Chirps from Center Ice

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

They Don’t Pay Overtime… — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

POR            vs.          WBS

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I don’t know about your job, but a salaried guy like me would always tell my straggling co-workers at 5 o’c lock on a workday that they don’t pay us overtime. You could work for two more hours but you wouldn’t get paid for it by the employer.

I don’t know exactly where I am going with this one so let’s get to the point. The Pens lost again to the Portland Pirates in overtime. 3-2 was the final. The Pens had a 2-1 lead with a power play until 18.2 seconds to play in regulation when Kyle Rau snuck one past goaltender Matt Murray to tie it then Dylan Olsen ended it in overtime when Tom Kostopoulos broke a stick.

The optimist tells you that the Penguins took four out of a possible six points out of a weekend and six out of a possible eight with the week with half their regular lineup either injured or in Pittsburgh.

I really don’t know what a pessimist will tell you when given those results. That person probably expects the Penguins to win every game by 20 goals.

The only question I would have if I got to talk with Clark Donatelli after the game is why did the Penguins go into prevent defense with a power play for the remainder of the third. They played not to lose the game and lost the game. After a rabid start to the third period when down 1-0, the Penguins rattled off two goals in the period to take the lead.

Matt Murray vs. Mike McKenna. A battle of all-star goaltenders. McKenna replaced Murray in Syracuse.

Lines were…

Josh Archibald – Kael Mouillierat – Dominik Simon
Sahir Gill – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
John McCarron – Jarrett Burton – Tyler Biggs

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Niclas Andersen – Harrison Ruopp
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill

Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: In were Harrison Ruopp, Tyler Biggs and Sahir Gill for Ryan Parent, Patrick McGrath and Anton Zlobin.

First Period: Penalty filled period with both teams going on the power play three times each. Neither team took advantage. Pirates were the better team even strength. Shots were 12-6 Portland after one. Penguins had most of those shots on the power play but weren’t able to convert.

Second Period: While the Penguins were on the power play, a linesman got crossed up with Will O’Neill and Wade Megan scored a shorthanded goal…

Inadvertent, unfortunate cross up by the official.

Period was pretty even otherwise with the shots a narrow 21-20 for the Pirates. Penguins were matching the Pirates and catching up but had nothing to show for it when you looked at the scoreboard.

Third Period: In the third, the Penguins not only caught up, they raced ahead.

A Tom Kostopoulos power play goal off this nice setup from Sahir Gill…

Penguins continue to pressure. Had a few chances to score but couldn’t crack McKenna until…

A Will O’Neill blast from the point tipped in by Sahir Gill screening at the doorstep of McKenna and the Penguins were ahead 2-1. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins looked angry. They looked hungry. They were mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. They were forcing Mike McKenna into save after save, big time stops by McKenna to keep his team behind by just one.

Then Chase Balisy took a slashing penalty with 1:58 left. Portland Head Coach Scott Allen called a time out to draw something up. It had the look and feel that the Penguins were sitting back and playing prevent rather than trying to attack and force McKenna to stay in net and make saves.

It didn’t work. Wade Megan dug a puck out of the wall behind Murray’s net and found Rau at the doorstepped who tapped it past Murray for a tie game with 18.2 left and it was off to…

Overtime: Penguins had a few chances early on but they either all sailed wide of McKenna or the Pirates netmider stopped them. Then Dylan Olsen wheeled around Tom Kostopoulos who lost his stick in close and stuffed it past Murray to win the game for the Pirates.

The Penguins allowed two shorthanded goals in the game, up to nine on the season, and have been to overtime five times in their last eight games.

Pessimist will tell you that the Pens can’t complete and finish in overtime. Optimist will tell you these are points that the Hershey Bears, who are two games ahead of the Penguins in the games played department, can’t achieve.

Three Stars: 3) Will O’Neill (two assists, even) 2) Sahir Gill (goal, assist, -1) and 1) Dylan Olsen (overtime game winning goal,. +1)

Around the Division: Bridgeport’s eight game winning streak is over, they lose 3-2 to Albany in New York…Hartford beats Rochester 4-2 and Providence beat Springfield 3-2. Lehigh Valley and Hershey were off.

Standings: Penguins (.680 percentage points) — Hershey (.635) — Portland (.615) — Providence (.592) — Bridgeport (.580) — Hartford (.520) — Lehigh Valley (.480) — Springfield (.448)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were in Manchester, New Hampshire for the very first time and lost to the Monarchs by a score of 6-2.

Here is the infographic from Coal Street…

And the video highlights…

I’ll have my chart refreshed later on tonight and tweet the link Tuesday at noon. You ca always check out the chart by clicking on the, “Charts!” link at the top of the page.

My Week 19 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

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