CASHMAN ON THE MONEY IN OVERTIME
WILKES-BARRE, PA - Reid Cashman netted his second game-winning goal in as many contests, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 4-3 overtime win against the San Antonio Rampage on Friday night at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Penguins, who now have a 31-16-1-2 record, good for 65 points. The Rampage fell to 21-30-1-1 with the loss.
But the win wasn’t without a scare. The Penguins held a 3-1 lead with two minutes to play in the game, only to see San Antonio score twice in a span of 69 seconds to force overtime.
“A two goal lead, late in the game, those are games we’re going to have to win and not give up,” said Cashman, who until earlier this week had yet to record an AHL goal. “But that happens in the game of hockey over an 80 game schedule. We came back and we battled pretty hard in the OT and eventually got the winner.”
Cashman picked up the decisive tally with 42 seconds left in the extra frame. Jean-Michel Daoust took the puck to the net, drawing a Rampage defender with him. He then dropped a pass to the trailing Cashman, who had the entire right side of the net at which to shoot.
“We had a long shift there, and you could tell they got tired. And as they got tired, we got a little bit more energy and took a few more chances,” he said. “[Jeff Taffe] and J.M. did all the work, and really worked hard down low. And J.M. made an unreal pass. I didn’t think he saw me, and it was on my tape.”
After a scoreless first period, it was the Penguins who drew first blood, as Janne Pesonen picked up a rebound while Nick Johnson distracted netminder Josh Tordjman. The power play tally came at 4:18 of the second.
The lead lasted nearly 10 minutes before Garth Murray rang up a power play goal of his own, scoring just 12 seconds into a Cashman interference call at 9:07.
The Penguins went back in front when Connor James wrapped around the San Antonio net and snuck a puck between the post and Tordjman’s right skate for his 14th goal of the season.
It looked like the home club would carry a one goal lead to the third period, but Pesonen intercepted a clearing attempt late in the frame, then waited on his backhand as Johnson broke toward the goal. Pesonen saucered a pass to the right wing, who got the shaft of his stick on the puck to redirect it in for his seventh goal of the year with 39 seconds left in the middle period.
Kevin Porter pulled the Rampage within one goal with a roofed shot at 18:14 of the third, and Chad Kolarik banged home his 14th of the year with the sixth attacker on to force overtime.
But Cashman’s second career AHL goal - and second in two games - pulled out the extra point for the Penguins.
“That happens to players sometimes, where they kind of get hot and streaky a bit,” he told a gaggle of reporters afterwards. “I can’t take too much credit for that last one. Taffer and J.M. had an unreal shift, you guys probably could have scored that goal with how much open time and net I had.”