PENS END TRIP WITH 5-3 SETBACK IN WESTERN NEW YORK
ROCHESTER, NY – Michal Repik’s goal capped off a three-goal third period, and Alexander Salak stopped 29 shots as the Rochester Americans skated to a 5-3 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night at Blue Cross Arena.
The line of Eric Tangradi, Joe Vitale, and Tim Wallace got things going to start the contest, with Wallace exiting the contest just two seconds in after a spirited but quick scrap with the Amerks’ Mike Duco. With Wallace serving his fighting major, Zach Sill temporarily replaced him on the line and had an immediate impact. He earned his second assist in as many nights by taking an initial shot, which Vitale banked in on the rebound past Salak to give the visitors a 1-0 edge at the 4:46 mark.
The Amerks knotted the score when a Keaton Ellerby dump-in took a bad bounce off the back glass and ended up in front of the net vacated by Penguins netminder Brad Thiessen. Daniel Steiner had an easy tap-in to tie the game at one at the 7:40 mark.
With the score even to start the second, former Penguins center Jeff Taffe gave the Amerks their first lead at 3:31 as he unloaded a bomb from the top of the left circle that beat Thiessen low.
The Penguins evened the score at two at the 12:49 mark on a pretty play by Eric Tangradi. The rookie winger fed Ben Lovejoy at the left point, and his slapper was tipped home by Luca Caputi stationed at the net front.
The Amerks went back on top just 1:26 into the third period. Taffe made a feed across to his left to Steiner, who put the puck back in front for Jamie Johnson to notch his 18th of the season. The hosts added to their lead when Repik one-timed a Chris Taylor feed over Thiessen’s shoulder at 8:55.
One of the prettiest Penguins goals in several years came from Conner at 13:29 when he took a feed from Nate Guenin and sent a one-handed breakaway shot over the glove of Salak to pull the Pens within 4-3. A late power play for the visitors went by unsuccessfully, and with Thiessen off for the extra attacker, Taffe completed a two-goal night by curling a low roller into the empty net with 2.5 seconds left.
The Penguins power-play streak halted at three games as they finished the night 0-for-4. The Amerks went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Salak earned his 20th win of the season to improve to 20-6-0, while Thiessen fell to 2-6-0 with his 20-save effort.
The Penguins return home to the newly-named Mohegan Sun Arena for a matchup against the Hershey Bears next Friday, January 29th at 7:05 pm. The Manitoba Moose will follow with a pair of games on Saturday, January 29th at 7:05 pm and Sunday, January 30th at 3:05 pm. The first 5,000 fans through the gates on Saturday will receive a McCarthy Tire/Bridgestone All-Star Poster.