Chirps from Center Ice

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

Muse-ic to My Ears — Pens WIN 3-2

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John Muse makes 32 saves after Tristan Jarry was given the afternoon off after starting thirteen straight games for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who defeat the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-2 on Sunday. The Penguins close to five points behind idle Providence. Both the Bruins, Penguins and Hershey Bears have played 67 games. Hershey also sits on 79 points, after losing 4-1 and getting swept in Cleveland Sunday.

Muse opposed Chris Driedger.

Lines were…

Lineup: No changes for the Penguins from Saturday in Allentown. Lines were the same from Saturday as well. The only change was Muse in goal.

First Period: J-S Dea had a hell of a day in his return to Wilkes-Barre. He is easily Springfield’s best player and had two power play goals for the Thunderbirds today including this one on the back door which gave the Thunderbirds and early 1-0 lead.

Penguins respond with Sam Miletic deflecting in a power play goal that tie it at one.

Second Period: Was a penalty fest, with nine power plays awarded. Seven, if you take away the two times that the Thunderbirds were caught with too many men on the ice. No flow to the game whatsoever. Referees Guillaume Labonte and Tim Mayer called it tight on tired players playing their third game in three days.

So of course Anthony Angello scores an even strength goal for the six or so minutes that the teams were on even strength.

Nice to see Angello get that one there, he had hit a bit of a wall here in his rookie season.

Third Period: J-S Dea connected on his second power play of the game that tied the game at two early on in the third period.

With both teams skating without any whistles for a change, it looked like they were content to play for overtime.

J-S Dea was denied his hat trick on this nice save by John Muse.

Joseph Cramarossa stepped up and snapped home a goal with under four minutes left.

Springfield, with Driedger pulled for the extra attacker and through a time out, never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 

The Good: Using the game in hand to make up ground on Providence and Hershey.

The Bad: Springfield is really a one line team. The game really should not have as close as it should have been. That may be at disrespect to the opponent, but the facts are the facts.

Turning Points: Muse’s save on Dea, denying the hat trick is one, Cramarossa’s goal is the other. One doesn’t really happen without the other.

Points wise, the Penguins are on 74. They are five off of Providence and Hershey with 79. Everyone has 67 games played. Nine games left. Providence is here Wednesday, before heading to Syracuse Friday and Hershey Saturday.

Hershey has Providence Saturday and Bridgeport Sunday.

Video Highlights: 

Talk to you Wednesday but for breaking news before.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP – Pens WIN 3-2

Successful use of a game in hand for the Penguins Sunday afternoon, defeating the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-2. Now five points off of idle Providence for the four seed and a huge game Wednesday now looming for both teams.

Joseph Cramarossa, Anthony Angello and Sam Miletic scored for the Penguins.

More in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Springfield 3/24

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Who: Springfield Thunderbirds

 Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night in Allentown, the Penguins won 5-4. Sam Lafferty had a hat trick and an assist, Ryan Haggerty scored the game winning goal in overtime. For Springfield, the Thunderbirds hosted the Laval Rocket Saturday and lost 3-2 in overtime. Ex-Penguin J-S Dea figured into both goals, scoring one and assisting on another for the Thunderbirds in the loss.

Last Meeting: These two teams haven’t played each other since December 12, a game that the Penguins won 2-1 in a shootout. All three Penguins scored in the shootout round.

Record: For WBS: 31-25-7-3 (72 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For SPR: 28-26-8-5 (69 pts., 7th place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Tim Mayer / Guillaume Labonte

Linesmen: Ryan Knapp / Bill Lyons

Why You Should Care: Same verse as yesterday against the Phantoms, another must win game for the Penguins tonight who burn off their game in hand on the Providence Bruins. They can cut the deficit to five with a win this afternoon against the Thunderbirds. Springfield won’t make it easy. Both teams are playing their third game of the weekend.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Promotion(s): KIDS FREE SUNDAY / TUX’S BIRTHDAY — Celebrate the big bird’s birthday with Tux and some of his furry friends. Fans ages 14 and younger can get into the game for FREE when accompanied by a paying adult (one free kids ticket per paid adult ticket).  NO POSTGAME SKATING SESSION THIS SUNDAY.*

Other Game to Watch: Hershey, on the same point total as Providence, rematch against the Cleveland Monsters who beat the Bears Saturday night.

