Penguins Drop Game 4 to Monarchs, 5-2
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - Jordan Weal netted his first pro playoff hat trick to lead the Manchester Monarchs to a 5-2 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal on Monday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton trails 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and will look to stay alive with Game 5 on Tuesday.
Already leading by a score of 1-0 after one period of play, Manchester broke the game open with three goals in the middle frame. Looking to even the score with a 5-on-4 advantage in the second, the Penguins instead found themselves down by two when a turnover in the offensive zone led to a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush that Michael Mersch completed himself at 5:45 of the period.
Weal tallied his second of the game and pushed Manchester's lead to 3-0 with 6:03 left until the second intermission on a wrist shot from the middle blueline that got through a screen and past goalie Matt Murray. David Van der Gulik added another marker for the Monarchs four minutes later to make it a four-goal lead for the road team. Murray would be replaced by Jeff Zatkoff during the second intermission, having made 21 saves on 25 shots over four minutes pf play.
Midway through the third period with Manchester on the power play, Weal completed his hat trick bid to put his team on top, 5-0, with a wrist shot from the near circle that beat Zatkoff to the blocker side.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got on the board at 10:58 of the third when Nick Drazenovic stripped his man of the puck between the hashmarks of the Monarchs zone and fed Tom Kostopoulos in front of the crease for the stuff shot under the pads of Jean-Francoise Berube.
Bryan Rust cut Manchester's lead down to three just 37 seconds later, driving wide down the left wing before cutting toward the low slot and knocking in his own rebound. Berube would keep the Penguins scoreless the rest of the way, stopping 27-of-29 shots.
For the second time in this series, the Monarchs were able strike in the opening minute of the game. Weal was not able to match Nick Shore's tally 18 seconds into Game 1, but he did put Manchester ahead 1-0 just 42 seconds after the opening faceoff when he swatted in a rebound from a long wrist shot by Michael Mersch.
The Penguins and Monarchs are back on the ice for Game 5 on Tuesday, May 12 at 7:05 p.m. Children 14 and under get in free with a paid adult ticket. Individual tickets for all home playoff games are on sale now and available at the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office, by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.
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