Chirps from Center Ice

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

I’ll Take Penguins Win for 200, John — Pens WIN 3-2

WBS        @       HER

3                                         2

There were technical difficulties on the AHL Live feed tonight so I was not able to listen to the away feed and the call of Mike O’Brien. The alternative was ex-Penguins broadcaster Scott Stuccio, which is always a treat.

Anyway, after the end of the second period of what was a 2-2 game, Stuccio said that these two teams have played each other twice in two nights, and it felt like eight games. Even for the broadcasters.

You can count the bloggers too, Stoosh.

The Penguins, after being dealt a setback the night before on home ice by these same Bears, battle back and re-claim first place in the division with a thrilling 3-2 victory.

The victory was Head Coach John Hynes’ 200th win as Penguins head coach. Here’s the info graphic from Coal Street.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Philipp Grubauer

Lineup wise. Matia Marcantuoni was in for Sahir Gill up front and Alex Boak was back in for Clark Seymour.

Obie said in pre game that Taylor Chorney will likely start practicing again this week and Nick Drazenovic will continue, but in a limited role.

First Period: :39 in, Steve Oleksy put the Bears on the board with a goal that unleashed the teddy bear toss that took a grand total of 22 minutes to clean up. 17,000+ bears were flung to the Giant Center ice. The Penguins went back to the locker room during the delay. When play started back up again, they slowly built up momentum that led to this Derrick Pouliot goal that tied the game at one. Pierre Leblond was boxed for a penalty, the Penguins killed it and into the clear, Leblond found himself leading a three-on-one. He never got a shot off but maintained possession to Tom Kostopoulos who found a cutting Pouliot who put it in for the evening goal.

Wilkes-Barre maintained momentum throughout the remainder of the period. Carter Rowney had Grubauer dead to rights and had an empty net, but put the puck off the far post and not in.

Second Period: Penguins had a double minor they were killing to open the period then Stan Galiev held Tom Kuhnhackl. Neither team scored 4-on-4 and when Galiev was freed from the penalty box, he had the puck passed to him in the slot. He did the rest, with an NHL cabiber wrist shot that beat Zatkoff cleanly.

Soon after that, the Bears fail to clear a puck which eventually finds its way to Alex Boak. Boak then shoots the puck towards the net and it deflects off of Bobby Farnham and in to tie the game again.

Then, the Penguins were gifted an opportunity to take the lead with a double minor to Steve Olesky. Cam Schilling then put the puck out of play giving the Penguins a full two minutes of five on three. The Penguins never managed anything that looked like a good opportunity and Hershey killed the entire two minutes and then the back end of the Oleksy double minor. Penguins would get another crack at the power play, but never managed a shot on goal.

Third Period: The story of this game was that the Penguins were good on the penalty kill when they needed to be and the Bears couldn’t stop taking penalties against the Penguins. Finally, it bit them, when Derrick Pouliot unleashed this slap shot from the blue line that put the Penguins ahead in the game, for good. Pouliot is 2-2-4 in six games against the Bears this season.

Final ten minutes felt like it was all Hershey who tried everything to get the equalizer, but with Zatkoff back there, he made sure that there would be no Bears comeback. There was one sequence where the Penguins had a defensive breakdown but Zatkoff was there to make the save and calm things down. As time dwindled and with Grubauer out and Bears coach Troy Mann calling time out, the Bears never got the goal they were looking for.

Three Stars: 3) Chris Conner (two assists, +1) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (two assists) 1) Derrick Pouliot (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: Binghamton had their five game losing streak ended in Hartford as the Wolf Pack won 4-2. The losing streak continues for the Norfolk Admirals with another loss in Manchester by a score of 5-2. Lehigh Valley beats Bridgeport on the back end of a home and home between those two teams by a score of 5-3.

Standings: Penguins 30 — Hershey 28 — Binghamton 25 — Lehigh Valley 23 — Norfolk 18

Conference: 1) SPR (35) 2) MCH (32) 3) WBS (30) 4) SYR (29) 5) POR (28) 6) HER (28) 7) ALB (27) 8) HFD (27)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers never made it to Brampton for their scheduled game against the Beast today. Transportation issues was the cause of the cancellation. No make up game has been announced yet.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Week 9 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog Monday at 4. Be on the look out for those at that time.

Let’s Go Pens!

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