Next Five Games: vs. PRO 3/27, vs. SPR 3/30, vs. BRI 4/2, vs. BNG 4/5, @ LV 4/6

* – promo information credit to wbspenguins.com/promo-schedule

Sam’s Laff Factory — Pens WIN 5-4 (OT)

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There was under a minute left to play in the third period, Wilkes-Barre was down one and getting buried in shots and were on track to go nine points off of Providence for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic.

That’s when Sam Lafferty went to work.

With Jarry pulled, the Penguins rookie scored to complete his hat trick to force overtime. Ryan Haggerty would then score on a breakaway to give the Penguins the extra point and the win as Wilkes-Barre wins 5-4 in overtime.

The Providence Bruins defeated the Binghamton Senators, so the deficit to the Bruins in fourth remains as it was when the game started this evening, seven. The Penguins burn off the game in hand on Providence Sunday afternoon at home against Springfield. It can get to five with a regulation or overtime win. That would then set up a huge meeting with Providence where, with the same regulation or overtime win, can get the deficit to three.

But that’s counting the chickens before they hatch.

Moral, they still have life. It’s not an ideal situation, but if they had lost the game tonight in regulation, their playoff hopes would have been entirely extinguished in my book. The win gives them enough to keep them in the heads of the Bruins.

Tristan Jarry opposed Alex Lyon in a rematch from Friday night.

Lines were…

Lineup: Shuffled up the forward lines but for the top line. Patrick McGrath went in for Trevor Yates. No changes on D other than Jusso Riikola pairing with Chris Summers. Thirteenth straight start for Tristan Jarry. Chris Summers skated in his 500th AHL game.

First Period: A really testy period by both teams, with the bad blood on display boiling over from Friday night. The Penguins jumped out to the lead early when Sam Lafferty thundered down the slot and backhanded a shot past Alex Lyon to give the Pens a 1-0 lead…

But :28 later, a low shot by Mark Friedman that was kicked out by Jarry went right to Philip Samuelsson and in to make it a 1-1 game.

Penguins spent the final half of the period on a power play it felty like as the Phantoms took penalty after penalty. Wilkes-Barre had two separate :20 two man advantages.

With one second left on the final one, Joseph Blandisi scored to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

Another nice backhand, this time with a pass instead of a shot, by Sam Lafferty to Blandisi for the shot and goal.

Second Period: It was the Penguins turn to take all the penalties and have a long two man disadvantage but they got out of it.

Sam Lafferty added another goal to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.

Greg Carey had two chances in the slot and didn’t miss on his second one. It was a one goal lead all of a sudden.

Cole Bardreau scored to make it a tie game late.

Lehigh Valley had slowly percolated enough and this was the result.

Third Period: Tristan Jarry should be the Penguins MVP. If the Penguins do manage to make playoffs this season, it will because of Jarry and the plays that he makes to keep the team in the game at the moment. Like this sequence early on in the period.

Byron Froese scored to give the Phantoms the go ahead goal and a 4-3 lead.

Looking bleak, it didn’t look like the Penguins were going to score on even terms, then Lafferty and his magic took over.

That’s a hat trick. Second one in the building by an opponent, the first was a few weeks ago by Jimmy Hayes.

It also forced…

Overtime: Periscoped here…

If you don’t want to watch it all from start to finish, Ryan Haggerty stole a puck in the neutral zone, skated in and….

Ballgame.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Providence beats Binghamton 3-1. The rest of the scores are really meaningless but I will give them to you anyway. Hershey loses in Cleveland 5-2, Charlotte beats Hartford 3-1, Laval beats Springfield 3-2 in overtime and Bridgeport beats Belleville 2-1.

