Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Deep Sixed — Pens LOSE 6-2

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I can’t for the life of me remember if I have use that headline once before here. If I have, I apologize.

Anyway, I have been blogging up this team long enough to see a game like this one coming. Let’s look at the elements….

– You have a Penguins team rolling, winning four straight games, coming off of a 5-0 laugher in Springfield last night.
— A goaltender in Matt Murray who has been hot as of late, and leads the AHL in goals against average coming into tonight’s action.
— A Lehigh Valley team that had its heads kicked in the night before at home against Hershey and the night prior against Albany.
— Andrew Ebbett down from Pittsburgh this afternoon after being re-assigned. Ebbett was a key contributor to the Penguins ending the then six game losing streak against St. John’s about ten days ago.
— You find yourself up 2-0 at home on a Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 8,217 people 10:23 into the first period on a game that is being locally televised, also.

You are going to roll, right?

Wrong. Instead, the Phantoms respond with six straight goals, chase Matt Murray in the process and win 6-2. The game devolved late in the third period with fights and misconducts being passed around like a hot potato at a summer camp. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond is facing at least a one game suspension, picking up and instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the third period.

Penguins went up quickly on the Phantoms with a Scott Wilson power move to the net on Lehigh Valley starting goaltender Robb Zepp at 6:24 of the first. Tom Kuhnhackl tacked on a power play goal off of a Bryan Rust shot that Zepp left a big rebound on.

Wilkes-Barre was cruising. Then they got complacent.

– Andrew Gordon made it a 2-1 game at 12:30 of the first with a dart of a shot while the Penguins were just going through the motions.
— Adam Comrie scored a power play goal at 15:47 to tie the game at two on a snipe of a shot that Murray could have saved.

Second period saw Jesper Pettersson score to make it 3-2. This chased Murray from the net, enter Jeff Zatkoff who was healthy enough to at least back up tonight. The Penguins didn’t allow any more shots the rest of the way, threw everything but the kitchen sink at Zepp the rest of the way, 16 shots total, but couldn’t get anything past.

There was a point in the game when the Penguins were down one where they clearly put the puck past Zepp but ref Keith Kaval ruled incidental contact on Zepp and washed out the goal. I thought that this was the turning point in the game. A 3-3 tie is a lot better than working and working and coming up empty and then getting scored on again and again.

In the third period, the Phantoms wasted no time.

Taylor Leier scored :20 in on the first actual shot that Zatkoff sees and you could feel the game getting out of hand.

Nick Cousins buries a juicy rebound left by Zatkoff for a 5-2 Phantoms lead on a power play goal at 3:53.

Jason Akeson on what must have been a blown assignment because he had all day to make a move and dance into the top of the circles and let go a shot with no traffic in front for a 6-2 Lehigh Valley lead.

Head Coach John Hynes took his timeout after that. Didn’t matter. Game ended up with fights and lots of guys getting tossed on 10 minute misconducts. I thought the pairing of Kaval / Tim Mayer did good as far as assessing 10 minute misconducts to anyone who stepped out of line with the game being well decided between two divisional rivals.

J-S Dea, Matia Marcantuoni, Eric Hartzell, Josh Archibald and Adam Payerl were the healthy scratches tonight. Hartzell will likely get shipped to Wheeling sooner rather than later. Derrick Pouliot was called up to Pittsburgh prior to the game for the injured Christian Ehrhoff.

Three Stars: 3) Andrew Gordon (goal, assist, +2) 2) Nick Cousins (goal, two assists, +2) and 1) Taylor Leier (goal, two assists, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey loses in a shootout to Syracuse 3-2. Followed that one on Twitter and it sounded like an instant classic. Crunch were up 2-0, Bears claw back with a goal late in the second and tie it in the third…..Norfolk beats Binghamton in overtime 2-1.

Standings: Hershey 54 — Penguins 52 – Lehigh Valley 47 — Norfolk 41 — Binghamton 40

Conference: 1) SYR (61) 2) MCH (60) 3) HER (54) 4) HFD (57) 5) SPR (56) 6) POR (53) 7) ALB (53) 8) WBS (52)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 4-3 to Kalamazoo. Derek Army had a goal and an assist in the loss.

