PENGUINS STRETCH WIN STREAK TO FIVE GAMES WITH 6-4 WIN OVER PHANTOMS
WILKES-BARRE, PA – Ben Lovejoy turned in a three point night (2+1), Bill Thomas picked up two points (1+1) and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins held on to take a 6-4 win against the Philadelphia Phantoms on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza.
The win was the Penguins’ 10th in the month of December - a new team record - and upped the team’s record to 21-11-1-1 on the season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton moved to within one point of the second place Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the East Division standings, while the Phantoms (19-14-0-1) remained winless in their past four games.
The Penguins carried a 3-2 lead into the third period, and stretched that to 5-2 on goals by Janne Pesonen and Ben Lovejoy. But late penalties to Joey Mormina and Jon D’aversa gave the Phantoms a five-on-three power play inside the last three minutes of play, and Patrick Maroon made sure the chances weren’t squandered. The rookie forward scored twice in a 51 second span to close the gap to 5-4 with 40 seconds to play.
Lovejoy iced the game with an empty net score with four ticks left on the clock, ensuring the Penguins of their fifth straight win.
Aaron Boogaard opened the scoring with his first American Hockey League goal at 2:54 of the first period, and Chris Minard drove the net for his league-high 26th tally just over 13 minutes into the opening frame.
Sean Curry scored on the power play 36 seconds into the middle period, and Jonathan Matsumoto beat John Curry at 6:28 to even the score at 2-2.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looked poised to take the lead back when they went on an extended two man advantage just two minutes after Matsumoto’s equalizer, but they couldn’t get by Scott Munroe, who made a dozen saves during the power play opportunity.
But Munroe couldn’t stop Bill Thomas’ odd angle shot from the left side of the net, which gave the Pens’ center his second goal in as many games after suffering through a 12 game goal drought.
The Penguins outshot the Phantoms, 49-33, and tied a team record for shots in a home period with 24 in the second period.
NOTES: Minard tied the team record for power play goals in a season with his 13th of the year in the first period. The record was originally set by Greg Crozier in 2000-01, and tied by Minard last year…Minard also stretched his team-record goal streak to seven games, and extended his point streak to nine games (10+3-13 from Nov. 28-Dec. 30)…The Penguins won nine games during the month of December in each of the past three seasons.