911 what is your emergency?
Yes, I would like to report a robbery.
What is your location?
Utica, New York
Go ahead sir.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, badly out played and outshot 37-25 against a Utica Comets team that won four in a row coming into this Tuesday night contest defeat the Comets by a score of 4-3. The Penguins dressed the same lineup from Saturday, the same lineup that lost to a Bridgeport Sound Tigers side 3-2, on home ice but still managed a way to steal two points from out of Utica tonight.
If you watched this game, the Penguins capitalized on their offensive opportunities and were up 3-0 at one point in the game but the Utica Comets, dressing a full AHL lineup, were too good and pressured the ECHL heavy Penguins lineup and eventually tie the game 3-3 but a 34 save performance from Matt Murray and Carter Rowney’s overtime heroics again, this time :33 seconds in, give the Penguins the victory.
Ty Loney – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
John McCarron – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath
Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Clark Seymour – Niclas Andersen
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: As stated in the lede there were no changes up front. Only Clark Seymour was in for Ryan Parent on the Penguins blue line.
First Period: Pens started out with attempts by Tom Sestito on the door step of Bachman and two mini breakaways by Josh Archibald and Kael Mouillierat but the Utica netminder denied all comings. Then the Comets turned it up on Murray and the Penguins defenders with lots of offensive zone time and pumping shots at the net of the Penguins goaltender.
But the Penguins fourth line of McGrath / Mccarran and Burton cycled a puck and forced an offensive zone face-off to Bachman’s right. J-S Dea won the face-off back to Reid McNeill who pumped a shot at Bachman. Bachman left a big rebound to Derek Army who scored his first as a Penguin:
Utica came out ablaze again and nearly scored on this nice tic tac toe play but Murray was strong:
Penguins went on the first of two power plays in the period. Josh Archibald hit a post like he so often does, occasionally:
Utica applied for pretty much the entire first period the basketball version of a full court press. The Penguins weren’t able to exit the zone and it led to a few turnovers but Murray was up to task.
Utica took a penalty with under a minute to play and Kael Mouillierat scored to make it 2-0 Penguins:
J-S Dea won that face-off too.
Second Period: Tale of two halves this period.
Derek Army added his second goal of the game when Tom Sestito forechecked Bachman playing a puck out of his crease. The turnover that ensured spilled right to Army who scored his second of the game:
Here is another (better) view of the Army goal.
Comets began the comeback. A turnover by Anton Zlobin caused by Wacey Hamilton saw Chris Higgins wrap around a puck around the net and in for a 3-1 Penguin lead:
The Comets stuck to the game plan and the Penguins never adjusted and Jordan Subban scored to cut the deficit to one:
So again, a tale of two halves for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton
Third Period: Clark Donatelli benched Ty Loney, Anton Zlobin and Patrick McGrath in the third period. Penguins collectively as a team were outshot 10-3 in the period; and Brendan Gaunce eventually tied the game with this sequence:
That was three unanswered goals by the Utica Comets. Pens hung on, killed two Utica penalties and forced…
Overtime: :33 in, Carter Rowney dispossessed Richard Bachman and scored to win the game…
I honestly don’t know if the Penguins were lucky, the Comets just too unlucky digging out of a 0-3 hole (like the Penguins Saturday against Bridgeport) or what. Utica is as a good team that is playoff bound in my opinion. If this lineup is going to be like this for a while, there is no reason to believe otherwise that Donatelli and Associate Coach Jay Leach can’t make necessary adjustments to ensure that when this Penguins team as constructed gets a lead, they keep the lead.
Three Stars: 3) Carter Bancks (two assists, +1) 2) Carter Rowney (game winning overtime goal, even) and 1) Derek Army (two goals, +1)
Around the Division: Providence beat Albany 3-2. Everyone else was off.
Standings: Penguins (.681 points percentage) — Hershey (.643) — Portland (.589) — Providence (.574) — Bridgeport (.564) — Hartford (.532) — Lehigh Valley (.490) — Springfield (.457)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.
Pens are back on the road again Friday against Hartford. If there is news to blog about between now and then, I’ll have it here. If not then the next update will be the 3 o’clock Friday Gameday setup against the Wolf Pack.
Let’s Go Pens!
* – if you didn’t get the reference