Chirps from Center Ice

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

Politics Makes My Heart Race — Pens WIN 3-2

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Let me know if at the end of this game, a 3-2 Penguins victory, you stood up out of your seat at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza or out of your chair at home or apartment and breathed a sigh of relief.

The Penguins were badly outclassed the night before in Hershey and couldn’t get out of their own way. They soundly beat the fluttering Springfield Falcons Friday night but you just weren’t sure.

With Eric Hartzell back in net for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton today, more uncertainty. Hartzell has been bad in your recent memory, was shipped to Wheeling late last year and wasn’t seen at all when the Penguins went through the Calder Cup Playoffs last Spring.

You weren’t alone. As I got up out of my seat at the Arena, that feeling of a ton of bricks off your shoulders kicked in. Not just for me, but more likely for the man in goal tonight for the Penguins, that being Eric Hartzell.

This past weekend, the Penguins were 2-1. Not the greatest, but better than most.

Wilkes-Barre peppered Binghamton Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, firing 40 shots at the netminder. They looked sound for a good majority of the game and controlled a great portion of it.

Hartzell, for what it’s worth, looked steady. He got beat twice, one by Chris Wideman as he drove to the slot and whipped a shot past Hartzell’s glove to cut the B-Sens deficit to one late in the first and again in the second, while Binghamton was on the power play. A rebound popped high in the air and was batted in the net legally by Cole Schneider.

The Penguins raced to a 2-0 lead in the first period when Matt Rust powered past a Binghamton defender and fired a shot on net that Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos cashed in on to make it 1-0. Later, on a power play, Derrick Pouliot would score his first professional goal to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Penguins were furious in the third period, outshooting Binghamton 16-5. Andrew Ebbett was camped out on Hammon’ds crease and popped home a rebound of his own shot to extend the lead to 3-2.

Wilkes-Barre had to kill a late Binghamton penalty with Adam Payerl in the box for interference on the goaltender. The B-Sens hit the post on the power play but never found the equalizing goal.

Bobby Farnham served his one-game suspension from his instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the Hershey game Saturday night. This topic was well covered here, so no need to rehash any of that.

Nick Drazenovic did not play either, he is week to week with a lower body injury, per Tom Venesky.

Essentially it was Adam Payerl and Anton Zlobin in for Farnham and Drazenovic.

Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (goal) 2) Derrick Pouliot (goal, assist) and 1) Andrew Ebbett (goal, assist, +1)

Around the Division: The Hershey Bears defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-0. Norfolk was shutout in Hartford, 3-0. That is the second shutout the Admrials have suffered this weekend.

Standings: Hershey 10 — Lehigh Valley 8 — Penguins 8 — Binghamton 6 — Norfolk 4

Conference: 1) ALB (11) 2) HER (10) 3) WOR (9) 4) PRO (9) 5) HFD (9) 6) BRI (9) 7) STJ (9) 8) LV (8) 9) WBS (8)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off. They are in Reading Thursday.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

My Power Rankings hit the blog tomorrow at 4. I will have the Charts refresh Tuesday too. Pens travel to Allentown for the first time ever when they take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Wednesday.

Let’s Go Pens!

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