WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Teddy Blueger’s goal in overtime on Wednesday allowed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to build a three-game win streak.
But after the players finished celebrated the 3-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the team had to deal with a bit of uncertainty that has lingered all week.
Already missing goaltender Michael Leighton, who is out with an injury, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had to sit Casey DeSmith for Wednesday’s game after Tristan Jarry exited Pittsburgh’s contest on Tuesday with an apparent injury.
Penguins coach Clark Donatelli said DeSmith was held out for “precautionary reasons,” leaving his team with only one netminder in Anthony Peters.
The Penguins couldn’t summon a replacement from Wheeling, as the Nailers were on the road playing in Norfolk, so they looked in their own backyard for help.
Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder Sebastien Caron came out of retirement and signed a professional tryout agreement to serve as the backup on Wednesday.
Caron’s last appearance with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was Jan. 8, 2006, and almost 12 years later he found himself back at the Mohegan Sun Arena taking warmups.
“It was unexpected, I guess,” said Caron, 37, who played last season in Germany and played for the Penguins from 2000-06. “It’s fun to be back in the locker room, even if you’re retired.”
So how ready was Caron if he was called upon?
“As ready as I could be,” he said. “With the bit of experience I have, I think I would’ve been OK.”
Caron, who lives in the Wilkes-Barre area, did practice with the Penguins one day last week and, other than that, has been playing pond hockey with his son.
“But not as goalie, though,” he said.
As for the Penguins starting goaltender, Bridgeport beat Peters twice in the first eight minutes with a power play tally followed by a rebound that was put home for a 2-0 lead.
Still, Donatelli said he wasn’t thinking about going to Caron at that point. To his credit, Peters was in net for the Penguins last two wins, allowing one goal in each contest. And after the first period, he settled in.
The Penguins appeared to make it 2-1 in the third period when Thomas Di Pauli sent a backhand shot into the net, but the goal was waived off as Colin Smith was in the crease.
Donatelli said he was told Smith prevented Bridgeport netminder Christopher Gibson from skating out to play the shot, but he still felt the play should’ve been reviewed.
“Review the goal. Any goal that’s scored, they can review it,” he said.
On the next shift, however, the Penguins scored one that counted when Jean-Sebastien Dea won a faceoff back to Zach Aston-Reese, who sent a wrist shot through traffic to cut Bridgeport’s lead to one.
The Penguins power play got one last chance in the last two minutes, and McKegg tied it up with a goal from in front to force overtime.
Just 26 seconds into the extra period, Blueger took a pass from Garrett Wilson, skated around Josh Ho-Sang and beat Gibson for the win.
“We battled through some decisions and some calls, and ended up getting a win. That was a gut-check,” Donatelli said.
As for any future decisions in net, Donatelli said it all depends on Jarry’s status with Pittsburgh. If DeSmith does go up, Caron said he’ll be in town.
“They didn’t pick up my equipment yet,” he said, motioning to his stall in the locker room. “I guess I’ll be (at practice) tomorrow.
“I’m right here. It’s in my backyard. I’m really happy to help them out.”
• The Penguins improved to 19-10-2-1 and moved into third place in the Atlantic Division.