Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Eric Hartzell has made only five starts in his pro career, but he’s already been perfect in two of them.
The rookie netminder stopped all 22 shots he faced to lead the Penguins to a 1-0 win over the Utica Comets on Saturday in a game delayed by problems with the ice at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Aside from Hartzell, the Penguins relied on another win to notch the victory - defenseman Nick D’Agostino, who scored his first AHL goal in the third period that turned out to be the game-winner.
After a problem with the ice and then with a zamboni delayed the start of the game by a half-hour, the Penguins experienced a repeat of the previous night when they received four power plays in the first period.
On Saturday, a Utica hooking penalty put the Penguins on the power play just one minute into the game.
The Comets killed off the power play, and another one three minutes later to keep the Penguins off the board.
After getting through the penalty trouble, Utica kicked in the offense and matched the Penguins’ rushes up ice, even outshooting them 13-6 in the period.
But Hartzell, who was making his second start in two days, stopped them all to keep things scoreless heading into the second.
After exchanging a few power play chances in the first half of the second period, neither team managed to find the back of the net. By the halfway point, Utica outshot the Penguins 15-6.
The Comets came out firing again in the third period, forcing Hartzell to make several key saves before head coach John Hynes called a timeout. Not long after, the Penguins got a power play after Utica was called for too many men in what would be the first of three consecutive penalties.
Near the midway point of the period, the Comets were called for a two straight delay of game penalties, giving the Penguins extensive power play time.
And they made the Comets pay.
With 40 seconds left on the last penalty, D’Agostino found the back of the net with a point shot through traffic in front.
At the other end of the ice, the Penguins limited the Comets to three shots in the period to cling to the 1-0 win.
- Hartzell is now 4-1 in his first pro season, and two of the wins were by 1-0 scores.
- Fans who couldn’t attend Saturday’s game due to the snowstorm can exchange their tickets for a future game. Call the team store at 570-970-3611.