I won’t blame you if you put this game in on cruise control heading into the third period of tonight’s game.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were up 2-0 and in complete control of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms heading into the third period at PPL Center, a place where the Penguins have had much success in the past two seasons.
But hold on. You still need to play a full 60 minutes. The Penguins didn’t and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms played their best period of the game, maybe the season against the Penguins and come all the way back and win 4-3 in overtime.
The Phantoms now have won four games in a row.
It was Tristan Jarry vs. Jason LaBarbera
Scott Wilson – Kael Mouillierat – Conor Sheary
Ty Loney – Carter Rowney – J-S Dea
Dominik Uher – Oskar Sundqvist – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – Matia Marcantuoni – Josh Archibald
Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Will O’Neill – Clark Seymour
Tim Erixon – Niclas Andersen
Tristan Jarry – Brian Foster
Lineup Notes: Brian Foster backed up, John McCarron skated the extra in warmups which meant that neither Sahir Gill nor Dominik Simon took warmups tonight. Harrison Ruopp was sent back to Wheeling. Mike O’Brien on the pre game show offered little that you don’t already know if you read a paper this morning or happened to check out Seth’s blog or mine yesterday. Barry Goers is close to playing again and so too a healthy Ryan Parent. I’d expect that he may see a game this weekend just given the fact that Coal Street shipped Ruopp to Wheeling earlier today.
First Period: The Penguins are just a better team when they have Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson in the lineup. It was their line that generated the most offense early on in the period. Penguins would get carryover power play time late in the period when Tom Kostopoulos cashed to make it 1-0 Penguins….
Feels like a while since the Penguins scored the first goal of the game, doesn’t it?
The period overall was the best that Wilkes-Barre played in twenty minutes then they did all sixty minutes in Wednesday’s game against Hartford.
Second Period: The penalty killing by the Pens would be the story of the period. An early kill, then Tom Sestito hit Josh Archibald with a pass and Archibald doubled the Penguins lead…
They then had to kill a Steve Oleksy delay of game. Then Tristan Jarry made a big save to keep the Phantoms off the board…
Because he is always in position, he downright looks mechanical. Tristan Jarry is flat out fun to watch play goal, folks.
Penguins had to then kill 1:47 of Lehigh Valley 5-on-3 but Lehigh Valley never registered a shot on Jarry and the Penguins and their top rated road penalty killing easily killed it.
Third Period: Pens were rolling coming into the third period until they weren’t. The Phantoms outshot the Penguins 17-9 in the period and started to chip away.
– A Davis Drewiske shot from the blue line snuck through at 5:55 when the Penguins were scrambling in their zone. It was a precursor of things to come.
– Dominik Uher left the game with an apparent upper body injury. Obie said that Uher went in for a hit on Colin McDonald and missed and went straight into the boards and was followed into the Pens locker room by the medical staff holding his left shoulder.
– Cole Bardreau tied the game when he was left unmarked at the top of Jarry’s crease.
– The Penguins top line of Sheary, Mouillierat and Wilson were the only line that generated anything that looked like offense from a Wilkes-Barre perspective.
– You know that you are in trouble and things aren’t going your way in the third period of a tie game when your captain takes a boneheaded penalty like Tom Kostopoulos took at 14:55 of the third (a slash) – Chris Conner re-directs a puck off of the stick of Tristan Jarry and in to make it a 3-2 lead for the Phantoms.
Full on implosion by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. But then, :26 later…
Will O’Neill with the shot that Sheary redirects and Mouillierat cleans up and it’s a tie game again. The top line for the Pens comes through.
Nothing was solved in regulation so it was onto…
Overtime: Chances on both ends, but the Penguins give up a puck in their own zone on the three on three, Clark Seymour falls down which leads to a three on two rush by the Phantoms. Nick Cousins takes the shot, Tristan Jarry makes the initial save but the puck pops up on him, he tries to bat the puck clear standing up, misses, and Cole Bardreau puts it by him for the game winner.
As luck would have it, the Pens had the Phantoms hemmed in. Chris Conner was on the ice but playing without a stick as it broke on him. LaBarbera made a few pad saves to keep it tied then the Phantoms took it the other way and won the game.
Three Stars: 3) Kael Mouillierat (goal, assist, even) 2) Chris Conner (goal assist, even) and 1) Cole Bardreau (two goals including the game winner, +3)
Around the Division: Portland beats St. John’s 4-2…Hershey battles back from a 2-0 hole and beats Syracuse 5-3…Providence crushes Springfield 8-1 and Bridgeport ends the Hartford Wolf Packs eight game winning streak beating the Pack in Hartford by a score of 4-1.
Standings: Penguins (.698 percentage points) — Portland (.631) — Hershey (.611) — Providence (.557) — Bridgeport (.534) — Hartford (.523) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Springfield (.430)
The Penguins once insurmountable lead in the division is paper thin now over the likes of Portland, Hershey and Providence. The P-Bruins are off for the All-Star break. The Pirates travel to last place Springfield and the Bears play host to the Syracuse Crunch Saturday.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers won 4-1 in Elmira tonight and it was Head Coach Dave Gove’s first road win as coach of the Nailers.
Pens will host the Phantoms for the back end of the home and home series tomorrow in front of what is likely to be a sellout crowd. Gameday setup will be at 3 p.m. tomorrow here on the blog.
Let’s Go Pens!