Tom Kostopoulos celebrated his 36th birthday today. He’s heading to Utica Sunday to captain the AHL’s Eastern Conference in the league’s All-Star Classic.
But before he could sit back and celebrate a birthday and reflect on accomplishments that led him to be named captain of the AHL’s Eastern Conference and named starter, he had business to attend to tonight in Virginia.
His overtime game winning goal assured a sweep of the Norfolk Admirals by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins by a 3-2 score.
Lines looked like this tonight…..
Conor Sheary – Nick Drazenovic – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Andrew Ebbett – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Jayson Megna
Dominik Uher – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham
Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Barry Goers
Scott Harrington – Derrick Pouliot
Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell
J-S Dea took warmups but was scratched. Pierre Leblond served the third game of his three game suspension. So the lineup was unchanged from last night.
The Penguins opposed recent stone in the shoe known as Jason Labarbera.
First Period: Norfolk jumped all over the Penguins to start. Emerson Etem rang a post then later on a busted Wilkes-Barre clear, scored to put the Admirals ahead 1-0. Then, the Penguins started to push back and Jayson Megna scored when Brendan Bell snapped his stick attempting to maneuver the puck out of his own end.
Wilkes-Barre seemed ignited prior to the Megna goal after a fight by Bobby Farnham with Joseph Cramarossa after Etem scored.
Second Period: No scoring in this period. Penguins had a few cracks at the power play but Norfolk was great in blocking shots.
Third Period: Scott Wilson put the Penguins ahead with this shot from the high slot off of a nice feed by Bryan Rust to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. It was Wilson’s fourth game in a row where he has scored a goal. Norfolk was able to edge back even with a power play goal from Nic Kerdiles on a deflection. A frenetic pace by both teams to finish.
Quick observations, John Hynes told Mike O’Brien in the pre show that one of the focuses the Penguins were going to work on after the All-Star break was special teams. The Penguins had multiple chances this weekend to take a lead with power plays but never could connect….Jayson Megna is usually the butt of my sophomoric jokes on the blog and elsewhere, but he had a hell of a game tonight. Nearly every chance he had was a Grade A opportunity.
Overtime: Tom Kostopoulos scored this goal on a deflection. This came after a John Hynes timeout. Before this, the Penguins had an opportunity to score on a power play but let it pass.
Three Stars: 3) Nic Kerdiles (goal, -1) 2) Scott Wilson (goal, +1) 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, +1)
Around the Division: Hershey beat Binghamton 3-2 in overtime to stay ahead of the Penguins by a point in the standings and lead the East Division at the break….Lehigh Valley beat St. John’s 4-3.
Standings: Hershey 51 — Penguins 50 — Lehigh Valley 45 — Binghamton 39 — Norfolk 37
Conference: 1) MCH (58) 2) SYR (57) 3) HER (51) 4) SPR (56) 5) HFD (53) 6) WBS (50) 7) WOR (49) 8) POR (49)
Wheeling Update: Nailers lost 4-1 to the Fort Wayne Komets.
SendToNews Highlights: Here is YouTube…
So that’s the break. Pens are in action again next Friday in Springfield. Here’s what you have coming at you this weekend and this week…
— Week 16 AHL Power Rankings at a special time, 2 p.m. Sunday.
— My big board chart page is already updated for your perusal.
— I may throw in a quick blurb of who won what at the Skills Competition Sunday night.
— I am pinch hitting for Tom Venesky from The Times-Leader Monday night. So buy a paper Tuesday to see my name and a bunch of words put together about the All-Star Classic. I will have a blog of the goings on Monday night after my duties for the paper conclude.
— I am planning on getting audio of the AHL’s Yearly State of the League. Stay tuned. I will probably make a blog out of that.
Let’s Go Pens!