Facing elimination for the first time this postseason, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored four goals in less than nine minutes late in the first period and defeated the Hershey Bears, 6-2, in Game 6 of the Atlantic Division Finals on Friday night.
The winner-take-all Game 7 is set for Sunday evening at Giant Center in Hershey (5 p.m. ET, AHL Live).
Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos (1g, 4a), Carter Rowney (2g, 1a) and Jake Guentzel (1g, 2a) combined for 11 points on the night as the Penguins improved to 16-5 all-time when facing playoff elimination at home.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the scoring at the 10:52 mark of the first period when Kael Mouillierat’s shot from a sharp angle at the bottom of the right-wing faceoff circle beat Justin Peters. It was the second goal of the playoffs for Mouillierat, who also had the overtime winner in Game 4 of this series.
Kostopoulos, who tied a franchise playoff record with his five points, got a piece of Barry Goers’ point shot at 15:16 to make it 2-0, then helped create a Bears turnover in their own zone and fed Rowney for a goal at 18:22.
Wilkes-Barre kept pressing and drew a penalty, and Will O’Neill cleaned up a loose puck with 12 seconds left in the first period to give the Penguins the 4-0 lead at intermission.
But the Penguins answered 2:48 later as Guentzel scored off assists from Kostopoulos and Rowney, making it 5-1. The three combined again for Rowney’s second goal of the night 3:30 into the third.
Hershey’s Zach Sill netted a power-play goal with 3:31 remaining to finish the scoring.
Casey DeSmith (5-3) snapped a personal three-game losing streak and picked up the win in net for the Penguins, making 24 saves.
Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – W-B/Scranton 4, HERSHEY 0
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – HERSHEY 2, W-B/Scranton 0
Game 3 – Sat., May 7 – Hershey 5, W-B/SCRANTON 2
Game 4 – Mon., May 9 – W-B/SCRANTON 2, Hershey 1 (OT)
Game 5 – Wed., May 11 – HERSHEY 5, W-B/Scranton 3
Game 6 – Fri., May 13 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 7 – Sun., May 15 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 14, 2016