WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were unable to finish off the Syracuse Crunch, falling 4-3 in the shootout at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Andrew Ebbett scored twice for the Penguins, who pulled ahead of Norfolk and into first place in the East Division after gaining a point on Wednesday night.
With game tied, 2-2, in the third period, it would be the Penguins pulling ahead. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had outscored opponents by a 19-5 margin in the third this season and tacked on their 20th to take its first lead of the game. Syracuse goalie Kristers Gudlevskis came out play away a 50-50 puck in front of his net, but Andrew Ebbett won the race and pushed a shot past the diving goalie at 12:47 for his second goal of the night.
Just moments later, J.P. Cote ripped a shot from the point that bounced off of Penguins goalie Jeff Deslauriers and right to the waiting Evan Rankin, who was able to bat in the rebound with 4:22 remaining to force overtime.
Only 37 seconds into the extra frame, Zolnierczyk was tripped on a mini-breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Zolnierczyk was denied his second goal of the night by Gudlevskis and the game would ultimately head to the shootout. Both Deslauriers and Gudlevskis would finish with 23 saves on the night.
Tanner Richard and Nikita Kucherov were both able to convert for the Crunch, while Gudlevskis kept four Penguins shooters off the scoreboard as the Crunch skated off with the victory.
Syracuse got a quick start on the night, scoring only 4:44 into the first period. Danick Gauthier intercepted a pass at his own blueline and got behind the Penguins defense before backhanding the puck past Deslauriers to give the Crunch the lead, 1-0.
At 12:39 of the same period, Zolnierczyk took a shot from the far circle and deposited his own rebound to even the game at one.
A power play goal by Nikita Nesterov put the Crunch on top once again with 5:29 left until the first intermission.
Ebbett’s first of the night pulled tied the match once again as his wraparound found space inside the far post at 13:56 of the second.
The Penguins will finish off their home-stand on Friday night when they host the Albany Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Tune into the Sports Hub 102 or on AHL Live.
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