Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Category Archives: Postgamer

Preseason Game #3 — Penguins 5, Hershey 3

The Penguins continue to roll though preseason with out a loss with a 5-3 win down in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The game was radio only, so it’s a really stripped down version of a postgame recap.

In case you missed the news earlier, the Pittsburgh Penguins hammered out their 23 man roster and that meant that guys were cut and placed on waivers. Details here.

As for this game tonight, here was a look at the lines…

Anton Zlobin – Oskar Sundqvist – Adam Krause
Dominik Simon – Sahir Gill – John McCarron
Derek Army – Matia Marcantuoni – Tyler Biggs
Shane Bakker – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Nick Petrecki – Clark Seymour
Reid McNeill – Harrison Ruopp
Barry Goers – Ryan Parent

Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry

Penguins couldn’t get anything going on the games first power play. The Bears got one a few minutes later and cashed when Chris Bourque found Jakub Vrana for a one timer and a goal for a 1-0 Bears lead. Shots were 10-8 Bears after one. The line of Dominik Simon, Sahir Gill and John McCarron generated the most chances for the Pens in the first period.

Bears had an early power play in the second. They didn’t score, but Dustin Gazley had a great look on goal but Matt Murray made the save. Immediately after, Harrison Ruopp and Max Sauve fought to what sounded like a draw. You be the judge:

Out of that, the Bears got a power play. Madison Bowey for the Bears misplayed a puck and Matia Marcantuoni scored shorthanded to even the score at a goal a piece.

Later, Riley Barber broke in on a two on one and scored to push the Bears ahead 2-1.

But the Penguins got it right back as Shane Bakker stuffed one past Dan Ellis to tie the game again for the Penguins. The Bears failed to clear and Wilkes-Barre made them pay. It was a dogged forecheck by homegrown Patrick McGrath that set it all up.

The second period ended that way, shots were 21-14 Bears.

In the third, Wilkes-Barre would score their first power play of the preseason when Clark Seymour snapped a shot though a screen from the center point for a 3-2 lead:

The Penguins held the Bears to just two shots in the period when Oskar Sundqvist scored to make it 4-2 Penguins through bodies:

Jakob Vrana scored with the Hershey net empty off a nice feed from Chris Bourque to cut the Penguins lead to one, but Hershey still trailed by one, pulled Ellis again, and this time Sahir Gill stole a puck in the neutral zone and rolled a puck into the empty Bears net for a 5-3 Wilkes-Barre lead.

Hershey will end the preseason without a win and so far the Penguins are undefeated. It’s preseason and will be forgotten by the time next Friday rolls around, but it’s always nice beating Hershey.

Penguins are back in action for the fourth and final time in preseason in Allentown tomorrow when they take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Sunday at 5 p.m. Unless something out of the ordinary happens and Porter or Warsofsky are claimed on waivers, look for the next recap to come after the game tomorrow.

Preseason Game #2 – Penguins 2, Albany 1 (OT)

Two things from this game. One, the play of Tristan Jarry, who started in goal for tonight and played the entire game and the other the play of offseason acquisition Kael Mouillerat.

Jarry stopped 19 of 20 shots and was outstanding (for a preseason game) and Mouillerat was an offensive threat every time he had the puck. That’s a scouting report that has followed him around all of his career, really.

The Penguins won the game tonight 2-1 in overtime off of a goal by the aforementioned Mouillerat and the sound play in net by the young Jarry, who faced a 1:42 of overtime penalty killing.

The Penguins were in preseason action Friday night for the final time at home against the Albany Devils. Before the game, Friday morning actually, Wilkes-Barre announced the signing of Tom Sestito, who was cut by Pittsburgh earlier this week.

Lines were…

Scott Wilson-Kael Mouillierat-Conor Sheary
Anton Zlobin-Carter Rowney-Ty Loney
Dominik Uher-Sahir Gill-Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito-Matia Marcantuoni-Tyler Biggs

Will O’Neill-Steve Oleksy
Niclas Andersen-Harrison Ruopp
Reid McNeill-Barry Goers

Tristan Jarry – Brian Foster

First period was scoreless. Penguins came out flying, shots at one point were heavily favored for the Pens. Neither team did anything memorable on the power play. Both Scott Wedgewood for the Devils and Jarry for the Penguins were leaving rebounds all over the place.

