Gaudreau, Miletic send Penguins to OT win

Tyler Piccotti, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·3 min read

Feb. 28—Back from a bout with mononucleosis, Sam Miletic wasted no time helping the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Miletic scored in the third period and assisted another tally, and Freddy Gaudreau's first goal as a Penguins was the overtime winner in a 5-4 decision over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday at PPL Center in Allentown.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton completed a 3-0 week to improve to 4-2-1. Jordy Bellerive also scored in his return from the Pittsburgh taxi squad, and goaltender Shane Starrett made 21 saves for a win in his first game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Turning point

With the Phantoms up, 3-2, in the second period, the next goal would be crucial in either burying the Penguins in too big a hole or allowing them to rally. Nick Schilkey put them in position for the latter.

With Gaudreau winning an offensive-zone draw, defenseman Billy Sweezey immediately sent the puck toward the net. Schilkey was cutting toward the slot and redirected the puck up and over the shoulder of goaltender Felix Sandstrom at 14:43.

The teams then played an even third period, trading goals before Gaudreau's heroics.

Three stars

— Bellerive scored on a nifty one-time pass from Miletic in the second period and was named the third star. His three goals this season lead the Penguins.

— Max Willman erased two one-goal deficits for Lehigh Valley after scoring in Wednesday's game between the teams. He was star No. 2.

— Gaudreau received top honors for his winner, which came after a turnover and patient stick work to avoid a sliding defender.

Forrest's takeaway

"It's a good feeling when you know the guys kind of always have something extra in the back pocket, and they just don't get down. They pick each other up and, whether we're up and the other team scores a goal or we're just maintaining a lead, we're learning a lot about each other as teammates and staff members. It's great to see the resiliency night in and night out."

Stat to know

Lehigh Valley scored two power play goals, including Zayde Wisdom's equalizer in the third period. That was more than its total output on the man-advantage in six games prior.

Pens notes

— Schilkey was bumped to the top line for this game, while Miletic and Bellerive slotted in together on the third line. Luke Stevens and Michael Joly were the healthy scratches bumped out with those two back.

— Forward Justin Almeida was injured in practice on Tuesday and is considered week-to-week.

Up next

The Penguins return home for a 5 p.m. puck drop Wednesday against the Syracuse Crunch.

Penguins 1 2 1 1 — 5

Leh. Valley 1 2 1 0 — 4

First period: Scoring — 1, WBS, Robert (Zohorna), 9:11; 2, LV, Willman (Wisdom, O'Reilly), 13:40. Penalties — WBS, Drozg, tripping 14:54; WBS, Robert, slashing 17:24.

Second period: Scoring — 3, WBS, Bellerive (Miletic, Schilkey), 1:09; 4, LV, Willman (Pouliot, Millman), 4:27; 5, LV, Fitzgerald (O'Reilly, Millman), 7:26 (PP); 6, WBS, Schilkey (Sweezey, Gaudreau), 14:43. Penalties — WBS, Lee, boarding 6:22; LV, O'Reilly, holding 11:27.

Third period: Scoring — 7, WBS, Miletic (Bellerive, Czuczman), 0:27; 8, LV, Wisdon (Fitzgerald), 16:54 (PP). Penalties — WBS, Olson, tripping 13:41; WBS, Bellerive, interference 16:16.

Overtime: Scoring — 9, WBS, Gaudreau, 0:40. Penalties — None.

Shots on goal: WBS 9 15 10 2 — 36; LV 9 8 8 0 — 25.

Goaltenders: WBS, Starrett (21 saves on 25 shots); LV, Sandstrom (31 saves on 36 shots).

Power-play opportunities: WBS 0 for 1; LV 2 for 5.

Referees: Mike Dietrich and Mason Riley. Linesmen: John Rey and J.P. Waleski.

Contact the writer: tpiccotti@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2089; @CVPiccotti on Twitter