PENGUINS DOMINANT IN WIN OVER RIVER RATS
ALBANY, NY - Dustin Jeffrey netted two goals and Janne Pesonen crept closer to the Penguins single season scoring record, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton downed the Albany River Rats, 4-1, on Friday evening at the Times Union Center.
The win is the third in a row for the Penguins, who raised their record to 41-21-2-2 on the year, and closed the gap with second place Hershey to just one point (86 to 87). The Pens and Bears will meet Saturday night at the Giant Center.
For Jeffrey, who is more accustomed to playing a defensive role against the opposition’s big scorers, it was a welcome chance to chip in offensively.
“I don’t think there’s anyone that plays hockey that doesn’t like to score a couple of goals,” said the rookie, who recorded the first multiple goal game of his career on Friday. “If I can contribute that way, as well as play against other teams’ top lines, that’s a benefit to us.”
The Penguins came out firing on all cylinders, rattling off the first seven shots of the evening and taking a 15-2 advantage in pucks on net to the first intermission.
“Any game that we can get 15 shots, and allow somebody to have two or three shots, that’s what we want to do,” Jeffrey said of the opening frame. “We want to pressure them, we want to keep the puck in their end. It’s hard to score goals when there’s only two shots in a period.”
It was also a bit of a challenge for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the first 20 minutes, as Justin Peters was on top of his game in the early going, turning aside 14 of the 15 tires against him.
Jeffrey finally cracked the scoreless draw with 1:16 left in the period, picking up a rebound off his own backhand shot and putting it into the cage for his ninth of the season.
The Penguins opened things up in the second period, as Jean-Michel Daoust and Jeffrey netted goals just two-and-a-half minutes apart to give the visitors a three-goal cushion before the game was halfway over. Daoust buried a Pesonen drop pass in the slot at 5:23, giving him four of his 10 goals this season against the River Rats.
Jeffrey grabbed his second of the night when he pounced on a loose puck during a power play to hit double digits in goal scoring as well.
“We pressured, we got a lot of shots, a lot of traffic,” Jeffrey said of the scoring outburst. “So we kind of had a feeling it was coming.”
Jerome Samson spoiled Adam Berkhoel’s shutout attempt with a stuff home goal at 14:29 of the second.
Janne Pesonen got that one back with a third period tally, giving him three points on the night, and leaving him just one point shy of the team’s all-time record for points in a season, set by Toby Petersen during the 2000-01 campaign.
Pesonen now has eight points (2+6) in his past two games, 17 points (8+9) in his past nine games, and has 18 multi-point games on the season.
“The points happen to come now, and we have been playing a great game for a long time and have had a lot of chances,” said Pesonen.