The Toronto Marlies are the three time reigning North Division Champions. They are a formidable opponent and one that opposing teams in the Western Conference probably don’t like to see.
For the fans in attendance today in Wilkes-Barre, the same feelings were had.
Two Marlies goals :39 apart then a goal late with 26.7 seconds left, all in the third period, stun the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who lose 3-2 today on Fan Appreciation Night.
The Penguins controlled 50 minutes of the 60 minute hockey game, but let it slip away.
A delay of game call by Bobby Farnham put the Marlies on the power play at 8:36 of the third period. Greg McKegg slammed home a Sam Carrick shot to put the Marlies on the board.
:39 later, AHL stud Defenseman TJ Brennan zipped home a shot from the point that plum beat starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun, appearing in his second and final rehab stint for the Penguins.
A stunned crowd and team. Coach John Hynes used his time out. Both teams had good chances. Vokoun had a big save though traffic to keep it square at two.
Marlies head coach Steve Spott then used his timeout with 1:10 left in the game. In what seemed like a blender of bodies, TJ Brennan unleashed a huge shot from the blue line which was blocked.
Left in the slot, seemingly unattended, was Jerry D’Amigo. D’Amigo shoots, and Kenny Ryan in front tips it in. The Marlies are up 3-2.
Not exactly the Mohegan Meltdown from a few years ago against Charlotte in the playoffs, but close.
Penguins got a power play goal from Adam Payerl in the first and a goal from Tom Kostopoulos in the second. They limited the Marlies to only 8 shots through two periods. It seemed like a walk in the park for the Penguins.
You just don’t do that to the Toronto Marlies. That must have been the message that Spott gave to his players in the second intermission because they responded and responded well.
Probably a good thing that this happens to the Penguins on a Sunday in early April as opposed to a Friday in mid-May. Take this lesson and learn from it.
Three Stars: 3) Anton Zlobin (two assists, +2) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even) and 1) Jerry D’Amigo (was originally awarded GWG, but that was changed to Ryan. D’Amigo assisted)
Lineup Notes: Chuck Kobasew was recalled by Pittsburgh in the morning. If you think that we needed Kobasew in order to win a Calder Cup, you are probably wrong about a lot of things….Matia Marcantuoni made his pro debut, in for Mike Carman….Zach Sill made his return from skate blade injury, his first action since January 25.
Pre-Game Awards: Media Award (Nick Drazenovic) — Rookie of the Year (Scott Harrington) — Community Service Award (Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond) — Most Valuable Defenseman (Philip Samuelsson) — Most Improved Player (Reid McNeill) — Herb Brooks Memorial Award for Spirit and Dedication (Brendan Mikkeslon) — Fan Favorite Award (Bobby Farnham) — Most Three Stars Award (Tom Kostopoulos) — Most Valuable Player (Tom Kostopoulos)
Around the Division: Binghamton lost in overtime 1-0 to the Hershey Bears. With the point, the B-Sens clinched playoffs….Norfolk wins in a shootout 3-2. Ol’ buddy Brad Thiessen started his third game in as many nights and got the win for the Admirals….Syracuse was shutout 4-0 by the Albany Devils. The Devils completed a perfect weekend.
Other Games of Relevance: Providence lost 3-2 to the Manchester Monarchs and have to wait another day to clinch…. The St. John’s IceCaps put an end to the Hartford WolfPack’s winning streak and win 6-2.
Standings: Penguins 92 — Binghamton 91 — Hershey 86 — Norfolk 86 — Syracuse 72
Conference: 1) MCH (104) 2) SPR (100) 3) WBS (92) 4) STJ (95) 5) BNG (91) 6) ALB (89) 7) PRO (89) 8) HER (86)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers completed their regular season last night. They get the South Carolina Stingrays in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here.
So here’s what the rest of the week holds in the East Division. The Binghamton Senators host the Toronto Marlies Wednesday. The Pens and B-Sens square off Friday for what very well may be the East Division Championship. Then the B-Sens host the Norfolk Admirals while the Penguins travel to Utica.
Blog wise, the Week 28 AHL Power Rankings will be up Monday at 4. I have a bunch of other things in the infant stages I am thinking of for the blog. Stay tuned.
Let’s Go Pens!