Brad Thiessen is showing the AHL that he deserved the January Goaltender of the Month Award.
If he keeps playing like this, he may never give it back.
Thiessen stopped all 20 shots faced tonight as the Penguins blanked the Adirondack Phantoms by a score of 3-0 tonight. Thiessen has four shutouts in his last eight starts and the Penguins have won eight of nine.
Brad Thiessen vs. Scott Munroe
First Period: First ten minutes was a puck possession clinic by the Phantoms. They get three straight power plays including a five on three but Thiessen and the WBS defense stands its ground. Then, about half way through the period, Joe Morrow takes a shot from just above the top of the right circle that Warren Peters deflects home for a 1-0 Penguins lead with Brian Gibbons and Bobby Farnham providing the double screen on Munroe.
Penguins wouldn’t look back from there.
Second Period: Alex Grant would score a goal that bounced over the net of Munroe to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead late in the period. No one knew where the puck was. I described it on Twitter like this, pardon the misspelling:
Thiessen, before this, was generally very sharp. Even with Jon Sim for the Phantoms buzzing around his net all night whacking away until the whistle.
Third Period: The tension was mounting, from all the cheap shots and hits after the whistle. It boiled over when Olivier Lauridsen smacks Adam Payerl into the wall by the Phantoms bench. Zach Sill comes in and retaliates and gets tossed for instigating, which I thought was a bogus call from referees Trevor Hanson and Ryan Fraser, who called 15 total penalties all game. What was Sill to do there? Stand and watch? He had to stick up for his team mate.
Anyway, whenever you thought momentum was going to go the way of the Phantoms, the Penguins score. Tom Kostopoulos finished a nice rush with a pass to Warren Peters on the far side and Peters wired it home for his second of the night. The addition of Kostopoulos had reinvigorated the team as a whole because you are getting goals from guys like Peters, who aren’t known, at least this season, for their offensive prowess.
Solid effort all around by the team. A shutout in front of the home crowd is a sure way to get them to return.
Three Stars: 3) Brian Gibbons (two assists, +2) 2) Warren Peters (two goals, +2) and 1) Brad Thiessen (20 save shutout)
Around the Division: Binghamton lost 1-0 to St. John’s and are sputtering. Syracuse lost to Rochester 5-3. Hershey won at home vs. Manchester 2-1. Norfolk lost 4-1 to Bridgeport.
Standings: Binghamton 58 — Syracuse 56 — Penguins 49 — Hershey 46 — Norfolk 39
Conference: 1) SPR (60) 2) BNG (58) 3) POR (56) 4) SYR (56) 5) PRO (53) 6) WBS (49) 7) BRI (47) 8) HER (46)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers bus broke down, and they never made it to Kalamazoo tonight, so the game was postponed.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here. Have the Sill fight, all the goals and a Thiessen save in a crowd.
Miscellany: Did some freelancing for Michael Cignoli for The Saratogian tonight and was in the WBS press box. I had a pre-game blog entry here and snagged some quotes from Phantoms coach Terry Murray and defenseman Brandon Manning that he framed into his own postgame masterpiece for his blog and some of my quotes made the paper too.
Penguins travel to Hershey for a 2 p.m. tilt on Super Bowl Sunday. Gameday for that will drop at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
Let’s Go Pens!