Penguins Defeat Dea, Springfield
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — For the first time in his career, Jean-Sebastien Dea scored at Mohegan Sun Arena as a member of the opposing team.
However, his two-goal return wasn’t enough to stop a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins team with momentum again.
Joseph Cramarossa had the decisive tally with 3:49 left, and the Penguins overcame an onslaught of minor penalties in the second period to beat Dea and the Springfield Thunderbirds, 3-2. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton moved within five points of Hershey and idle Providence with the victory, setting up a crucial clash against the Bruins this Wednesday.
With both teams completing a three-in-three weekend, a mixture of fatigue and undisciplined play led them to combine for 17 minor penalties. The Penguins bent on the kill, allowing both of Dea’s goals, but they didn’t break after one final infraction late in the third.
“We told them in between the second and third we’ve got to stop and we’ve got to bear down, go shift to shift here, and stay off the refs,” Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli said.
“We got a lot of power plays in the second; we knew we were going to get some penalties. I thought the killers did a great job. Great Effort by our guys. I know it was tough on them; they were tired.”
Dea made his 300th AHL start — 288 having been with the Penguins — and was honored with a video highlight tribute in the first period. He also gave Springfield a 1-0 lead on the man-advantage when he broke free to the right of John Muse and roofed a shot past the goaltender.
Muse started for the first time since Feb. 17, ending Tristan Jarry’s streak of consecutive starts at 13. He was solid throughout the game, making 32 saves overall and only allowing Dea’s second goal on a rocket of a one-timer early in the third.
With the Thunderbirds trying to rally late, Muse stopped Dea, Ludwig Bystrom and Julian Melchiori all in the final two minutes.
He said he didn’t feel any kind of rust despite the long gap between starts.
“Whenever there’s a lot of special teams, you kind of have to stay in it with your communication,” Muse said. “It’s helpful when the guys clear pucks, you help out with breakouts and stuff like that, and you keep yourself in the game.”
Sam Miletic put the Penguins on the board late in the first with his own power-play goal, and Anthony Angello scored off a bad Springfield line change in the second to put them ahead. Both were assisted by Juuso Riikola, who put Angello off to the races with a great pass two-thirds up the ice.
Cramarossa won it off a mad scramble for the puck at the Springfield blue line. Linus Olund skated toward the slot before dishing to him on the right side.
“He saw me wide, great pass, and I’ve been deking a lot lately so I just decided to shoot it,” Cramarossa said. “Thank God.”
With every game essentially a playoff game from this point forward, Sunday’s win — combined with Saturday’s rally in Allentown — has Wilkes-Barre/Scranton headed in the right direction in the postseason chase.
“This is all we can ask for,” Cramarossa said. “If we win that one against Providence, we’re three (points) back and right in the mix. We’ve been looking forward to that, and I think it’s a great step forward going into that game.”
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