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Countdown to Opening Night
Penguins vs. CheckersOctober 7th, 2017
13 days to go.
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
Nick Shore scored at somewhere around 7:01 Wilkes-Barre time.
Fast forward four and a half hours later, Zach O’Brien scored in triple overtime to give the Manchester Monarchs a 4-3 win in triple overtime and a 1-0 series lead.
The second longest game in Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins history.
Instant classic doesn’t even begin to describe this one. You don’t win a series in the first game nor do you lose one. But yeah, the team that wins the first game only needs to win three more to advance. The Penguins played the game from behind the whole game and probably needed this cold slap in the face to get them pointed in the right direction.
Not much long to wait for retribution, Game 2 goes off at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Matt Murray vs. J-F Berube.
Conor Sheary – Andrew Ebbett – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Jayson Megna – Kasperi Kapanen
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham
Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Scott Harrington – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff
Josh Archibald took warmups but was scratched in favor of Matia Marcantuoni from Game 3 vs. Syracuse. We are still waiting for the debut of Oskar Sundqvist and the returns of Nick Drazenovic and Bryan Rust.
First Period: Monarchs got the jump on the Penguins eighteen seconds in with Nick Shore scoring off of a turnover in front of Murray that put the Monarchs on the board giving them their fastest goal scored in their playoff history and Wilkes-Barre’s first deficit in the post season. The Pens never trailed once in the three game sweep of Syracuse.
Taylor Chorney answered a little over three minutes later. An offensive zone face-off win by Jayson Megna found its way to Chorney who scored.
Manchester continued to press. Quick through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. Wave after wave after wave. Finally, Manchester edged ahead again when Brian O’Neill pushed a puck past an out of position Murray after the Penguins netminder failed to control a rebound.
Penguins scored on a power play in the final minute after Bobby Farnham drew a hook on Jeff Schultz. Six seconds into the power play, Scott Wilson from the high right slot one timed a puck in for a tie game.
So the AHL’s top defensive units all season long score a pair of goals on each other heading into the….
Second Period: Penguins started to edge ahead of the Monarchs in chances to open, outshooting the home team 4-1 in the first ten minutes, but Jordan Weal continued to dominate the face-off dot. He won one back to Colin Miller who rifled it home for a 3-2 Monarchs lead. Shots were an even 7 a side for both teams as the Monarchs turned up the offensive pressure in the final seven minutes.
Third Period: Penguins came back in the period and it was all set up by this Matt Murray ten bell save on Michael Mersch…
Conor Sheary tied it a few minutes later when he played a puck off a wall and backhanded it past Berube.
Penguins needed to balance offensive pressure while not maintaining anything dangerous for the high power Manchester Monarchs team.
Notable: Kasperi Kapanen was placed on the ‘KRU’ line with Dominik Uher up with Scott Wilson and Jayson Megna as John Hynes was looking to shake up lines looking for offense. nothing doing heading to…
First Overtime: Kapanen was placed back with Wilson and Megna to open. Both goaltenders came up big with saves. Manchester was coming in waves…Tom Kostopoulos past the half way point of the period nearly ended it but Berube came up big.
Berube made a save in a pile of bodies that went to review but the refs took a look at it and ruled no goal.
Close call for Wilkes-Barre late as the Penguins were playing late with two players without sticks.
Pens had a late power play to close out the first overtime but allowed Manchester a few looks shorthanded, but did not score and the teams headed into the…
Second Overtime: Scott Wilson took one shift but was missing on the top line for the Penguins for most of the second overtime. Lines were jumbled for the Penguins. Both teams had chances to end it but didn’t. Monarchs had a 12-3 shot advantage in the second overtime.
Third Overtime: Zach O’Brien ended it at 4:13 of the third overtime on a busted coverage of who had who by the Penguins.
Three Stars: 3) Jordan Weal (two assists, +1) 2) Conor Sheary (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Zach O’Brien game winning third overtime goal, +1)
Like I said from the open, the Penguins played from behind in this one from the open and just could not recover enough from a standpoint to take a lead in regulation. That they took Manchester to the third overtime means that you are looking at a knock down, drag out battle to the end between the two sides.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference: Hershey and Hartford went into overtime in their first game and ex-Bear Chris Bourque ended it in the first OT at 16:47 to give the Wolf Pack a 2-1 overtime win and a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is Friday in Hershey.
Game 2 of this best of seven will be Thursday at 7. Gameday for that goes up at 3 p.m. Rest up.
Let’s Go Pens!
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