WILKES BARRE, Pa. – Sami Salo’s conditioning stint with the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose is off to a flying start.
The veteran Vancouver Canucks defenceman scored two goals, including the winner, and rookie goaltender Eddie Lack made 40 saves as the Moose beat the AHL-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 Friday.
Salo is coming back from a torn Achilles tendon suffered while playing floor hockey in his native Finland. The 36-year-old had surgery in July and resumed skating in December.
Mark Flood had the other goal for Manitoba.
With the win the Moose (27-14-6) kept pace with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the North Division standings. Hamilton maintained its one-point lead over the Moose with a 2-1 win over Grand Rapids.
Nick Johnson and Zach Sill replied for the Penguins (32-13-0), while John Curry made 23 saves.
The Moose opened the scoring 4:26 into the game, capitalizing on the Penguins’ inability to clear the defensive zone. Flood’s floating shot from the right point skipped through Curry’s pads.
Less than two minutes later, Salo beat Curry to a bouncing puck. As Curry tried a poke check, Salo backhanded a shot into the net.
The Penguins cut the lead to 2-1 two minutes into the second period. Brian Strait kept a clearing attempt in the Moose zone, and his dump-in found Ryan Craig in the right corner. Craig came in front of the net and tried to poke the puck in. Lack made the initial save but Johnson stuffed the rebound underneath his pads.
Salo scored his second on a power play when his trademark slapshot beat Curry over his glove, giving the Moose a 3-1 lead at 9:56 of the second period.
Sill brought the Penguins within one as he tipped a shot into the upper right corner of the Moose net at 3:22 of the third. The Penguins outshot the Moose 11-5 the rest of the way, getting Curry off for an extra attacker, but could not beat Lack again.