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PENGUINS LET ONE SLIP AWAY IN THIRD, FALL TO CRUNCH

SYRACUSE, NY - John Curry was perfect through the first 24 shots he faced on Friday night. It was the next four that proved to be a problem. A pair of goals within the first three minutes of the third period did the Penguins in, as the Syracuse Crunch took a 4-2 win at the OnCenter on Friday night. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fell to 38-20-2-2 with the loss, while the Crunch upped their record to 30-26-4-2. Syracuse scored three times on four shots between the 11:58 mark of the second period and the 2:45 mark of the third to overcome a 2-0 deficit for the victory. The loss was just the second in regulation for the Penguins this season when they carried a lead into the final frame. “Our first period was one of our best periods of the year,” said head coach Todd Reirden. “Twenty shots on net, carry the play the entire time, power play goal. It’s everything that we talk about and the way we have success. We got away from that obviously in the second period, had to do a lot of penalty killing and special teams play. That comes back to cost us.” Janne Pesonen started off the scoring just 2:17 into the game, picking up a deflected clearing attempt in the slot and then burying his 20th of the season far side on Dan LaCosta. He followed that up with a beautiful redirect off a Jeff Taffe feed during the Pens’ first power play of the evening at 10:35. Things started to turn from there on out. The Penguins found themselves whistled for three penalties in the first eight minutes of the second period, allowing the Crunch to gain back some control. “We had four lines rolling in the first period. We got out of sync, we lost any momentum that we had. We started to get some more momentum and then we’d have to kill penalties,” said Reirden. “The fact we got out of our rhythm and got out of our game let them back in.” John Curry stopped the first 24 shots he faced, before Derek MacKenzie dinged a shot off the inside of the far corner at 11:58 of the second period. The Penguins kept the pressure on late, and Pesonen came close to completing the hat trick during a five-on-three power play that lasted 44 seconds. But LaCosta came up big several times during the 44 second long two-man advantage, keeping the Crunch within striking distance after 40 minutes. Alexandre Picard tied the game 43 seconds into the third period, picking up a rebound on the far side of the crease and slipping a shot under Curry’s right leg for his sixth goal of the season. Trevor Frischman grabbed what turned out to be the decisive goal two minutes later, deflecting a Kyle Wharton point shot at the crease. The Penguins had great opportunities to tie the game late as Dan Smith (holding) and Craig MacDonald (charging) were handed penalties within the final eight minutes of play. But LaCosta was up to the task, holding the Penguins off the scoreboard and making 41 saves en route to his 18th win of the season. NOTES: Andy Wozniewski made his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton debut, picking up four penalty minutes on the night.

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