The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins opened their regular season with a victory last night, defeating last year's Calder Cup Champions, the Hershey Bears, in a shootout by a score of 4-3.
After Hershey took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game on a power play goal by Kyle Greentree, newcomer Chris Collins tied the score less than a minute later with help from Joe Vitale and Geoff Walker. Nick Johnson scored 1:13 later to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead, but Steve Pinizzotto tied the game again at 9:56.
Things settled down after the four goal period, with each team scoring once during the rest of regulation. Andrew Hutchinson put the Penguins up 3-2 seven minutes into the second period, with assists coming from Ryan Craig and Tim Wallace.
With just 48 seconds gone by in the third period, Keith Aucoin tied the score for Hershey on a power play goal. The teams played even the rest of the way and eventually went to a shootout, where the Penguins decided to shoot first.
Dustin Jeffrey kicked things off for the Pens, but failed to get the puck past Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby. Francois Bouchard came on for the Bears and scored a goal on Brad Thiessen.
However, that was all Hershey would get in the shootout. Johnson, Walker, and Brett Sterling scored on the Penguins’ next three shootout attempts, and Thiessen denied Brian Willsie, Aucoin, and Mathieu Perreault.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Andrew Hutchinson (WBS): two points, plus-one rating
2. Keith Aucoin (Hershey): two points
1. Geoff Walker (WBS): one point and a plus-one rating in regulation; shootout goal
Keven Veilleux (injured)
The Week Ahead
The Penguins are off until Tuesday, when they will host the Adirondack Phantoms at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The Phantoms are the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. They were formerly the Philadelphia Phantoms and played at the Wachovia Spectrum. However, due to the impending demolition of the Spectrum, the team was relocated to Glens Falls, New York.
This weekend, the Penguins will travel to Charlotte, N.C. for a two game set with the Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes and were previously based in Albany, N.Y. as the Albany River Rats.
Last season, the Hurricanes decided to move their affiliate closer for the 2010-2011 season. The Checkers, who were previously a member of the ECHL, are in their first season of play in the AHL.
The Penguins will take on the Checkers on Friday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 17 at Time Warner Cable Arena.