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Penguins vs. CheckersOctober 7th, 2017
74 days to go.
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
If you didn’t watch the game tonight and all you looked at was the score line, you would think that the Penguins lack of scorers all on recall to Pittsburgh did Wilkes-Barre in tonight.
You’d be wrong. This game involved a chess match intertwined between a goaltenders duel. Two players scored for their respective teams. One just did it twice, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lose the game 2-1 and the East Division lead.
Rookie goaltender Pheonix Copley turned in a dazzling 28 save performance for the Bears. They say that Penn State University is “Linebacker U” – well, Hershey may as well be known as, “Goaltender U” with the depth and vast amount of backstoppers that have given the Penguins teams fits through the years.
An overall not bad performance by the Penguins. They just ran into a more stiffer team in Hershey that knows how to kill penalties and knows how to play this Penguins team. If there is a team in the AHL that has the Penguins number this season, I would be hard pressed to find one that isn’t anyone other than the Hershey Bears.
The aforementioned Pheonix Copley vs. Matt Murray. Battle of the backups tonight.
(And yes, I know that he spells his name wrong. It is what it is.)
With Bryan Rust’s demotion back to Wilkes-Barre this afternoon from Pittsburgh and the Penguins wanting to see what they have on defense, Matia Marcantuoni was out and Rust was in, and Alex Boak was out for Clark Seymour.
One thing worth mentioning was the fact that a PTO guy like Sahir Gill got a second game in a row while a draft pick like Marcantuoni watched this game from the stands.
First Period: Bears had a great opening jump to the game but the Penguins stood tall. Later the Penguins would get a power play but fail to convert against Hershey’s top penalty killing unit. Reid McNeill slashes a stick to break up a two on none and :18 later, Chris Conner undresses Scott Harrington and slips the puck under Murray for a 1-0 Bears lead.
Second Period: Bobby Farnham had a breakaway when the puck found him off of a funny bounce off the boards. He missed, but then goaded Chris Brown into taking a penalty. The Penguins appeared to have scored on the power play on a Scott Harrington point shot, but referee Terry Koharski was in perfect position and immediately waved the goal off on account of a high stick. I think that the AHL Live feed they use in the arena is a camera across from my center ice seat in the corner, so the replay that they showed on the video board never caught up to the players at the front of the net to see if the puck went in off of a high stick or not.
Third Period: Pens were given golden opportunities to score goals on the power play, but the glove or blocker of
Phoenix Pheonix Copley kept the Penguins off of the board.
Later, puck caroms off of a linesman’s skate to Chris Conner, who tacked on his second goal of the night with a quick wrist shot. Puck beat Murray clean. It was one that he probably would have liked to have back.
Bryan Rust had seen enough. He started in from his own blue line and skated in past everyone, whiffed on his shot and in the second effort beat Copley to put the Penguins on the board. But the Penguins could never find the equalizer after pulling Murray.
Three Stars: Pheonix Copley (28 saves on 29 shots) 2) Bryan Rust (goal, +1) and 1) Chris Conner (two goals, +1)
The Penguins are 0-for-the-season on the power play against Hershey. But the Penguins play disciplined when they play the Bears and don’t hand them power play after power play. when they do however, it costs them, most of the time.
Standings: Hershey 28 — Penguins 28 — Binghamton 25 — Lehigh Valley 21 — Norfolk 18
Conference: 1) SPR (35) 2) MCH (30) 3) HER (28) 4) SYR (29) 5) POR (28) 6) WBS (28) 7) ALB (27) 8) BNG (25)
Wheeling Update: Nailers are seemingly unfazed by all of the raiding the Penguins are doing to their roster. They hang seven goals on the Utah Grizzlies and win 7-3. Patrick McGrath, on Mcgrath bobble fist night, had a goal and was named first star of the game. Eric Hartzell stopped 32 of 35.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here. Nothing in the highlight package that shows anything conclusive on whether the Harrington shot from the point should have counted or not.
Rematch tomorrow at 5 in Hershey. Gameday setup here Sunday afternoon at 1. Giant Center has been a house of horrors for the Pens as of late, they have lost eight in a row there.
Let’s Go Pens!