SendToNews Highlights: Not up yet. Doubt the Pens will offer YouTube. Doubt you’d click through to see them anyway on SendToNews. Let’s move on…

Bears host the Admirals tomorrow and burn off one of three games in hand on the Penguins. Wilkes-Barre is in action Tuesday against Springfield. My Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

¡Cuatro es Importante! — Pens WIN 5-0

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have won four straight games. G Matt Murray has collected four shutouts this season, surpassing his counterpart Jeff Zatkoff in doing so.

The Penguins won tonight 5-0 in Springfield. Matt Murray had a 28 save shutout. The Penguins have not allowed the Falcons to score a goal on them yet this season. The Penguins won 5-0 back in October and it was, ironically enough, Matt Murray’s first shutout of the season.

Oh, if you haven’t yet figured out the headline yet, it’s “Four is Important” translated over to English from Spanish. I might be the only AHL blogger to use the Spanish language as a headline this weekend, or season, for that matter.

Anyway, this post game recap includes some new things that I am experimenting with. Twitter recently implemented native video. In lieu of you clicking off and looking at a Vine of a goal or a highlight, I am able to embed the highlight straight into the blog recap without you, the reader, having to click off someplace else. Great timing, eh? The Pens scored five goals total tonight and you have five different highlights to look at, embedded right here in the blog.

The aforementioned Matt Murray vs. Oskar Dansk.

Lines were…

Conor Sheary – Nick Drazenovic – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Carter Rowney – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Jayson Megna – Adam Payerl
Dominik Uher – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Barry Goers – Nick D’Agostino

Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell

Alex Boak took warmups but was scratched. Other scratches were J-S Dea, Josh Archibald and Pierre Leblond. Jeff Zatkoff took morning skate but is still week-to-week, technically.

Adam Payerl’s first game since December 26 at Binghamton.

First Period: Penguins started out slow, but after a penalty to Springfield, Jayson Megna scored this goal on a rebound left by Dansk…

The Penguins weren’t done. Tom Kostopoulos scored this goal from a nice pass from Nick Drazenovic on a quick developing two on one…

Penguins add on another power play goal from Taylor Chorney…

Obie summed up the period succinctly. The Penguins didn’t dominate the period, but they were opportunistic.

Second Period: Penguins would kill off a double minor to Reid McNeill thanks to a few great saves in close by Murray. A Penguins power play would come and go, but then Derrick Pouliot would find Conor Sheary on this nice goal that made it 4-0 Penguins…

1:14 later, Bryan Rust would toast Nathan Oystrick and score this goal that chased Dansk…

Enter ex-Penguin Scott Munroe, who settled things down a bit for the Falcons. Murray had a great save on a defensive breakdown by the Penguins.

Third Period: Penguins put it on cruise control and played prevent. Penguins didn’t really push anything offensively but neither did Springfield. Shots in the period were 10-4 Penguins, ironically. Don’t be surprised to see Scott Munroe come out first Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre in the rematch.

Three Stars: 3) Conor Sheary (goal, assist, +2) 2) Bryan Rust (goal, assist, +1) 1) Matt Murray (28 save shutout)

Around the Division: Hershey beats Lehigh Valley in Allentown 6-1 to stay a point up on the Pens with  three games in hand. Binghamton loses to Norfolk 5-3 at home.

Standings: Hershey 53 — Penguins 52 – Lehigh Valley 45 — Binghamton 39 — Norfolk 39

Conference: 1) MCH (60) 2) SYR (59) 3) HER (53) 4) SPR (56) 5) HFD (55) 6) WBS (52) 7) POR (51) 8) ALB (51)

Wheeling Update: Nailers win 4-1 in Kalamazoo. Zack Torquato had two assists and was a +3.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here. You’ll need to click off to see ‘em.

Penguins come home to a sold out crowd tomorrow night against the Phantoms, playing their third game in three nights. Gameday for that will be up her eon the blog at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!!

Happy Birthday! — Pens WIN 3-2 (OT)

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Tom Kostopoulos celebrated his 36th birthday today. He’s heading to Utica Sunday to captain the AHL’s Eastern Conference in the league’s All-Star Classic.

But before he could sit back and celebrate a birthday and reflect on accomplishments that led him to be named captain of the AHL’s Eastern Conference and named starter, he had business to attend to tonight in Virginia.

His overtime game winning goal assured a sweep of the Norfolk Admirals by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins by a 3-2 score.

