They will be talking about this one for a while. In the history of Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins comebacks, this one will rank right up there.
After two periods, the Penguins were down 5-2. Brian Foster started the game and stopped just 15 of 20 shots. The Penguins just signed goaltender Franky Palazzese to a PTO in the morning and things were looking bleak. It wasn’t looking like the Penguins night.
But Wilkes-Barre mounted an epic comeback. Two early goals in a span of :44 in the third period that cut it to one then J-S Dea scored with 4.1 seconds left that forced overtime. Carter Rowney scored the overtime game winner.
I am working on my fourth paragraph and haven’t even mentioned his name yet. Tom Kostopoulos had not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE assists in the game. It is his second three assist game or more in a row for the Penguins captain.
The Penguins won 6-5 in overtime.
Early in the day today it was announced that Carter Rowney was signed to a two year NHL contract by the Pittsburgh Penguins that begins in the 2016-17 season. Certainly well deserved contract for Rowney who has been the most consistent player on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins amidst countless call-ups to Pittsburgh.
Brian Foster opposed Anthony Stolarz.
Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Dominik Simon
Matthias Plachta – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Ty Loney – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Derek Army – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath
Ryan Parent – Steve Oleksy
Will O’Neill – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Tim Erixon
Brian Foster – Franky Palazzese
Lineup Notes: Nic Andersen is ill and he must have passed it onto Jarry as that was the official word given as to why Jarry missed the game. Harrison Ruopp and Anton Zlobin were the healthy scratches. Derek Army replaced Tyler Biggs place on the fourth line. Biggs has an upper body injury, apparently from the hit that Garrett Mitchell laid on him Sunday.
First Period: Sleepy start to begin. Many whistles. Finally the Phantoms chipped one behind Foster’s net and won the race to the puck when Aaron Palushaj found Kevin Goumas parked in front. Goumas shot the puck over Foster’s shoulder and in for the 1-0 Phantoms lead.
About five minutes later and after a Penguins power play that came and went, Steve Oleksy hammered his second goal of the year home when Stolarz was screened for a tie game at one.
Lehigh Valley edged ahead off of a face off play when Cole Bardreau one timed one past Foster and in far post for a 2-1 Lehigh Valley lead.
The Penguins were getting shots to Stolarz, 11 of them exactly, so the offensive effort was there.
Second Period: Phantoms extended it to 3-1 off a similar play that opened their scoring. Phil DiSimone scored a tap in when Lehigh Valley chipped it in deep. Pens couldn’t make the clear needed.
Phantoms would score on both power plays awarded them in the period. Adam Comrie took a shot from the mid slot that beat Foster that made it 4-1. The Penguins blocked the initial shot but it went straight to Comrie who got all of it.
Foster to this point stopped just 4 of 11 shots.
Pens got one back on a power play goal by Carter Rowney. Will O’Neill took the shot that Rowney deflected.
The Pens were a step quicker than the Phantoms and were buzzing for the third goal. Not for anything but you had the sense that despite the play of their goaltender and the two goal deficit that they were still in the game.
So the last thing they needed to happen, did. Tim Erixon took an interference penalty and that changed the momentum completely for the Penguins.
Danick Martel left his stick on the ice, Max Lamarche made a perfect slap pass to Martel’s tape and the puck deflected top shelf and in. Nothing Foster could have done there. It was an elite deflection goal by Martel.
Third Period: Franky Palazzese took over for Foster to begin the period. It was his AHL debut. Foster stopped 15 of 20 Phantoms shots sent his way.
The comeback was on.
In a span of :44, the Pens made it a one goal game.
Kael Mouillierat swept in a puck left on the paint by Stolarz on a power play.
:44 later, Jarrett Burton lasered this one home for his first AHL goal of his career and it was a one goal game.
The Phantoms were on tilt. The Penguins were winning every single puck battle. But time was beginning to become the enemy of the Penguins. Then with 70 seconds left, Clark Donatelli used his timeout and pulled Palazzese for the extra attacker.
The Penguins actually went with six forwards in a desperate effort to tie the game.
It wasn’t looking like the Penguins were going to get the equalizing goal but then Dustin Jeffrey took a shot that Tom Kostopoulos collected a rebound on, Kostopoulos calmly slid the puck over to J-S Dea and Dea scored with 4.1 seconds left.
(Coal Street didn’t post a GIF of the Dea tally, sorry)
The six forward gamble paid off big.
Overtime: Palazzese had a big save in overtime that led to the Rowney goal that ended it…
Nice shutdown of the Phantoms by the Penguins who allowed Lehigh Valley just three shots on goal in the third and just the one in the overtime period.
How about Franky Palazzese winning in relief in what was his AHL debut stopping just four shots?
Three Stars: 3) Danick Martel (goal, assist, -1) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (five assists, +3) and 1) Carter Rowney (two goals, +3)
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Hershey (.650 percentage points) — Penguins (.642) — Providence (.595) — Portland (.579) — Bridgeport (.576) — Hartford (.517) — Lehigh Valley (.492) — Springfield (.422)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off tonight.
Pens are off Friday before they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for a Saturday and Sunday home and home.
Let’s Go Pens!