Chirps from Center Ice

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

Winning in the Eleventh Hour — Pens WIN 7-6 (OT)

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7                                              6

Down 5-1 after twenty minutes tonight, I wouldn’t have blamed you if you shut the radio off and went back to your Sunday afternoon.

But this is proving to be a special group of Penguins. A five goal second by the Wolf Pack, a five goal period by the Penguins in the second, a game tying goal by ex-Penguin Jayson Megna with 1:09 left to tie it and Scott Wilson scored in overtime to seal the stunning, come from behind overtime win by the score of 7-6 and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguin have won 11 games in a row.

Matt Murray opposed Mackenzie Skapski.

The only lineup changes that the Penguins made were Reid McNeill for Niclas Andersen on defense and Tyler Biggs for Josh Archibald up front.

First Period: Hartford was the rested team, having not played last night while the Penguins were bussing up playing their third game in less than three days. It showed in the first period.

At 1:39, Marek Hrivik opened the scoring after he dispossessed Dave Warsofsky in front of the net.

1:05 later, Nick Tarnasky scored to make it 2-0, and the early rout was on.

Hartford scored what appeared to be a disputed goal, but he call on the ice was right, take a look at three looks here…

It was Ryan Bourque on the left hand side of the third replay that scored the goal and not Chad Nehring. The Penguins were disputing whether Nehring played the puck in the air with a high stick.

Tom Kostopoulos put the Pens on the board finishing this three on one…

Hartford tacked on two more goals before the end of the period. Ryan Bourque cashed his second goal of the night when the Wolf Pack won an offensive zone draw, the save by Murray popped right to Bourque who swept it past Murray and in.

For good measure, Chad Nehring got a step on two Penguins defenders and scored to make it 5-1 before the period expired.

Second Period: Matt Murray was relieved by Tristan Jarry to open the second and the Pens are done, right? There is no way that they come back from four goals on the road after playing three games in less than three days right?

Wrong.

They needed 16:06 to turn a 5-1 deficit into a 6-5 lead.

It started with a carryover power play from the first period. The Penguins did not score on the power play, but the relentless pressure remained and Kael Mouillierat banged home a ping ponging puck and the Pens were down three…

Later, Derrick Pouliot cross checked Ryan Bourque in the corner. Innocent enough, the referee raised his arm and the Wolf Pack were getting a power play out of it. But Wolf Pack were particularly mad with Pouliot, setting off a giant scrum. Here’s where I think the game turned in the Penguins favor.

Said this at the time:

Nothing came from the four-on-four that followed, but then Hartford took a penalty, and the comeback was officially on when Derrick Pouliot scored this goal from the point to make it 5-3.

It got worse for Hartford. Steve Oleksy took a high sticking call, Hartford put their league worst power play on the ice, and Kevin Porter scored his first goal in a Penguin sweater shorthanded…

Tom Kuhnhackl would get injured when he was slashed on a breakaway. Carter Rowney took the shot in his absence and missed. But the Penguins had all the momentum still down 5-4.

Scott Wilson with this neat wraparound goal that tied it.

Kevin Porter scored his second of the period and the Wolf Pack, and the rest of the American Hockey League, left their mouths agape…

The comeback was complete, but it was hard to believe that there was still a whole period to play.

Third Period: Magnus Hellberg relieved Skapski in the Hartford net. He came out sharp and denied J-S Dea in the slot. Jarry made a save of his own while Hartford was shorthanded.

Jayson Megna hit a post. Conor Sheary streaked past everyone and had a chance alone on Skapski but the Wolf Pack goaltender shouldered it clear. Jarry made a big save on the Megna – Brian Gibbons line. The chances were coming fast and furious for both teams.

With the teams skating four a side, Jayson Megna finally scored on his old team…

Celebrating emphatically after your rested team blows a four goal lead only to tie like it’s Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final?

Overtime: A Conor Sheary point shot rebounded to Scott Wilson all alone in the kitchen of Hellberg and won the game for the Penguins…

Comeback complete, for real.

Three Stars: 3) Jayson Megna (goal, even) 2) Kevin Porter (two goals, +1) and 1) Scott Wilson (two goals, including overtime game winner, assist, +1)

Around the Division: Hershey finally breaks the goalless drought and beats Rochester 3-1…Portland beats Providence 3-2 in a shootout and Springfield beats Albany 2-1 in overtime.

Standings: Penguins (.923 percentage points) — Bridgeport (.750) — Springfield (.577) — Hershey (.567) — Portland (.500) — Hartford (.438) — Lehigh Valley (.433) — Providence (.357)

Wheeling Update: Two goals from Riley Brace, three assists from Ty Loney was enough to extract revenge and defeat the Evansville IceMen 4-2 at home for the Nailers.

I can edit in some Sullivan quotes. On Tom Kuhnhackl…

On the vibe in the room…

The Penguins will probably have a few days off before they take to the road again Friday up to Binghamton. The Week 6 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog Monday at 4. I may have a special piece this week on the blog on the winning streak. I just haven’t put all the ideas together at the moment, so stay tuned.

Let’s Go Pens!!

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