Chirps from Center Ice

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

Chipping Away at the Iceberg — Pens WIN 2-1

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On the first shot of the game tonight, St. John’s IceCaps captain Gabriel Dumont scored a goal on Matt Murray :21 in. It was the fastest goal allowed by the Penguins this season and injected a ton of energy into an IceCaps side that came into the game losing four of their last five.

Any mortal team with any mortal goaltender probably rear another goal, then possibly another, then likely pack it in this far away from home all the way out in Newfoundland and lose the game.

Not the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

Backstopped by a 33 save performance by AHL All-Star goaltender Matt Murray and a goal ahead goal by IceCap killer J-S Dea in the third period, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win their sixth straight game by a score of 2-1.

It was the aforementioned Matt Murray vs. Zach Fucale.

Lines were…

Scott Wilson – Kael Mouillierat – Conor Sheary
Josh Archibald – Carter Rowney – Dominik Simon
Dominik Uher – Sahir Gill – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Ty Loney

Derrick Pouliot – Steve Oleksy
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
Will O’Neill – Clark Seymour

Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Clark Seymour was in for the recalled Adam Clendening. No other lineup changes. Oskar Sundqvist did not make the trip as he is still ill. Also not on the trip is Tim Erixon, who is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Obie said on radio that his status for Syracuse Saturday is still to be determined.

First Period: As noted in the lede, :21 in Gabriel Dumont scored the fastest goal allowed by the Penguins this season…

Penguins were caught straight out flat-footed for the start of the period. Later, caught in a line change, St. John’s pounced on the opportunity to go tic-tac-toe passing but the shot went wide. Murray needed to be sharp and was.

The Penguins finally started to come alive as the period wore on. Scott Wilson stepped into a shot on a one-timer that went off of Fucale’s mask and caromed to Steve Oleksy but the puck deflected out.

Murray was again called upon late when Lucas Lessio took a shot that rebounded to Stefan Fournier but Murray got over in time.

Then, Nic Andersen shot a puck at the blue line at Fucale that Josh Archibald deflected in, but it was ruled immediately that the puck was deflected in via a high stick…

Second Period: Much better period by the Penguins who controlled play early and often. Derrick Pouliot would bring the Penguins even on the power play with this shot…

Wilkes-Barre would continue to come in waves and nearly went up 2-1 but Zach Fucale made this timely save while down and seemingly out…

The Penguins would outshoot the IceCaps 8-5 in the period. Scott Wilson fought Mac Bennett in the period and his presence was missed when the Penguins were on a late power play and did not register a shot on goal.

Third Period: J-S Dea became the fourth Penguins player to reach double digit in goals with this shot…

Dea took the initial shot, followed his rebound, shot again and that went in.

Nick Hart had this gem…

IceCaps could not convert on two power play opportunities. The Penguins were undisciplined with constant penalties but St. John’s was unable to convert. After a timeout with Fucale pulled, St. John’s was never able to find the equalizer.

Some out the door notes…

Three Stars: 3) Conor Sheary (assist, even) 2) Gabriel Dumont (goal, +1) 1) Matt Murray (33 saves on 24 shots)

Around the Division: They all watched us.

Standings: Penguins (.764 percentage points) — Portland (.603) — Hershey (.579) — Bridgeport (.539) — Providence (.514) — Lehigh Valley (.474) — Hartford (.459) — Springfield (.431)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.

Here is the infographic from Coal Street…

And the video highlights…

One more thing, John Slaney was announced as the fourth member to be enshrined in the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins Hall of Fame. Release here. Slaney is already an AHL Hall of Famer and is currently an assistant coach with the Arizona Coyotes. The Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held January 30 when the Penguins host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Meanwhile, the rematch tomorrow vs. the IceCaps goes off at 6 p.m. Wilkes-Barre time. Gameday setup will hit the blog Wednesday at 2.

Let’s Go Pens!

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