Pens prevail in 2OT, extend series

Simon Despres scored his first professional playoff goal at 12:08 of the second overtime to give the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 3-2 win over the St. John’s IceCaps on Tuesday at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Penguins stayed alive in the best-of-seven series and forced a Game 6 on Friday in St. John’s.

Knotted at one apiece heading into the third period, the Penguins took their first lead of the game at 2:18. Jason Williams broke down the left wing of the St. John’s zone and stopped below the circle before finding Alex Grant in the high slot for a one-timer to the top corner.

Eleven seconds later the IceCaps hopped on the power play and would convert on Paul Postma’s long wrist shot that found its way around a slew of bodies and past Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen.

Thiessen left the game in favor of Scott Munroe for several minutes late in the third period after suffering a cut during a collision in the crease. He would finish with 26 saves during 87:43 of playing time.

Postma’s marker would be the final goal for the next 48 minutes of hockey until Despres was able to send the Penguins off the ice in celebration. Pinching low into the near corner, the rookie defenseman threw a low wrister toward the pads of St. John’s goaltender Eddie Pasquale. Despres followed his own shot and gathered the rebound lying in the crease to backhand it home.

The IceCaps got a fortuitous 1-0 lead at 5:21 of the first period when Jason King’s clearing attempt skipped the length of the ice and over the stick of Thiessen into the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton net.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton battled back to tie the match at 8:12 of the second period on Paul Thompson’s first goal of the postseason. Skating four-on-four, Cal O’Reilly circled into the right corner and found Paul Thompson between the hashmarks for heavy wrist shot that sailed over the blocker of Pasquale.

The IceCaps goalie made 42 saves on 45 shots.

Game 5 was the third consecutive overtime game in the series, and the third-longest game in Penguins franchise history.