Lines looked like this tonight…..

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

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

Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell

J-S Dea took warmups but was scratched. Pierre Leblond served the third game of his three game suspension. So the lineup was unchanged from last night.

The Penguins opposed recent stone in the shoe known as Jason Labarbera.

First Period: Norfolk jumped all over the Penguins to start. Emerson Etem rang a post then later on a busted Wilkes-Barre clear, scored to put the Admirals ahead 1-0. Then, the Penguins started to push back and Jayson Megna scored when Brendan Bell snapped his stick attempting to maneuver the puck out of his own end.

Wilkes-Barre seemed ignited prior to the Megna goal after a fight by Bobby Farnham with Joseph Cramarossa after Etem scored.

Second Period: No scoring in this period. Penguins had a few cracks at the power play but Norfolk was great in blocking shots.

Third Period: Scott Wilson put the Penguins ahead with this shot from the high slot off of a nice feed by Bryan Rust to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. It was Wilson’s fourth game in a row where he has scored a goal. Norfolk was able to edge back even with a power play goal from Nic Kerdiles on a deflection. A frenetic pace by both teams to finish.

Quick observations, John Hynes told Mike O’Brien in the pre show that one of the focuses the Penguins were going to work on after the All-Star break was special teams. The Penguins had multiple chances this weekend to take a lead with power plays but never could connect….Jayson Megna is usually the butt of my sophomoric jokes on the blog and elsewhere, but he had a hell of a game tonight. Nearly every chance he had was a Grade A opportunity.

Overtime: Tom Kostopoulos scored this goal on a deflection. This came after a John Hynes timeout. Before this, the Penguins had an opportunity to score on a power play but let it pass.

Three Stars: 3) Nic Kerdiles (goal, -1) 2) Scott Wilson (goal, +1) 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, +1)

Around the Division: Hershey beat Binghamton 3-2 in overtime to stay ahead of the Penguins by a point in the standings and lead the East Division at the break….Lehigh Valley beat St. John’s 4-3.

Standings: Hershey 51 — Penguins 50 – Lehigh Valley 45 — Binghamton 39 — Norfolk 37

Conference: 1) MCH (58) 2) SYR (57) 3) HER (51) 4) SPR (56) 5) HFD (53) 6) WBS (50) 7) WOR (49) 8) POR (49)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lost 4-1 to the Fort Wayne Komets.

SendToNews Highlights: Here is YouTube…

So that’s the break. Pens are in action again next Friday in Springfield. Here’s what you have coming at you this weekend and this week…

– Week 16 AHL Power Rankings at a special time, 2 p.m. Sunday.
— My big board chart page is already updated for your perusal.
— I may throw in a quick blurb of who won what at the Skills Competition Sunday night.
— I am pinch hitting for Tom Venesky from The Times-Leader Monday night. So buy a paper Tuesday to see my name and a bunch of words put together about the All-Star Classic. I will have a blog of the goings on Monday night after my duties for the paper conclude.
— I am planning on getting audio of the AHL’s Yearly State of the League. Stay tuned. I will probably make a blog out of that.

Let’s Go Pens!

Hey, Ebbett! — Pens WIN 4-2

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have been slumping as of late. They just sloughed off a six game losing streak when they beat the St. John’s IceCaps at home back in Wilkes-Barre.

You don’t all of a sudden just snap out of a losing streak and look like world beaters again. You may have gotten lucky in the game that saw your losing streak end. A bounce here or there and, you got lucky. Usually, what plagued you in the losing streak rears its ugly head once again.

Well, for the Penguins, they almost got caught in the closet with the ghosts that brought them that losing streak.

Enter Andrew Ebbett. Down from Pittsburgh during the NHL All-Star break. Ebbett has been a point producer for the Penguins at the AHL level. That continued tonight as his two goals ignites the Penguins over the Norfolk Admirals by a score of 4-2.

Ebbett wasn’t the only player down from Pittsburgh. Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington were down too. It was the strongest lineup in months for the Penguins. Lines looked like this…

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

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

Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell

Injured G Jeff Zatkoff’s status is “officially week-to-week” per Obie. Adam Payerl started skating this week and is still, “week to week” and is on the trip with the Penguins.