Foreshadowing by Mouillerat this period. He got open, got around guys and got shots off in the first.

The second period started and out of the gate Anton Zlobin was hauled down and awarded a penalty shot. Wedgewood batted it away with the glove.

Best save of the period was a Tristan Jarry one on a Jim O’Brien blast.

Later, Conor Sheary broke the scoreless deadlock with a nice shot off some tic tac toe work from Scott Wilson:

Pens found themselves on a 5-on-3, but Albany killed it all off. The Penguins really worked the Devils in this period but weren’t able to get anything other than the Sheary goal.

Albany got on the board after the Penguins were unable to score in an extended power play time when they were running around all over and didn’t actually do anything. A Reid McNeill defensive zone turnover to Joseph Blandisi caught everyone off guard, Jarry included, and the Devils were off and running.

But ultimately it was the Penguins with the last laugh when Mouillerat ended it:

Here’s (bad) video…

Three stars were: 3) Joe Blandisi with a goal for Albany, 2) Conor Sheary with a goal for the Penguins and 1) Kael Mouillierat with the overtime game winner for the Penguins. Jarry deserved a star in my opinion and in my opinion a spot on the team. But, that is yet to be determined. If Pittsburgh wants him to play, he will go to Wheeling. I think that happens but time will tell.

I am telling you, the Albany Devils are going to give teams fits this season. They make you play a certain way and if you can’t adjust or take advantage you are going to get frustrated and lose. They could surprise some this season. Wedgewood especially. He was outstanding.

Elsewhere, actually just 90 minutes south of here, two ex-Penguins were in Hershey transactions. First, the Bears cut D Nick D’Agostino. He’ll report to the Bears ECHL affiliate South Carolina. Second, parent Washington cut old fan favorite Zach Sill. He is on waivers. If no one claims him, he should report to Hershey, where the Penguins play Saturday in more preseason action. Sullivan told the media that Matt Murray will get the start for the Penguins in net.

Preseason Game #1 – Penguins 4, Lehigh Valley 3

No goofy pun headlines or graphics for preseason games. I don’t even think I can link into a boxscore.

Anyway, the Penguins won tonight 4-3. They blitzkrieged with three goals in the first period, were blitzkrieged for three goals in the second before Adam Krause scored in the final minute in the second. Backup goaltender Casey DeSmith played a perfect third period in relief of starter Brian Foster.

Pens opened up the scoring early on in the first period. A Matthew Maione shot from the blue line was tipped in by Tom Kostopoulos in front for a quick 1-0 lead. About a minute later, the Pens rushed into the zone and Clark Seymour ripped one from the point for a 2-0 Penguin lead.

Penguins would go on the games first power play. Good looks, but did not score. Seconds after, Brett Stern fired one in from long range for a 3-0 Wilkes-Barre lead.

Lehigh Valley settled in after that, benefitting from two power plays, but Brian Foster was solid.

Phantoms opened the second with goals at the beginning, middle and end of the period. Wilkes-Barre would have last laugh though when Adam Krause stole a puck at center ice and raced in and scored to make it 4-3.

Phantoms goals were Taylor Leier on a backhander to make it 3-1, Kevin Sundher after a long sequence of play that saw the Pens fail to score on a 4-on-1. They were trapped deep and Sundher made it 3-2. Late, Lehigh Valley crashed the net, Dan Martel parked in front and muscled one past Foster to make it 3-3.

Here’s video of a second period fight involving Clark Seymour:

Casey DeSmith came in for Foster in relief in the third and played a fine game. He had to kill off two Phantoms power plays. He had some nice stops while Lehigh Valley were bearing down. Penguins had some chances with the most memorable being Ty Loney on a breakaway.

I don’t want to get took insightful on a preseason game with what the Penguins were / weren’t working on or focusing on in the third. Obviously, protect the lead and try to insulate the young DeSmith. When called upon, he was more than up to the challenge.

Fights included Patrick McGrath and Shane Bakker. Nothing memorable with McGrath and Bakker. Both are fighting for a spot come October 9 in Providence. Nick Petrecki, another one fighting for a spot, fought Derek Mathers in the third period and won on a right hand to Mathers jaw.

Anyway, so that’s that. The three stars were Shayne Bakker, Clark Seymour and Adam Krause in that order.

