Boy, is this going to be a fun rivalry next season.
That is when the Adirondack Phantoms relocate to Allentown, closer to Wilkes-Barre and likely into the East Division and become more of a familiar opponent for the Penguins.
The Pens won this game, a very physical and scrappy one, 4-1. Their power play came to life and they scored twice on the man advantage, and beat the Phantoms 4-1.
Tom Kostopoulos scored two goals, Brian Dumoulin the other and Harry Zolnierczyk and empty netter in the final minute.
There was some monumental off ice news this afternoon out of Coal Street as the first ever Hall of Fame Class was announced. The Pens said at the the start of the year that they were naming two players and a non-player, called a “builder” into their inaugural Hall. Today, it should come as no surprise that Dennis Bonvie and Alain Nasreddine were named as the players and Former State Representative Kevin Blaum was named in the “builder” category.
Basically the name synonymous with the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins is Dennis Bonvie. No one has worn his Number 27 since his retirement and if you ask me, the number needs hoisted into the rafters sooner rather than later. Nasreddine is probably the second most popular Penguin in the 15 year history and serves as assistant coach to John Hynes. There would be no Northeastern Pennsylvania Civic Arena and Convention Center / First Union Arena at Casey Plaza / Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza / WIlkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins without Kevin Blaum.
So no real complaints about this Class being named the inaugural one. The ceremony for it is Saturday, February 22 when the Penguins face the Providence Bruins.
Anyway, back to this game.
Harrison Ruopp and Carter Rowney were in for Barry Goers and Denver Manderson, respectively.
Jeff Deslauriuers vs. reigning AHL Player of the Week, Cal Heeter.
First Period: Very chippy, very physical open by both teams, who were throwing hits and fists to open the game. The Pens ended up down a whole two minutes on a 5-on-3 but were able to kill it off. Then, Tom Kostopoulos scored a goal when Nick Drazenovic stripped a Phantom behind Heeter’s net and dished to Tom Kostopoulos for his first of the night for a 1-0 Pens lead and ending Heeter’s shutout streak at 126:13.
There must have been some bad blood with Harrison Ruopp against the Phantoms, as nearly every altercation involved him in some regard. He and Kris Newbury fought and Newbury got the better of him in a fight late in the period.
Second Period: Jason Akeson scored on the James Neal play off a face-off win to put the Phantoms on the board. Then, the Pens were the ones that found themselves the beneficiaries of a 5-on-3 and, unlike the Phantoms, were able to score two goals and essentially put away the Phantoms for the rest of the game. Tom Kostopoulos’ second of the night and Brian Dumoulin finishing off a 3-on-1 to put the Pens ahead 3-1.
Third Period: For most teams, in a physical, scrappy game like this one down 3-1 you think they would pack it in and go away quietly right? Not the Phantoms. They would outshoot the Pens 13-4 this period and at one point 10-1, throwing anything and everything they could at Deslauriers, but the WBS net minder and the defense would hold bend but not break. Harry Zolnierczyk would pot an empty netter to put the game away for good for the Pens.
Three Stars: 3) Jason Akeson (goal, -1) 2) Jeff Deslauriers (31 saves on 32 shots) 1) Tom Kostopoulos (two goals, assist, even)
Around the Division: Binghamton beats Hershey at home 4-2. Norfolk, down 3-0 to Portland and then 4-3 late, beat the Pirates up in Maine 5-4 in a shootout. Syracuse loses to Providence 1-0 in a shootout.
Standings: Binghamton 49 — Penguins 46 — Norfolk 43 — Hershey 36 — Syracuse 36
Conference: 1) SPR (54) 2) MCH (54) 3) BNG (49) 4) WBS (46) 5) PRO (46) 6) ALB (45) 7) NOR (43) 8) STJ (39)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off tonight.
SendToNews Highlights: Phantoms haven’t posted them yet. If I remember to check later I will and link accordingly.
Pens travel home for a 7:05 game against Hartford. Gameday for that will be up here on the blog at 3 p.m.
Let’s Go Pens!!!