UTICA, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won their third-consecutive game with a 3-2 triumph over the Utica Comets at Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.
Goaltender Casey DeSmith turned in one of the finest goaltending performances of the year with 27 saves as the Penguins (32-9-3-0) maintained their hold on the top spot in the American Hockey League.
Josh Archibald got Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on the board first with a blistering shot that went top shelf off the rush at 8:16 of the opening frame. The Penguins struck again from long distance when Tim Erixon ripped a slap shot from the blue line into the back of the net at 14:29, making it 2-0.
Early in the second period, the Comets appeared to have their first goal of the game on a perfectly executed three-on-one odd man rush, only to be denied by a lunging glove save by DeSmith.
After a scoreless middle frame, Utica cut their deficit in half with a power play goal 1:23 into the third. Alexandre Grenier unloaded a potent slapper from the point that found its way through traffic and past DeSmith, making it 2-1.
The Penguins answered back shortly thereafter, though. Immediately after the expiration of a man advantage, Derrick Pouliot tickled the twine for his second goal of the season, putting the Penguins back up by a pair at 3-1.
With the goalie pulled, the Comets pulled closer to the Penguins with an extra attacker tally from Evan McEneny with 2:55 remaining in regulation. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton weathered the storm and hung on for a win, ending Utica’s seven-game point streak.
DeSmith improved his personal record to 13-2-2 on the season, while Comets goalie Richard Bachman made 27 saves in the loss.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 28, when they travel further south in New York to take on the Binghamton Senators. The Penguins’ next home game is Friday, Feb. 3 for the first visit in 2016-17 by the St. John’s IceCaps to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Individual game tickets for Feb. 3’s game and all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.