There were cuts made today. Pittsburgh sent goaltender Tristan Jarry; defensemen Barry Goers and Niclas Andersen; and forwards Tyler Biggs, Anton Zlobin, Josh Archibald, Dominik Simon and Matia Marcantuoni to Coal Street. They placed forwards Dominik Uher and Kael Mouillierat and defensemen Will O’Neill, Reid McNeill and Steve Oleksy on waivers. All five will also be assigned to WBS if they clear waivers on Thursday afternoon at 12 p.m. Pittsburgh cut Tom Sestito, who is free to sign with any team, anywhere.

Later, as in right after their preseason game with Detroit, Pittsburgh sent Matt Murray, Conor Sheary, Scott Wilson and Oscar Sundqvist to Coal Street.

Players still up with Pittsburgh that could get sent to Wilkes-Barre include Adam Clendening, Tim Erixon, Dave Warsofsky, JS Dea, Bobby Farnham, Tom Kuhnhackl, Kevin Porter and Bryan Rust. Of these players, Bobby Farnham, Adam Clendening, Tim Erixon, David Warsofsky, Tom Kuhnhackl and Kevin Porter would require waivers.

If anyone gets claimed at the noon deadline Thursday, I’ll drop a blog in then. Same goes if there are any moves made Thursday too. Otherwise, look for the next blog update to come Friday, when the Penguins play host to the Albany Devils in more preseason action.

Man-handled — Pens LOSE 2-1 (Season Over)

button_lv200       vs.       WBS

  2                                        1

If you would have told me a week ago that the Manchester Monarchs would dismiss the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in five games, I wouldn’t have believed you. I don’t think if you told anyone that they would have believed you.

Remember, no matter what you do, there is always someone better. The Penguins were a good team this season. With the additions from Pittsburgh about ten days ago, they were the odds on lock to walk through the Eastern Conference and make it to the Calder Cup Finals.

But there is always someone better. This time it was the Manchester Monarchs who are as good as they come advertised. When I broke the series down last Tuesday, I said that the Penguins defense was a deeper team. Just take a look at these charts (through Game 4) and you’ll see familiar names like Taylor Chorney, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin at the bottom. These names were at the top during the regular season, but they looked pedestrian during this series.

I said that the Penguins had the advantage in goal because of what Matt Murray accomplished. I forgot to tell Manchester because they tore Murray to shreds. I am admittedly bad at math but his numbers were bad in the series and he was pulled after the Monarchs scored their second goal in the first period.

I conceded that the forward corps of Manchester was better than the Penguins. They were. With Wilkes-Barre’s defense neutralized and Murray brought down to earth the Monarchs struck early, often and quickly. The Penguins could never recover. It cost them their season in five games.

So here we stand. At the end of the line again and a whole offseason and regular season to hope to get to do it all again in mid April 2016. It sucks. I’ll be the first to tell you. It’s fun to write about this team as a hobby, which is all that this is, but it makes it easy when you are a winner and are successful year after year after year after year.

This is a transition time for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. There are reports that the New Jersey Devils have interest in head coach John Hynes. Our defensive corps of Derrick Pouliot, Taylor Chorney, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin are probably all graduated to Pittsburgh or the NHL. Up front is a big question mark. Will Tom Kostopoulos make another run or hang them up for good? What will become of Conor Sheary, will Pittsburgh or another NHL team sign him to a big league pact? Answers to come this summer.

As for the game, Matt Murray opposed J-F Berube. Adrian Kempe scored at 2:01 of the first period after a turnover / giveaway from Derrick Pouliot for a 1-0 Manchester lead. The Monarchs doubled the lead on a Nick Shore dart entering the zone with the Penguins in a four man box and no one picking up the man with the puck streaking in in Shore for a 2-0 lead at 14:57. Matt Murray’s night was done and Jeff Zatkoff didn’t allow a goal and was perfect with 22 saves.

The Penguins made it a game late in the second with a goal from Conor Sheary at 18:43 on a set faceoff play. The faceoff was won back to Sheary who stepped into it and wired one past Berube to put Wilkes-Barre on the board.

In the third, Manchester proved why they were the second best team in the AHL on defense, blocking shots and only allowing six to get to Berube. Wilkes-Barre never found the equalizer.

Berube was your third star with 28 saves on 29 shots. Conor Sheary was your second star with a goal and Nick Sore was the first star with the game winning goal.

