Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

To Binghamton, By Way of Utica — Pens LOSE 2-0

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The Penguins dressed an all ATO lineup tonight and lost 2-0 to the Utica Comets. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will play the Binghamton Senators in Round 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

I mean, that’s all you need to know, right? Pens conceded the East Division Championship to the Binghamton Senators last night, so it was all about who the Pens would play in the first round of the playoffs, right?

I’d consider that a cop out though, so read on for your recap.

The Penguins dressed an all ATO lineup. Goaltender Matt Murray started in goal for the Penguins and Eric Hartzell backed up. Scott Wilson and Jean-Sebastian Dea made their pro debuts up front. Scratches for Wilkes-Barre were Brendan Mikkelson, Harry Zolnierczyk, Nick Drazenovic, Chuck Kobasew, Mike Carman, Bobby Farnham, Andrew Ebbett, Tom Kostopoulos, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matia Marcantuoni and Clark Seymour. Scott Harrington appeared in his 76th regular season game for the Penguins, the only player to claim that title this year.

The Penguins, to a man, did not look out of place playing against the eliminated Utica Comets. Joacim Eriksson started for the Comets and the Penguins played them straight up. A first period shot by Peter Andersson beat Matt Murray but Murray had no chance as he was heavily screened. Nice pace between the two teams. Dea really has a nose for the net and Murray plays bigger in net than any goaltender I have seen this season.

Penguins had several chances at the power play in this game but were unsuccessful. The power play was 0-for-7 for the night. If you are looking for a reason why the Penguins didn’t win the game tonight, look no further than that.

Pascal Pelletier scored a power play goal, amidst all the penalty killing that Utica had to do, to extend the lead for the Comets to 2-0. It was a blind pass by Alex Grenier that set up that goal by Pelletier. Murray had no chance.

Penguins fail to convert on two power plays late, and there is your ball game.

Three Stars: 3) Peter Andersson (goal, +1) 2) Pascal Pelletier (goal, even) 1) Joacim Eriksson (27 save shutout)

I have done the following for 75 post game write-ups so for completeness sake…

Around the Division: Binghamton beats Norfolk 4-2….Syracuse wins in Hamilton 3-1….Hershey bests Adirondack 2-1.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins close out the 2012-13 campaign with a 42-26-35 record, good for 92 points, second in the East Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Conference: 1) MCH (105) 2) SPR (100) 3) BNG (96) 4) STJ (99) 5) ALB (93) 6) WBS (92) 7) PRO (91) 8) NOR (90)

Your Round 1 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal schedule is as follows:

Game 1: @ Binghamton 4/25
Game 2: @ Binghamton 4/26
Game 3: vs. Binghamton 4/30
Game 4: vs. Binghamton 5/2*
Game 5: @ Binghamton 5/5*

* – if necessary

Here’s the entire Round 1 schedule for the other 14 teams.

Wheeling Update: Ton Kuhnhackl with the overtime game winning goal as the Nailers win 3-2, take 2-0 series lead against the South Carolina Stingrays as the series shifts back to Wheeling.

SendToNews Highlights: Not up yet. I’ll look again and link if available.

Blog schedule here at Chirps from Center Ice look like this:

Sunday: Final AHL Power Rankings
Monday: Fourth Quarter Grades
Tuesday: Western Conference Playoff Preview
Wednesday: Eastern Conference Playoff Preview
Thursday: Penguins / B-Sens Series Preview
Friday: Gameday Setup, tweeting and blogging of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Stay tuned. It’s about to get real.

#digdeep

Let’s Go Pens!!

Welcome to the Pageau Sheau — Pens LOSE 5-4

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The Binghamton Senators are the East Division Champions.

But it didn’t look like it in the third period of this game, a 5-4 Wilkes-Barre setback. The Penguins outshot the Penguins 26-7 and outscored them 2-0 and nearly tied the game late. Brian Dumoulin shot a puck right at Chris Conner camped out on the right of starting goaltender Andrew Hammond’s crease but Conner didn’t get all on the tip which would have forced overtime.

