WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins erased a three-goal deficit to come back and defeat the Rochester Americans, 5-4, in a shootout on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (24-26-4-5) received goals from four different players and perfect penalty killing during its comeback. Then when the game was on the line, goaltender Dustin Tokarski shut down the Americans’ skilled shooters to secure a key victory for the Black and Gold.
The Penguins came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. At one point in the first period, the team generated a 12-3 shots advantage. However, three quick odd-man rushes left Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stunned.
First, Rochester’s Jiří Kulich finished off a two-on-one rush at 11:18. Less than two minutes later, Mason Jobst buried a one-timer at the end of a three-on-two transition. Then at 17:24 of the opening frame, another odd-man rush culminated in a Sean Malone backdoor tap-in, creating a 3-0 lead for the visitors.
Refusing to enter the first intermission empty-handed, the Penguins put one on the board 21 seconds after Malone’s goal. Jonathan Gruden tipped in a point shot from Mitch Reinke, giving the home side some momentum going into the second period.
It was a long wait for the Penguins’ second goal, but they pulled within one on a man-advantage marker by Drake Caggiula with 67 seconds left in the middle frame.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck 19 seconds apart in the third period to flip its one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. Peter DiLiberatore tied the game, 3-3, with his second goal since joining the Penguins in a trade on Mar. 1. Then Justin Addamo swiftly put the Penguins on top, 4-3.
That lead was short-lived, as a tic-tac-toe setup by the Americans led to Jérémy Davies evening the scales, 4-4.
Five minutes of three-on-three overtime didn’t determine a victor, so the game went to a shootout. Ty Glover buried the game-winner for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while Tokarski turned away all three shots he faced.
Both Tokarski and Amerks goalie Malcolm Subban finished the game having made 31 saves on 35 shots faced.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 18, against the Syracuse Crunch. Game time between the Penguins and Crunch is 7:00 p.m. at Upstate Medical University Arena.
The Penguins’ next home game is next Saturday, Mar. 25, when the Black and Gold take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the club’s annual STAR…