This was a game that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins had to have. Plain and simple.
The Penguins came into Springfield owning the Falcons, beating them eight straight times before. You looked at the schedule of games this weekend on Wednesday afternoon after getting crushed by Hershey the night before and put all of your money on this game tonight as one that the Penguins would easily win.
Well, I have some bad news for you. The Penguins lost tonight by a score of 5-2. Springfield captain Craig Cunningham had a natural hat trick and Phil Lane added two more goals.
I have determined that the problem is one part coaching and one part player attitude. There is no one on a consistent basis that stands out for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins anymore on a nightly basis. It used to be Conor Sheary, Scott Wilson and Bryan Rust but those players are in Pittsburgh now. In Wheeling, a team that is pillaged by recalls equally as bad as the Penguins, they battle. They continue to win. Those players want it. There has not been a single player in the past few weeks that has stood out to me as a player in danger of a recall. Not one. Carter Rowney, Tom Kostopoulos and Sahir Gill are all AHL contracted players. They call can’t carry the load night in and night out. You have guys like Josh Archibald and J-S Dea that are just “bodies” and not players or difference makers. You have excellent goaltending in Tristan Jarry that’s wasted because players coast. I am going to start calling it the, “Wilkes-Barre Mentality” of just put the uniform on and expect that the other team is going to lay down before you and hand you the win.
It doesn’t work like that, sadly. Everyone wants the big time. No one wants to work for it.
Anyway, gamer with video highlights is after the jump. Caveat Emptor.
Before the game, there was some business affecting the Penguins. Steve Oleksy was recalled to Pittsburgh earlier this morning. Later, Matt Murray was recalled and after that shoe dropped, the Penguins recalled Brian Foster from the Wheeling Nailers.
Tristan Jarry vs. Marek Langenhammer
Derek Army – Kael Mouillierat – Dominik Simon
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Josh Archibald – Oskar Sundqvist – J-S Dea
Tom Sestito – Matia Marcantuoni – Ty Loney
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
David Warsofsky – Clark Seymour
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Tristan Jarry – Brian Foster
Lineup Changes: With Steve Oleksy recalled, Clark Seymour slotted in. McNeill was paired with Niclas Andersen and Dave Warsofsky was paired with Seymour. No other changes up front for the Penguins.
First Period: Slow few minutes to start, then there was green flag hockey, similar to last night, with both teams getting lots and lots of chances. Kostopoulos’ line had a three on one then Greg Carey for Springfield had a jump on Warsofsky as chances that came to mind. Then, the teams put on a power play exhibition…
Tom Kostopoulos redirect in front for a 1-0 Penguins lead…
Then Springfield struck twice in the span of :40 on power plays. Ty Loney was sent to the box for high sticking and Falcons captain Craig Cunningham scored to tie it. Off the ensuing face-off, Brendan Shinnimin was all alone in front of Jarry, made a move to his left and was tripped by Tim Erixon resulting in another Springfield power play. Cunningham scored agin off a nifty deflection.
Here are both goals…
Second Period: Pens had two kicks at the power play can but couldn’t capitalize. Then J-S Dea was lazy on the power play and held Laurent Dauphin. Referee Mark Lemelin called the easy penalty then Dominik Simon skated by and said something to Lemelin and was sent off also for an unsportsmanlike penalty.
The Falcons were back on a power play and yep, you guessed it…
Craig Cunningham completed his hat trick.
The Falcons to this point were three for four on the power play.
Seth had this tweet which expanded on the Wilkes-Barre penalty killing woes:
Third Period: J-S Dea redeemed himself somewhat by scoring his first goal in forever and the Pens were within one:
Penguins couldn’t score on a power play right after. Carter Rowney had a good chance in front. Dea nearly had his second, but Langhammer smothered the puck in his equipment.
Phil Lane scored his first of two in the period off of this turnover by Oskar Sundqvist:
Unfortunate, because Sundqvist created the turnover that led to the Dea goal.
Langhammer with larceny on Dominik Simon:
Finally, with Jarry vacated, Phil Lane gained the red line and flipped a puck in from center ice that made it 5-2.
No video on that one, sorry. Use your imagination.
Three Stars: 3) Phil Lane (two goals, +2) 2) Dustin Jeffrey (two assists, even) 1) Craig Cunningham (natural hat trick, even)
Around the Division: Bridgeport beats Providence 3-1…Utica beats Lehigh Valley 2-1. Hershey, Portland and Hartford were off.
Standings: Penguins (.645 percentage points) — Hershey (.645) — Portland (.594) — Providence (.574) — Bridgeport (.573) — Hartford (.527) — Lehigh Valley (.491) — Springfield (.454)
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose at home to the Elmira Jackals 7-4. Matthew Maione had two assists, Riley Brace had a goal and an assist.
Here is the post game infographic from Coal Street:
Pens back at it Sunday at three against Providence. Gameday set up for that will hit the blog Sunday morning at 11.
Let’s Go Pens!