Coming into this weekend, I had some trepidation about how the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins would fare, having been shutout on Friday and Sunday of last weekend’s action. Then, at some point, I re-read this entry I ran this past week and figured that we would be fine.
My inhibitions would prove false, as the Penguins win Sunday in Bridgeport 2-1 in a shootout.
Three games won 2-1 three different ways. 2-1 Friday in Philly against Adirondack, 2-1 in overtime at home against Connecticut and 2-1 in a shootout over the Sound Tigers.
This current Penguins roster isn’t exactly the ideal lineup that staff, front office and fans had visions of dancing in with when the season started. Your fourth line is basically a Wheeling line. The top line is really a second or third line as Paul Thompson and Philippe Dupuis are still out with injury. The only steady thing has been in goal. Brad Thiessen and Jeff Zatkoff have been rocks all season long and the defense has been there. The majority of playoff games are normally one goal affairs. Not saying that I would bet the house on the Pens in playoffs with this lineup, but as bodies heal the best, may be, yet to come.
Really dull games this weekend if you are looking for thrill a minute, in your face hockey. At the tail end of a three-in-three as both clubs were in this afternoon it was more of the same.
Brad Thiessen got the start and was opposed by Kenny Reiter, who has spent much of his time down in the ECHL with the Fort Wayne Komets. The only lineup change for the Pens was Reid McNeill in for Philip Samuelsson on defense.
First Period: Defensive gaffe by the Pens leads to a goal for Bridgeport. Aaron Ness picks a corner and the Sound Tigers were on the board. More shaky defense on the backend by the Penguins but Thiessen was there to make the saves. I got the sense early that the Sound Tigers wanted to get the early jump on the Penguins, much like the Pens wanted to do to the Crunch last Sunday. Pens had about a minute of 5-on-3 but weren’t able to materialize anything.
Second Period: A puck is dumped in the offensive zone. Brian Gibbons keeps it in along the back wall, he ultimately feeds Joe Morrow back at the point who walks in and fires it and Tom Kostopoulos tips it in to even the score at one. It was Kostopoulos’ 98th all time goal for the Penguins and first in over nine years.
Third Period: Really choppy period. Penguins had a scare late when Bridgeport had a late offensive push but again Thiessen was more than up to the challenge to keep the Penguins square at one. It was on to…
Overtime: Nothing to see here.
Shootout: Chad Kolarik and Riley Holzapfel. Thiessen stops four of five and the Pens hang on to win to complete the perfect weekend.
Three Stars: 3) Riley Holzapfel (shootout game winner ) 2) Kenny Reiter (26 saves on 27 shots) and 1) Brad Thiessen 34 saves on 35 shots)
Jonathan had this gem of a tweet:
Around the Division: Adirondack beats Binghamton at home 2-1. Syracuse blanks Connecticut 4-0 in Central New York and Hershey loses to Albany in Atlantic City 6-4.
Standings: Syracuse 72 — Binghamton 67 — Penguins 61 — Hershey 58 — Norfolk 50
Conference: 1) SYR (72) 2) SPR (67) 3) PRO (66) 4) BNG (67) 5) POR (64) 6) WBS (61) 7) HER (58) 8) CT (57)
SendToNews Highlights: Not up yet. I will check later.
Wheeling Update: Nailers shutout the Fort Wayne Komets in Indiana 1-0. Paul Crowder scored the lone goal of the contest.
Three other things to note which you may or may not find interest in. First, ex-WBS defenseman Carl Sneep is on his way up to the NHL, he earned a callup this afternoon. Second, it looks like the Calgary Flames could be pulling out of Abbotsford and heading to Utica, New York according to this report. Should be interesting to see how this develops. Finally, remember Hershey Bears goaltender Freddy Cassivi? He played in the Alumni Game in Hershey this past January. He also played today for the Reading Royals and made 21 saves in a 5-3 Royals loss to the Trenton Titans. Reason for this is because last night in Hershey backup goaltender Dany Sabourin was struck with an errant puck and needed stitches. The Bears recalled Brandon Anderson from Reading this morning.
Pens take to the ice again Wednesday at home vs. Norfolk. Hoping that the Penguins can keep this thing rolling.
Let’s Go Pens!