PENS DISMISS PHANTOMS IN SHOOTOUT, 5-4
WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – John Curry turned aside 20 shots in regulation and four of five in the shootout to help the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 5-4 win over the Adirondack Phantoms on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The hosts would jump out to a 2-0 lead before the first period was halfway through on goals by Ben Lovejoy and Tim Wallace, who both tallied for the second consecutive game. Lovejoy snuck in to the bottom of the left circle and slammed a pass from Mark Letestu behind Phantoms netminder Johan Backlund at 7:06. Wallace followed up just 2:39 later as hard work in the corner between Joe Vitale and Eric Tangradi allowed the two linemates to find Wallace in the right circle.
The Phantoms would get the first goal back at 12:54 as Andreas Nodl finished off a behind-the-back pass from Mika Pyorala. The visitors would then tie the score at 15:17 as captain Jared Ross fired a slap shot off the back crossbar and behind Curry on a two-on-one rush.
With the score knotted at two after the first, Patrick Maroon picked up his sixth point against the Penguins this season by sending a shot past Curry at 1:48 of the second. The goal came on a hard effort by Logan Stephenson to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
The Penguins would be sent to their third penalty kill with just 2:34 left to play in the middle frame. With Deryk Engelland in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Chris Conner would pick up a loose puck at center ice and race in alone on Backlund. The native of Westland, Michigan tucked a backhander between Backlund’s pads for his eighth goal of the campaign, and the Penguins’ sixth shorthanded marker of the season.
Chris Lee would give the Penguins the lead back at 12:31 of the third, following up a shot which he first swept off the right post. The pass came from Luca Caputi and was started on hard work by Nick Johnson. But the Phantoms would once again silence the crowd as Jason Ward wristed a Curry poke-check into the net with just 2:48 left in regulation.
After a scoreless overtime, Mark Letestu scored his sixth career shootout goal by beating Backlund through the five-hole on the Penguins’ first shot, and Wyatt Smith would also beat the Phantoms goaltender with a blocker-side wrist shot in the third round. After saves on Ross and Jon Matsumoto, Andreas Nodl sent a hard wrister past the glove of Curry to pull the Phantoms within one. Backlund stopped Dustin Jeffrey and Nick Johnson in the Penguins’ last two rounds, and Curry went on to deny Pyorala and Maroon to earn the win.
The Penguins finished 0-for-2 on the power play, and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. The Penguins outshot the Phantoms 30-24 in the game. Curry picked up his 18th win of the season and improved to 18-14-1, while Backlund took the shootout loss to fall to 14-10-2.
The Penguins will observe their annual Military Appreciation Night this Friday, February 5th as the team hosts the Syracuse Crunch at 7:05 pm at Mohegan Sun Arena. The team will wear special military-themed jerseys, which will be auctioned off on the concourse during the game. Active and retired members of the armed forces can purchase a ticket to the game for as little as $16.25 and earn a Penguins baseball hat as a bonus. Tickets can be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet, via phone by calling 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting the Mohegan Sun Arena box office.
Friday night also marks the return of the popular $1 hot dog and draft beer nights. From 6:00-7:30, hot dogs are just $1 as are select draft beers for those over the age of 21. The special is good only while the supply lasts.
NOTES: John Curry won his 75th career game as a member of the Penguins with his 18th win, and saw his all-time record improve to 75-41-5… Eric Tangradi extended his point streak to five games with his assist in the first period… Luca Caputi extended his point streak to six games with his third-period helper… The Penguins are now 2-1 in shootouts this season, with John Curry owning a 10-5 career record in the extra session.