Chirps from Center Ice

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

First Blood on The Rock — Pens WIN 3-2 (WBS leads 1-0)

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Worried that the Penguins spent it all trying to defend a 5-0 lead against a rushing Providence Bruins team in Game 7 Wednesday?

Worried that a rested St. John’s team would run a Penguins team that just got into Newfoundland 24 hours ago?

You don’t have to.


Make it 12-2, after the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight in St. John’s by a score of 3-2.

Game 2 goes Sunday at 6 p.m. Wilkes-Barre time, in St. John’s.

Peter Mannino vs. Michael Hutchinson

Lineup Notes: Bombulie blogged yesterday that Reid McNeill, Andrew Ebbett and Nick Drazenovic are out for the first two games for the Penguins. From what Mike O’Brien said on the radio today on pre-game, it sounded to me that the trio will be ready for Game 3 in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Mike Carman was in for Nick Drazenovic, Bobby Farnham was scratched again for the Penguins. For the IceCaps, Captain Jason Jaffray returned from injury as he missed Game 6 vs. Norfolk last round.

First Period: Brian Gibbons cuts down the ice and centers a pass to Chuck Kobasew who gets a stick on it to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

IcedCaps really poured it on after the Kobasew score. Ex-Bear Andrew Gordon scores when the Pens had problems tracking the puck from behind Mannino’s net. A couple of chances for both teams after that, Kobasew swings and misses on a knee-drop one timer then the IceCaps hit a post.

Second Period: Conor Sheary cuts in and gets a shot in on Hutchinson, then tracks his own rebound and whacks it in for a 2-1 Penguins lead. Penguins were outshooting the IceCaps 7-0 at one point. Later, Spencer Machacek tracks a puck on his own wall and centers it to Tom Kostopoulos cutting in and Kostopoulos scores to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.

Third Period: Penguins took penalty after penalty after penalty, but managed to keep the IceCaps off the board on the power play.

Four on Four though was a different story. Andrew Gordon scores off of a face-off on the James Neal Play™ to cut the deficit to one for the IceCaps. This period was all St. John’s it seemed, a polar opposite of the second period where it seemed like the Penguins controlled the pace.

Adam Payerl shattered a pane of glass trying to bank a puck out and there was a seven minute delay. I tweeted at the time an open question as to who I thought the delay would favor, the trailing IceCaps or the leading Penguins?

Turns out, in the end, it benefitted the leading Penguins as with Hutchinson pulled the IceCaps never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Brian Gibbons (assist, +1) 2) Andrew Gordon (two goals, +2) 1) Tom Kostopoulos (game winning goal, even)

Ice Chips: Andrew Gordon, the ex-Hershey Bear, is 7-3-10 against the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in his postseason career….Conor Sheary has a seven game point streak going.

SendToNews Highlights: IceCaps do it right, YouTube!


Game 2 goes Sunday evening at 6 p.m. local time. You’d love to bring home a 2-0 lead back to Wilkes-Barre if you are the Penguins. Expect the IceCaps to come out guns blazing tomorrow night. My Gameday setup will hit the blog at 2 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

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