WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Eric Hartzell made 20 saves for his third shutout of the season as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins opened a five-game home stand with a 4-0 win over the Syracuse Crunch at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got off to a fast start in their first home game since January 11 and took a 1-0 lead just 2:11 into the contest. After Mike Carman was denied on a point-blank chance by Crunch goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, the loose puck sat behind the goaltender’s pads and was nudged across the goal line by Paul Thompson.
Tom Kostopoulos pushed the Penguins ahead by two at 12:23 of the same period when Denver Manderson dug the puck out of the near corner of the Syracuse zone. Some passing along the blueline set up Philip Samuelsson for a one-timer from the far point that was deflected to the top of the net by Kostopoulos for his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
After a scoreless second, the third period was started by an amazing one-man effort by Harry Zolnierczyk. Taking a pass from defenseman Brian Dumoulin, Zolnierczyk blasted through two Syracuse defensemen and, as he was checked to the ice, threw the puck over the shoulder of Gudlevskis at 1:31 of the frame.
With Wilkes-Barre/Scranton already ahead, 3-0, Manderson scored his first AHL goal as he ripped a shot into the back of the net off of a cross-ice pass from Kostopoulos.
With the shutout, Hartzell raised his record to 9-3-1 and made it eight straight starts allowing two goals or less. On the opposite side of the ice, Gudlevskis turned away 21-of-25 shots for Syracuse.