Chirps from Center Ice

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

Smacked by the Pack — Pens LOSE 3-1

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Missing their top two scorers tonight, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins dropped this game by a score of 3-1. Here are the quick hits…

– For large parts of this game, the Penguins were the better side. Hartford came in winners of seven straight.

– Matt Murray has lost his third straight game, after winning seven straight.

– Penguins gave up another shorthanded goal tonight.

– The Penguins lost their fourth game in five games.

Matt Murray vs. Magnus Hellberg.

Lines were…

Josh Archibald – Kael Mouillierat – Dominik Simon
Sahir Gill – Carter Rowney – J-S Dea
Dom Uher – Oskar Sundqvist – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – Matia Marcantuoni – John McCarron

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Will O’Neill – Clark Seymour
Tim Erixon – Niclas Andersen

Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: John McCarron, recalled from Wheeling Wednesday morning, was in for Ty Loney. Tim Erixon returned from injury, replacing Harrison Ruopp. Erixon last played January 8. The top two scorers I mentioned earlier, Scott Wilson and Conor Sheary, were sent down from Pittsburgh earlier in the day but were not in the lineup.

First Period: Snoozy start for both teams. Hartford carried the edge in play. Neither team scored on their only power play of the period but it was Hartford striking shorthanded when ex-Penguin Jayson Megna capitalized on a Penguin turnover by the bench. He skated in unabated and roofed a backhander over a sprawling Murray. It was the seventh time this season that he Penguins allowed a shorthanded goal this season.

Second Period: Penguins were a much improved side to start and were able to clamp down on the Wolf Pack and got a goal from Niclas Andersen to tie the game at one. He hopped on a loose puck in the slot and wristed it top corner to bring it level once again.

The Penguins came in waves and had a pair of chances to jump ahead. Kael Mouillierat with a Grade A chance in the slot then Sahir Gill broke in but Hellberg was able to make the save.

Third Period: Adam Tambellini jumped on a puck that the Penguins couldn’t clear and wired a shot past Murray to put the Wolf Pack ahead 2-1. Hartford was starting to make a bit of a push in the period for more goals but Murray and the Penguins defense kept it just a one goal lead.

Then the Penguins came alive and started getting some chances. Big pressure by the Penguins but Hellberg was on point and maintained the lead for his side.

With Murray pulled in the final minute and a half, the Penguins were unable to find the equalizer and Hartford tacked on an empty netter.

Three Stars: 3) Niclss Andersen (goal, +1) 2) Magnus Hellberg (27 saves on 28 shots) and 1) Adam Tambellini (game winning goal, +1)

Mike O’Brien said on postgame that Dominik Simon was not seen on the ice after the Tambellini goal. He wasn’t on the bench, so it’s something to watch, especially with Simon going to All-Stars this weekend.

Around the Division: Portland wins 4-1 at home against St. John’s…Hershey loses up in Albany 3-2 in overtime…Bridgeport beats Springfield 1-0 and Lehigh Valley beats Binghamton 6-3.

Standings: Penguins (.702 percentage points) — Portland (.622) — Hershey (.602) — Providence (.547) — Hartford (.535) — Bridgeport (.523) — Lehigh Valley (.489) — Springfield (.440)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off today.

Here’s the Coal Street infographic….

Pens travel to Allentown Friday for the start of a home and home against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before breaking for All-Stars this weekend. But for big time news, look for the next blog post to come Friday at 3 for the Gameday setup against the Phantoms.

Let’s Go Pens!

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