But they don’t play hockey on what ifs. The now is that the Penguins will need to start the 2014 Calder Cup Campaign on the road, without home ice advantage.

The aforementioned Andrew Hammond vs. Peter Mannino.

Chris Conner was in the lineup, down on conditioning. Zach Sill and Carter Rowney are the names you know that were scratched. Josh Archibald and the rest of the ATOs were scratched. Scott Wilson took warmups. The veteran scratch was Spencer Machacek.

First Period: Shane Prince took a pass from below the goal line and was parked right in front for a 1-0 Binghamton lead. A turnover in front of the Wilkes-Barre net and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his first of three to make it 2-0. Jonathan Bombulie says that the Binghamton Senators make you pay for your mistakes. He wasn’t lying.

Second Period: On a carry over power play from the first, Pageau scored his second on a power play. Then, nifty passing by Alex Grant to David Dziurzuynski and it was 4-0 Penguins. With Dominik Uher in the box for a hook, Pageau finished off his hat trick to make it 5-0 Penguins.

Looking back at the recap so far, it was an all out assault by the Binghamton Senators. Or was it? Did Binghamton just capitalize on turnovers and nifty passes or were the Penguins that bad?

Adam Payerl got one back. Then the Penguins started their comeback.

Bobby Farnham shorthanded. Farnham tore up ice quick, put a wild shot on net that wasn’t close, tracked down the carom and had a wide open net to shoot into. The momentum that Wilkes-Barre had was broken by intermission and the start of the….

Third Period: All Wilkes-Barre from start to finish. Hammond made big saves though. A setup by Chris Conner to Barry Goers was stopped. Anton Zlobin draws the Binghamton net minder out of the net and attempts a wrap around but is stopped. Andrew Ebbett got one past Hammond to cut the deficit to two. While on a power play, Hammond made a sprawling save to keep it a two goal lead. Chuck Kobasew gets one by Hammond to make it a one goal lead for the Senators. With Mannino pulled, the Penguins got close, but never found the equalizer. Dumoulin had Conner at the far post but Conner missed it or else who knows what….

Notes: Mannino hadn’t given up more than two goals in a game since November….the Penguins goaltenders as a whole have a 5.33 GAA and a .809 SV% in Binghamton this season.

Three Stars: 3) Chuck Kobasew (goal, assist, +2) 2) Mark Stone (three assists, +1) and 1) J-G Pageau (three goals, +1)

Around the Division: Syracuse loses to Rochester 5-1….the Norfolk Admirals are headed to the playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Hershey Bears. With a 2-1 Providence overtime win, the Hershey Bears are eliminated form Calder Cup Playoff contention for the first time since 2005-2006.

Other Games that Matter: I gave you the Providence box above. St. John’s is locked in at the 4 seed and Albany was off. It’s still up in the air as to who the Penguins can face in the first round.

Basically how it runs is this. If Wilkes-Barre loses tomorrow in Utica in regulation and Albany (vs. SPR) AND Providence (@ WOR) win, the Pens are a 7 seed. That’s as low as they can go. Win, and the Pens are a 5 no matter what. OTL and SOL get tricky depending on competition. It’s something that I hope that Jason Chaimovitch and the brain trust in Springfield are working on at this ungodly hour (11:44 p.m. on a Friday)

Standings: Binghamton 94 — Penguins 92 — Norfolk 90 — Hershey 86 — Syracuse 73

Conference: 1) MCH (105) 2) SPR (100) 3) BNG (94) 4) STJ (97) 5) WBS (92) 6) ALB (91) 7) PRO (91) 8) NOR (90)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers won Game 1 in South Carolina 3-0.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Gameday for the final regular season game vs. Utica will be up at 3. If the Springfield brain trust manages to put together scenarios, I may run a mini blog post with the who’s and how’s.

