WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, Pa – Brett Connolly and Jon DiSalvatore each chipped in three points as the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-2 tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Connolly and DiSalvatore each recorded a goal and two assists while goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 24 of 26 shots to lift the Crunch to 15-14-2-3 on the season and 10-7-2-1 away from the War Memorial. The Crunch now trail the Penguins 2-4-0-0 in the season series.
The Crunch took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on the strength of two power-play goals. Vladislav Namestnikov opened the scoring by capitalizing on a five-on-three man advantage 13:17 into the period. Still on the power play, thirty seconds later, DiSalvatore redirected a Connolly shot past Penguins netminder Jeff Deslauriers to double the Crunch lead. The goal was DiSalvatore’s first as a member of the Crunch.
Another two goals in a one minute span doubled the Crunch lead halfway through the middle frame. Connolly scored his ninth goal of the season and third point of the net 8:04 into the period. Nikita Nesterov’s shot went wide of the net but bounced off the glass to Connolly who was able to sneak it past Deslauriers for a 3-0 Crunch lead. Cedric Paquette made it 4-0 after scoring on his own rebound 8:59 into the second period. The goal prompted the Penguins to make a goalie change, bringing in Eric Hartzell in relief of Deslauriers. Deslauriers allowed four goals on 17 shots.
The Penguins got on the board late in the second period with a goal from Phillip Samuelsson. A long pass from Denver Manderson hit Samuelsson as he was exiting the penalty box, springing him for a one-on-one with Gudlevskis. Samuelsson scored on the breakaway cutting the Crunch lead to 4-1 with 2:21 to play in the period.
Samuelsson cut the Penguins deficit in half with his second goal of the night 15:11 into the final frame. Gudlevskis made the initial save on a Tom Kuhnhackl shot but Samuelsson scored on the rebound.
The Crunch will conclude a season-high stretch of five consecutive road games in Providence on Jan. 10.
CRUNCHABLES: Defenseman Joey Mormina has five points in his last three games (2g, 3a) … Brett Connolly extended his point streak to eight consecutive games…Connolly has 16 points (7g, 9a) over the past eight games and three consecutive multi-point games…Including tonight, Connolly has scored the game-winning goal in the Crunch’s last four wins…With one goal tonight Vladislav Namestnikov has 25 points on the season, surpassing Nikita Kucherov (24 points) for the team lead…