Chirps from Center Ice

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

Don’t Be Late — Pens WIN 4-3

WBS       @       button_lv200

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I have seen my fair share of hockey games where a team would go up by some crazy amount early on in a game only to see the other team gradually chip away and ultimately pull ahead and win the game.

I suppose you could say that this happened tonight, but all of the action happened in the first period, instead of the entire sixty minutes which is played in a hockey game.

A wild, 4-3 Wilkes-Barre win in Lehigh Valley where all the goals were scored in the first period, the Penguins remain undefeated in 2016 and have now won four in a row under Clark Donatelli.

Matt Murray opposed Anthony Stolarz.

Lines were…

Scott Wilson – J-S Dea – Comor Sheary
Josh Archibald – Carter Rowney – Dominik Simon
Dominik Uher – Sahir Gill – Tom Kostopoulos
Ty Loney – John McCarron

Derrick Pouliot – Steve Oleksy
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
Will O’Neill – Adam Clendening
Tim Erixon

Lineup Notes: Penguins skated 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. With Tom Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust recalled to Pittsburgh, the lines were jumbled. Here are the cliff notes:

– Wilson and Sheary on the top line centered by J-S Dea.
– Josh Archibald replaced Tom Kuhnhackl on the Rowney / Simon line.
– Sahir Gill centered Uher / Kostopoulos
– Patrick McGrath took warmups but was scratched.

Oskar Sundqvist was out of the lineup because he was sick. With all of the travel that the Penguins will be on (to St. John’s, Newfoundland next week) the Penguins told him to stay home and get better. Makes sense. Obie stated that everyone has been upgraded to day-to-day but for Tyler Biggs and Barry Goers who are still month-to-month.

First Period: This was supposed to be a battle of the two Atlantic Division AHL All-Star goaltenders. At the end of the period, it sure didn’t look like it. Seven goals were scored in the period.

In sum, the period was all goals.

Josh Archibald with a pretty redirect of this shot by Niclas Andersen…


:51 later, Dominik Uher scored on this odd angle re-direct of a Tom Kostopoulos shot…


Yes, I know that none of my captions are right in those videos.

Lehigh Valley got on the board when Taylor Leier scored when the Penguins were in the middle of a line change. Leier’s shot hit two posts and went in. It was the first Phantoms goal scored at home against the Penguins this season. Derrick Pouliot mishandled a pass from his D partner Steve Oleksy which led to the goal.

Sam Gagner scored a few minutes later to tie the game at two a piece at 8:23. :23 later, a shot by Cole Bardreau went off of the pads of Murray right to Sam Morin who slammed it home for a 3-2 Phantoms lead.

Clark Donatelli called his time out, and the Penguins didn’t allow the Phantoms a single shot on goal for the remainder of the period.

Conor Sheary floated a puck harmlessly past Stolarz that the Phantoms netminder never tracked and Scott Wilson swept in and tied the game at three at 11:50…


Penguins would go on the power play but not score. However, they dominated time in the offensive zone. After the penalty expired, Josh Archibald beat Stolarz on a low angle shot that hit the far post before going in…


That was all for Anthony Stolarz, who stopped just 4 of 11 shots. Enter Jason LaBarbera.

Seth had this nugget:


Second Period: No scoring this period but the chances were there. Penguins had to kill 1:40 of 5-on-3 and did so with both Tom Kostopoulos and Reid McNeill breaking their sticks. Lehigh Valley used their time out, but almost looked like they were looking for the perfect shot.

Then Jason LaBarbera was beat by a backhand shot by Josh Archibald for a hat trick, or was he?



Ref Jake Brenk waved off the goal, and either he or the other ref Terry Koharski looked at it on the replay and ruled no goal.



I don’t know why there isn’t more consistency in the AHL to have all feeds available to the officials no matter the building. I get that there has to be some type of uniformity, but isn’t the goal by the officials and the League to get the call right at the end of the day?

Besides that, both Murray and LaBarbera were sharp in the period with Murray stopping eight Phantoms shots and LaBarbera stopping five Penguin shots.

Third Period: Game ended up being another methodical performance by the Penguins. After the wild first period, the Phantoms outshot the Penguins 16-10 the rest of the way. Both the Penguins and the Phantoms had looks but neither could find the back of the net in the period.

Three Stars: 3) Jason LaBarbera (12 saves on 12 shots) 2) Scott Wilson (goal, even) 1) Josh Archibald (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: Rochester beats Hershey 5-4…Portland beat St. John’s 5-1…Providence beat Bridgeport 5-4 and Springfield beat Hartford 3-2.

Standings: Penguins (.750 percentage points) — Portland (.591) — Hershey (.583) –Bridgeport (.554) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Providence (.486) — Springfield (.441) — Hartford (.429)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lost 5-2 at home to the Orlando Solar Bears. Anton Zlobin had a goal in the loss.

Gameday setup for the last home game before the longest road trip of the season for the Penguins vs. Utica will be up on the blog Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

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