Josh Archibald took warmups but was scratched. Other healthy scratches were J-S Dea and Nick D’Agostino. Pierre Leblond served the second of his three game suspension.

First Period: Penguins really jumped on the Admirals from the start, getting pucks and bodies behind the Norfolk defense. Finally Nick Drazenovic chipped this pass to Conor Sheary who had John Gibson out of position and backhanded it by him for a goal and a 1-0 Penguins lead. Wilkes-Barre was the beneficiary of two power plays, but failed to score. Bobby Farnham was in the middle of everything early on and drew the second penalty called on the Admirals.

Second Period: Felt like an exact opposite of the first period for the Penguins, who looked lifeless at times during the period. They got scored on. Twice. The first goal was a weird one. The Penguins just killed a penalty and the Admirals were streaking up ice, Chris Wagner tries a cross ice pass that deflects off of Scott Harrington and in past Murray and in.

Teams traded some more power plays. Late, Barry Goers goes into the box for a high stick and Andrew O’Brien slams home a big rebound left by Matt Murray to put the Admirals up 2-1.

In the final minute, with 37.1 left, Andrew Ebbett scored this goal to bring the Penguins even again. It was a nice shot that went cross bar and in.

Wilkes-Barre was lucky to come out of the period tied. Just a forgettable period by Wilkes-Barre standards.

Third Period: Penguins had to kill about 1:45 of a Norfolk power play to open and nearly got scored on. Louis Leblanc appeared to have scored a goal, but referee Mark Lemelin lost sight of the puck and ruled that the puck had entered the net after the whistle had blown.

Huge break for the Penguins there. Wilkes-Barre had to go back on the kill again and Norfolk came dangerously close to scoring again, but the Penguins killed the penalty successfully.

Then, the Penguins edged ahead on a Norfolk turnover. Scott Wilson was looking for a streaking Carter Rowney but instead found the stick of Andrew O’Brien who inadvertently directed the puck into his own net past Gibson to give the Penguins the lead. 

Penguins had a late power play. I have said it on a number of occasions before, but if Wilkes-Barre had anything that resembled a decent power play, they could use that to put teams away. Tonight would have been a prime time to do so.

With under a minute to play, the Penguins possessed the puck for a good :30. Norfolk finally got Gibson out of the net, but Ebbett won a neutral zone face-off that went the length of the ice and into the empty net to extend the lead for the Penguins to 4-2 with about 10 seconds left to play.

Three Stars: 3) Mark Fistric (-1) 2) Andrew Ebbett (two goals, +2) and 1) Scott Wilson (goal, assist, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey was idle tonight, so the Penguins have played now three more games than the Bears. St. John’s beat Binghamton 5-2 and Syracuse beat Lehigh Valley 4-2.

Standings: Hershey 49 — Penguins 48 – Lehigh Valley 43 — Binghamton 38 — Norfolk 36

Conference: 1) MCH (58) 2) SPR (56) 3) HER (49) 4) SYR (55) 5) HFD (53) 6) POR (49) 7) ALB (48) 8) WBS (48) 

Wheeling Update: Nailers win at home 5-4 over the Fort Wayne Komets. Riley Brace had 4 assists.

SendToNews Highlights: Admirals put out a YouTube package, so let’s run that instead…

These two teams rematch tomorrow at 7:15 in Virginia. Gameday for that will be up at 3:15.

Let’s Go Pens!

Winning Wednesdays — Pens WIN 5-1

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It had to end sometime. It did tonight. Penguins win 5-1 against a good St. John’s team that plays better than its last-in-the-Atlantic-Division record indicates.

Goals from the veteran leader, Tom Kostopoulos, two from rookie Conor Sheary, one from Bobby Farnham, on a breakaway of all things. 25 saves by Matt Murray and the Penguins are back to their winning ways.

Before the game, a bunch of news items were announced. First, Bobby Farnham and Derrick Pouliot switched places. Eric Hartzell was recalled to Wilkes-Barre in place of Jeff Zatkoff who was hurt in practice Tuesday. Also, the AHL announced starters for the AHL All-Star Classic to be played in Utica on this coming Monday. Both Tom Kostopoulos and Derrick Pouliot were named starters. There hasn’t yet been an announcement or a final decision on whether Jeff Zatkoff will participate in the events or if a replacement will be named. If I am the Penguins and Zatkoff, I call Springfield and tell them to look for a replacement and let Zatkoff have the time off. Who knows what will happen.

