After a promising preseason, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will wake up on Columbus Day tomorrow staring at an 0-2 record.
The numbers, and I will get into them this week as I roll out a feature I used late last season, will speak for themselves. Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, through two games, is 0-2, with a 4.51 GAA and a .735 SV%. 9 goals allowed on 34 total shots. That isn’t good.
But it’s not just on Zatkoff, and I hope to paint that picture as to why later this week when I construct and add up my chart I will roll out this week. I’m not teasing you to come back and I am, I just haven’t put it together yet and I want you to come back and look at it and see for yourself.
Anyway, this game, a 4-1 Penguin loss. It was Jeff Zatkoff vs. J-F Berube.
Anton Zlobin – Jayson Megna – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Conor Sheary – Tom Kostopoulos
Dominik Uher – JS Dea – Adam Payerl
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham
Brian Dumoulin – Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill – Taylor Chorney
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers
Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray
In were Tom Kuhnhackl and Adam Payerl for Scott Wilson and Nick Drazenovic and Nick D’Agostino for Harrison Ruopp. The other scratches were Josh Archibald (shoulder) and Alex Boak.
First Period: :27 in, the Monarchs score. A seemingly harmless wrist shot from the blue line and in over Zatkoff’s shoulder and in. Penguins would get a few power plays and nearly scored on one, but Brian O’Neill would score for the Monarchs to push the Monarchs lead to two. Wilkes-Barre had a late power play that was a mess.
Second Period: JS Dea would get a goal for the Pens from the blue line, Adam Payerl was in the area and provided interference. The goal came on a delayed penalty call on the Monarchs.
The Penguins were finding the gas. They were creating opportunities. It looked like they were going to tie the game.
No. Vincent LoVerde found himself wide open in the slot, made a few moves and deked a puck past Zatkoff to re-establish the two goal lead.
You could feel all the air leave the building, because the Penguins would get no closer.
In fact, the Monarchs got father away. Zatkoff let in another questionable goal from the blue line and the Monarchs had a 4-1 lead.
Third Period: The Penguins did not allow the Monarchs a single shot on goal this period. The Penguins fired seven, all saved by Berube, including one while the Penguins were on a 5:00 power play when Kevin Raine crashed Adam Payerl into the boards. Payerl went to the locker room but came back and appeared fine.
This was especially impressive, because the Penguins played this period without the services of Reid McNeill, who left the game with some type of injury Coach John Hynes had no update on post game.
Three Stars: 3) Vincent LoVerde (goal, +3) 2) Kevin Raine (goal, assist, +2) 1) Brian O’Neill (goal, assist, +1)
Around the Division: No one else played.
Standings: Norfolk 2 — Lehigh Valley 2 — Binghamton 1 — Hershey 0 — Penguins 0
Conference: St. John’s has 3. Hartford, Lehigh Valley, Portland, Albany, Springfield, Manchester and Worcester have 2. It’s never too early to start counting points. Oh, the Penguins are dead last in the Conference.
Wheeling Update: Nailers are in their preseason, and lost a preseason game 5-3 to the Cincinnati Cylcones, 5-3. Eric Hartzell stopped 10 of 13, Clark Seymour was a -3.
SendToNews Highlights: I don’t think there is anything that any Penguins fan will want to see of the highlights, but for posterity sake, here they are.
My AHL Power Rankings hit the blog Monday at 4 p.m. New format this year, check them out then. Also, I’ll be debuting the chart this week at some point, probably Tuesday. I may be tweeting some things on it as I build it, so if you aren’t yet, follow me on Twitter, @nafsnep.
Let’s Go Pens!