Chirps from Center Ice

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

Close But No Cigar – Pens LOSE 3-2

WBS          vs.          HER

3                                                2

J’ever show up late to something and ask, “what’d I miss?” and be told, “everything!” That’s how the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins felt when tonights game started. The Pens do nothing for 9:30, look flat as a pancake, allow the Bears to score three goals on them and before you knew it, starter Brad Thiessen was chased and Jeff Zatkoff was in.

Pens mounted a comeback the rest of the way, locking the Bears down and only allowing the Bears 9 more shots on goal, but the end result was a 3-2 loss on home ice to yet another divisional foe.

Bears goals in the first went like this: Boyd Kane spin-o-rama roof job on Thiessen to make it 1-0. Then Jeff Taffe in similar fashion and it’s 2-0. Later. Ryan Potulny under the bar and in. Referee Trevor Hanson reviewed it on replay and it stood and it was 3-0. Enter Zatkoff. Penguins settle, get a power play, no shots. Uh oh. Casey Wellman then boards Tom Kostopoulos. Another power play.

J’ever see something happen before it happens? That’s what this Penguin power play looked like. You could see the ferocious tenacity in the eyes of the Penguins. They were going to score. They just were. Sure enough, they did. Tom Kostopoulos scored his 100th goal as a WBS Penguin, his third straight and second on the power play. Penguins caught up in shots at nine a piece heading into the second.

The second period could best be described as a textbook way that you control the puck, pressure the opponent and back and fore check like madmen. That’s exactly what the Penguins did the entire period. The Bears only manage two shots on Zatkoff this period. Joey Mormina brings things to within one when the puck hits everything but the kitchen sink and clangs off the post and in. Wave after wave of pressure. All lines rolling.

Then three things happened the rest of the way home that didn’t really happen. Trevor Smith finds a cutting Riley Holzapfel towards the net. Holzapfel could not corral the puck on the back hand and it hops over his stick. Then, in the third period, Bobby Farnham shoots, Jayson Megna pounces on a rebound and Sabourin dives over to block it. Finally, in the dying minutes of the third Warren Peters has the game on his stick but is unable to control the puck and it skitters off his stick and out of his reach. Ballgame.

I thought Sabourin won the game for Hershey tonight. He was spectactular when he had to be.

Three stars were 3) Jeff Taffe (goal, even) 2) Joey Mormina (goal, -1) and 1) Ryan Potulny (game winning goal, +1)

How Sabourin didn’t earn a star was beyond me.

It is too late in the season to count this game as a “moral” victory. There are no more moral victories. The Penguins took 34 shots and allowed the Bears only 14. But the first 7 of those shots resulted in 3 goals. You have to be better than that. You just have to. Your biggest rival comes into your building with a game in hand on you and you let it be 3-0 before the game is 10 minutes old then fight like dogs just to get back even.

Anyway, here’s what happened outside of Wilkes-Barre:

Albany wins it’s third in a row by beating Syracuse 3-1 in Syracuse. The Devils are in town tomorrow night. The B-Sens beat Hamilton in the Steel CIty 3-2 and the Admirals beat the Charlotte Checkers (remember those guys?) 6-2 at home.

Standings: Syracuse 74 — Binghamton 69 — Penguins 61 — Hershey 60 — Norfolk 54

Conference: 1) SYR (74) 2) SPR (71) 3) PRO (68) 4) BNG (69) 5) POR (66) 6) WBS (61) 7) HER (60) 8) CT (59)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose at home to the Trenton Titans 3-2 in a shootout. Keven Veilleux had a goal and an assist and did not convert his shootout attempt.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here. Include Kostopoulos’ 100th goal as a Penguin.

Albany is in tomorrow on “Eric Tangradi Bobblehead” night. The good thing I guess that can be said here in this situation is that the Pens play seven non-divisional foes starting tomorrow and six of those seven on the road after tomorrow.

Gameday for tomorrows game vs. Albany will be here at 3. Check it out then then come back later for the “live tweet” feed.

Let’s Go Pens!

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