WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, CHARLOTTE 2
Eric Tangradi scored twice to take over the team lead in goals, and Nick Johnson netted the eventual game-winner as league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earned a 5-2 road win over Charlotte on Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The 21-year-old Tangradi now shows 15 goals (16-6-21) in 29 games for the Penguins this season and is already two shy of matching the 17 markers he recorded as a rookie in 2009-10.
Tangradi registered an even-strength goal late in the second period to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-0 lead at the time and then closed the game’s scoring with a last-minute empty-netter in the third.
Johnson finished with a goal and an assist on the night, including the ultimate game-winning goal at 9:06 of the third period. Dustin Jeffrey, whose 14 goals on the year are now one shy of Tangradi, picked up an assist for the first of his two helpers on the night.
Tim Wallace and defenseman Steve Wagner rounded out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s offense, and Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen made 25 saves to run his impressive season record to 15-3-0 in 19 appearances.
The Penguins improved their league-best mark to 27-8-0-0 (54 points) and have opened up a 10-point bulge on Charlotte and Norfolk atop the East Division.
Jacob Micflikier and defenseman Michal Jordan notched third-period goals for the Checkers to spoil Thiessen’s shutout bid, with the 20-year-old Jordan picking up the first tally of his professional career.
The teams will square off again on Wednesday night in Charlotte.
ROCHESTER 4, LAKE ERIE 3
A three-goal eruption in the middle of the second period proved to be the difference as Rochester edged host Lake Erie by a 4-3 count at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday.
The teams traded first-period markers, with Justin Mercier (12:03) scoring for Lake Erie and veteran defenseman Clay Wilson (14:52) answering for Rochester less then three minutes later. Both goals came unassisted.
The Amerks took control in the second by scoring three goals in a 5:13 span. Michal Repik (10:01) and rookie Scott Timmins (10:24) lit the lamp just 13 seconds apart, and Jordan Knackstedt followed at 15:14 with his second goal in 12 games in a Rochester uniform after arriving by trade from the Boston organization.
Lake Erie mounted an early third-period comeback when Travis Gawryletz and Ryan Stoa scored power play goals within seven seconds of each other, but the Monsters were unable to tie it up and saw their three-game home-ice winning streak come to an end.
These North Division rivals, who have split their first two meetings of the season, will do battle three more times before the month of January is over.
MANITOBA 2, ABBOTSFORD 1 (OT)
Sergei Shirokov scored just 33 seconds into overtime, nabbing the game-winning goal for the second time in as many nights as Manitoba took a 2-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat in on Tuesday night at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.
The Moose swept their two-game set in British Columbia and moved to 20-11-0-4 (44 points) for the season, now just one point back of first-place Hamilton in the North Division and still holding a game in hand on the Bulldogs.
Both teams jockeyed for position in a fast and physical first, but the period would end in a scoreless tie going in to the second.
Greg Nemisz put an end to Abbotsford’s 150-minute goal drought at 2:20 of the second period, as he picked his own rebound in the slot and fired it top shelf glove side past Moose goaltender Tyler Weiman to make it 1-0 Heat.
Both Abbotsford’s Leland Irving and Manitoba’s Weiman made key stops near the end of the second as the two teams traded last minute chances.
Shirokov continued his hot hand and get his third goal in two games on a 4-on-3 overtime power play, with captain Nolan Baumgartner earning the lone assist on the play.