BERKHOEL’S SHUTOUT STREAK ENDS; PENS POST 3-2 SHOOT OUT VICTORY
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Grand Rapids Griffins may have kept Adam Berkhoel from writing his name in the American Hockey League record book, but they couldn’t keep him from grabbing a win.
Berkheol stopped 35 of 37 shots through regulation and overtime, then stuffed all four shootout attempts he faced, helping the Penguins to a 3-2 victory against his former team on Friday night at the Van Andel Arena.
The win moved the Pens’ record to 10-6-0-1 on the season, while Grand Rapids fell to 8-4-2-2. It was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first win in five regular season tries against the Griffins.
Berkhoel, who entered the game riding a three game shutout streak, held the Griffins off the score sheet for the first 19:43 of the game, before Darren Helm moved in to net a shorthanded goal late in the period. That ended Berkhoel’s club-record scoreless streak at 202:43, which dated back to an October 24 meeting with the Manchester Monarchs.
The teams battled back and forth in the second frame, as Connor James netted his sixth goal of the season less than three minutes into the period, while Helm picked up his second of the night at the 12:30 mark to give the home club a one goal lead after 40 minutes.
That score held until the 14:31 mark, when Chris Minard netted his league-leading 15th goal of the season - his seventh on the power play - to tie the game once again and force overtime. Minard’s tally was the only power play score of the night in 17 combined tries.
Two of those man advantages - one for each club - came in overtime, where the Penguins outshot the Griffins 4-2. But neither team could capitalize on the one-minute power plays.
Janne Pesonen led off the shootout by beating Daniel Larsson, and Mark Letestu followed two shooters later with a score of his own, while Berkhoel stopped Ryan Oulahen, Ville Leino, Darren Helm and Darren Haydar to record his seventh win of the season.
The Penguins' three-game road swing continues Saturday afternoon, when they take on the Toronto Marlies at the Ricoh Coliseum. Game time is 4:00pm on AHLLive.com, 102.3 the Mountain and www.wbspenguins.com.