WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3, CHICAGO 2
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. … Nathan Smith’s shot hit a defenseman and deflected into the net at 2:21 of the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie and giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 3-2 win over Chicago on Friday in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals at Wachovia Arena.
All three of the Penguins’ goals came on the power play, allowing them to keep their season alive and force Game 5 on Saturday night. The Wolves still hold a 3-1 lead in the series.
For the second straight contest, the Penguins scored the game’s first goal. With his team holding a 5-on-3 power play advantage, Chris Minard received a pass down low from Tim Brent and fired the puck into a wide-open net at 13:32 of the opening period.
The Wolves would then climb back to even on a pair of power play markers by Darren Haydar. Just 2:09 after Gove’s goal, he completed a tic-tac-toe passing play in the offensive end, receiving a feed from Jesse Schultz and putting it in an open net to the stick side of Penguins netminder John Curry.
Haydar’s game-tying goal came at 16:30 of the middle stanza. He carried the puck behind the net, came out in front to the left of Curry and sent a sharp backhand past the rookie goaltender.
With the Penguins on a power play early in the third period, Smith held the puck on the right wing and fired a shot toward the net. It caromed off the skate of Wolves defenseman Brian Sipotz and just trickled over the goal line to make it 3-2.
Chicago pressed the Penguins’ zone in the final minutes in an attempt to get the equalizer, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton made several key clears to secure the victory.
Gove and Smith each finished with a goal and an assist, and Curry stopped 16 of 18 shots in the winning effort. Pavelec took the loss with 20 saves.
The Penguins went 3-for-7 on the power play and Chicago finished at 2-for-5.
The win allowed the Penguins to snap a nine-game losing streak in Calder Cup Finals games, dating back to a 6-4 win over Saint John in Game 4 of the 2001 championship round on May 23, 2001.
The Wolves will get their second shot at claiming the Calder Cup when Game 5 goes on Saturday night Wilkes-Barre.