The Penguins may only lose games to teams that play the way the Norfolk Admirals played tonight.
The Admirals, winners 2-1 tonight, bottled up the Penguins at requisite times, jumped out to a 2-0 lead and Norfolk Admirals starting goaltender Jason LaBarbera made the necessary saves late to preserve the big win for what was a floundering Admirals team and sweep the Penguins on Hampton Roads this weekend.
Matt Murray vs. the aforementioned Jason LaBarbera
Scott Wilson – Andrew Ebbett – Tom Kostopoulos
Conor Sheary – JS Dea – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Adam Payerl – Dominik Uher
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham
Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Scott Harrington – Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill – Alex Boak
Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell
Sheary’s first appearance since October 12 vs. Manchester and Boak’s first appearance since October 18 at St. John’s.
Anton Zlobin and Barry Goers are the two latest names on the injury list. Goers took a shot in the game late and is out with an upper body injury. Zlobin is week to week with an upper body injury. The others are still the status quo.
First Period: Two things happened in this period that happen in nearly every Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins game this season:
1) Tom Kostopoulos took a dumb penalty (a cross-checking minor, his 10th minor penalty which leads the entire AHL)
2) On the ensuing Norfolk power play, Andrew Ebbett led a shorthanded rush up ice with Tom Kuhnhackl and DID NOT SHOOT. Rather, he tried to pass it to Kuhnhackl and over passed, on the ensuing odd man rush up ice, Jesse Winchester fired a low wrist shot that beat Murray five-hole.
Kostopoulos takes dumb penalties every game and Ebbett never shoots. Like clockwork.
Oh, the Penguins were held to just one shot on goal in the period.
Second Period: Not much happened the Penguins way. They had a sustained offensive rush of shots on net about halfway through the second, but that was about it. The teams traded power plays but neither capitalized. Late, Matt Murray turned a puck over behind his net that Dave Steckel picked off. Steckel centered a pass to Nic Kerdiles, who picked his spot and doubled the Admirals lead at 2-0.
Third Period: Penguins didn’t do themselves any favors in taking two penalties in the period to put themselves in a further hole. They would get the kills and started to chip away. Finally, Tom Kostopoulos steals an Admirals clearing bid and puts a shot on net that rebounds to a wide open Conor Sheary who scored to put the Pens on the board. LaBarbera would make two huge saves, one on his rump and the other with Murray pulled, to preserve the 2-1 win for the home team.
The Penguins, as fate would have it, manage to outshoot the Admirals 15-6 in the period, and 23-19 for the game.
I wouldn’t pin this loss on Matt Murray as much as I would the overall lack of team effort to generate anything resembling a solid offensive chance. Credit the Admirals, who came into the weekend with a game plan of limiting Wilkes-Barre shots, and sticking to it.
Three Stars: 3) Conor Sheary (goal, +1) 2) Jason LaBarbera (22 saves on 23 shots) and 1) Brad Winchester (goal, even)
Around the Division: The Penguins passed up a golden opportunity to pass the Hershey Bears for first in the division as the Bears lost 5-4 in Worcester in a wild one….Binghamton lost 6-3 to Syracuse and Lehigh Valley lost 4-2 to Hartford.
Standings: Hershey 12 — Penguins 11 — Lehigh Valley 9 — Norfolk 8 — Binghamton 8
Conference: 1) ALB (13) 2) HER (12) 3) WOR (11) 4) PRO (11) 5) HFD (11) 6) BRI (11) 7) WBS (11) 8) LV (10)
Wheeling Update: Nailers hold on and win 3-2 at home against the Reading Royals. Clark Seymour was a +1. Harrison Ruopp cancelled him out with a -1.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here.
Make sure you turn your clocks back Sunday.
Pens are back in action again Friday at home vs. Hershey. Monday will see the Week 4 AHL Power Rankings. Tuesday I will have a blog piece about my Chart that I have a dedicated page on. Check that out if you haven’t already and see me Tuesday here on the blog for some thoughts once I update it from this weekends action on Tuesday.
But for breaking news, talk to you again Monday. Latest always on Twitter.
Let’s Go Pens!