WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Despite blowing a 4-1 first-period lead, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rallied for two goals in the third period to defeat the Charlotte Checkers, 6-4, Wednesday night in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Dustin Jeffrey, Tim Wallace and Ryan Craig, each netted two goals in the Penguins’ league-leading 35th win, while John Curry earned his 17th by making 34 saves on 38 shots. The victory came three days after the Checkers beat Curry for seven goals on 13 shots.
After relieving Justin Pogge in the first period, Mike Murphy made 25 saves on 27 shots for the Checkers, who dropped just their third game in the last 15 tries on the road.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton leading scorer Jeffrey opened the scoring with a shorthanded strike, 6:44 into the first period. Jeffrey grabbed the puck off a Checkers turnover, skated in and fired a shot at Pogge. He grabbed his own rebound and stuffed it home for his 16th of the season.
Ryan Craig put the Penguins ahead by two, just 36 seconds later, before Brett Carson rifled a one-timer over Curry’s shoulder to make it 2-1. The goal was Charlotte’s eighth power-play marker in the last three games.
Jeffrey then restored Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s two-goal lead, less than four minutes later, and Wallace made it 4-1, with less than four minutes to play in the period.
Oskar Osala potted his 13th with 22 seconds to play in the period, off a pass from Jacob Micflikier to make it 4-2 Penguins. The goal gave Osala his 40th point, good enough for second spot on the Checkers.
In the second period, Riley Nash narrowed the Penguins’ lead to 4-3 by scoring his second goal in as many games. Nicolas Blanchard started the play by firing a slap shot that caught John Curry under the chin. The shot stunned the Penguins netminder and gave Nash the chance to score on the rebound.
Just three minutes later, Jerome Samson picked up the puck at center ice and beat Curry with a forehand-to-backhand deke to tie the game, 4-4. Samson’s goal was his 22nd of the season and Brett Carson picked up his second point of the evening.
Less than three minutes into the third period, however, Penguins captain Ryan Craig fired a quick shot from the right faceoff dot past Murphy to put his team ahead once again. The power-play tally would turn out to be the game winner.
Tim Wallace scored his 15th of the season, with 5:27 remaining to make it 6-4 and Curry shut the door as the teams split the two-game mini-series.