Chirps from Center Ice

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

It’s Never Easy — Pens WIN 2-1

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Thought jumped into my head when the Penguins had just gotten scored on late in the third period of tonights game, a 2-1 Penguins win in Game 3, that these games are never easy.

For the Penguins, who were for the most part the better side tonight, the better team. A goal by David Van der Gulick on a breakaway late in the third, and it wasn’t easy for the Penguins.

You easily could say the same thing from a Manchester perspective tonight. The Monarchs dominated the Penguins in Game 2. Why the struggles? It’s isn’t easy.

A welcome addition tonight with Bryan Rust and a goal from him in the high slot in the first period, a Tom Kostopoulos power play goal in the second period and steady goaltending and defense from Matt Murray and the Penguins as a whole, and all of a sudden it’s a series again. Game 4 goes Monday in Wilkes-Barre.

Matt Murray vs. J-F Berube.

Lines were…

Tom Kostopoulos – Andrew Ebbett – Carter Rowney
Conor Sheary – Jayson Megna – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Nick Drazenovic – Kasperi Kapanen
Dominik Uher – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Scott Harrington – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Oskar Sundqvist, Josh Archibald and Scott Wilson were out for Kasperi Kapanen, Nick Drazenovic (first AHL game since February11 ) and Bryan Rust (first AHL game since April 12). Sundqvist and Wilson are day to day with injuries and Josh Archibald, per what John Hynes told Tom Venesky post game, is done for the year.

First Period: Bryan Rust connects on a goal at the high slot for a 1-0 Wilkes-Barre lead and the first lead of the series for the Penguins. He was left alone for a split second and took advantage of it and scored for a 1-0 Penguin lead.

Wilkes-Barre had to kill two penalties in the period and did so.

Second Period: Manchester killed off three of four penalties in the second and took a cumulative five straight going back to the first. Tom Kostopoulos connected with Andrew Ebbett for a give and go goal to put the Penguins ahead 2-0.

Manchester came in waves in this period and Matt Murray was up to task every time and was the difference maker.

Third Period: More Murray. But the Monarchs would not be denied David Van der Gulick scored on a breakaway when Nic Dowd found him all alone at the blue line. Van der Gulick skated in and scored on Murray to cut the Manchester deficit to one with 6:59 left to play.

Penguins respond by having a long, two minute offensive shift in the Manchester end but don’t score out of it.

Berube was pulled around the 1:20 mark and Manchester turned on the pressure but never found the equalizer. Key saves from Murray and shot blocks from men in front, notably Tom Kostopoulos in the final ten seconds.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Murray (29 saves on 30 shots) 2) Conor Sheary (two assists) and 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal)

Big game out of Jayson Megna. Pittsburgh brass was in town, notably head coach Mike Johnston, so Megna played with a burr up his you know where.

The Penguins and Monarchs were the only game in town in the AHL tonight. Just a quick reset of other series: Grand Rapids leads Rockford 2-0 in their series, Utica and Oklahoma City are 1-1 and so is Hershey and Hartford.

I will have a chart refresh on the blog sometime late Sunday. Have a nice Mother’s Day!

Let’s Go Pens!

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