Chirps from Center Ice

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

Crunched — Pens LOSE 3-2

SYR        vs.        WBS

3                                             2

They did it to Hershey last night, too.

After being down 1-0 to the Bears, the Crunch rattled off five straight to win 5-1. They came to Wilkes-Barre and found themselves down 2-0 at the end of the first and used the final 40 minutes to rally and beat the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins by the score of 3-2.

It was like water torture to an extent. You could see the lead dwindling away and the score was still 2-0 at the time. A Derrick Pouliot turnover at the midway point in the third put the Crunch ahead for good. Yanni Gourde scored two goals and Mike Angelidis the other.

Syracuse is a good team. The Penguins are too. You learn from this and become a better team for it.

Matt Murray vs. Kristers Gudlevskis

The Murray start is not surprising. Jeff Zatkoff is coming off of injury, and Murray has played well, so give him the start today while you maintain a healthy competition for who should be the number one guy in Wilkes-Barre.

Lineups were essentially unchanged from last night. Only Alex Boak took warmups and Adam Payerl did not. Scroll down to see who played where and on what line.

First Period: Pens jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead when Conor Sheary shot a puck over a felled Gudlevskis for a 1-0 Penguins lead then Scott Wilson set up Andrew Ebbett on the power play with a great pass to make it 2-0. The goals came 1:05 apart.

But then, it seemed, the Penguins either stopped playing or slipped into neutral.

Second Period: Syracuse was buzzing all period. The Penguins only managed a shot on goal for a good portion of the opening of the period.

Then the turning point in my opinion. Gudlevskis stops both Bryan Rust and J-S Dea point blank. The Crunch then go the other way and score when a shot from the blue line is sent in softly towards Murray who’ drops the rebound right to Gourde who scored to make it 2-1.

The Penguins would weather the rest of the Syracuse storm and get out of the period up 2-1 heading into the….

Third Period: Gourde again on the power play. Set up on the near dot for a one time dart that Murrya had no chance on for a tie game. Penguins would get a power play but couldn’t score then Pouliot tries a home run clear from the corner right to a Syracuse stick. The puck end up in the net soon after when Mike Angelidis put it there. Pens would get another power play late but couldn’t score and then, with Murray pulled, couldn’t even set up for a shot at Gudlevskis.

To this point, the Penguins were undefeated when scoring a power play goal. That streak ended.

Three Stars: 3) Mike Angelidis (game winning goal, +1) 2) Andrew Ebbett (goal, even) 1) Yanni Gourde (two goals, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey was off and the Bears have two games in hand on the Penguins….Binghamton loses in Norfolk 3-2 and Lehigh Valley beats Toronto 3-2.

Standings: Penguins 19 — Hershey 15 — Lehigh Valley 13 — Norfolk 12 — Binghamton 12

Conference: 1) BRI (21) 2) WBS (19) 3) MCH (18) 4) SYR (19) 5) ALB (18) 6) HFD (17) 7) WOR (17) 8) SPR (17)

Wow, all five Northeast Division teams are in the top eight and there is just one East Division team in the top eight. Yes, I know it only November and not Thanksgiving yet. But I like to pay attention to this stuff in November, because the points are the same now as they are in April.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers fall tonight in Indianapolis to the Indy Fuel by a score of 3-2. Eric Hartzell took the loss in net for the Nailers. Shavertown native Patrick McGrath scored his first ever ECHL goal tonight. Matia Marcantuoni and Zack Torquato both had assists.

SendToNews Highlights: Packaged here.

Pens travel to Hershey tomorrow for a 5 pm game. The Bears are rested. Expect Zatkoff tomorrow in net and probably a lineup tweak here or there. Gameday setup hits here at 1 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!!

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