WILKES-BARRE, PA- One night after the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got a big overtime victory over the Milwaukee Admirals, the banged up and call-up ravaged Rochester Americans rolled into town to face the Atlantic Division-leading Penguins for Teddy Bear Toss Night.
Unfortunately for the Penguins, Evan Rodrigues spoiled the party. Rodrigues had two goals and an assist, and Linus Ullmark made 17 saves to lead the Americans to a 5-2 victory on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
The first period was an evenly contested affair that saw Rochester lead in shots 10-8. The Penguins successfully killed a pair of power plays, and Penguin goalie Anthony Peters, making his team debut after signing a Professional Tryout from the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, was able to settle into the game.
The second period, though it started well, quickly went off the rails. Teddy Blueger notched his fourth of the season when he deflected an Andrey Pedan point shot past Ullmark at 3:30, sending the Bears flying to the ice.
The Penguins probably wish the delay to clean up the stuffed animals never happened.
They led for all of 5:20 when Rochester’s Eric Cornel would score the first of what became four straight goals. Cornel took a pass from behind the net from Nicholas Baptiste and beat Peters from the slot.
Less than two minutes later, a slick pass from Seth Griffith gave Rochester a lead it would not relinquish.
Griffith sped down the wing, pulled a full stop in front of the crease, spun around and clicked off a pass that enabled Rodrigues to put the puck into a yawning cage past a down and out Peters.
After Garret Ross made it 3-1 less than three minutes later, a C.J. Smith centering pass clicked off Rodrigues’ skate and through Peters’ pads.
The Penguins had some jump in the third, but by the time Blueger cut the deficit to two at 14:29, it was too late. A misplayed puck from Ullmark behind the net went right to the Latvian forward, and he wrapped it around the post for the first multi-goal game of his professional career.
Smith added an empty netter with 56 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.
Notes: Penguins F Dominik Simon left the game in the second period after blocking a shot and did not return. There was no update to his status after the game.
Three Stars: 3) RCH-C.J. Smith (Goal, Two Assists)
2) WBS-Andrey Pedan (Assist)
1) RCH-Evan Rodrigues Two Goals, Assist)
Up Next: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Hershey on Sunday to close out the weekend. Puck drop at GIANT Center is scheduled for 5 P.M. EST.