SYRACUSE, N.Y. – There are wins, and then there are wins to savor for a long time.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes will likely recall Saturday night's 3-2 triumph over the Syracuse Crunch very fondly.
And not only because it made him the winningest coach in WBS franchise history.
More to his liking is that the victory snapped a six-game losing streak, the longest in Hynes' 183-game tenure behind the Penguins bench.
Hynes now has 116 career wins, one more than Pens' inaugural coach Glenn Patrick, whose 320-game stay with the club ended in 2003.
It's great, said Hynes, clutching the game puck handed him by his players. It's been a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the course of the years. We've got a great group of guys who really worked hard for it against a great opponent tonight.
Veteran defenseman Joey Mormina, who has been with the Pens for each of Hynes wins, said that getting him the milestone after six futile attempts was important to the players.
It was sort of the elephant in the room, said Mormina, whose first period goal gave WBS the lead for good. He's a great coach and a couple of us have gone to war with him for three years now. It was important for him, and important for us to do it.
Three different Penguins found the scoresheet while goalie Jeff Zatkoff pulled off 29 stops in the Pens net.
The Pens grabbed a 2-1 first period lead, wrapping tallies by Paul Thompson and Mormina around one by Syracuse rookie Alex Killorn.
Thompson's goal, his eighth, came on a power play at 3:57, when he rebounded Brian Gibbons' shot past Crunch goalie Dustin Tokarski (24 saves).
Killorn answered back at 9:21, extending his goal scoring streak to six games, tops in the AHL this season.
However, just 14 seconds later, Mormina surprised Tokarski with a wrister from the left point that sneaked through a net front screen.
It was Mormina's first goal of the season.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton increased its lead to 3-1 at 10:20 of the second, after Eric Tangradi barreled hard to the net but was stopped at the doorstep by Tokarski.
The loose puck popped out to Trevor Smith who trailed the play and Smith promptly chipped in a backhander for his 10th goal of the season.
Syracuse cut the margin to 3-2 at 18:45, when Trevor Johnson scored his 18th of the season.
The Crunch exerted heavy pressure throughout the third period in search of the tying goal. However the Penguins were able to hold them off to secure a bit of team history.
The most important thing, said Hynes, is just the way we played tonight. The guys battled for themselves, and it's a nice way to go into the Christmas break.
Heading into last night, a trio of Crunch players led the entire AHL in plus/minus. Heading the list was injured rookie defenseman Dmitry Korobov with a plus-17. By contrast the Pens team leaders were Tom Kuhnackl (a scratch last night) and Robert Bortuzzo, who were both at a modest plus-3. Among the other Pens' scratches were a pair of otherwise busy rookies, left wing Beau Bennett and defenseman Brian Dumoulin. Bennett sat out just his second game of the season (in a row), Dumoulin only his third. … Smith has now scored three goals in five games against the Crunch, most of whom were teammates with him last year in Norfolk on last year's Calder Cup winners. …