Chirps from Center Ice

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

Tipping Thin Mints — Pens WIN 3-2 (OT) — (WBS leads 2-1)

   button_bng200       vs.       WBS

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You could see it from the first five minutes.

You could feel it all game.

Finally, at 7:32 in overtime, you could rejoice that it was over.

No, I am not talking about the 3-2 overtime win the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins handed the Binghamton Senators Wednesday evening in Wilkes-Barre Township, I am talking about the play of rookie Conor Sheary.

Head Coach John Hynes is a genius. Sheary, playing in his first AHL playoff game, had a hell of a game and played this playoff game like he was a seasoned veteran of five seasons. He let go of a point shot that Chuck Kobasew got a piece of to send the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins home with the win and a 2-1 series lead.

Wilkes-Barre can close out the East Division Champion Binghamton Senators Friday night at home with a win.

By all rights, the Penguins controlled a good majority of this game tonight and rightfully won.

In the first period, the Pens were flying. A hard board on Anton Zlobin by Mark Borowiecki and a slash by Freddy Claesson and the Pens were on a 5-on-3 advantage. Nick Drazenovic finished off a Chuck Kobasew pass to put the Pens up 1-0.

Before most fans got back in their seats, Simon Despres gets tangled at his own blue line and loses out on a puck. The B-Sens led by Corey Cowick come in shorthanded two on one. The Binghamton Senators led the AHL with 16 shorthanded goals this season. You know how this went. They would score that quickly to even the score at a goal a piece.

Anton Zlobin was not seen after being boarded by Borowiecki.

Teams would trade power plays in the second period to no avail. Jim O’Brien, back for the B-Sens from injury and skating in his first game action since March, had a few opportunities to put his team ahead. A notable one was a falling down backhander that went wide on an open Penguins net.

Carter Rowney and Adam Payerl work some touch passing entering the zone and Payerl zips one past starting goaltender Andrew Hammond for a 2-1 Pens lead.

In the third, O’Brien tied it for the visitors when Alex Grant tried to dump a puck past a Pens defender. The puck caromed off of his skates and right to the cutting O’Brien who essentially had Penguins starting goaltender Peter Mannino sprawling to get over in time. Before that, several great opportunities for the Pens to push ahead of Binghamton but to no success.

Overtime. Again.

Pens and Sens trade two huge stops by their respective goaltenders. The Penguins though, who largely controlled this game, just weren’t going to be denied. Sheary shot it and Chuck Kobasew deflected it. It capped a hell of a game by the rookie Sheary.

Lineup Notes: Nick Drazenovic for Spencer Machacek on the veteran side and Sheary for Mike Carman. After the game Carman had Saturday, I was second guessing. Glad I don’t coach the team.

Three Stars: 3) Nick Drazenovic (goal, +1) 2) Adam Payerl (goal, +1) 1) Chuck Kobasew (goal, assist, even)

Around the Eastern Conference: 1-0 was the popular score. Norfolk won their game over Manchester in overtime by that score and have the Monarchs on the brink. G John Gibson with a stellar 35 save shutout….St. John’s wins 1-0 in regulation and can close out the Albany Devils Friday as well.

SendToNews Highlights: Choosing YouTube over the SendToNews link off because YouTube plays nice with my blog….

[youtube http://youtu.be/lPh3dFe-Y1w]

Oh, if you don’t know where I came up with the headline, Conor Sheary’s nickname is “Thin Mints” — one of these days I will have to ask about the etymology.

Game 4 is Friday. If I have enough newsy type stuff I may run a blog Thursday afternoon / evening. Stay tuned.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

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