I’ve been getting into the practice of running some pregame nuggets on the opponent for the evening vs. the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. Let’s take a look at a few from tonights contest vs. the Albany Devils:
Well, tonight the Pens lost for the first time ever vs. a New Jersey Devils AHL franchise by the score of 2-1. The Pens were 0-for-5 on the power play tonight.
They also couldn’t win a face-off to save themselves tonight and that malady cost them the game ultimately.
Scott Munroe vs. Jeff Frazee. Brain Strait, Carl Sneep and Paul Thompson were in for Peter Merth, Dan Henningson and Ryan Schnell.
First Period: Pens took two consecutive penalties but killed them easily, as I mentioned in the nuggets that Albany has only scored on four road power plays all season. The face-off trouble reared its head early, as Munroe was forced to make three tough saves after the Pens could not win the battle in the dot. The period would end with no score.
Second Period: Mike Hoeffel scored a laser beam goal over Munroe’s glove to put the Devils out front 1-0 at 7:49. Then, Boris Valabik and Harry Young both fought to the dislike of the crowd as they both had a hold of each other where the other was not allowed to get a square punch in. The fans actually booed!
Third Period: While the side were 4-on-4, Ben Street scored on a 2-on-1 break with Colin McDonald to even things at one. Then, a scary incident when a WBS player crashed the Albany net and right into Jeff Frazee. Frazee appeared to have injured his arm but would remain in the game, but in obvious pain. Brian Gibbons then had a good chance while being pulled down and actually hit the bottom of the post but the puck did not go in. After an icing call, the Penguins don’t win the face-off and Mike Hoeffel scores his second of th game to put the Devils up late. Brad Mills would sit for a late high stick on Boris Valabik but the Pens with Munroe pulled were unable to get one past Frazee and lost.
The pessimist in me is going to say that the Penguins couldn’t beat a team they have mastered in previous attempts and score on a one armed goaltender when they needed to. The optimist says that they learn from this, better to make these mistakes now than in May.
Three Stars: 3) Jeff Frazee (25 saves on 26 shots) 2) Ben Street (goal, +1) and 1) Mike Hoeffel (two goals, +2)
Around the Division: We were the only game in town division, and league wide.
Standings: 1-HER (37) 2-NOR (37) 3-WBS (37)4-SYR (27) 5-BNG (24)
Strange, how percentage points work in hockey. Penguins go from second to first yesterday when Norfolk beat Hershey. Now, with the loss and same amount of points and the Bears and Admirals, drop to third.
Conference: 1-StJ (39) 2-HER (37) 3-CT (36) 4-MCH (38) 5-NOR (37) 6-WBS (37) 7-WOR (32) 8-ADK (32)
Looking Ahead: WBS breaks for Christmas and is off again until next Tuesday nights game vs. Hershey. This week, Hershey hosts Syracuse on Wednesday. Norfolk is already off.
Expect blog updates to be scarce between now and then. I’ll probably run a brief recap of the Bears / Crunch game. I’ll have no news on demotions to Pittsburgh because the NHL roster freeze is in effect until December 27. That means Pittsburgh can call up whoever they want, but can’t send anyone down until the 27th at midnight.
Let’s Go Pens!