Chirps from Center Ice

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

Thrown Back on Throw Back Night — Pens LOSE 5-3

button_lv200       vs.      WBS

  5                                       3

Tonight felt a lot like the early years of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins existence.

– Home black jerseys in livery not seen in these parts in 15 years.
– Sellout crowd.
– Hated, long time rival in the Philadelphia Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
– Fights and penalties. 60 minutes in total.
– Controversy with the officiating and questionable calls.
– The opponent walking away with the two points.

A 5-3 loss, the Penguins third in a row and six of the last seven for an all of a sudden slumping Penguins team that is without it’s number one goaltender due to injury (Matt Murray) and number one defenseman due to call up (Derrick Pouliot)

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins once robust lead in the Atlantic Division has been trimmed to mere percentage points now by none other than the other big time rival in this state, the Hershey Bears. The Bears have not lost in regulation in ten games.

Lots of things to get to in this one.

Tristan Jarry opposed Anthony Stolarz

Lines were…

Scott Wilson – Kael Mouillierat – Conor Sheary
Ty Loney – Carter Rowney – J-S Dea
Josh Archibald – Oskar Sundqvist – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – Matia Marcantuoni – John McCarron

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

Tristan Jarry – Brian Foster

Lineup Notes: John McCarron was in for Dominik Uher who was out with injury. J-S Dea is now the only Penguins player to appear in every game this season. Defenseman Ryan Parent skated the extra man in warmups. Josh Archibald replaced Uher on the third line and McCarron took Archibald’s spot on the fourth.

Before the game John Slaney became the fourth member of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins Hall of Fame Class. He was inducted into the Class by original members Kevin Blaum and Dennis Bonvie:

First Period: Penguins jump ahead on a Will O’Neill power play goal with Tom Kostopoulos screening in front of Stolarz that made it 1-0 Penguins. Pens think they score again but have the goal taken away by referee Olivier Gouin as he either new the whistle or had the intent to while Kostopoulos was whacking away on Stolarz as the puck squirted through. A back and forth period saw the Pens ahead 1-0 with the shots being 12-11 Phantoms.

Second Period: Phantoms cashed on a carryover power play on fresh ice that tied the game. Taylor Leier got the last deflection on an Andrew MacDonald blast from the point that made it 1-1.

Then, after a Lehigh Valley power play had just expired, Colin McDonald scored to make it 2-1. What happened here was Tristan Jarry made a diving, poking save on an Andrew MacDonald attempt that got him out of position. With McDonald right in front with time and space, Jarry had no chance. It was a goal I’m sure he would want back, but the Penguins needed to dig out of a 2-1 hole.

Things didn’t get any easier as Chris Conner stole a puck at center ice, put a deke on a Penguins defender and scored an NHL caliber roof job on Jarry that made it 3-1.

That was your turning point.

It was your turning point because the Penguins would get on tilt (a poker term for playing on the edge after being dealt a bad hand) and it would see J-S Dea tangled up with a Phantoms player, Dea giving words to the Phantoms bench coming off, slowly, while play was going on in his end. Linesman Bill Lyons sees all of this and correctly whistles the idling Dea for too many men.

Now every whistle and stoppage was escalated. Reid McNeill and Maxim Lamarche engaged in a fight that McNeill easily won via uppercut. Anything to spark an all of a sudden lifeless Penguins team. It worked. Scott Wilson cashed on a big rebound left by Stolarz on the power play and it was a one goal game again.

Then the play and sequence which will get talked about at the water cooler Monday.

Pavel Padakin scores his first goal of the season while Tristan Jarry has a Phantoms player laying on top of him. With Jarry prone on the ice and the puck in the net, there is no way that referee Gouin is going to allow the goal to stand, right?

Wrong.

After brief consultation with Linesman Lyons and Luke Murray, the goal was allowed to stand. Apparently, Gouin ruled that a Tom Sestito pushed Tyrell Goulbourne on top of Jarry, thus not allowing Jarry to play his position but the goal standing anyway because Sestito pushed Goulbourne into Jarry.

I thought the call sucked. If it was reversed, I would openly say that the Penguins got away with one. I think at the very least there needs to be some moderation of the rules that either takes both players off the ice like you see with hooking and diving plays or just a penalty to the player that puts the opposing player on the goaltender thereby not allowing the goaltender to play his position.

I was mad on Twitter about it, but I have seen it happen before where goals like that are allowed to stand. It’s a terrible sequence to be on if you are the team that is getting scored on.

Anyway.

Third Period: Scott Wilson brought the Penguins to within one when he received a pass from Conor Sheary that hit his skate and kicked to his stick and in the net.

With time dwindling, the Penguins never found the equalizer. Josh Archibald had all the time and space in the world but fired wide late. With Tristan Jarry vacated Colin McDonald hit an empty net at center ice that salted the game away.

Three Stars: 3) Chris Conner (goal, assist, +2) 2) Scott Wilson (two goals, -2) 1) Andrew MacDonald (three assists, +2)

Two point nights for Wilson, Sheary (two assists) Kael Mouillierat (two assists) and Will O’Neill (goal, assist)

Around the Division: Bridgeport beats Albany 4-1. The Sound Tigers have now won four in a row…Hartford beats St. John’s 4-1…Hershey beats Syracuse 5-1 and Springfield beats Portland 6-2. Providence was off.

Worth noting that with the win tonight the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have now won five games in a row.

Standings: Penguins (.682 percentage points) — Hershey (.620) — Portland (.616) — Providence (.557) — Bridgeport (.544) — Hartford (.533) — Lehigh Valley (.511) — Springfield (.443)

Wheeling Update: Elmira beats Wheeling in a shootout 4-3. Paul Cianfrini had two goals.

Pens now are at the All-Star break and will report next Thursday for practice before getting on a bus bound for Springfield, Massachusetts for next Friday’s game against the Springfield Falcons.

As for me, the Week 17 AHL Power Rankings will be up here on the blog Sunday at 3 p.m., the big board chart refresh will be up sometime soon and I am heading to Syracuse for AHL All-Stars as a fan. I’ll have a bunch of stuff on the Twitter side and probably the blog so keep it locked here on the blog this weekend.

Let’s Go Pens!

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