Standings: Charlotte 94 — Bridgeport 84 — Hershey 79 — Providence 79 — Penguins 72 — Lehigh Valley 71 — Springfield 69 — Hartford 65

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose a close one in Kalamazoo 3-2. Winston Day Chief, one of the best names in hockey, scored for the Nailers in the loss.

Setting Up Sunday: Everyone is talking about Providence, but if you just noticed above, the Hershey Bears are on the same points as the Bruins with 79. They rematch with the Monsters Sunday. The Bruins are off.

If Coal Street puts up a video high light package or Lehigh Valley for that matter, it will run here.

Gameday setup for Sunday’s game against Springfield hits the blog Sunday at 11 am.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Lehigh Valley 3/23

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Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

 Where: PPL Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game / Last Meeting: Last night in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens lost 3-2. Ryan Haggerty had both goals. Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored a pair also, one was the game winner just :28 intro the third period.

Record: For WBS: 30-25-7-3 (70 pts., 6th place Atlantic Division) // For LV: 32-27-3-3 (70 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Kenny Anderson / Stephen Reneau

Linesmen: Jud Ritter / Jason Mandroc

Why You Should Care: Essentially must win for the Penguins tonight to maintain any iota of hope of catching Providence who leads these teams playing tonight in Allentown by seven points. Winning tonight doesn’t guarantee anything, but losing all but writes off the Penguins chances, barring a miracle, of a very late season charge at the four seed in the Atlantic.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Other Game to Watch: Providence hosts the listless Binghamton Devils, who have lost nine straight.

Next Five Games: vs. SPR 3/24, vs. PRO 3/27, vs. SPR 3/30, vs. BRI 4/2, vs. BNG 4/5

Nick NAK, Paddy Whack — Pens LOSE 3-2

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It is probably all moot anyway, since Providence keeps winning. The Bruins control their own destiny at this point and have seven point leads on both the Penguins and Phantoms tonight, eight if you consider the tie breaker.

The Bruins shutout the Belleville Senators tonight 2-0. Troy Mann, coach of the Senators, should probably get AHL Coach of the Year for the turnaround in Belleville this season. Mann has the Senators primed as a playoff team in the North Division.

His Senators were completely shut down tonight and had just 14 shots on goal.. This after the Bruins traveled to and from Laval, Quebec to play a midweek game against the Rocket, one that they lost in a shootout.

So it’s message sent and delivered by Jay Leach’s Providence Bruins, who are seven clear of Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre with ten games left.

Penguins lose 3-2 Friday night in Wilkes-Barre. Saturday is essentially must win to just to hope to maintain a seven point deficit over Providence, who plays at home again against Binghamton team who have lost nine straight.

Tristan Jarry opposed Alex Lyon.

Here is how they lined up:

Pittsburgh recalled Adam Johnson Thursday and returned Adam Johnson and Just Riikola came with him. Linus Ölund and Tim Erixon yielded for them from Tuesday in Hershey.

Pens jumped out to a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Ryan Haggerty goal where he stole a puck at center ice, skated in and scored.

Shots were 8-6 Penguins after one. Tristan Jarry was dialed in.

Phantoms score twice to go ahead 2-1 when Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored on a nice feed from Philip Sameulsson and then Chris Conner completely walked past Jeff Taylor and stuffed the puck under the pad of Jarry to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead.

Ryan Haggerty scored at the end of the period when Lyon tried to home run a pass out of his zone which was intercepted.

Phantoms score :28 into the third period when Aube-Kubel scored again to make it 3-2.

Wilkes-Barre had two opportunities on the power play to tie the game back up, but failed. There is your turning point.

Alex Lyon locked things down from there and the Penguins ran out of time.

Here are your three stars:

Here are the video highlights:

These teams rematch Saturday in Allentown. Gameday setup hits the blog here Saturday at 3.

RAPID RECAP – Pens LOSE 3-2

Two power plays in the third period after Lehigh Valley has just scored to go up 3-2 is the turning point of this one, a 3-2 loss for the Pens.

Providence won 2-0 over Belleville. It may all be meaningless at this point, Bruins go up seven on Wilkes-Barre for the four seed.

Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre rematch Saturday in Allentown.

More in a bit.