CURRY CARRIES PENGUINS TO 4-3 SHOOTOUT WIN
WILKES-BARRE, PA - John Curry turned in a stunning performance on Friday night, stopping 46 shots during regulation and overtime, then snuffing all four shootout attempts he faced to lead the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-3, come-from-behind win against the Hershey Bears at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
The win raised the Pens record to 28-16-1-2 on the season, and 5-1-0-0 against the Bears - the lone loss coming in the season opener back on October 8.
Curry was clearly the difference, especially late in the game. He stopped a pair of prime scoring chances in overtime, then made incredible saves against Alexandre Giroux and Keith Aucoin in the shootout to secure the extra point.
“Some big time saves in the end there...He was the first star of the game,” said head coach Dan Bylsma.
Curry made a sweeping glove save on Giroux in the third round, then kept Aucoin from scoring with a tremendous five-hole save before Connor James iced the game with a fifth round score.
“I guessed glove, and I tell you what, if [Giroux] would have went blocker, it wouldn’t have looked very good, because I was going glove the whole way,” said Curry. “[Aucoin] had me beat for sure. He slid it five hole and I just in desperation threw my toe behind me and kind of got it right on the goal line. That one’s more lucky than anything.”
Hershey jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Quintin Laing’s first period follow up of a Steve Pinizzotto shot that flipped over Curry’s shoulder at 7:27.
Tim Wallace evened the game at 1-1 early in the second. James stole a clearing attempt at the Hershey blueline, then found his linemat breaking in ahead of Sami Lepisto. Wallace was hacked and whacked as he headed to the net, but still found a way to fend off the defenseman and score on the delayed penalty.
The Bears took advantage of a steal of their own six minutes later, as Jay Beagle picked Jeff Taffe’s pocket, then fed Chris Bourque on the two-on-zero to put the visitors back in front.
Bourque was credited with the third Hershey goal as well, although it was actually Penguins blueliner Joey Mormina who roofed a puck into his own net at 2:42 of the third period.
But the Pens were far from done. Tommy Goebel slipped a pass to Luca Caputi at the top of the Hershey crease, who then swung around and scored on the backhand midway through the third frame, and Dustin Jeffrey forced the extra frame with a wrister that Michael Neuvirth couldn’t handle with less than three minutes to play.
“Against a very good team, we found a way to scratch and claw our way back into it,” said Bylsma. “We’re starting to develop that third period mentality where we can, if we put our nose to the grindstone, we can do it.”