5-2 and chase Jeff Malcolm.
Malcolm stopped 14 of 19.
Enter Mackenzie Skapski. Skapski settled things down for his team, stopping all 10 shots faced in this period and 10 shots in the…
Third Period: Tidy period that saw no scoring. Penguins half pressed with the likes of Troy Josephs and Adam Krause but Skapski would have none of it and the Penguins defense kept it a three goal lead, limiting Hartford to just five shots on goal.
Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (two assists, even) 2) Zach Aston-Reese (goal, even) and 1) Ryan Haggerty (two goals, +1)
Around the Division: Only other game on this Tuesday night was Lehigh Valley on the Rock for the first of two against the IceCaps and St. John’s raced out to a 4-0 lead but Lehigh Valley would storm back and stun the IceCaps (and any fans in the Wyoming Valley pulling for them) and win 5-4 in overtime. These two rematch tomorrow in Newfoundland.
Standings: Penguins (.695 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.672) — Hershey (.638) — Providence (.633) — Bridgeport (.617) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.381)
Wheeling Update: Nailers are off tonight as they prep for three games against the Idaho Steelheads this coming weekend.
Video highlights will run here if I see them.
Let’s Go Pens!