WILKES-BARRE – Ryan Schmelzer returned from injury and scored to force overtime in an eventual 5-4 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night inside Mohegan Sun Arena.
Late in the first period, Nate Schnarr gave the Devils a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season. Fabian Zetterlund set up Schnarr at the top of the left-wing circle and his slap shot beat goaltender Max Lagace on the right side. The goal came with 4:33 left in the opening period with assists from Zetterlund and A.J. Greer.
Early in the second period, Nolan Foote scored his sixth goal of the season to give the Devils a 2-0 lead. Foote took a pass from Graeme Clarke and beat Lagace through the legs for his sixth of the year at the 2:02 mark.
At the 6:17 mark of the second, the Penguins got on the board and the Devils’ lead was decreased to 2-1. Justin Almeida took a pass and cut to the net, beating Gilles Senn on the glove side for his second tally of the year. Assists on the goal were credited to Jonathan Gruden and Kyle Olson.
Schnarr put home his second of the night to give the Devils a 3-1 lead. From the bottom of the left circle, Schnarr turned and fired a shot that beat Lagace at 9:00 of the period. The goal was Schnarr’s second of the night and third of the year with assists from Connor Carrick and Aarne Talvitie. The assist was Talvitie’s first professional point.
With just 0:22 left in the second period, Felix Robert took advantage of a miscue to give the Penguins back within one. Reilly Walsh sent a pass off the skates of Graeme Clarke at the hash marks. Robert took the loose puck and lifted a backhand by Senn and the Devils took a 3-2 lead into the third.
In the third period, Cam Lee scored his first of the year to tie the game, 3-3. The goal came 5:31 into the final frame with the lone assist going to Robert.
The Penguins scored shorthanded to take a 4-3 lead late in regulation. After the original chance was denied by Senn, Chase Berger buried the second opportunity. The goal was Berger’s third of the year and came with 3:36 left in regulation.
After mossing the last 14 games with injury, Ryan Schmelzer tied the game with the net empty to force overtime. Carrick fired a one timer that Schmelzer tipped in to tie the game at four with 36 seconds left in the third period. The goal was Schmelzer’s second of the year with assists from Carrick and Reilly Walsh.
In overtime, Jordy Bellerive ended the game with his eighth goal of the year at 3:44 to secure the 5-4 victory. Senn stopped 32 shots in the loss and Lagace denied 17 in the win.
The Devils return to the ice Saturday, April 17 against the Hershey Bears at 1:00 p.m. inside GIANT Center.
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