Chirps from Center Ice

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

Ten Straight. Ain’t it Great? — Pens WIN 3-1

RCH          vs.          WBS

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins set a franchise record tonight in winning their tenth straight game with a 3-1 win over the visiting Rochester Americans tonight. It’s important in many ways.

One, it’s a record that is broken. It isn’t often that a team at this level wins ten straight. The Penguins have been around for 15+ years and prior to tonight, it hasn’t happened.

Two, try and find a weakness on this team. There isn’t one. There is no reason to think that the streak ends tomorrow when the Pens face-off in Hartford against the Wolf Pack Sunday afternoon.

Three, the Penguins have let other teams dictate how they are going to play and then countered that. St. John’s wanted to play run and gun. That’s fine. Hershey is a disjointed team that is a rival that gets obliterated. Rochester allows the Penguins 42 shots on goal. Andrey Makarov stops 40 of them. Rochester coming in was last in the AHL in defense. The Penguins shut down Rochester, only allowing them 16 shots at starter Tristan Jarry.

It’s fun. Yeah, it’s November and we aren’t at the quarter pole yet of the season, but this is fun.

No lineup changes for the Penguins tonight. Tristan Jarry started and was opposed by Andrey Makarov.

First Period: 90% of the period was spent in the Penguins offensive zone. Shots were 16-4. The Penguins far and away controlled every aspect of the period but had nothing to show for it. They failed to cash on the only power play of the period.

Remember when the Penguins would have a game one night and go 0-for-7 on a power play and only have like 3 or 4 shots on goal? Not anymore. When Wilkes-Barre goes on a power play, they get chances, and they are several and all good quality.

Second Period: The Penguins dominate the second period, outscoring opponents 21-6 coming into tonight’s game. It came through again for them when J-S Dea collects a puck at his own blue line, walked through the neutral zone and fires a shot at Makarov that went in. It was the baseball equivalent of a change-up. Makarov was sitting dead red (fastball) and instead got the change. The Penguins finally had they goal they were searching for.

Shots at one point were 27-7 in favor of Wilkes-Barre.

Dave Warsofsky scored on a power play to double the Penguins lead to 2-0. The League’s top rated power play connects again.

Shots were 32-8 Penguins heading into the…

Third Period: Rochester came out with pop but the Penguins and Jarry closed off any would be chances. Wilkes-Barre had a couple of power play opportunities, didn’t score on them but had several good looks. Going back to what I said at the open, this is a very, very positive sign going forward.

Jarry loses his shutout bid with 18.7 left when Phil Varone got in behind the defense and caught Jarry on his heels and slipped it five hole to cut the deficit to one.

Amerks head coach Randy Cunneyworth used his timeout and pulled Makarov. Off the ensuing face-off, Oskar Sundqvist dived to break up a pass up the ice at center ice and the momentum of the block knocked the puck into the empty Rochester net just seven seconds after the Americans scored to make it a closer game than the score line would indicate.

So not only do you have all of those things I mentioned at the open keeping this streak going, you have karma. Bring it.

Three Stars: 3) Tristan Jarry (15 saves on 16 shots) 2) Dave Warsofsky (power play goal, +1) and 1) J-S Dea (goal, +1)

Here’s perspective on the streak in the form of a Coal Street Infographic…

[tweet https://twitter.com/WBSPenguins/status/665724667890638848]

Around the Division: The Hershey Bears were shutout again tonight, this time 5-0 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Bears have not scored in 165:07 and face Rochester tomorrow. You have two teams playing their third game in three days and between them, just two goals have been scored all weekend by both teams…Springfield continues to win, this time 4-3 over Binghamton…Lehigh Valley loses 2-1 in overtime to Albany…Hartford, Portland and Providence were off.

Standings: Penguins (.917 points percentage) — Bridgeport (.750) — Springfield (.542) — Hershey (.536) — Portland (.455) — Hartford (.433) — Lehigh Valley (.433) — Providence (.346)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost 2-1 to the Evansville IceMen tonight. Adam Krause had the only goal for Wheeling, Brian Foster took the overtime loss.

Here’s the video highlights…

[youtube https://youtu.be/JjE2E31OOEc]

Pens wrap up the weekend with a 4:05 game in Hartford Sunday afternoon. Gameday will hit the blog at noon.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

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