Lots of post mortem stuff to come in the coming days. The Penguins will be playing in a new, eight team division next season. I’ll have stuff on that in a few days.

I’ll update for the final time my postseason charts and probably put a blog out on the final numbers.

I’ll have a Year in Review either this weekend or next week.

My offseason moves chart will be up once the dust settles on contract statuses for next season.

And I will be around in the summertime.

Thanks to everyone who reads, shares and interacts with me here on the blog and on all platforms. I do this all for you guys. I aim to entertain and inform. I hope that you continue to check in with me here on the blog all summer. Lots of things to look forward to.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

Weal Problems — Pens LOSE 5-2

button_lv200       vs.       WBS

  5                                        2

The Penguins were in trouble in this game before it was :43 old.

That was when Monarchs forwards Jordan Weal tracked down a puck that Penguins goaltender Matt Murray batted up in the air and swept past the Wilkes-Barre net minder for a 1-0 Monarchs lead at :42 and a lead they would not relinquish as they roll to a 5-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and a commanding 3-1 series lead.

The Monarchs are undefeated when they score first this postseason. It was the first road win for Manchester since 2013.

Oh. That Weal kid. He wasn’t done. He had a hat trick. After being held off of the score sheet in Game Three, he was everywhere tonight and made the Penguins pay.

No lineup changes for the Penguins in Game Four.

The Penguins had two opportunities to get back into the game in the first period on two power plays but did not score. You could look at this game and see many turning points. The Weal goal at :42 is certainly one and the Penguin inability to score on two power plays in the first was certainly another.

Wilkes-Barre went on another power play to open the second period but Manchester scored shorthanded on a Michael Mersch dart of a shot on a two-on-one with Brian Dumoulin back.

Wheels came off after that. Manchester scores on a blatant offsides call when Weal gets a piece of a Colin Miller blast from the blue line that made it 3-0. Terrible non-call from the officials and you would expect better out of an officiating crew that gets games on merit at this point in the season, but the Penguins did not lose the game because of the officiating.

Manchester made it 4-0 about four minutes later when Nick Shore was marked by a stickless Barry Goers and passed to David Van der Gulick on the opposite high dot for a one timer.

Murray was touched for three goals on twelve shots in the second period. Remember his body of work in the regular season? Murray wouldn’t let three goals in during an entire weekend. He was replaced by Jeff Zatkoff to start the third period.

Weal finished off his hat trick in the third period on a power play with Andrew Ebbett in the penalty box for a 5-0 Manchester lead.

Penguins made it interesting by scoring two goals in a span of :37. Nick Drazenovic from his stomach passed to Tom Kostopoulos who slipped it under J-F Berube’s pads to break up the Berube shutout. Then Bryan Rust powered around a Manchester defenseman for another goal.

Monarchs head coach Mike Stothers used his time out to stop the bleeding. Hynes pulled Zatkoff with about six minutes to play looking for the Hail Mary but instead came up empty.

Three stars were Van der Gulick with a goal and an assist and a +1, Michael Mersch with a goal, an assist and a +3 and Jordan Weal with three goals and a +2.

I’ll run the in-depth numbers tomorrow, but Taylor Chorney was a -2, Conor Sheary picked up another point, he has had one in every game for the Penguins this Spring but was a -2. Derrick Pouliot pinched too deep during a sequence which led to a Manchester goal, Kasperi Kapanen was invisible tonight, Andrew Ebbett hasn’t scored a goal in the series yet. I could go on and on. But it’s piling on. I said to many at the game tonight that if the Penguins don’t somehow manage the impossible and beat Manchester that the Monarchs will probably win the Calder Cup.

Think about it. The Penguins lineup is the best and deepest its been in years, if not ever. Murray is the Goaltender and Rookie of the Year. Wilkes-Barre is well coached, and the top defensive team in the AHL for the fourth out of five years under John Hynes. Kapanen, Sheary, Rust, Pouliot, Dumoulin, Chorney, Harrington, etc. all have pedigree and will go on to long NHL careers but right now it’s men against boys. If you put all those accolades in a jar and told someone who is knowledgeable about the game of hockey to watch this series and then at the end of the series tell them that the team that is being dismantled right now is the Penguins, they probably wouldn’t believe you. That’s how much better the Monarchs are right now.

Never give up the ship. Keep the faith. Game 5 tomorrow. We’ll set it up at 3 with the Gameday setup, attend the game at 7 p.m. tomorrow and let it ride.