I wrote that last paragraph this afternoon so I didn’t have to throw the links in at 10:30 on a work night, but Tom Venesky from The Times-Leader tweeted after the game that Zatkoff is out till after All-Stars. Jonathan also had more here. I stand by what I crossed out, Zatkoff shouldn’t play. Let someone equally deserving and healthy go to Utica.

Matt Murray vs. Connor Hellebuyck

Taking the veteran option on handwriting out the lines tonight, as I have to get up for my big boy job Thursday morning. So here are Mike O’Brien’s tweets of the line rushes…

With Jeff Zatkoff and Bryan Rust injured and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond serving the first of his three game suspension, the Penguins has no healthy scratches.

First Period: Penguins killed an early penalty, then Nick Drazenovic won an offensive zone faceoff to Tom Kostopoulos who blasted it past Hellebuyuk and in for a 1-0 Penguins lead.

Moments later, Bobby Farnham scored on a breakaway. I wish I had a Vine of this, I am sure that Coal Street will have that as part of the highlight package. Farnham picked up the puck at center ice and zipped down the ice and put the puck over Hellebuyuk’s glove and in.

Penguins must have gotten the message. Jump on them. Finish your chances. The shots were 12-5 Wilkes-Barre.

Second Period: Penguins manufactured a goal out of thin air. Literally. Drazenovic passed it straight to Sheary who put the puck past Hellebuyuk and in for a 3-0 lead. This was a play that didn’t look like it was going to develop into anything and Sheary got the goal.

After that, St. John’s picked it up. To this point, the IceCaps had just 6 shots on goal. They began to pepper Murray and forced him into some rapid fire saves from all angles. Late, with Nic Blanchard in the penalty box for an elbowing call, the IceCaps quickly transitioned into a two on one rush and Keaton Ellerby scored a shorthanded goal against the Penguins, the second allowed this season by Wilkes-Barre.

Third Period: Felt at the time that the next goal, whenever it was scored, would be a huge goal. Penguins got a power play and the IceCaps turned it over tight to Conor Sheary who wasted no time and scored to make it 4-1 Wilkes-Barre. Penguins clamped down from there, time melted off and Scott Wilson tacked on an empty net goal to put it away for the Penguins.

Three Stars: 3) Bobby Farnham (goal, +1) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Conor Sheary (two goals, even)

Around the Division: The Bears keep it three ahead of the Penguins with a 7-2 drubbing of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown….Josh Manson’s goal at 7:00 of overtime (don’t know how that’s possible) give the Norfolk Admirals a 3-2 overtime win over the Charlotte Checkers at Scope tonight. The Penguins travel there tomorrow. Binghamton was off.

Standings: Hershey 49 — Penguins 46 – Lehigh Valley 43 — Binghamton 38 — Norfolk 36

Conference: 1) MCH (57) 2) SPR (56) 3) HER (49) 4) SYR (53) 5) HFD (51) 6) WOR (47) 7) POR (47) 8) ALB (46) 9) WBS (46)

Penguins still are out of a playoff spot as virtually everyone ahead of them won a game or got points.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers are off on the All-Star break for the ECHL.

SendToNews Highlights: YouTube instead….

Pens travel to Norfolk tomorrow for the 7:30 start Friday against the Admirals. Unless there is anything major Thursday, expect the next blog update to be your Friday Gameday setup against the Admirals at 3:30 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

Last Shot Wins — Pens LOSE 5-4

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When it rains, it pours.

The Penguins have been struggling to score goals in this winless slump. They have scored just five goals in the last games.

So they go to Providence today, and score four. Two on the power play, three in the second period.

They largely dominated puck possession today vs. Providence and allowed the P-Bruins just four shots on goal in the third period of a 4-4 game.

So it’s only fitting that in a, “kick ya when you’re down” world that the Penguins would turn the puck over in the neutral zone, and Penguin assassin Alexander Khokhlachev scores with 1:29 to push the Bruins ahead of the Penguins late in the game and win 5-4.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Jeremy Smith

Lines were…

Conor Sheary – Nick Drazenovic – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Carter Rowney – Jayson Megna
Bobby Farnham – Matia Marcantuoni – Josh Archibald
Pierre Leblond – Dominik Uher- Tom Kuhnhackl

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray

Lines were jumbled from last night. Drazenovic was up centering the first line, Rowney was up centering the second line with Wilson and Megna, down from the first line. Farnham was bumped from the fourth line to the third with Matia Marcantuoni and Josh Archibald. Pierre Leblond was on a fourth line with Dominik Uher and Tom Kuhnhackl.

