WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (7-6-0) 2, SPRINGFIELD FALCONS (8-2-2) 1
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza | Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
For the first time in 11 games, the Falcons did not score the first goal -- and it was the direct result of a poor start tonight in Wilkes-Barre.
Springfield needed about 30 minutes to get its engine started in the opener of a four-game road trip, the first extended time the club has spent away from MassMutual Center this season. This wasn't the start Brad Larsen and his crew was looking for; the Falcons were dominated in the opening minutes and never looked comfortable in the first period.
The Penguins out-shot Springfield by a 13-3 margin in the first period, and the Falcons didn't register a shot on goal until the game was 15 minutes old. All season long, it had been the Falcons burying opponents early, but tonight, the Penguins were not going to allow the game to play out that way.
Beau Bennett scored a pair of goals on the way to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's 2-1 win at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, ending Springfield's three-game winning streak and ensuring a rough start to the Falcons' road trip.
Some sloppy play gave the Penguins early momentum, but they were clearly the better team in the second period. Bennett's first goal came as a result of a pretty pass from line mate Riley Holzapfel, who controlled the puck in the right circle before fluttering the puck over the the left wing boards.
Bennett was waiting on the left dot and one-timed it inside the post, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead and ending the Falcons' shutout streak of 166 consecutive minutes. The goal seemed to rattle the Falcons a bit, and they pushed really hard in the ensuing minutes to draw even, but goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was solid between the pipes.
He made 25 saves and made certain that Bennett's second goal would stand as the winner, even though Springfield got one back off a Tomas Kubalik deflection with 1:43 to play.
Ending the Falcons' streak of scoring first was nothing major, but Bennett's opening tally was definitely a wake-up call. Springfield has been almost machine-like in the first dozen games of the season, but it was looking uphill at a Penguins club that was playing much better than itself.
Despite the late goal by Kubalik, the first goal of the game was a defining moment for Wilkes-Barre, who never trailed in the hockey game and held on in the final 1:43 to get the win.
1. Beau Bennett (WBS) - two goals
2. Riley Holzapfel (WBS) - two assists
3. Jeff Zatkoff (WBS) - 25 saves
at Norfolk Admirals
Norfolk Scope Arena | Norfolk, Va.
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
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