Let’s Go Pens!!

Play 60, Not 50 — Pens LOSE 3-2

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The Toronto Marlies are the three time reigning North Division Champions. They are a formidable opponent and one that opposing teams in the Western Conference probably don’t like to see.

For the fans in attendance today in Wilkes-Barre, the same feelings were had.

Two Marlies goals :39 apart then a goal late with 26.7 seconds left, all in the third period, stun the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who lose 3-2 today on Fan Appreciation Night.

The Penguins controlled 50 minutes of the 60 minute hockey game, but let it slip away.

A delay of game call by Bobby Farnham put the Marlies on the power play at 8:36 of the third period. Greg McKegg slammed home a Sam Carrick shot to put the Marlies on the board.

:39 later, AHL stud Defenseman TJ Brennan zipped home a shot from the point that plum beat starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun, appearing in his second and final rehab stint for the Penguins.

A stunned crowd and team. Coach John Hynes used his time out. Both teams had good chances. Vokoun had a big save though traffic to keep it square at two.

Marlies head coach Steve Spott then used his timeout with 1:10 left in the game. In what seemed like a blender of bodies, TJ Brennan unleashed a huge shot from the blue line which was blocked.

Left in the slot, seemingly unattended, was Jerry D’Amigo. D’Amigo shoots, and Kenny Ryan in front tips it in. The Marlies are up 3-2.

Not exactly the Mohegan Meltdown from a few years ago against Charlotte in the playoffs, but close.

Penguins got a power play goal from Adam Payerl in the first and a goal from Tom Kostopoulos in the second. They limited the Marlies to only 8 shots through two periods. It seemed like a walk in the park for the Penguins.

You just don’t do that to the Toronto Marlies. That must have been the message that Spott gave to his players in the second intermission because they responded and responded well.

Probably a good thing that this happens to the Penguins on a Sunday in early April as opposed to a Friday in mid-May. Take this lesson and learn from it.

Three Stars: 3) Anton Zlobin (two assists, +2) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even) and 1) Jerry D’Amigo (was originally awarded GWG, but that was changed to Ryan. D’Amigo assisted)

Lineup Notes: Chuck Kobasew was recalled by Pittsburgh in the morning. If you think that we needed Kobasew in order to win a Calder Cup, you are probably wrong about a lot of things….Matia Marcantuoni made his pro debut, in for Mike Carman….Zach Sill made his return from skate blade injury, his first action since January 25.

Pre-Game Awards: Media Award (Nick Drazenovic) — Rookie of the Year (Scott Harrington) — Community Service Award (Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond) — Most Valuable Defenseman (Philip Samuelsson) — Most Improved Player (Reid McNeill) — Herb Brooks Memorial Award for Spirit and Dedication (Brendan Mikkeslon) — Fan Favorite Award (Bobby Farnham) — Most Three Stars Award (Tom Kostopoulos) — Most Valuable Player (Tom Kostopoulos)

Around the Division: Binghamton lost in overtime 1-0 to the Hershey Bears. With the point, the B-Sens clinched playoffs….Norfolk wins in a shootout 3-2. Ol’ buddy Brad Thiessen started his third game in as many nights and got the win for the Admirals….Syracuse was shutout 4-0 by the Albany Devils. The Devils completed a perfect weekend.

Other Games of Relevance: Providence lost 3-2 to the Manchester Monarchs and have to wait another day to clinch…. The St. John’s IceCaps put an end to the Hartford WolfPack’s winning streak and win 6-2. 

Standings: Penguins 92 — Binghamton 91 — Hershey 86 — Norfolk 86 — Syracuse 72

Conference: 1) MCH (104) 2) SPR (100) 3) WBS (92) 4) STJ (95) 5) BNG (91) 6) ALB (89) 7) PRO (89) 8) HER (86)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers completed their regular season last night. They get the South Carolina Stingrays in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

So here’s what the rest of the week holds in the East Division. The Binghamton Senators host the Toronto Marlies Wednesday. The Pens and B-Sens square off Friday for what very well may be the East Division Championship. Then the B-Sens host the Norfolk Admirals while the Penguins travel to Utica.

