Wilkes-Barre loses in a second consecutive shootout, this time 4-3 to Manchester. I liked WBS’ tenacity after getting scored on each time. Points are points, so we take them and move on.
Brad Thiessen vs. Jeff Zatkoff. Cody Wild was scratched for Alex Grant, Nick Petersen for Paul Thompson.
First Period: Early defensive problems from Wilkes-Barre. At times, it didn’t look like they knew up from down. It looked the opposite of last night, actually, where WBS was just mesmerized by the Manchester speed. Then Robert Bortuzzo and Jordan Hill fought. Bortuzzo got some good shots in but Hill got the takedown. Later, Rob Mignardi just trucked Tangradi into the Manchester bench. Referee Keith Kaval was ready to call a boarding penalty on Mignardi, but Geoff Walker came skating in and fought him. Walker ended up with a 2 minute instigator, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct for instigating, (read rule 46.10 in the AHL Rule Book for the full explanation) Mignardi, meanwhile, just got 2 for boarding and no power play would come out of it. Late, with Andrew Campbell in the box for a roughing call after a whistle and Jordan Nolan in the box for a hook, Niko Dimitrakos would score to put the Pens up 1-0.
Second Period: Seemed to start the period, none of the Penguins went to the net on power plays. Manchester killed off all carryover penalties then Linden Vey cleaned up a rebound to tie the game. Then, Andrew Campbell left unmarked on the Manchester blue line uncorked a laser beam to make it 2-1 Manchester. Almost right after, Ben Street would dig a puck off the wall and score to even things at 2.
Third Period: Pens came out buzzing. Zatkoff made three big saves in one shift. Manchester would hold true and then Jordan Nolan would score an odd power play goal with Joey Mormina in the box for high sticking. The puck would disappear for about 4 seconds. Everyone started cheering, the spotlight went on the Monarchs celebrating from above with no red light on, no point at the net from Kaval or anything. Then, all of a sudden the celebration happened and Manchester scored. Seemed that the puck died behind Thiessen and Nolan poked it home. Then right after again, Robert Bortuzzo would score to even things at three. Zatkoff was on his head again, but we would head to overtime.
Overtime: Actually started three on three with penalties in the third period. Marc-Andre Cliche and Ben Street had the best chances for their respective sides but no one would score and we’d head to a shootout.
Shootout: David Meckler and Marc Andre Cliche score for Manchester, Jason Williams scores to continue it. Thiessen has to save a Jordan Nolan attempt and does not and the Monarchs skate away with the extra point.
Three Stars: 3) Marc-Andre Cliche (shootout goal, even) 2) Ben Street (goal, assist, even) 1) Justin Azevedo (two assists, +1)
WBS could have folded up shop and went home with its tail between its legs after the second and third Manchester goals but they responded to tie things both times. Shootouts are crap shoots. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. These points will be remembered in April.
Around the Division: Norfolk loses in St. John’s 3-1. Albany defeats Hershey in a shootout 6-5. Syracuse loses 5-2 to Adirondack. Binghamton was dormant.
Standings: WBS inches up to three points over Norfolk, 24-21 respectively. Hershey has 19 points, Styracuse 17 points and idle Binghamton has 14 points for three through five.
Conference: 1-StJ (27) 2-WBS (24) 3-SPR (20) 4-NOR (21) 5-ALB (20) 6-ADK (19) 7-CT (19) 8-HER (19)
Wilkes-Barre plays in Worcester tomorrow at 4 pm, looking to get a win. Shootout loss point losses are meh, I want to get a win in Worcester tomorrow afternoon. Gameday for that will be up at high noon.
Let’s Go Pens!!!