It’s another one of those times when I have the headline for my postgamer in my head no matter the outcome of the game. This time, a 3-2 WBS shootout loss to the Portland Pirates. Pirates played a heck of a game despite their standings spot. Penguins pretty much controlled the Pirates offensively but for a few gaffes which, in the end, cost the Penguins the win.
Scott Munroe vs. Curtis McElhinney. Both Colin McDonald and Geoff Walker were back for the Pens. Paul Thompson and Alex Grant were the scratches.
First Period: Right off the hop it looked like the Pens were outworking the Pirates with their speed. So much so, that the intermission guys who do the interviews mentioned it to the coaches and players. Portland would go over 10 minutes to start the game without a shot on goal. Then, Max Goncharov would score to put the Pirates up on what would be their third shot of the game. The Pirates would get no more, the Penguins would get a few power plays but not score on any of them.
Second Period: Munroe made a few good saves to open the period, denying Brett MacLean on a backdoor play to keep it 1-0. Later, Brian Gibbons would score as the puck would deflect off of Portland defenseman Michael Stone and in the net. Lerg later came in and tried the deke that won the Pens the East Division last year in Hershey but McElhinney made the save. Later with Jason Williams in the box for tripping, Michael Stone would redeem himself by scoring on the power play finishing off a nice cross crease pass which he slammed in the net back door.
Third Period: Ben Street would rifle home a power play goal with M-A Pouliot locked away in the box for a cross check. Late in the period Eric Tangradi hit the bottom of the post with the Pens a man up late.
Overtime: Portland buzzed and buzzed looking to end it early. It almost looked to me that they didn’t want the shootout.
Shootout: Ryan Duncan and Colin McDonald scored in the first round. Brett MacLean scored in round five and Jason Williams then could not and the Pirates picked up the extra point in the shootout win.
Three Stars: 3) Simon Despres (assist, even) 2) Brett MacLean (game winning shootout goal, -1) and 1) Curtis McElhinney (35 saves on 37 shots)
I thought it was a well played game by WBS. Again, Portland is a very good team. By rights, Portland should have won this game 2-1 in regulation.
Around the Division: Hershey lost in a shootout to the Syracuse Crunch 3-2. Norfolk beat St. John’s 6-2. Impressive win for the Admirals there in just rolling the league’s best team in their home barn. Binghamton got back on the winning side of things winning in Quebec at Bell Centre by defeating the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-2 at the home of the Montreal Canadiens.
Standings: WBS 23 to Norfolk’s 21. Hershey has 18 points and is a point ahead of Syracuse with 17. Binghamton is last with 14.
Conference: 1-StJ (25) 2-WBS (23) 3-CT (19) 4-NOR (21) 5-HER (18) 6-SPR (18) 7-BRI (18) 8-ALB (18)
The thing that is weird about conference standings is that with an Albany win and a Connecticut loss tomorrow, and depending on other factors Albany can pole vault to third place. Funny.
Pens travel to Manchester tonight. I will be making the trek there tomorrow morning. Let’s Go Pens!