PENGUINS CROWN MONARCHS, 4-1
WILKES-BARRE, PA – Bill Thomas netted two goals, Connor James pikced up three points (1+2) and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 4-1 win over the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday night at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
The win upped the Penguins record to 26-15-1-2 on the season, while Manchester dipped to 18-20-0-5.
Thomas, who was assigned to Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day and didn’t arrive in the city until 4:00pm, posted his first multi-goal game of the season and recorded his first game-winning goal of the year.
On the other end of the ice, John Curry continued to show fine form, stopping 29 of 30 shots for his 10th win in his last 13 games. Curry has stopped 64 of the past 65 shots he has faced after shutting out the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 3-0, on Sunday.
“They made us play in the D zone quite a bit tonight. More than we were in the offensive zone,” said head coach Dan Bylsma. “Joey Mormina, Ben Lovejoy are matched up against their best line. They did a good job limiting their opportunities. They did have the zone time, but we kept them to the outside and we did do a good job back there.
“Billy Thomas, Nick Johnson were both good for us, and John Curry was great back there. There were some flurries, there were some big saves, there were a couple unorthodox saves, but he was up to the task.”
Mark Letestu opened the scoring 3:35 into the game, taking a cross-ice pass from Ben Lovejoy and tipping home a goal for his third consecutive game.
The 1-0 score stood until Thomas redirected a Luca Caputi feed past Dan Taylor at 15:59 of the second period to extend the lead.
Former Penguins draft pick Matt Moulson snapped Curry’s second straight shutout attempt, creeping in on the far post and potting a Teddy Purcell pass behind the Pens netminder for a power play score with 56 seconds left in the middle period.
Thomas notched a power play goal of his own midway through the third period, and Connor James found the empty net at 19:39 for his 13th goal of the season.