Let’s Go Pens!

It’s Never Easy — Pens WIN 2-1

button_lv200       vs.       WBS

  1                                        2

Thought jumped into my head when the Penguins had just gotten scored on late in the third period of tonights game, a 2-1 Penguins win in Game 3, that these games are never easy.

For the Penguins, who were for the most part the better side tonight, the better team. A goal by David Van der Gulick on a breakaway late in the third, and it wasn’t easy for the Penguins.

You easily could say the same thing from a Manchester perspective tonight. The Monarchs dominated the Penguins in Game 2. Why the struggles? It’s isn’t easy.

A welcome addition tonight with Bryan Rust and a goal from him in the high slot in the first period, a Tom Kostopoulos power play goal in the second period and steady goaltending and defense from Matt Murray and the Penguins as a whole, and all of a sudden it’s a series again. Game 4 goes Monday in Wilkes-Barre.

Matt Murray vs. J-F Berube.

Lines were…

Tom Kostopoulos – Andrew Ebbett – Carter Rowney
Conor Sheary – Jayson Megna – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Nick Drazenovic – Kasperi Kapanen
Dominik Uher – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Scott Harrington – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Oskar Sundqvist, Josh Archibald and Scott Wilson were out for Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Drazenovic (first AHL game since February11 ) and Bryan Rust (first AHL game since April 12). Sundqvist and Wilson are day to day with injuries and Josh Archibald, per what John Hynes told Tom Venesky post game, is done for the year.

First Period: Bryan Rust connects on a goal at the high slot for a 1-0 Wilkes-Barre lead and the first lead of the series for the Penguins. He was left alone for a split second and took advantage of it and scored for a 1-0 Penguin lead.

Wilkes-Barre had to kill two penalties in the period and did so.

Second Period: Manchester killed off three of four penalties in the second and took a cumulative five straight going back to the first. Tom Kostopoulos connected with Andrew Ebbett for a give and go goal to put the Penguins ahead 2-0.

Manchester came in waves in this period and Matt Murray was up to task every time and was the difference maker.

Third Period: More Murray. But the Monarchs would not be denied David Van der Gulick scored on a breakaway when Nic Dowd found him all alone at the blue line. Van der Gulick skated in and scored on Murray to cut the Manchester deficit to one with 6:59 left to play.

Penguins respond by having a long, two minute offensive shift in the Manchester end but don’t score out of it.

Berube was pulled around the 1:20 mark and Manchester turned on the pressure but never found the equalizer. Key saves from Murray and shot blocks from men in front, notably Tom Kostopoulos in the final ten seconds.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Murray (29 saves on 30 shots) 2) Conor Sheary (two assists) and 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal)

Big game out of Jayson Megna. Pittsburgh brass was in town, notably head coach Mike Johnston, so Megna played with a burr up his you know where.

The Penguins and Monarchs were the only game in town in the AHL tonight. Just a quick reset of other series: Grand Rapids leads Rockford 2-0 in their series, Utica and Oklahoma City are 1-1 and so is Hershey and Hartford.

I will have a chart refresh on the blog sometime late Sunday. Have a nice Mother’s Day!

Let’s Go Pens!

Pens Lose 5-2? Weal-ly?

WBS       @       button_lv200

  2                                        5

Throw everything that you know or you think you know about the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins for a second and let me hit you with some statistics:

– The Penguins have been outshot 90-63 in these two games.
– AHL MVP Brian O’Neill and his line mate Jordan Weal are 2-3-5 and 3-1-4 respectively in the series.
– First team AHL AHL All-Star, Rookie and Goaltender of the Year Matt Murray has a 3.35 GAA and a 0.899 SV% while J-F Berube has a 1.83 GAA and a 0.921 SV%.
– The Kuhnhackl / Rowney / Ebbett line is 1-1-2 through two games.

We often laugh off other teams in other divisions in this Conference because of the wars we wage with the Binghamton’s, Hershey’s, Lehigh Valley’s and Norfolk’s of the East Division, but the Manchester Monarchs of the Atlantic Division are as good if not better than advertised in this playoff series and are every bit as good as advertised as the AHL’s regular season champions. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, through two games can’t stop and haven’t contained the regular season champions yet in this series and haven’t had a lead in the series yet and now trail the Monarchs 0-2 after a 5-2 loss tonight. The series shifts to Wilkes-Barre for Game 3 Saturday.

