Nolan Schaefer made a season-high 43 saves, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 3-1 win against the Norfolk Admirals Wednesday night at the Scope. The victory allowed the Pens to pull to within one point of the Admirals in the East Division standings, with 102 points to Norfolk's 103.
Additionally, a Hershey Bears loss to the Binghamton Senators earlier in the night means the Penguins are just two points out of the top spot in the division and the entire AHL headed into Friday night's rematch with the Admirals.
Schaefer showed the form which earned him goaltender of the month honors for March, allowing only a deflected Martin St. Pierre shot to elude him. The win upped his record to 9-3-0 with the Penguins, and lowered his goals against average with the team to 1.83.
The win was the first in Norfolk for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, following defeats in the club's first three games at the Scope. It was also the Pens' fifth consecutive road victory dating back to March 11.
On the other side, the loss was just the fifth suffered on home ice for the Admirals during the current campaign, and guarantees that they will not break the league record for home wins in a season (34).
Stephen Dixon opened the scoring with his team-leading fourth shorthanded goal of the season 3:20 into the contest. The goal was the sixth SH tally of his Penguins career, tying his with Billy Tibbetts for first place all-time in the team's record book.
Jean-Francois Jacques, who rejoined the team on Tuesday night, planted his 10th goal of the AHL campaign behind Corey Crawford at the 12:03 mark. Micki DuPont picked up an assist on the goal, giving him 46 points on the season, second most among AHL blueliners.
Kurtis McLean's 15th of the year followed four minutes later, giving the Penguins all the scoring they would need to record their 48th win on the season and 22nd on the road. A win on Friday in Norfolk would equal the team record for road wins in a season, set by the 2005-06 club.
The Pens and Admirals complete their regular season series this Friday at 7:15pm, with the Penguins holding a 6-3-0-0 edge through nine games.
NOTES: The previous high for saves in a game by a Penguins goaltender this season was 39, set by Jeff Deslauriers on January 21 at Hershey...The 44 shots against were the most allowed by the Penguins this season. The previous high was 41 by the Binghamton Senators on November 25.