Blog wise, the Week 28 AHL Power Rankings will be up Monday at 4. I have a bunch of other things in the infant stages I am thinking of for the blog. Stay tuned.

Let’s Go Pens!

Magic Number? Dozen Matter! — Pens WIN 2-1

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You ever get that sense of something being lifted off of your shoulders and a sense of calm, cool, collectiveness all of a sudden?

When the clock hit zero tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza tonight, I had that feeling. In fact, at 10:32 p.m. on a Saturday night, I still have that feeling.

With a 2-1 win tonight against the Binghamton Senators, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs for a twelfth consecutive season.

Twelve years. That is something that, at the level of minor league hockey, just isn’t done. Think about where you were twelve years ago. Only the Milwaukee Admirals in the Western Conference can say that they have the same streak. They clinched last night.

It’s becoming an institution in Wilkes-Barre. It’s a great city to play in. First class facilities. A front office that goes above and beyond. Media that does the same, from Mike O’Brien all the way down the line.

The one thing that has eluded this city and this franchise, is the Calder Cup.

penguins14

Pretty, ain’t she?

Peter Mannino stopped 15 of 16. Goals by Carter Rowney shorthanded and Scott Harrington on a three on one rush were what the Penguins needed to get by the Senators and overtake Binghamton for first place in the East Division.

Chuck Kobasew was the veteran scratch tonight. Brian Dumoulin did not participate in warmups either after his hit he took in Syracuse last night. Scott Wilson took warmups but was scratched for Josh Archibald.

Penguins do everything right in the first period. Puck possession and a couple of power plays. One where the Pens had extended 5-on-3 time but failed to score.

Then, a puck is thrown in to the left of Mannino. The defenseman wants to take the puck and run it back up and out of the zone but Mannino yells and instructs him to move it along the wall. What ensued was the Senators scoring in the final minute when Ryan Dzingel scored his first goal as a professional to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. Peter Mannino’s shutout streak ends at 154:19.

Carter Rowney does the same for the Penguins in the final minute of the second period. The Pens sail a puck 200 feet down the ice while killing a penalty. Rowney is there to collect it, has all day, makes a couple of moves and roofs a shot in on starting goaltender Andrew Hammond to tie the game with 15.7 seconds left in the period.

Third period saw Binghamton open with some pop but then the Penguins take a puck up ice on a two on one, which became a three on one after the patient Nick Drazenovic dished to a trailing Scott Harrington who had a wide open net to shoot into.

Binghamton then gets two power play opportunities. Peter Mannino came up HUGE in the moment, denying the Senators attempts to tie the game.

With an empty net, the visitors never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Peter Mannino (15 saves on 16 shots) 2) Carter Rowney (goal, even) 1) Scott Harrington (goal, +1)

Around the Division: Hershey loses to Springfield in a shootout 4-3…. Syracuse beats Toronto in an ugly game 6-3….Norfolk and Brad Thiessen shutout the Worcester Sharks 3-0. Thiessen had a 28 save shutout for the Admirals.

Other Games that Matter: The ridiculously hot Hartford Wolf Pack have been eliminated form playoff contention, but that hasn’t stopped the Pack from playing spoiler. Hartford crushes the St. John’s IceCaps on the Rock 7-2 tonight….The Albany Devils are looking more and more like a playoff team with a 2-1 shootout win over the Providence Bruins tonight.

Standings: Penguins 92 — Binghamton 90 — Hershey 84 — Norfolk 84 — Syracuse 72

Conference: 1) MCH (102) 2) SPR (98) 3) WBS (92) 4) STJ (93) 5) BNG (90) 6) PRO (89) 7) ALB (87) 8) HER (84)

Wheeling Update: The Wheeling Nailers win 5-0 tonight in Cincinnati. The Nailers wrapped up the regular season tonight and will start the Kelly Cup Playoffs this week.