One of the things that I am struggling with in comprehending is how the Monarchs were taken to five games in the first round by the eighth seeded Portland Pirates. The Penguins are a class level above the Pirates as far as skill level top to bottom, but you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that if you have watched this series so far.

Matt Murray vs. J-F Berube.

Lines were…

Conor Sheary – Andrew Ebbett – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Jayson Megna – Josh Archibald
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Bobby Farnham – J-S Dea – Oskar Sundqvist

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Scott Harrington – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Lineup Changes: Kasperi Kapanen was out for Josh Archibald on the second line, Oskar Sundqvist made his pro debut on the fourth line for Pierre Leblond. Matia Marcantuoni took warmups but was scratched, J-S Dea took his spot.

First Period: The Monarchs showed no ill effects of the three overtime thriller from the night before, turning on the offensive pressure like you would a lightbulb switch in your favorite room in your house. Just when you think the Penguins were going to set the offensive tone, they got no shots, and were back in their own end trying to stifle the endless pressure of the Monarchs offensive forwards. Finally about halfway though, Brian O’Neill digs a puck out of a corner, cuts to the net, avoids the sweeping poke checks from the Penguin defenders and roofs the shot over Murray for a 1-0 Manchester lead.

I don’t think a first period that saw the Penguins trailing in shots 7-2 and 12-3 at points in the period was due to fatigue as much as it was the Monarchs just opening up an imaginary beach umbrella in front of Berube’s net and managed to block or deflect aside any shot headed in their goaltenders direction.

Second Period: Penguins best period of the series so far. Not much in the way of shots to the net, but the offensive zone time was there. Penguins scored on a power play goal on this goal by Conor Sheary that went to review…

:09 later, Justin Auger found himself room and scored to make it 2-1. Big time response by the Monarchs and bad coverage by the Penguins who watched Auger walk in and before they realized his actions were too late to do anything to stop it.

But Wilkes-Barre answered right back off of the face-off on this finish by Dominik Uher…

Three goals in :23. The Penguins would have been absolutely crushed if they played as well as they did to have the momentum snatched away from them as quickly as they built it.

But wait, the period wasn’t over yet.

Brian O’Neill found Jordan Weal all alone on the near dot on a nice cross ice pass that Weal one timed over Murray’s shoulder for a 3-2 lead. I noticed after the Uher goal, the Penguins didn’t have any offensive setup at all and the Monarchs continued their relentless pressure and finally got the goal from Weal that put them ahead heading into the…

Third Period: Penguins had a nice jump to open but took a penalty and who else but Jordan Weal scored on it to extend the lead for the Monarchs to 4-2. Murray couldn’t freeze it and the puck was shuffled over to Weal who poked it across for the first multi-goal lead in the series and the first power play goal allowed by the Penguins in the post season.

The Monarchs iced the game away with two key penalty kills on the Penguins. Brian O’Neill hit an open net with Murray vacated that made it 5-2. Despite the fact that the Penguins had a better start and looked improved compared to the other periods, even with the benefit of two power plays and an extra man with the goaltender pulled, the Monarchs still outshout the Penguins 10-8 in the third.

Three Stars: 3) Brian O’Neill (two goals, assist, +2) 2) Michael Mersch (three assists, +1) and 1) Jordan Weal (two goals, assist, +1)

No other action in the Eastern Conference tonight. Hartford and Hershey play their Game 2 Friday in Chocolatetown.

So the Penguins are down 0-2 with the series shifting to Wilkes-Barre for an important Game 3 Saturday. Silver lining is the fact that the Monarchs have not won a game on the road yet this postseason and the Penguins have the next three at home (provided they win Saturday or Monday) so the series is far from over yet, but the Penguins must come up with some way to slow down the hectic offensive pace that the Monarchs are setting.

One note before we wrap it up, Josh Archibald left the game with an apparent injury and did not return and I didn’t hear Barry Goers name much in the second half of the game but he was on very late. Got to wonder if a defensive move is made in favor of Nick D’Agostino, Ryan Parent or Danny Syvret for Game 3 Saturday.

I’ll update the postseason charts and may individualize the charts exclusive to this series sometime Friday and will tweet a link. Look for the Game 3 setup Saturday at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,546 other followers