WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — After 65 minutes of play, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Joseph Cramarossa finally netted the game-winning goal in the third round of a shootout for a 3-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday.
Two goals from Ryan Haggerty propelled the Penguins (18-14-4-1) to an early lead in both the first and second periods, while goaltender Tristan Jarry made 28 saves on the night to help Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to its third-straight win over Grand Rapids in the arena, despite a 31-save effort from Patrik Rybar.
The shootout loss continued a current six-game point streak for the Griffins (19-11-3-3), who will travel southwest on Saturday to face the Hershey Bears at 7 p.m. Grand Rapids will close out its three-game road stretch on Wednesday, when it travels to Milwaukee to face the Admirals at 8 p.m. EST.
Haggerty didn’t wait to open scoring in the first period, tallying the game’s first goal just 17 seconds in. Defenseman Tim Erixon took a shot from the point that ricocheted off Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Chad Ruhwedel onto the doorstep, where Haggerty managed to tap it past Rybar.
By the 3:45 mark, both of the first period’s two goals had already been scored. Wade Megan won a faceoff in the Penguins’ right-wing circle and sent the puck to Matthew Ford, who ripped a shot past Jarry to tie the game at 1-1.
A similar theme kicked off the second frame as Haggerty again put the Penguins in the lead just 6:06 into the period. After catching a pass from Erixon near the blue line, Haggerty skated the puck all the way into the slot and snapped it past Rybar on his right side for another one-goal advantage.
At 10:23, Derek Hulak set up Libor Sulak near the point, who took a shot that was blocked in the slot. Waiting on the doorstep, Turner Elson popped the rebound behind Jarry to even up the score once again at 2-2.
Thirty seconds of a leftover Penguins penalty from the end of the second period and four consecutive penalties granted the Griffins over six minutes on the power play in the final frame. Even though it outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 9-4, Grand Rapids couldn’t generate any goals with the advantage, leaving the 2-2 tie standing after 20 minutes and forcing the power play unit to an 0-for-6 finish on the night.
Rybar stuffed multiple breakaway chances and three shots in the overtime frame, while Jarry tallied two in the extra period to push the teams to a shootout. Shots from Chris Terry, Axel Holmstrom and Dominic Turgeon were all blocked by Jarry, allowing Cramarossa to net the game-winning goal in the third round.
Notes: The penalty kill finished the night a perfect 4-for-4...The Griffins and Penguins meet twice this season, with the last game at Van Andel Arena on Feb. 9...Haggerty’s goal in the first period was the fastest goal against Grand Rapids to start a game since April 3, 2009, when Hamilton’s Brock Trotter netted the opening tally just nine seconds into a matchup with the Griffins for a franchise record.
Three Stars: 1. WBS Cramarossa (shootout goal); 2. WBS Haggerty (two goals); 3. GR Elson (goal)