I tweeted a stat last night that I’ll bring back here on the blog because reflecting on it, given the rivalry between these two teams, it really is something:
Edit: It’s actually December 7-12.
Well, start the clock again, because the Penguins beat the Bears by a score of 5-3 tonight. Wilkes-Barre scored three goals in the third period to seal up the two points and draw to three points of the Bears for the division lead. The rematch is Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, not before the Bears travel to Binghamton Friday.
The Penguins have points in 17 of their last 19 games and are 15-2-1-1. Hershey has all of a sudden lost two straight, and three of four. Are they cooling off? No. I don’t think so. It’s a regression to the mean that you see in mathematical speak from time to time.* Does it benefit the Penguins? Heck yeah, dude, because we now have a realistic chance to take the division and possibly more.
Anyway, Matt Murray opposed Phillipp Grubauer.
Lines and stuff were the same. New guy Danny Syvret was in for Harrison Ruopp on the third pairing with Nick D’Agostino. D’Agostino’s usual D partner Barry Goers moved up to the second pairing with Scott Harrington.
First Period: Penguins penalty kill was put on early and easily killed a Brian Dumoulin high stick. Then Jayson Megna makes a move on Philipp Grubauer and appears to hit the crossbar and bounce out. Referee Terry Kowarski was right on top of the play and washed it out immediately. Play continued to the point where Dumoulin found Andrew Ebbett with a thread pass that sprung Ebbett on a breakaway. Erik Burgdoerfer hooked him and a penalty was called. Replay showed that the Megna shot actually hit the inside of the crossbar and bounced out and the goal was awarded. The time was put back on the clock but the Burgdoerfer penalty stuck. Reason was it’s in the rules. Rule 79.1 of the AHL Rule Book:
So I was confused, but VP of Communications Jason Chaimovitch was kind enough to tweet in and clarify:
We here at Chirps from Center Ice aim to educate as well as inform.
Oh, Connor Carrick tipped a Dustin Gazley shot past Matt Murray and in for a tie game heading into the….
Second Period: Penguins started to clamp down on the Bears, forcing them into many icings and Hershey Head Coach Troy Mann into using his time out. But Gazley scored on a two on one to make it 2-1 for the Bears anyway shortly after. The first time that Murray has allowed more than one goal since January 31 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Barry Goers got his first goal of the year off a nice deflection shot from a pass from Jayson Megna to make it 2-2. Tight checking hockey in the first half of the game followed by wide open end to end theatrics with two goals scored.
Third Period: Mike Moore got space, made a couple of moves that shook Murray down and scored to push the Bears ahead 3-2.
Thirteen seconds later, Pierre Leblond puts a shot in on Grubauer. A trailing Matia Marcantuoni scores on the rebound to make it a tie game yet again.
Time dwindled down to under five minutes. Finally Tom Kostopoulos scored on a tip shot from a Conor Sheary pass to make it 4-3 Pens.
Oh, now would be a good time to explain my silly headline. The Bears were caught with too many men on the ice on three separate occasions. The third time really cost them because they were trailing 4-3 late and were looking to pull Grubauer for the extra man when they got caught with one too many for the third time. Conor Sheary scored on his own rebound with under a minute to ice it away and guarantee the two points for the Penguins.
Three Stars: 3) Dustin Gazley (goal, assist, +1) 2) Jayson Megna (goal, assist, +2) and 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, assist, -1)
Around the Division: Lehigh Valley was the only other game in the division and they were in Toronto taking on the Marlies and won 4-3.
Standings: Hershey 79 — Penguins 76 — Lehigh Valley 61 — Binghamton 58 — Norfolk 51
Conference: 1) MCH (81) 2) HER (79) 3) SYR (74) 4) WBS (76) 5) PRO (72) 6) WOR (70) 7) POR (70) 8) SPR (70)
Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. The Penguins recalled Alex Boak before the game for some reason though.
SendToNews Highlights: YouTube instead….
Pens off until Saturday and will actually have a game in hand on Hershey come Saturday but will quickly burn it off Sunday against Hartford. Unless there is anything breaking, look for the next blog update either Friday night after the action in the East Division concludes or Saturday afternoon for the Gameday setup for the rematch.
Let’s Go Pens!!!
* – I am no expert. Trust me.