The defensive pairings remained the same.

Bryan Rust was a surprise scratch and the explanation given was a lower body injury. Rust was injured in the third period in Worcester. He’s yet to be evaluated and with the Penguins off till Tuesday they won’t know anything until at least then.

Jean-Sebastien Dea took warmups but was a scratch. Alex Boak was the 7th defenseman who was scratched.

First Period: Pierre Leblond was dismissed from the game with this hit he laid on Seth Griffith. Leblond was thrown out of the game and assessed a 10 minute match penalty for boarding. By rule, Leblond is suspended pending league review. Griffith left the game with an upper body injury and P-Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told Mark Divver of The Providence Journal after the game that the Bruins will submit tape to the league to review.

The AHL can do two things. 1) Nothing and say that the punishment fit the crime or, 2) Leblond is suspended x amount of games.

We will see what happens. The AHL usually announces punishment on Tuesday.

In the full five minute power play that the Bruins had as a result of the Leblond penalty, they only managed a single shot on net.

Another thing that the box got wrong was this goal scored by Tom Kostopoulos that was credited to Scott Wilson. Wilson took the shot that Kostopoulous appeared to have tipped. This was on a power play that the Penguins scored on right after the kill on the Leblond major.

Second Period: Six goals scored this period. They went,

- Ben Youds pinching and scoring on a blind pass to make it 2-1 Providence on a power play at 3:42.
Tom Kuhnhackl at 9:37 on a power play through a pile of bodies in front off of a Brian Dumoulin shot.
Carter Rowney spin-o-rama shot at 10:59 even strength that put the Penguins ahead 3-2.
– Ben Youds booming slap shot at 12:09 on a power play for the Bruins.
Scott Wilson from a ridiculous goal line angle at 13:22 to make it 4-3 Penguins.
– Matt Lindblad tip of a Steve Eminger shot from the half wall that made it 4-4.

Third Period: Penguins had two power plays in this period and failed to score on them. Closest they got was a Nick Drazenovic knee drop one timer that hit the post. The Penguins only allowed the Bruins a single shot on goal in the first ten minutes.

Late, Nick Drazenovic was mugged by two Bruins in the neutral zone, was dispossessed and then Khokhlachev scored to make it 5-4 Bruins to essentially seal it with 1:29 left.

Three Stars: 3) Scott Wilson (two goals*, assist, +1) 2) Alex Khokhlachev (game winning goal, -1) 1) Ben Youds (two goals, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey beats Lehigh Valley at home 5-2 to extend their lead over the Penguins to three points. Hershey still has a game in hand on the Pens and the Phantoms have three. The Phantoms have a game on the Bears. Binghamton beat Springfield 6-3.

Standings: Hershey 47 — Penguins 44 – Lehigh Valley 43 — Binghamton 38 — Norfolk 34

Conference: 1) MCH (57) 2) SPR (56) 3) HER (47) 4) SYR (53) 5) HFD (49) 6) POR (47) 7) WOR (45) 8) ALB (44) 9) WBS (44)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were stunned in the final seconds by the Brampton Beast and lost 2-1.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Penguins are off till Tuesday, then play host to the St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday before taking to the road again for a Friday and Saturday matchup in Norfolk.

My Week 15 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog tomorrow at a special time, 12 p.m., with Chicago and Rockford playing in a 2 p.m. Martin Luther King Day kids game Monday afternoon.

Let’s Go Pens!

* – maybe

Sharknado! — Pens LOSE 4-0

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The Worcester Sharks are a really good hockey team of late. They had won four games in a row at home and are on a five game win streak coming into tonight’s game against the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. They beat the Conference leading Manchester Monarchs twice this week, with a rematch tomorrow.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins got a cavalry back from Pittsburgh this week, were the rested team, but none of this mattered as Troy Grosenick and the Worcester Sharks defeat the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins by a score of 4-0.

