WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - Nathan Smith scored the game-winner in the third period as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins held off the Chicago Wolves to win Game 4 of the Calder Cup final 3-2 on Friday.
The Wolves lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, and remain on the brink of their second Calder Cup championship. At 2:21 of the third period, when a Wolves defenceman dove to block a shot by Smith, he unwittingly knocked it into the net.
Dave Gove and Chris Minard scored the other markers for the Penguins.
Darren Haydar potted both goals for the Wolves, while right wing Jesse Schultz assisted on both tallies.
All five of the contest's goals were collected on the power play.
"Wilkes-Barre played a much better game defensively. We had our chances, but their goalie really stepped up tonight," said Wolves head coach John Anderson. "We have to elevate our game like they elevated their's tonight.
"They're a good hockey team and to win four straight against them is very, very difficult."
Wilkes-Barre (13-8) used a 5-on-3 power play to get on the board first, 13:32 into the game. Tim Brent sent the puck to the left of the crease where Minard banged it into the corner.
The Penguins took a 2-0 lead after a second 5-on-3 advantage early in the second period. Gove took a pass at the top of the key, walked in and flung the puck past goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, 4:18 into the middle frame.
The Wolves answered with a power-play goal from Haydar, just over two minutes later. Centre Jason Krog fired the puck to Schultz at the left of the crease, where Schultz hesitated long enough to pull netminder John Curry out of position before slipping the puck to Haydar for an easy tap in.
Haydar scored the equalizer, with 3:30 remaining in the second frame. The right wing took a pass behind the net, moved forward controlling the puck and deftly shifted a shot to his backhand, beating Curry stick-side.
Curry (13-8) made 17 saves for the Penguins, while Pavelec (15-7) stopped 20 shots in the loss, his first in four contests.
Game 5 goes Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.