MINARD’S RETURN LEADS TO PENS WIN IN HOUSTON
HOUSTON, TX – Chris Minard paced the Penguins with three goals, leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 4-3 win against the Houston Aeros on Sunday evening at the Toyota Center. The win upped the Penguins' record to 5-3-0-1 on the year, while Houston fell to 6-4-0-0 while suffering the team's first home loss of the season.
Minard, who was reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from Pittsburgh earlier in the day, continued his torrid scoring streak at the AHL level. He now has 10 goals and 16 points in just eight games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, placing him first in the league in goals and second in points.
The teams battled through a scoreless first period before Minard struck for his seventh goal of the year 1:10 into the middle frame. Dustin Jeffrey and Janne Pesonen, who also returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton following recall to Pittsburgh, picked up assists on the goal.
Former Penguin Krys Kolanos tied the score at 1-1 with his seventh goal of the year less than three minutes later, before Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took control.
Tim Wallace picked up his second goal in as many games at 9:08, with Jeff Taffe and Jonathan Filewich assisting.
Taffe added his second assist of the night 6:40 later, setting up Minard's second tally. That gave Taffe five consecutive games with at least two points scored.
But the Aeros would fight back in the third, with John Insana and Marco Rosa scoring 17 seconds apart within the first three and a half minutes to even things at 3-3.
But Minard made sure his return was a victorious one, scoring just 24 seconds after Rosa's goal. That turned out to be Minard's third game-winning goal of the season, the most in the AHL so far this season.
The hat trick was the third of Minard's Penguins career, with the others coming October 3, 2007 against the Hershey Bears and January 2, 2008 against the Syracuse Crunch.
John Curry picked up his second win in as many games, stopping 34 shots. Former Penguins netminder Nolan Schaefer took the loss for Houston, turning aside 16 of 20 attempts.
NOTES: Taffe finished the night with three assists, and now has 11 points (6+5) in his past five games... Pesonen recorded two assists, and now has nine helpers in seven games with the AHL Penguins.