SendToNews Highlights: Better yet, how about YouTube Highlights of the same thing sent to SendToNews?

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Peaking at the right time? That’s a question that is up for a debate. If you think so, let me know.

Wilkes-Barre closes out the regular season home schedule tomorrow afternoon vs. the Toronto Marlies. Gameday for that will be up at noon.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

Power Players — Pens WINS 3-2 (SO)

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They didn’t clinch on the ice that their season ended on like they did last year in St. John’s, but the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins got closer to doing so with a 3-2 shootout win in Syracuse Friday night.

Chuck Kobasew scored two power play goals. Tomas Vokoun, facing his first live fire since June of last year while with Pittsburgh, stopped 23 of 25 shots.

Brian Dumoulin took a hard shot from Dalton Smith in the third period, took one shift afterwards but wasn’t seen again. You hope, with the injury to the other top defenseman Philip Samuelsson, that Dumoulin’s injury isn’t that bad or else Wilkes-Barre could be in a bind sooner rather than later. Edit: Jonathan tweeted that the injury is believed to be minor.

Tomas Vokoun vs. Cedrick Desjardins

Lineup Notes: Harry Zolnierczyk was recalled to Pittsburgh before the game. Bryan Rust made his pro debut on the Penguins third line with Dominik Uher and Carter Rowney. Injury scratches were Jeff Deslauriers, Philip Samuelsson and Zach Sill. Veteran was Tom Kostopoulos and healthies were Nick D’Agostino, Josh Archibald, Conor Sheary, Matia Marcantuoni and Scott Wilson.

First Period: Nice opening jump from both clubs. Chuck Kobasew scores on a power play goal to put the Penguins ahead 1-0. Andrew Ebbett assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to twelve games. Shots were 8-1 Penguins.

Then the Crunch took over.

Vlad Namestnikov on a power play goal with Adam Payerl setting an unintentional screen beats Vokoun near post. Wilkes-Barre gets a power play and do nothing with it. Carter Rowney slashes a guy to break up a Crunch rush. On the ensuing power play for Syracuse, Jonathan Marchessault centers to Jon DiSalvatore on a bang-bang play that puts the Crunch ahead 2-1.

The Penguins outshot the Crunch 8-1 in the games first 6:44 and then were outshot 11-0 by Syracuse the final 13:16 of the period.

Second Period: It was a Wilkes-Barre power play clinic. The Pens were given four consecutive power plays in the period, but scored on only one of them. Chuck Kobasew (again) scored on a backhander as he cashed in on a rebound of a shot from the point. Brett Connolly nearly scored on a penalty kill as he snaked around the Pens defenders and wrapped around and missed a wide open net. Of note, Bryan Rust had some late power play time.

Third Period: Penguins were really looking for the killshot, but never found it. No power plays in this period for either side. During the turn of events, Brian Dumoulin took a hard clean shot from Dalton Smith. Late, Desjardins made a couple of really nice saves to keep it square at two heading into….

Overtime: More Desjardins heroics. A stop on a Wilkes-Barre odd man rush up ice on Carter Rowney then a save on a Nick Drazenovic one timer.

Shootout: Anton Zlobin in Round 1, Spencer Machacek in Round 5. Tomas Vokoun stops all four Crunch players and Wilkes-Barre skates away with the two points.

Three Stars: 3) Vlad Namestnikov (goal, even) 2) Cedrick Desjardins (29 saves on 31 shots) and 1) Chuck Kobasew (two goals, even)

Around the Division: Hershey loses to Binghamton 5-4 in overtime…Norfolk does the same in Providence 2-1.

Other Games that Matter: Albany beats Bridgeport 2-1 in regulation. St. John’s was idle tonight.

