Penguins surge past Bears to even series at 2-2


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored on three of its first five shots and went on to a 6-3 win over Hershey on Friday at Wachovia Arena to knot up the East Division Finals at two games apiece. The home team has captured each of the first four contests.

Janne Pesonen had a game-high four points (1-3-4) in his series debut for the Pens, and Luca Caputi tallied the eventual game-winner.

The pivotal Game 5 of the series is set for Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, and the teams will return to Hershey for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped out to a 3-0 lead on first-period goals by Nick Johnson, Dustin Jeffrey, and Jean-Michel Daoust, the latter on the power play. Caputi extended the advantage to 4-0 with another power play tally at 11:37 of the second, scoring his second of the playoffs.

The Bears began clawing back into the contest and eventually cut their deficit in half. Grant McNeill scored his first of the postseason with 1:04 left in the second period, and Steve Pinizzotto made it a 4-2 game at 4:47 of the third frame.

Mark Letestu and Pesonen added goals for the Penguins, the latter into an empty net. Keith Aucoin also scored for Hershey, his first of the playoffs.

Pesonen led the Penguins with 82 points (32-50-82) during the regular season but had been out with an injury since Game 1 of the division finals against Bridgeport on Apr. 17. He now shows five points (1-4-5) in just two postseason contests this year.

Letestu (1-2-3) and Johnson (1-2-3), and Jeffrey (1-1-2) also posted multiple points for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and goaltender Adam Berkhoel made 23 saves in the winning effort.

The Penguins are now 14-4 in their last 18 postseason home games.

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-W-B/Scranton Penguins
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Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – HERSHEY 5, W-B/Scranton 3
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Hershey 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – W-B-SCRANTON 6, Hershey 3
Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00