Chirps from Center Ice

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

Goalie Duel at the Mohegan Corral – Pens WIN 1-0 (SO)

Any doubt as to who the number one goaltender is between the pipes for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins has been answered soundly. Jeff Zatkoff pitches a 32 save shutout, his second in three games and was by far outstanding tonight as the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins outlast the Binghamton Senators by a score of 1-0 in a shootout.

Zatkoff was opposed by Robin Lehner, who by all accounts was outstanding in his own accord. These are the I-81 wars that I yearn for.

Tom Kuhnhackl potted the game winner in the shootout in Round 8. Bobby Farnham made his WBS debut and by all accounts was a good as advertised as a guy who does not by any circumstance want to be demoted back to Wheeling. More on him later.

Jayson Megna was scratched along with Joe Morrow. The Farnham signing now makes enough sense with Dom Uher also not in the lineup this evening.

First Period: First opening sequence the B-Sens put three shots on goal. Then, with the help of some power plays the Penguins ran their total to eight. Shots for the period would end up 11-8 Penguins with both teams really getting decent looks.

Second Period: Penguins had almost a full two minutes of five on three to work with with a 4:00 high stick penalty to B-Sens Mark Borowiecki but were unable to get anything going offensively despite the power play, to me, looking better than it had in the past. Outside of that, Lehner and Zatkoff continued to steal the show.

Third Period: Highlight of this period was Bobby Farnham. The book on this kid is that he never stops skating and hits anything in sight. “Fan favorite” has been tossed around by those who have seen Farnham play both in Wheeling and collegiately. He lived up to it tonight. He runs into B-Sens goalie Robin Lehner, gets jumped by Andre Petersson and Shane Prince then leaves the ice bloodied. Just a stream of blood from his forehead all the way down his face. In skating off, he is screaming at the Binghamton bench using words that would get me fined if I used them here. Out of it, at a surprise to me, he was only assessed four minutes in penalties and allowed to continue in the game.

Now if the Penguins weren’t running into a brick wall such as Lehner tonight, it would have jump started them offensively and Farnham is a hero and the game ends in regulation. Not tonight.

Overtime: Uneventful, but for a late WBS power play with under a minute to go that they could not get anything going on so it was off to the…

Shootout: Paul Thompson scores in Round 1, Mika Zibanejad for the B-Sens in Round 2, Trevor Smith for the Pens in Round 3, Andre Petersson for the B-Sens in Round 4, then finally Kuhnhackl for the Pens in Round 8.

If the AHL had an award for “game of the week” this one would run away in a landslide.

Three Stars: 3) Tom Kuhnhackl (shootout game winning goal, even) 2) Robin Lehner (34 save shutout) and 1) Jeff Zatkoff (32 save shutout)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Two years removed from being awarded AHL Goaltender of the Year, Brad Thiessen has been relegated to backup. Depending on the work load Zatkoff sees Friday vs. Hershey, you could make a case to ride Zatkoff all three games.

Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Norfolk in a day game 4-2. Syracuse blanks Hamilton 3-0. Hershey was off.

Standings: Syracuse 14 — Norfolk 12 — Penguins 10 — Senators 10 — Hershey 9

Wheeling Update: Nailers cough up a 3-0 lead in the third period and lose 4-3 in overtime to the Reading Royals at WesBanco Arena tonight. Carl Sneep was a +2, Patrick Killeen stopped 26 of 30 and Keven Veilleux was scoreless in his first meaningful game in over a year and a half.

Pens host Hershey on Friday at home in Wilkes-Barre at 7:05. If I get content tomorrow, I’ll have it. Always check me out on Twitter and Facebook for the latest nonsense.

Let’s Go Pens!

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