WILKES-BARRE TWP. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins penalty kill did more than earn a point against the Providence Bruins on Friday.
They also got their coach out of a jam.
With the score tied 2-2 midway through the third period, head coach John Hynes took exception to a kneeing call on Dylan Reese and let the officials know. Subsequently, the Penguins’ bench received an unsportsmanlike conduct and the Bruins got two minutes of a five-on-three advantage.
The Penguins were able to kill off the power play, and although they lost 3-2 in a shootout, managed to carry the tie long enough to earn a valuable point with nine games remaining. The Penguins have 74 points on the season, and with a Hershey loss they give themselves a three-point cushion above the Bears, who are clinging to the final playoff spot.
Dylan Reese had two power-play goals in the game – his first multi-goal game since Jan. 15, 2010 when he was with Syracuse.
But it was the Penguins penalty killers who saved the day, killing off seven Providence power plays – including the five-on-three that resulted from the bench minor.
“That was me,” Hynes said of the penalty. “It’s unacceptable. Whether it’s a player or a coach, that can’t happen.”
Still, after watching his team limit the Bruins to four shots on the ensuing power play, Hynes was able to find a little humor in the situation.
“I’m getting fined by the team, I know that,” he said.
After a scoreless overtime, the Bruins needed an eight-round shootout to earn the second point and the win, outscoring the Penguins 2-1.
The fact that the game went into the extra stages wasn’t a surprise considering how evenly matched they were through regulation and overtime. Both teams fired 28 shots on net and Brad Thiessen and Providence’s Niklas Svedberg were both stellar in net.
But for the Penguins, the penalty kill was the difference.
“Special teams got us a point tonight,” said center and penalty killer Warren Peters. “Special teams gave us a chance to say we deserved two points, but we’ll take a big point this time of year.”
The point allows the Penguins to move into a tie with Connecticut for the sixth spot in the conference. Connecticut holds the tie-breaker with two more regulation wins than the Penguins.
Playoff positioning is on the Penguins’ minds, and Peters said he could hear the crowd cheer when the Hershey loss was announced during the game. He also alluded to the fact that his team could face Providence in the postseason.
“That’s a good team we were playing against. It’s like playing ourselves out there,” he said. “It’s a preview of things we can expect to come down the stretch and in the playoffs.”
• D Clark Seymour, D Cody Wild, RW Chris Minella, C Dominik Uher, C Phil Dupuis (injury) and LW Steve MacIntyre were scratched for the Penguins.
• Beau Bennett was reassigned by Pittsburgh on Thursday and played in Friday’s game.
• The Penguins travel to Binghamton tonight to wrap up the season series with the Senators. The Penguins are 3-6 against Binghamton, who are battling for the conference lead.
Providence 3 Penguins 2 shootout
Scoring – 1. WBS, Dylan Reese 7 (Holzapfel, Smith) power play 13:15. 2. PRO, Bobby Robins 4 (Florek) 18:37. Penalties – WBS, Farnham (holding) 5:01; PRO, Khohklachev (tripping) 12:29; WBS, Samuelsson (corss-checking) 13:56.
Scoring – 3. WBS, Dylan Reese 8 (Smith, Bennett) power play 15:01. Penalties – WBS, Bortuzzo (high-sticking) 4:33; PRO, Warsofsky (tripping) 5:38; PRO, Hirschfeld (fighting) 7:45; WBS, Farnham (fighting) 7:45; PRO, Robins (unsportsmanlike conduct) 8:29; PRO, Robins (charging) 13:43; PRO, Exelby (interference) 14:21.
Scoring – 4. Christian Hanson 10 (robins) 4:58. Penalties – WBS, Holzapfel (tripping) 1:46; WBS; Holzapfel (kneeing) 9:35; WBS, bench – served by Farnham (unsportsmanlike conduct) 11:48; WBS, Reese (tripping) 11:48; PRO, Cohen (holding) 16:21.
Scoring – None. Penalties – None.
Penguins – Kolarik – NG; Holzapfel – NG; Megna – NG; Bennett – NG; Smith – NG; Thompson – NG; Collins – G; Payerl – NG;
Providence – Cunningham – NG; Sauve – NG; Tardif – NG; Khohklachev – NG; Camper – NG; Whitfield – NG; Florek – G; Hanson – G.
Shots on goal
Providence – 8-10-10-0-1-29
Penguins – 7-10-7-4-0-28
Providence – 0 of 7
Penguins – 2 of 5
Providence – Niklas Svedberg 32-7-2 (26 saves – 28 shots)
Penguins – Brad Thiessen 14-11-2 (26-28)