Earlier in the day today, the Phantoms recalled Jason Akeson (20-23-43) Mark Alt (1-6-7) and Olivier Lauridsen (3-3-6) were recalled by the Philadelphia Flyers for their afternoon game today. The trio of players were returned to the Phantoms in time for the game against the Penguins tonight. Only Akeson played of the three that did.
The Phantoms have lost four straight and are having all of the key elements of their team being taken away from them, were in for a doozy against Matt Murray and the high flying Penguins.
Or at least it seemed that way….
Wilkes-Barre lays an absolute egg tonight and loses 4-1. Despite outshooting the Phantoms 19-1 in the third period, couldn’t mount enough of a comeback and Rob Zepp and the Phantoms shut the door and take away the two points.
The Penguins need to play the same intense way that they play against the Hershey Bears when it comes to a team that they play 12 times a year, just like Hershey.
Matt Murray vs. Rob Zepp
The only lineup change from last night for Wilkes-Barre was Josh Archibald out and Pierre Leblond in. Adam Payerl bumped up to the second line from the fourth and Pierre Leblond took Payerl’s spot on the fourth line.
First Period: The Phantoms jumped the Penguins from the start. After a Dominik Uher and Brett Hextall fight at five seconds in, Lehigh Valley never looked back.
Scott Laughton scored on a power play with enforcer Zack Stortini in front causing a disturbance. 1:15 later, Jesper Pettersson scored from the high slot that made it 2-0.
With the Penguins in deep trouble and getting trucked by the Phantoms, John Hynes called his time out.
Things settled from there, including a Penguins power play that produced a few chances, but Wilkes-Barre would not score at all in this period.
Second Period: Needing a comeback, the Penguins just went through the motions and the Phantoms scored another goal, this time Steve Delisle on a shot that Murray just missed.
It was a while before the Penguins registered their first shot on goal in the period on Zepp. They finally got three on a late power play but were unable to score. Wilkes-Barre was outshot 10-3 in the period.
Third Period: Penguins pour on the pressure, get this goal from Andrew Ebbett….
…but nothing else. They had a power play late, but didn’t score on it and are now just 1 for 19 in their last 20 attempts.
Three Stars: 3) Jesper Pettersson (goal, +1) 2) Rob Zepp (33 saves on 34 shots) and 1) Scott Laughton (two goals, assist, +2)
Miscellaneous: First regulation loss for Matt Murray since a 5-0 loss to these Phantoms on January 31. Murray had been 11-0-1 prior to tonight’s game. And how about this gem from the VP of Communications for the AHL, Jason Chaimovitch…
Around the Division: Bears exact revenge against last nights loss to Manchester with a 6-2 win. Binghamton loses 4-1 at home to Bridgeport and Norfolk loses 3-1 at home to Albany.
Standings: Hershey 89 — Penguins 83 — Lehigh Valley 67 — Binghamton 64 — Norfolk 55
Conference: 1) MCH (92) 2) HER (89) 3) SYR (88) 4) WBS (83) 5) HFD (81) 6) PRO (81) 7) POR (80) 8) WOR (78)
Hartford and Providence both won their games tonight and are just two back of the Penguins for the four seed. All three teams mentioned in that last sentence are off Sunday. The Penguins and Wolf Pack have a game in hand on the Bruins.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers hosted the Reading Royals tonight. Box here.
SendToNews Highlights: Aren’t up yet. Not much to look at that you haven’t already seen in this blog recap.
The Week 25 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog at 4 Monday. Check them out then.
Let’s Go Pens!!!