Made my first ever regular season trip down to GIANT Center tonight for Wilkes-Barre / Hershey. One of the greatest rivalries in all of the American Hockey League. Left nearly needing to go to the emergency room because I nearly had a heart attack watching this game, at 4-3 Penguins victory. It felt like a playoff game.
I attended Saturday Mass in Hershey so I can sleep in Sunday, so I missed warmups. It was John Curry vs. Semyon Varlamov. Expect Holtby any day down from parent Washington and Varlamov to be recalled. Lineup change to note for the Pens found Carl Sneep scratched and Joey Mormina in his place.
First period: Brett Sterling made it 1-0 after a rebound stuff in under the pads of Varlamov. I was doing yardwork earlier this afternoon and said to myself he was going to have a great game tonight. The rest of the period saw Joey Mormina absolutely flatten Andrew Joudrey along the benches and that was about it. Referee Jeff Smith ran things this evening. You pretty much have to have your arm ripped off in order for him to call a penalty. I am of the opinion that you let the boys play, and not make yourself part of the game by raising your arm every five seconds. Here’s a quick preview for the Binghamton game tomorrow, Smith is the ref for that one too.
First intermission I did a walk around GIANT Center. I saw this and it made me very sad.
Second period: Tim Leone tweeted that Wilkes-Barre hadn’t a shot since 8:18 of the first period, which was the Sterling goal. We went about 5 minutes into the second before Joe Vitale got two in one shift. Steve Wagner was spotted for a hook, and four seconds into the power play Lawrence Nycholat rifled one home to tie the score. Almost immediately afterwards, Sheldon Souray sat for interference, and the calls were even up. The score would be 1-1 after two periods.
Third period: Keven Veilleux scored a hightlight reel goal. Eric P at the Wilkes-Blog has it over on his postgame recap there. Please make sure you are on an empty stomach. It is that sickening. Later, Varlamov was screened by fellow Russian Dmitri Kugryshev and Brian Strait of all people scored a goal for us. His game isn’t scoring goals guys, it’s playing defense. Then, Chris Collins jumped Mathieu Perreault. Collins would sit for interference, :08 seconds into the power play and Boom! Andrew Gordon scored. At this point I felt like this was the tipping point of the game. The fans were crazy, the Bears are back within one with just over 10 minutes left to play, oh don’t wake up that sleeping bear!
Gordon would get another chance and I thought for sure he would score but somehow either he missed the net or Curry made the save. Later, Dustin Jeffrey would knock down a Lawrence Nycholat clearing attempt and this would prove to hold up as the game winner to make it 4-2. Andrew Gordon would score another power play goal after a Joe Vitale delay of game. Hershey would press, press, press but wound not score with Varlamov pulled and it’s game over.
Three Starts were Kyle Greentree, Dustin Jeffrey and Brett Sterling in that order.
The power play was AWFUL. You cannot, can. not. go 0-fer on the penalty kill. Hershey didn’t have Keith Aucoin tonight. and still scored goals 4 seconds, 8 seconds and 77 seconds into their man advantages. This needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed QUICKLY!
Like I said at the beginning, a fun game to watch but one that for sure leaves you breathless and all you are doing there is sitting watching. Man.
Bombulie with his postgamer. Love the mention about if Nygel Pelletier had this game the score would be 11-4.
Around the division: Norfolk beat Adirondack 3-1, Hartford downed Bingo 3-2 in OT, Springfield beat the Crunch 5-4, and Albany blanked Rochester 4-0 in Rochester.
Standings: Penguins sit atop the division with 26 points. Charlotte is idle till Monday. They have 23 points. Norfolk has 22. Bingo has 21. Hershey has 19 points. Albany and Syracuse have 16 points apiece and the Phantoms have 8 points.
Afternoon game vs. the Binghamton Senators at home. Last time we played Bingo we got destroyed 5-2. The last time Bingo played the tail end of a three-in-three they got smoked 8-3 by Hershey. We are terrible on home ice of recent. I guess we’ll see tomorrow afternoon.
Let’s Go Pens!