Magic Number: One. Any point tomorrow by Wilkes-Barre should, conceivably, seal a twelfth straight trip to the dance.

Standings: Binghamton 90 — Penguins 90 — Hershey 83 — Norfolk 82 — Syracuse 70

Conference: 1) MCH (100) 2) SPR (96) 3) BNG (90) 4) STJ (93) 5) WBS (90) 6) PRO (88) 7) ALB (85) 8) HER (83)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were in Cincinnati tonight and lost 6-3. Eric Hartzell was in net for this one and took the loss for the Nailers.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Pens / B-Sens face-off tomorrow in what will likely be the biggest game of the season for both. East Division Championship up for grabs. A trip to the playoffs. Loser probably having to travel to St. John’s for Round 1 of the playoffs. Just tons of story lines. The Gameday setup will be here for you Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!!

Running on Empty — Pens LOSE 6-2

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Couple things with this game, a 6-2 Binghamton thumping, which was over before the game was 10 minutes old.

1) The Pens were gassed last night and emptied the reserves in last night’s 1-0 win vs. the Albany Devils. You could tell it from the looks on the players faces last night and, obviously, the start today.

2) Really nothing much to lose for the Penguins with a two point lead in the Division. They still have a game more played than Binghamton, had been playing well while Binghamton hadn’t, and were playing their third game in less than three days.

3) The young defenseman were exploited tonight. Nick D’Agostino was a -3 in the first period. He wasn’t seen much thereafter.

4) Eric Hartzell, making his first appearance since February 25, still has some things to work on. He was a disaster in the first period, 5 goals on 15 shots.

5) Binghamton had just been destroyed at home the night prior by a fumbling Norfolk Admirals team that scored three unanswered goals in the third period and rolled the B-Sens. So to think that the B-Sens, who have been at the top of the East Division for months now, would take the Penguins coming in a whooping the home team again just wasn’t going to happen.

That’s just how hockey goes in the AHL.

Eric Hartzell vs. Andrew Hammond.

Lineup Changes: Adam Payerl was recalled to Pittsburgh this morning. With Pittsburgh locked in at the two seed with nothing left to play for in the final two weeks of the NHL season, why not call up your prospects to get them a look in a live NHL game? Josh Archibald was back in for Conor Sheary and Harrison Ruopp was out for Nick D’Agostino.

First Period: Blitzkrieg. Hartzell doesn’t control a rebound of a Patrick Mullen shot and Matt Puempel scored to put the B-Sens up 1-0. Dave Dziurzynski on a softie. 2-0. Wacey Hamilton grabs a gear and gets around Barry Goers and burns Hartzell on the post. 3-0.

Spencer Machacek got one back on the power play to make it 3-1.

Garrett Thompson scores his first pro goal as Nick D’Agostino was stripped of a puck from a Binghamton defenseman. 4-1. Cole Schnieder finishes off a tic tac toe setup and it’s 5-1 on a power play goal for the B-Sens.

Second Period: Binghamton scores another power play goal, more give and go passing by the B-Sens and Matt Peumpel gets his second of the night. Furious, furious rush by the Pens after that sequence and it’s 5-2. Guess who? Spencer Machacek again.

Things finally settled after that. But it was too late. Here’s something I mined off of the scoresheet. After the Machacek goal, the Pens were given five consecutive power plays by refs Darcy Burchell and Chris Brown.

Third Period: I got nothing. But here’s a stat for you. The Binghamton Senators ate 11-31 on the power play this season vs. the Penguins. Please keep reading…

Three Stars: 3) Alex Grant (three assists, +1) 2) Patrick Mullen (three assists, +1) 1) Matt Peumpel (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: Bears battle with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and win 5-4….Norfolk loses a heartbreaker to Hartford 3-2….Syracuse was off.

Standings: Binghamton 88 — Penguins 88 — Hershey 82 — Norfolk 81 — Syracuse 69

Other Games that Matter: The only other game was Providence crushing Portland 7-2.

