By Kelly Tomlinson
The Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, Pa. – When they recalled Kurtis McLean from Wheeling of the ECHL, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were hoping to bolster their sputtering offense, maybe spark a somewhat stagnant power play.
Wednesday night, McLean did much more than that.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound center, who played his college hockey at little Division III Norwich, led a seven-goal barrage of the Syracuse Crunch.
McLean, playing just his third AHL game, scored one goal and set up four others to tie a nearly six-year-old team record and the Penguins routed Syracuse 7-2 on Wednesday night at Wachovia Arena.
“A little bit of luck,” said McLean, whose five points were the most by a Penguin in a game since John Slaney had a goal and four assists on Jan. 21, 2000. “Mostly I’m just starting to feel comfortable out there with the guys. The puck was bouncing my way and I was fortunate to get on the score sheet.”
McLean assisted on goals by Kenny Corupe, Rico Fata, Dennis Bonvie and Matt Hussey. With 1 minute, 40 seconds to go in the game he backhanded his first AHL goal past Crunch reliever Martin Prusek.
It was McLean’s home debut after going scoreless in road games at Norfolk and Syracuse.
“Kurtis played well,” said Penguins coach Joey Mullen. “He got a lot of ice time tonight – a lot more than he had in the last two games we played. We tried to use him on the power play because he is an offensive guy and we wanted to see if he could help the power play out a bit.”