Chirps from Center Ice

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

To Binghamton, By Way of Utica — Pens LOSE 2-0

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The Penguins dressed an all ATO lineup tonight and lost 2-0 to the Utica Comets. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will play the Binghamton Senators in Round 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

I mean, that’s all you need to know, right? Pens conceded the East Division Championship to the Binghamton Senators last night, so it was all about who the Pens would play in the first round of the playoffs, right?

I’d consider that a cop out though, so read on for your recap.

The Penguins dressed an all ATO lineup. Goaltender Matt Murray started in goal for the Penguins and Eric Hartzell backed up. Scott Wilson and Jean-Sebastian Dea made their pro debuts up front. Scratches for Wilkes-Barre were Brendan Mikkelson, Harry Zolnierczyk, Nick Drazenovic, Chuck Kobasew, Mike Carman, Bobby Farnham, Andrew Ebbett, Tom Kostopoulos, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matia Marcantuoni and Clark Seymour. Scott Harrington appeared in his 76th regular season game for the Penguins, the only player to claim that title this year.

The Penguins, to a man, did not look out of place playing against the eliminated Utica Comets. Joacim Eriksson started for the Comets and the Penguins played them straight up. A first period shot by Peter Andersson beat Matt Murray but Murray had no chance as he was heavily screened. Nice pace between the two teams. Dea really has a nose for the net and Murray plays bigger in net than any goaltender I have seen this season.

Penguins had several chances at the power play in this game but were unsuccessful. The power play was 0-for-7 for the night. If you are looking for a reason why the Penguins didn’t win the game tonight, look no further than that.

Pascal Pelletier scored a power play goal, amidst all the penalty killing that Utica had to do, to extend the lead for the Comets to 2-0. It was a blind pass by Alex Grenier that set up that goal by Pelletier. Murray had no chance.

Penguins fail to convert on two power plays late, and there is your ball game.

Three Stars: 3) Peter Andersson (goal, +1) 2) Pascal Pelletier (goal, even) 1) Joacim Eriksson (27 save shutout)

I have done the following for 75 post game write-ups so for completeness sake…

Around the Division: Binghamton beats Norfolk 4-2….Syracuse wins in Hamilton 3-1….Hershey bests Adirondack 2-1.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins close out the 2012-13 campaign with a 42-26-35 record, good for 92 points, second in the East Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Conference: 1) MCH (105) 2) SPR (100) 3) BNG (96) 4) STJ (99) 5) ALB (93) 6) WBS (92) 7) PRO (91) 8) NOR (90)

Your Round 1 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal schedule is as follows:

Game 1: @ Binghamton 4/25
Game 2: @ Binghamton 4/26
Game 3: vs. Binghamton 4/30
Game 4: vs. Binghamton 5/2*
Game 5: @ Binghamton 5/5*

* – if necessary

Here’s the entire Round 1 schedule for the other 14 teams.

Wheeling Update: Ton Kuhnhackl with the overtime game winning goal as the Nailers win 3-2, take 2-0 series lead against the South Carolina Stingrays as the series shifts back to Wheeling.

SendToNews Highlights: Not up yet. I’ll look again and link if available.

Blog schedule here at Chirps from Center Ice look like this:

Sunday: Final AHL Power Rankings
Monday: Fourth Quarter Grades
Tuesday: Western Conference Playoff Preview
Wednesday: Eastern Conference Playoff Preview
Thursday: Penguins / B-Sens Series Preview
Friday: Gameday Setup, tweeting and blogging of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Stay tuned. It’s about to get real.

#digdeep

Let’s Go Pens!!

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