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.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton made it 2-0 at 4:18 of the second period. Ben Lovejoy’s shot from the blue line was deflected by Dave Gove in traffic and made its way past Wolves goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
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.