HARTFORD, Conn. — Earlier this week, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes said he wasn’t concerned about the Penguins’ lack of scoring, as long they ended up with a win.
That scenario played out Friday night at the XL Center, as the Penguins scored only once in regulation, but beat Hartford 2-1 in a shootout.
“You can’t control whether or not the puck goes in the net,” Hynes said. “The ultimate goal of any game is try to find a way to win.”
Paul Thompson scored the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout, while Harry Zolnierczyk scored Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s lone goal in regulation. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 24 saves for the Penguins.
Tied at one in the shootout thanks to Nick Drazenovic’s third-round tally that kept Wilkes-Barre/Scranton alive, the Penguins won it when Thompson went five-hole on Hartford’s Dov Grumet-Morris (35 saves).
“Just watching the shootout and kind looking at his tendencies … it’s a move that we try and if you get him to bite, it works,” Thompson said.
Sam Klassen’s first goal of the season gave Hartford a 1-0 lead at 6:36 in the third period. The Wolf Pack defender took a pass from Oscar Lindberg along the boards, and lofted a shot that bounced off Drouin-Deslauriers’ pad and into the net.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (19-9-1-3) tied it on Zolnierczyk’s goal later in the period. Zolnierczyk put an initial shot on net from the left post, and then swung around the back of the net to jump on the loose puck, which had bounced off several Hartford skaters at 16:01.
“It was really just a lucky bounce,” Zolnierczyk said. “We were working hard and had a lot of good looks and we felt like maybe our line was going to find one there.”
Zolnierczyk’s goal came towards the end of an extended shift in Hartford’s zone for the Penguins, who controlled play and wore down the Wolf Pack (11-16-0-5) for much of the final two periods.
“I thought we had a lot of O-zone time, a lot of possession through the neutral zone and I think it was tough on them,” Zolnierczyk said.
Hartford had an extended five-on-three power play just over three minutes into the game thanks to a slashing call against Philip Samuelsson and a tripping call on Reid McNeill. But Drouin-Deslauriers made four saves with the Penguins shorthanded, and also came up with a big save on the right post against a crashing Samuel Noreau later in the period.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hosts Manchester at 7 p.m. today.
• Both goalies that played in last year’s Division I college national title game in Pittsburgh were present Friday, although neither played. The Penguins’ Eric Hartzell (Quinnipiac) backed up Drouin-Deslauriers, while Hartford’s Jeff Malcolm (Yale) was a scratch for the Wolf Pack. Yale beat Quinnipiac 4-0 to win the Bulldogs’ first national championship last April.
• Peter Merth, Carter Rowney, Harrison Ruopp, Bobby Farnham, Adam Payerl, Barry Goers, and C.J. Severyn were the scratches for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Penguins 2, Hartford 1
Hartford`0`0`1`0` — `1
First Period — No Scoring. Penalties: Samuelsson WBS (slashing), 2:54; McNeill WBS (tripping), 3:21.
Second Period — No Scoring. Penalties: Powe HFD (interference), 10:45.
Third Period — 1. Hartford, Klassen 1 (Lindberg), 6:36. 2. Penguins, Zolnierczyk 11 16:01. Penalties: Noreau HFD (holding), 2:23; Beach HFD (boarding), 9:58.
Overtime — No Scoring. Penalties: No Penalties.
Shootout — Penguins 2 (Zolnierczyk NG, Torquato NG, Drazenovic G, Kostopoulos NG, Dumoulin NG, Thompson G), Hartford 1 (Fast NG, Bourque NG, Kristo G, Hrivik NG, Lindberg NG, Haley NG).
Shots on goal — Penguins 10-8-16-2-1-37. Hartford 7-10-4-4-0-25.
Power-play opportunities — Penguins 0-3; Hartford 0-2.
Goalies — Penguins, Deslauriers 14-7-2 (25 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Grumet-Morris 3-9-4 (36 shots-35 saves).
Referee — Geno Binda.
Linesmen — Brent Colby, Luke Galvin.
A — 3,049