Not a whole heck of a lot happened in the first forty minutes of this game tonight in front of a sold out crowd. The action happened early in the third, tension mounted the rest of the way and then Joe Morrow ended the game in overtime with just under a minute to play and the Penguins win 2-1 on a Saturday night.
No, really. That was it. OK, you want more? Fine.
You really could see the crescendo building from the drop of the puck. Chad Kolarik especially. He told Bombulie earlier this week that there were some hard feelings over the way he was traded here and who he was traded for (Benn Ferriero) and how Ferriero was called right up to the parent New York Rangers. Kolarik had a team high six shots on goal.
Both Jeff Zatkoff and Cam Talbot were on point for much of the first forty minutes of the game. Zatkoff dove over to stop a Blake Parlett shot and Talbot was turning away shot after shot after shot that the Penguins put on him.
Early in the third the Penguins were dealt a power play when Brandon Segal was sent to the penalty box for closing his hand on the puck. Kolarik gets a cross ice pass from Brian Dumoulin and smokes it home to put the Penguins on the board, snapping 180:41 of scoreless home ice hockey for Wilkes-Barre. You could tell also that he was really jubilant in his feat, too.
The very next shift, seemingly before you sat down, the Penguins were down two men. Tom Kostopoulos was sent to the box for roughing and then Zach Sill was nabbed for high-stiicking that drew blood. The Whale were on a 1:26 of 5-on-3. They scored soon after when Kris Newbury found Brandon Segal on the back door to even things at a goal a piece.
Here’s where I thought that the Penguins were in trouble. They had not scored a home ice goal since last Tuesday. They ran a marathon just to get one goal tonight. As soon as that happens, they go down two men and the Whale draw even. Thankfully, the Penguins clamped down defensively and we were off to overtime.
But, before that occurred, Chad Kolarik would get nabbed for delay of game clearing the puck over the glass. Nearly every Penguin on the ice argued that the puck deflected but Kolarik. Nevertheless, the Penguins would kill it in regulation and then in overtime. Then, Joe Morrow cranks up and fires and ends it in overtime with Penguins buzzing in front of Talbot.
Three stars were Zatkoff (26 saves on 27 shots) Kolarik (goal, even) and Morrow (game winning overtime goal, +1)
Seemed to me that the Pens had that “never say quit” attitude about them tonight. Could be something, or could be nothing. Time always tells.
Alright. does that work for you? Hope so. Here’s what else went down outside of Wilkes-Barre:
Around the Division: The Hershey Bears shutout the Adirondack Phantoms 3-0. Philipp Grubauer had a 40 save shutout, his first of his AHL career and certainly not his last. Grubauer is a horse in goal. He is really, really good. Here’s a story that Justin Felisko from Hockey’s Future wrote about Grubauer during the ECHL All-Star game in Loveland, CO. Binghamton loses to Albany on the Southern Tier 5-3 and Norfolk beats Providence 3-2 in a shootout. Syracuse blanks Springfield 3-0. Newcomer Cedrick Desjardins with a 26 save clean sheet of his own.
Standings: Syracuse 70 — Binghamton 67 — Penguins 59 — Hershey 58 — Norfolk 50
Conference: 1) SYR (70) 2) SPR (67) 3) PRO (66) 4) BNG (67) 5) POR (62) 6) WBS (59) 7) HER (58) 8) CT (57)
SendToNews Highlights: Are here.
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 3-1 in Cincinnati tonight.
Pens back at tomorrow afternoon in Bridgeport, Conn. at 3 p.m. Gameday for that will be up here on the blog at 11 a.m.
Let’s Go Pens!