What a statement game by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins tonight. After basically being run around the rink and being out-physicaled by a very experienced and well coached Toronto team, they claw back and win 2-1 tonight.
Jeff Zatkoff vs. Ben Scrivens
The game basically came down to the third period. The first forty minutes were uneventful if you like offense and really exciting if you like goaltenders standing on their heads and physical, defensive hockey. Teams traded power plays, got close but could not score. Both teams were sprung for breakaways but Messrs. Zatkoff and Scrivens both up to the task. This all led up to the….
Third Period: Marlies were pressing, pressing and pressing some more. Finally, Jerry D’Amigo sets up Will Acton cutting to the net and he beats Zatkoff for the first score of the game.
Now here is where the Penguins, who were pretty much out-classed by the Marlies who play the same kind of physical style that Wilkes-Barre is synonymous with could have folded up the tent and packed it in. They could have started the next shift off with a fight, a bone head penalty or a dumb home-run pass.
Next shift, Beau Bennett shoots the puck from the high slot, Benn Ferriero is right in Scrivens’ kitchen. He can’t corral it, Simon Despres swoops in from out of no where, corrals the puck and roofs it up past Scrivens and in. Tie game.
Later, the physicality boils over with Nicolas Deschamps with a silly cross check penalty in on Beau Bennett near the benches. Exception is taken by the Penguins on Deschamps for doing that to the rookie. Out of it, a scrum ensues. Who other than Bobby Fanham is in the middle of it. A Penguins power play ensues. On it, Despres again unloads a bullet from the point that Riley Holzapfel gets a stick on via deflection in past Scrivens. 2-1 Penguins. The 5,841 in attendance were alive, the building was hopping, it was really cool to be a part of. Marlies get a power play late, but could not find the equalizer.
I really was impressed with the way the Penguins played all night. In my opinion this was a statement game. This showed to me at least that the Penguins could run with any team in the league. I really hope that they are able to build on this, and not rest on this.
Three Stars: 3) Jeff Zatkoff (31 saves on 32 shots) 2) Simon Despres, (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Riley Holzapfel (game winning goal, +1)
Around the Division: Syracuse drops Albany 4-1. Adirondack beats Hershey 3-1. Connecticut beats Norfolk 5-2 and Binghamton continues their hot streak and beats Bridgeport 6-1.
Standings: Separation staring to form. Crunch have 24 points. Binghamton (yes, Binghamnton) have 22 points. Penguins have 20. Then it drops off to Norfolk with 14 and the Bears with 13.
Conference: 1) SYE (24) 2) SPR (24) 3) MCH (20) 4) BNG (22) 5) BRI (20) 6) WBS (20) 7) WOR (20) 8) ADK (18)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were shutout on home ice 2-0 by the Cincinnati Cyclones.
SendtoNews Highlights: Are here. As I am linking, there aren’t any video highlights, but if you wait long enough they eventually go up.
Penguins bus to Atlantic City for a 4 p.m. tilt with the Albany Devils. Gameday for the affair will be up at noon here on the blog.