Chirps from Center Ice

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

Out Mathesoned — Pens LOSE 2-1 (OT)

POR            vs.          WBS

 2                                                1

Hey, if you don’t like the headline, you try coming up with puns related to what happens during a game for an entire AHL season and get back to me.

Anyway, the story of this game, a 2-1 Penguins loss in overtime to the Portland Pirates can be divided into a few parts.

– The Penguins inability to score on an early 5:00 match major as a result of a Sena Acolatse / Patrick McGrath fight early in the first period. The Penguins were never able to find momentum to build on the long power play, took a holding penalty which allowed for four-on-four, Portland killed it and it propelled them onwards.

– A relentless barrage by the Portland Pirates after that which led into the second period. The Penguins were held without a shot until the 12:31 mark of the period.

– With no goals becoming apparent and the Pirates dominating offensive zone time, Tristan Jarry was becoming the story. He had stopped 25 shots through two periods but can’t play defense nor offense, so he was left sort of on an island by his team as the only thing keeping them in the game. I normally ask around to other fans at the game what they think of the nights action and one guy I respect a ton told me that the Penguins were simply hanging on. It felt like it.

Jarry was beat by a Rob Flick shot in the third period when Flick pounced on a Penguins clearing attempt and put his team ahead 1-0. Penguins respond with Dominik Simon, back from injury, scoring on a low tight corner on Pirates goaltender Sam Brittain to make it a 1-1 game.

Jarry remained on point, gloving a Corban Knight shot while Knight was left all alone in the slot as the Penguins defenders were chasing.

Another turning point if you will would be a Carter Rowney penalty shot as he was tugged down by Mike Matheson with 59.5 to play in the third period. Rowney skated in slowly, lost control of the puck briefly for a second and tried a weak backhander that Brittain tracked all the way.

In overtime, the near goat in Matheson was minted a hero as he would break in from center ice unabated as the teams were three-on-three and scored at 1:29 to give the Pirates the win.

So you have the inability to score on the power play in the first, the inability to score at all when your goaltender is stopping everything then the inability to score on a penalty shot in a big moment that ultimately cost you two points in the standings.

Oh, on the incident that led to Acolatse’s dismissal, McGrath was cut by Acolatse who had tape on his hands and cut McGrath in the fight. Rule 46.15 of the AHL Rulebook does not allow for that. Acolatse is suspended pending review of that incident, but it should only be a game.

If you want to see that fight in it’s entirety, here it is, courtesy of me:

The lines were as follows:

Dominik Simon – Kael Mouillierat – Derek Army
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
John McCarron – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Ryan Parent – Niclas Andersen
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill

Tristan Jarry – Matt Murray

Lineup Notes: Dea, Simon, McGrath and Parent replaced Sahir Gill, Tyler Biggs, Ty Loney and Harrison Ruopp respectively.

Three Stars: 3) Sam Brittain (23 saves on 24 shots) 2) Tristan Jarry (34 saves on 36 shots) and 1) Mike Matheson (overtime game winning goal, +1)

Around the Division: Hershey wins a shootout against Springfield in Massachusetts by a score of 4-3…Bridgeport has won eight in a row, beating Hartford 7-3…Utica beats Lehigh Valley 5-2. Providence was off.

Standings: Penguins (.684 percentage points) — Hershey (.635) — Portland (.606) — Providence (.583) — Bridgeport (.582) — Hartford (.510) — Lehigh Valley (.480) — Springfield (.457)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off. Their next game is Sunday against the Manchester Monarchs.

Here is the post game infographic from Coal Street…

And the video highlight package:

Pens and Pirates rematch tomorrow at 4:05 in Wilkes-Barre. Gameday setup will hit the blog Sunday at noon.

Let’s Go Pens!

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