WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Harry Zolnierczyk, Nick Drazenovic and Mike Carman provided the scoring, and Jeff Deslauriers stopped 23 shots as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 3-2 win over the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The win was the second in a row for the Penguins (28-16-1-3, 60 points), who closed to within two points of the first place Binghamton Senators in the East Division race. The Phantoms saw their record fall to .500 (22-22-0-2, 46 points) as they dropped their second consecutive game.
The Penguins were the beneficiaries of the NHL Olympic break earlier in the day, receiving Zolnierczyk back from Pittsburgh, and his insertion into the Wilkes-Barre lineup paid immediate dividends.
The former Phantom broke in on goaltender Cal Heeter, who deflected the attempt from a streaking Zolnierczyk to the far boards. But Drazenovic picked up the puck and wristed a shot that, thanks in part to a Zolnierczyk screen, found the back of the net at 7:14 of the first.
That score held until early in the second period when Brandon Alderson skated in on a two-on-one and beat Deslauriers short side to even the game at 1-1 1:57 into the middle frame.
Zolnierczyk put the Pens into the lead for good by skating behind the Phantoms net and wrapping the puck around the far post for his 15th AHL tally of the year at 13:40 of the second.
Carman netted what proved to be the eventual game-winner, taking a long breakout pass from Simon Despres and beating Heeter top shelf for his fifth goal of the campaign midway through the third period.
Jason Akeson was the beneficiary of a deflection off of a Pens stick that fluttered over Deslauriers’ blocker for his team-leading 17th goal of the season.
A late power play and Heeter being pulled led to a 6-on-4 advantage of Adirondack, but the visitors couldn’t beat Deslauriers, who posted his third win in four tries against the Phantoms this season.