Newcomers Daoust and Gove Give Pens 5-3 win
WILKES-BARRE, PA - Jean-Michel Daoust signed a tryout contract with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins more than two weeks ago. But, due to a six-game road trip during the past two weeks, the Wachovia Arena crowd didn't get its first glimpse of the diminutive scorer until Friday night.
They liked what they saw.
Daoust showed off some nifty moves, picked up two points (1+1) and helped the Penguins to a 5-3 win against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in front of a crowd of 7,557.
The win raised the Pens' record to 27-16-0-2 (56 points, second in the East Division), while the Sound Tigers saw their winning streak snapped at three games and fell to 23-23-1-0 (47 points sixth in the East Division).
While this was the first time Daoust took to the ice in Wilkes-Barre, it wasn't his first visit to Casey Plaza.
"I came here two years ago [to visit former junior teammate Max Talbot], and the crowd was awesome at that time," he said. "It's still awesome right now. I was pretty happy to play here."
Daoust's second goal as a Penguin came with the score knotted at 1-1 early in the second period. He took a feed from Kurtis McLean and flicked a shot from the slot at 4:22.
"That line was very good. It seems like Kurtis McLean and Daoust had some chemistry before," said head coach Todd Richards, who also introduced new Penguin Dave Gove to the line. "Daoust's goal was a great goal, a give and go with McLean, then a great shot by Jean-Michel. Then the other goal, Gove's goal, was just a great play."
The Gove goal came with the Penguins holding on to a 3-2 lead midway through the game. The former Albany River Rat hit Daoust with a centering pass, then trailed as the shifty forward plucked from the ECHL slipped the puck through a Tigers' legs and danced around the defender. He then hit Gove with a cross-crease pass that the new arrival tapped in with a backhand to seal the game.
"I saw [Daoust] behind me and I was able to get the puck to him and go to the net. He made a great play getting it back to me," said Gove, hardly hiding his joy. "It was like scoring my first pro goal, I was very excited."
"We had some great individual plays tonight - big shifts at critical times in the game," said Richards. "Guys made the plays and were able to finish. That was the difference in the game."
Chris Minard opened the scoring with his team-leading 19th goal of the season toward the end of the first period, before Ben Walter tied the game 2:59 into the second period. Jeff Tambellini picked up his 27th of the season shortly after Daoust's tally, but Tim Brent responded quickly, going short side and into the upper corner on goaltender Mike Morrison.
Tim Wallace stretched the Pens lead to 5-2 late in the second, banging home a Kyle Rank pass from behind the net.
Tambellini finished off the night with his second of the game with six minutes to play.
Morrison stopped 30 shots in the loss while John Curry picked up his 10th win of the season with a 24 save performance.
The Penguins return to action on Saturday afternoon, when they will take on the Norfolk Admirals at the Wachovia Arena at 3:05pm.
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