The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins have yet to claim the AHL's ultimate prize, but that doesn't mean the club hasn't given its fans countless other games worth remembering forever in its short 17-year history. Konstantin Koltsov's overtime Game 7 winner against Bridgeport in 2004 just may be the most famous goal in team history.
Pittsburgh - December 16, 2016 - The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins have yet to claim the AHL's ultimate prize, but that doesn't mean the club hasn't given its fans countless other games worth remembering forever in its short 17-year history.
A tall task, here is our attempt at the five best WBS Penguins games of all-time.
April 25, 2004: Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-3 (OT) Penguins
Three seasons after making it to the Calder Cup Finals, the WBS Pens were poised to make another run to the Cup, this time seemingly in as dramatic fashion as possible. The drama began in the East Division semi-finals against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where five of the seven games went to overtime.
After falling down 3-1 in the series, two straight wins (including a 5-0 victory in Game 6) forced a Game 7. Tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation, this one would also go to overtime. where halfway through Bridgeport would turn the puck over in the neutral zone, creating a three-man rush for WBS. Matt Hussey on the right wing passed across the ice to Konstantin Koltsov, who slapped the puck into goal to take the game and the series.
May 29, 2004: Hartford Wolf Pack 1-2 Penguins
After defeating rivals Philadelphia in 6 games, the stage was set for another dramatic series that would go the distance, this time against Eastern Conference regular season champions the Hartford Wolf Pack. Wins were traded back and forth for much of the series and WBS squandered their chance to finish things in Game 6.
That set up an Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 to be played at the hostile Hartford Civic Center. For the third time that series (and ninth time in that years' playoffs) for the Pens, the game would go to overtime. There, Jamie Pushor threw the puck at net from the top of the circle. On its way, the puck careened off the stick of Matt Murley and past the goaltender to send the Penguins back to the Calder Cup Finals for the second time in four years.
Marc-Andre Fleury played a pivotal role in helping WBS survive an unforgettable East Division Semis series in 2006
April 27, 2006: Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-3 (OT) Penguins
After falling behind 0-2 in the 2006 East Division semis against Bridgeport, the Penguins battled back to win their next two. Eventually the series would go to familiar territory for WBS fans: a Game 7. But the real thriller of the series was Game 6, where both sides traded goals in regulation to eventually send the game to OT knotted at 2-2.
In net for the Pens due to the NHL labor dispute was none other than future two-time Stanley Cup Champion Marc-Andre Fleury. Flower saved 33 of the 35 shots he faced that day, eventually allowing Ryan Stone to score the game winner, giving the Pens a first-round victory for the third-straight year.
May 24, 2008: Penguins 3-2 Portland Pirates
The Penguins finished the 2007-08 regular season atop the East Division, and subsequently skated through the first two rounds of the playoffs easily over in-state rivals Hershey and Philadelphia. WBS would then get a wakeup call in the Eastern Conference Finals against Portland, who held a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6. There the Pens would seek out an overtime win to force a Game 7 that will long be remembered in team lore.
In a packed Wachovia Arena, the game was deadlocked at 2-2 and appeared to be heading to overtime for a second-straight game. With 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Alex Goligoski fired a prayer of a shot from the blue line. The puck struck goalie pads and rebounded onto the stick of Tim Brent, who whipped it into the net, sending the Pens to the Calder Cup Finals.
The 2013 WBS Pens became just the third team in the AHL's 77-year history to win a playoff series after falling behind 3 games to 0
May 20, 2013: Providence Bruins 1-2 (OT) Penguins
In the 2013 Eastern Conference semis, WBS fell behind in the series 0-3 to regular season champions Providence. Most pundits and online sportsbooks that take AHL bets and bets for other major sports leagues had written off the Pens, as evident by their +219 longshot odds of winning Game 7.
While we know now WBS would outlast the Bruins 5-0 in that final game of the series, the most tension in a series filled with it came in Game 6. A span of five minutes in the second period saw both teams score their only goals of regulation. Providence fired everything they could at Wilkes-Barre netminder Brad Thiessen, who stopped 46 of an amazing 47 shots he faced that day. WBs themselves would only get the puck on net 18 times, the last of which was a Trevor Smith backhander that would miraculously tie the series at three games apiece. The win in Game 7 marked just the third time in AHL history a team has won a series after going down 0-3.