Much closer this time for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears but if you just watched the first 19:45 of the second period, you wouldn’t have thought that. That was when the Penguins scored three goals in their most productive period of the season for them and held on and defeated the Hershey Bears for their tenth consecutive win on home ice by a score of 3-2.
No lineup changes for the Penguins from Friday nights win over Providence.
Tristan Jarry opposed Justin Peters. If I asked you coming into this game who the better goaltender was statistically between Jarry and Matt Murray, who would you say that it was?
If you said Matt Murray, you are wrong:
Jarry has Murray beat in every statistical category but you would not think for a second about starting Jarry over Murray when it comes to say a playoff game. It’s a dangerous two-headed monster.
Anyway, to the game. The teams traded chance after chance in the first period with neither finding the back of the net. It was a show put on by the goaltenders who were really good with glove saves on both ends of the ice. There were sticks in passing lanes too.
In the second, the offense came to life for the Penguins. Kevin Porter got a step on the Bears defenders at the blue line, raced in and backhanded one past Peters at :26 of the first to put the Penguins ahead 1-0. It was his 200th point at the AHL level.
Later, Niclas Andersen scored from the blue line off a perfect screen by Dominik Uher in front that doubled the Penguins lead. About five minutes later on a power play, J-S Dea flipped a casual backhander at the net that somehow slipped past Peters and in for a 3-0 Penguins lead.
Peters would come up with a big save on Kevin Porter while the Penguins were on another of their six power plays of the night, this time robbing Porter with the glove as Porter was left unmarked on the near side.
The Penguins had held Hershey to just one shot in the second period until the Bears got a late barrage on Jarry and one of them snuck in for a goal. It was Erik Burgdoerfer scoring it at 19:46 that seemed to slow all momentum built by the Penguins at the time carrying over to the third period. The goal ended a goalless drought of 129:34 for the Bears in Wilkes-Barre.
In the third. Riley Barber threw a seemingly harmless shot at Jarry that squeaked in for a goal that gave the Bears life as all of a sudden it was a one goal game. Hershey had opened the period with lots of pop in their skates and were really flying.
But the Penguins slowed that momentum by going on the power play. Paul Carey clipped J-S Dea with the stick, drew blood and the Penguins were on a 4:00 power play that they ultimately would not score on. Peters came up big for his team in net. Penguins would get another chance on the power play later but would not be able to score a goal on the leagues worst road penalty killing unit. Tristan Jarry had to stop Dustin Galley shorthanded.
Hershey would get the games last power play as Dominik Simon was stick handling near the Penguins bench during a change leading to a too many men on the ice call. Chris Bourque hit the post with Peters vacated but that was as close as the Bears came to tying the game before time ran out on them.
Three stars were 3) Kevin Porter (goal, +1) 2) Tim Erixon (two assists, +1) and 1) J-S Dea (game winning power play goal, even)
Patrick Williams from of the Winnipeg Sun was in town tonight. Williams covers the Manitoba Moose for the Sun and used to cover the Penguins a long time ago for the Times-Leader. He’s an AHL observer and has a weekly feature on the AHL on NHL.com. He had this to say about the Penguins:
Obviously I don’t see the amount of Western Conference teams that Williams does, so I will gladly take him for his word and say here that it was an honor meeting the man.
Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Hartford 5-2 to stay in second place in the Atlantic behind the Penguins….Utica beats Portland for the weekend sweep of the Pirates 6-3…Albany beats Springfield 4-3 and Providence shuts out Lehigh Valley 3-0.
Standings: Penguins (.889 percentage points) — Bridgeport (.690) — Hershey (.600) — Springfield (.528) — Lehigh Valley (.452) — Hartford (.429) — Portland (.412) — Providence (.375)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost to the Brampton Beast 6-3 tonight. Eight Nailers recorded points. Matia Marcantuoni did not have a point.
I have given up on waiting for the Penguins to put infographics out timely or video highlights in time for the blog to publish. That said, if I get a chance to work an edit in I will, if not, if you really want to see the highlights you will need to go to them direct.
Check out the Week 8 Power Rankings come Monday at 4 p.m. here on the blog.
Let’s Go Pens!