Penguins blank Crunch, soar to fifth straight win

Link to Wednesday’s boxscores

Nathan Smith and Kurtis McLean tallied two goals apiece and rookie goaltender John Curry picked up his first professional shutout as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blanked visiting Syracuse by a 4-0 final before 7,668 fans at the Wachovia Arena on Wednesday. The Penguins extended their season-high winning streak to five games.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored twice each in the first and second periods. McLean provided all the offense his club would need just 55 seconds into the game, and Smith made it 2-0 at 7:29.

Smith scored again at 8:34 of the second stanza, and McLean rounded out the game’s scoring less than two minutes later, at 10:21.

Both McLean and Smith netted their seventh and eighth goals of the campaign.

Curry made 20 saves in the shutout and improved his record to 4-3-1 on the season.

The Penguins and Crunch will complete a home-and-home in Syracuse on Thursday. The Crunch are 4-1-0-0 in their last five home contests, with the lone loss coming to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by a 4-2 score on Nov. 30

Lake Erie scored on three of its four shootout attempts to take a 2-1 win over visiting Grand Rapids at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Chris Stewart, David Jones, and Eric Healey all netted shootout goals for the Monsters, and defenseman Vladimir Denisov tallied the club’s lone regulation goal early in the second period.

The Griffins’ Evan McGrath evened the score at 7:44 of the second, and neither team scored for the remainder of regulation and overtime.

Monsters goaltender Mike Wall picked up the win with 32 saves through the first 65 minutes and stops on three of four Grand Rapids shootout attempts.

Albany scored a pair of power play goals just over two minutes apart in the first period and went on to a 3-1 win over host Binghamton at the Broome County Arena.

Keith Aucoin netted his sixth of the year at 7:46, and Jamie Johnson followed with his ninth at 9:50. Each player picked up the primary assist on the other’s goal.

Nicolas Blanchard sealed the win with an empty-netter late in the third period. Goaltender Michael Leighton stopped 37 of 38 shots in the victory.

Binghamton received its lone goal on the power play from Greg Mauldin, who initially gave the Senators a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the opening period.

Kris Newbury’s goal at 1:08 of the second period turned out to be the game-winner as Toronto edged host Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena.

The Marlies matched a season high with their fourth straight victory, a feat they previously accomplished from Oct. 6-20 and Nov. 3-16.

John Mitchell added a power play goal for Toronto, and goaltender Justin Pogge picked up the win with 21 saves.

David Brine initially gave Rochester a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal late in the first period, but the Amerks’ losing streak still stretched to 10 games.

Sean Bentivoglio netted the game-winner at 18:14 of the third period, his second goal of the night, as Bridgeport edged visiting Hershey by a 5-4 count at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

The goal spoiled Hershey’s comeback bid, as the Bears had erased a two-goal deficit on third-period goals by Jamie Hunt and Ben Clymer.

Jeff Tambellini notched a game-high four points (2-2-4) for the Sound Tigers, who also received three-point performances from Frans Nielsen (1-2-3) and Ben Walter (0-3-3).

Bridgeport goaltender Joey MacDonald earned the victory with 28 saves on 32 shots, helping his team move to 5-1-0-0 in its last six games.

Iowa center Perttu Lindgren scored the first two goals of his North American pro career as the host Stars downed Quad City, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Arena.

James Neal and Janos Vas also notched goals for the Stars, with Vas’ going into an empty net at 18:05 of the third period.

Iowa goaltender Tobias Stephan stopped 39 of 40 shots in the win, including 31 of 32 over the second and third periods.

Quad City’s Grant Stevenson was the only one to beat Stephan, scoring at 7:44 of the second period.

Kris Versteeg scored with just two seconds left in overtime to lift red-hot Rockford to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over host Peoria at the Carver Arena.

The IceHogs entered the third period down 3-1, but Bryan Bickell and Colin Fraser scored in the stanza to pull the visitors even.

Adam Hobson also scored for Rockford, marking his first professional goal. Goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 24 of 27 shots, helping the IceHogs move to 10-0-0-4 in their last 14 outings.

The Rivermen received goals from Martin Kariya, Mike Glumac, and Yan Stastny.

Houston netted a pair of second period goals and went on to a 2-0 win over visiting San Antonio at the AT&T Center.

Steve Kelly put the Aeros on the board at 1:53 of the second, and Marc Pouliot provided insurance with just three seconds left in the period.

Houston goaltender Nolan Schaefer stopped all 26 shots he faced, picking up his third shutout of the campaign.

With the victory, the Aeros improved to 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games and won both games of a brief two-game homestand.