Sprong's Hat Trick Powers Penguins Past Wolf PackDec 29, 2017
(Photo courtesy of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins)
Daniel Sprong scored a hat trick, and added an assist, Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, PA, to lead the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 5-1 win over the Wolf Pack.
It was the second straight regulation loss for the Wolf Pack, after a streak in which the team had gone nine straight games with at least a standings point (6-0-1-2). The Wolf Pack were playing their first game after a four-day holiday break, and the Wolf Pack power play, missing top scorers Peter Holland (suspension) and Vinni Lettieri (recall to the parent New York Rangers) went 0-for-5 with a shorthanded goal-against.
“I thought our execution wasn’t where it needed to be,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “We knew there was going to be a little bit of rust in our game, but we tried to force plays that weren’t available, not making sure we’re getting pucks to the front of the net, creating some second and third-chance opportunities, five-on-five and on the power play.”
The Penguins drew first blood at 9:27 of the first frame, in a delayed penalty situation. Jeff Taylor handed the puck from the right point to Sprong at the left point, and his one-timer was deflected by Colin Smith past Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec (22 saves).
That lead lasted until there were only 57.1 seconds left in the period, when Wolf Pack captain Joe Whitney tied the score with his sixth goal of the season. Neal Pionk fed a perfect pass from the right point across the slot, setting Whitney up with a clean look at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Anthony Peters (27 saves). Whitney picked his spot and beat Peters low to the glove side.
Sprong would connect twice in the second period, though, to put the Penguins in control of the game.
Sprong put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton up 2-1 at 8:30, after Wolf Pack defenseman Anthony DeAngelo had the puck get away from him along the boards in the Hartford zone. Adam Johnson passed from the left side to Sprong, and he wired a shot past Mazanec.
Then, at 15:44, Sprong finished a play after the Wolf Pack had failed to get the puck deep in the Penguin end. Again it was Johnson setting up Sprong, who buried a shot from the top of the left circle.
The Wolf Pack outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 13-8 in the third period, and went to a man advantage with 5:41 left on a tripping penalty against Gage Quinney. The Penguins, though, would score shorthanded only seven seconds into the power play.
Teddy Blueger won the faceoff from Steven Fogarty, and Zach Aston-Reese moved out of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton zone. He carried all the way into the Hartford end and got behind the defense, eventually banging a forehand shot through Mazanec’s pads for a 4-1 Penguin lead.
Then, after the Wolf Pack pulled Mazanec for an extra skater with over three minutes left, Sprong completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal at 18:05. Blueger knocked the puck off of Ryan Sproul’s stick in center ice and it came right to Sprong, who quickly whipped it into the vacated cage for his 18th goal of the season.
The Wolf Pack are back in action Saturday night at the XL Center, hosting the Springfield Thunderbirds in a 7:00 contest. The first 2,000 fans into that game will take home a Wolf Pack player trading card set, presented by CM Concessions.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2017-18 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.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5
Friday, December 29, 2017 - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Hartford 1 0 0 - 1
W-B/Scranton 1 2 2 - 5
1st Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Smith 5 (Sprong, Taylor), 9:27. 2, Hartford, Whitney 6 (Pionk, Pedrie), 19:02. Penalties-Graves Hfd (fighting), 3:01; Trotman Wbs (fighting), 3:01; Taylor Wbs (high-sticking), 5:19; Tinordi Wbs (tripping), 19:21.
2nd Period-3, W-B/Scranton, Sprong 16 (Johnson, McKegg), 8:30. 4, W-B/Scranton, Sprong 17 (Johnson, Tinordi), 15:44. Penalties-Kosmachuk Hfd (cross-checking, fighting), 3:53; McGrath Wbs (instigating, fighting, misconduct - instigating, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:53; Taylor Wbs (tripping), 10:05; Summers Wbs (slashing), 13:02.
3rd Period-5, W-B/Scranton, Aston-Reese 4 (Blueger), 14:26 (SH). 6, W-B/Scranton, Sprong 18 (Blueger), 18:05 (EN). Penalties-Kosmachuk Hfd (cross-checking), 8:26; Quinney Wbs (tripping), 14:19.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 8-7-13-28. W-B/Scranton 7-12-8-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 5; W-B/Scranton 0 / 1.
Goalies-Hartford, Mazanec 4-1-1 (26 shots-22 saves). W-B/Scranton, Peters 1-2-1 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Pierre Lambert (47), Mathieu Menniti (30).
Linesmen-Tom DellaFranco (71), Scott Pomento (25).