CURRY REACHES MILESTONE, BAYDA NETS TWO IN PENGUINS’ WIN
WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, PA – The Syracuse Crunch rode two power play goals and one shorthanded tally through 65 minutes of regulation, but ran into the wall known as John Curry in the shootout as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 4-3 win on Saturday night.
Curry turned aside 29 of 32 Crunch shots, and then went 4-for-4 in the shootout to earn a milestone 60th franchise win as a member of the Penguins. Ryan Bayda scored twice and Tim Wallace contributed with his first goal of the season.
The Penguins struck first thanks to a superb effort by Dustin Jeffrey to beat a Crunch defenseman to a loose puck behind the Syracuse net. Jeffrey flipped the puck toward the top of the crease where Wallace was waiting. He sent a one-handed backhander off a body and past Crunch goaltender Dan LaCosta for the 1-0 lead. But less than a minute later, with Joe Vitale in the box for holding, Tom Sestito made a nice individual effort to scoop the puck home from his knees to knot the score at 1-1.
After a quick but spirited scrap between Aaron Boogaard and Jon Mirasty, the Penguins would be given a 5-on-3 advantage after Konstantin Pushkarev mixed it up with Crunch forward Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman behind the Syracuse net. Chris Conner would fire a pass along the goal line, and Bayda was in front to tip it home.
The Penguins would hold the 2-1 lead until Crunch defenseman Jonathan Sigalet snuck through the slot on a power play and finished a Pascal Pelletier pass to tie the score back up at11:31 of the third. The Penguins would go back on their man advantage with Trevor Frischmon serving a holding penalty, but it was captain Derek MacKenzie that would tally shorthanded to give Syracuse a 3-2 advantage.
The Penguins would only need another 31 seconds to get the equalizer on a fluke goal by Bayda. His slapshot from the high slot was sticked into the air by LaCosta, but the puck came down with just the right english to bounce over the goal line.
After a scoreless overtime, head coach Todd Reirden elected to allow the Crunch to shoot first, and it was a good decision. Curry would deny Jared Aulin, and Mark Letestu, playing in his first home game since returning from injury, opened the scoring by beating LaCosta low. Curry would go on to stop MacKenzie, Pascal Pelletier,and Maksim Mayorov, and Wyatt Smith would add a third-round tally to give the Penguins two points.
LaCosta turned aside 36 of 39 Penguins shots in the losing effort. The Penguins improved to 3-2-0-0, while the Crunch fell to 2-3-0-1.
The Penguins will play their final home game of the month on Friday, October 23rd at 7:05 pm when they take on the Hershey Bears. Great seats are available by visiting the Wachovia Arena box office or any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets are available for purchase by phone by calling 1-800-745-3000.
NOTES: C Dustin Jeffrey has five assists over his last two games, after finishing the night with three helpers… LW Ryan Bayda has tallied three goals over his last two games, two on the power play… C Mark Letestu is 7-for-14 (50%) in shootouts overall… G John Curry improved to 9-4 in shootouts…The Penguins were 1-for-3 on the penalty kill after going 19-for-20 over the first four games of the season… The Crunch are the only team to score a power play goal against the Penguins so far this season.