Conference: 1) MCH (98) 2) SPR (94) 3) BNG (88) 4) STJ (90) 5) WBS (88) 6) PRO (86) 7) ALB (83) 8) HER (82)

SendToNews Highlights: Are here. Unless your name is Leah, not much to look at from a Penguins perspective.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers did not play tonight but are in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Details on that here.

My Week 27 AHL Power Rankings will be completed tonight and will be here Monday at 4 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

Away, Lucifer!*

ALB          vs.          HER

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Nick Drazenovic hadn’t scored since March 9 when his goals up in Toronto helped the Penguins get by the Marlies in a shootout that Sunday afternoon.

A lot happened since then. A Wilkes-Barre resurgence. Peter Mannino. Chuck Kobasew. A veteran issue.

Tonight, Drazenovic made people remember who he was.

A 60-minute stalemate between the Albany Devils and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins ended at 1:02 of overtime when Tom Kostopoulos capitalized on a Devils turnover and passed to Drazenovic who collected his own rebound and backhanded one over the shoulder of starting goaltender Keith Kincaid to give the Penguins the 1-0 win and vault them to sole possession of first place in the division after a Binghamton loss tonight, which I will get to.

And Penguins starting goaltender Peter Mannino? A 25 save shutout again. A streak of 136:05, 10-3-1 record, with 4 shutouts.

Some changes to the lineup tonight. Conor Sheary made his pro debut tonight skating in place of Josh Archibald. He didn’t look overwhelmed in an April game which meant so much to both teams. Carter Rowney was in for Adam Payerl also and Harrison Ruopp for Nick D’Agostino. Eric Hartzell backed up Mannino tonight.

Not much in the way of a recap here. Pens controlled opening fifteen minutes. They had a goal waved off when Harry Zolnierczyk kicked the puck in the net. Long first period with a lot of whistles.

Second didn’t offer much either, other than the fact that the roles were reversed and the Devils were taking it to the Penguins. I recall a sequence of about three minutes where the Devils did pretty much whatever they wanted and kept the Pens hemmed in and not able to make a change. I think turn of events sealed the deal for the Pens because if they get scored on, it’s chase time against a Devils team that plays defense, defense and more defense.

Third had a big Penguins penalty kill in it and a Kincaid pad save on a shot ticketed for the back of the net.

Felt like both teams played like they deserved a point. Enter Drazenovic, who ended it on his nice backhand shot.

Three stars were Keith Kincaid with 17 saves on 18 shots, Nick Drazenovic with the overtime game winning goal and Peter Mannino with his 25 save shutout.

Around the Division: Norfolk beats Binghamton 6-3. The Pens are now in sole possession of first place in the East. Binghamton still has a game in hand. Hershey needs overtime to get by Worcester 3-2 and Syracuse gets three goals in less than 1:39 to play in the third to defeat Utica 6-5 in overtime at home.

Other Games that Matter: St. John’s beats Springfield 3-1. IceCaps will remain in fourth in the Conference. Hartford beats Providence in a shootout 2-1. P-Bruins just two back of now the Binghamton Senators for the fifth spot.

Standings: Penguins 88 — Binghamton 86 — Norfolk 81 — Hershey 80 — Syracuse 69

Conference: 1) MCH (96) 2) SPR (94) 3) WBS (88) 4) STJ (90) 5) BNG (86) 6) PRO (84) 7) ALB (83) 8) NOR (81)

Don’t be surprised if the Pens look gassed in the second half of tomorrow’s game. I’d also look for the guys that were scratched tonight to play tomorrow.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers could have punched a ticket to the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a win over the Orlando Solar Bears. They did not, rather losing 3-1.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Gameday for the Penguins game up in Binghamton will be at 11:00 a.m. for the 3:05 start.

Let’s Go Pens!!

* – recycled headlines are considered poor form. Example. Hey, you try coming up with goofy headlines 76 times a year!

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