Whatever it is that is ailing the Penguins, they will need to figure this out on the road, as six of the next seven are away from the friendly confines of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

With five players re-assigned from Pittsburgh this week, the lineup looked drastically different. Here’s a look….

Tom Kostopoulos – Conor Sheary – Jayson Megna
Scott Wilson – Nick Drazenovic – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Josh Archibald
Dominik Uher – J-S Dea – Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray

Derrick Pouliot’s first action since December 19. Bryan Rust’s first since December 12 and Scott Wilson’s first Wilkes-Barre game since November 29.

Matia Marcantuoni was a scratch but participated in warmups. Alex Boak and Pierre Leblond were the other scratched. Anton Zlobin and Adam Payerl are still injured.

First Period: Period started out fine for the Penguins, who controlled the puck and the possession for the first ten minutes. After the midway part of the period, Worcester started to chip away…

– A J-S Dea turnover to Daniil Tarasov, who marched down the slot, made a bunch of moves and deked Zatkoff for a 1-0 Sharks lead at 12:11.
— Freddie Hamilton fires a puck at Zatkoff using D’Agostino as a pick to make it 2-0 at 15:05. A really nice shot by Hamilton that handcuffed Zatkoff.
— Ex-Penguin Bryan Lerg cleans up a rebound of a Jeremy Langlois shot from the blue line while the Sharks were on the only power play of the period that made it 3-0 at 19:31.

Three goals in a span of 7:20 in the final eight minutes of the period.

Second Period: Penguins would make a change in goal as Matt Murray would come in to relieve Jeff Zatkoff in goal. You really could not fault Zatkoff on any of the three goals he gave up in the first period, but the Penguins to this point were on a four game slide so Head Coach John Hynes decided to make the change in goal.

Wilkes-Barre would outshoot Worcester 12-4 in this period. Many of the shots from the Penguins would come on a power play where Grosenick was outstanding. Later, Taylor Fedun would finish off a tic tac toe pass as a Sharks power play had just expired to extend the lead to 4-0 for the Sharks.

Third Period: Nothing by the Penguins resembled any kind of comeback, and nothing by the Sharks resembled anything that looked like they wanted to pile on. What Grosenick saw, he stopped. John Hynes mixed up the lines that I listed earlier.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Taormina (two assists, +1) 2) Bryan Lerg (goal, +1) and 1) Troy Grosenick (25 save shutout)

Around the Division: Hershey takes over the East Division lead with a 5-4 overtime win against the Albany Devils. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms win at home in front of their largest crowd of the season with a 5-1 win over the Binghamton Senators. Hartford shutout Norfolk 3-0.

Standings: Hershey 45 — Penguins 44 – Lehigh Valley 43 — Binghamton 36 — Norfolk 34

Phantoms travel to Hershey tomorrow. It’s a Catch-22 for the Penguins. The Phantoms have three games in hand on the Penguins, so a win tomorrow by the Phantoms and Penguins would put the Penguins back over Bears by a point but the Phantoms would be in second place and trail the Pens by a point. A Bears win and a Penguins win would separate the Phantoms from the East lead but the Bears would still have a game in hand on the Penguins.

Bottom line, if the Penguins win tonight, none of tomorrow really matters. And the Penguins have lost five straight, so a guarantee that a win happens tomorrow in Providence is far from a guarantee.

Conference: 1) MCH (57) 2) SPR (56) 3) HER (45) 4) SYR (53) 5) HFD (49) 6) POR (47) 7) WBS (44) 8) WOR (43)

Pit of vipers from 7 on back. Expanding, Lehigh Valley is the 9 seed with 43 points, Albany is 10 with 43, Providence is 11 at 42. Bridgeport is 12 with 41. St. John’s is 13 at 40.

Wheeling Update: Nailers hang seven goals on the Brampton Beast tonight. The Beast are at the bottom of the Central Division in the ECHL and the Nailers were pummeled by call-ups to Wilkes-Barre, so the 7-2 win is welcome. Eric Hartzell stopped 22 of 24 to pick up the win.

SendToNews Highlights: Not up yet. Doubtful that I go back and make an edit here. If you’ve clicked through before, you know where to find them if you want to see them.

Penguins look to regroup tomorrow afternoon in Providence. Gametime is at 3 p.m. Gameday setup hist the blog Sunday at 11 a.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

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