If the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lose out to the Hershey Bears for the Atlantic Division Championship at the end of the year by a few points, it will be this weekend here that they can point back to and say cost them. Or, at the very least, this weekend will have played a big part.
But for one lineup change for both teams, it was the same teams and just a different day. Same goaltenders too, with Tristan Jarry opposing Stephon Williams again. It was the same scoreline as well, a 3-2 win for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Sound Tigers started the weekend in Syracuse Friday and lost 5-2. They came to Wilkes-Barre with a goaltender that gave up five goals the last time he saw the Pens and were stymied by him Saturday. Today, they were lulled to sleep by the Sound Tigers and Justin Florek scores all the goals for Bridgeport and beat a Penguins team that had come into the weekend winners of three of their last four games. A Penguins team decimated by call-ups that was still managing to keep its head above water.
Not so fun fact: The first ever hat trick scored by a Bridgeport Sound Tiger against the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
So a crushing weekend for a Wilkes-Barre team pursuing first place being pursued by a Providence team on a tear for second or higher. It will be interesting to see how Clark Donatelli prepares his team for a huge weekend against the Hershey Bears in a weekend home and home next weekend.
I have a lot of videos here in this recap, so hit the jump if you didn’t link in direct…
Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Josh Archibald
Mattias Plachta – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Adam Krause
Jarrett Burton – Oskar Sundqvist – Patrick McGrath
Tim Erixon – Steve Oleksy
Barry Goers – Will O’Neill
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
Tristan Jarry – Franky Palazzese
Lineup Notes: One change for the Penguins. Tom Sestito in for Ty Loney. Barry Goers played in back to back games.
First Period: Penguins played like the better team for the period but kept giving penalties to the Sound Tigers. Bridgeport is ranked 29th in the AHL on the power play. The Sound Tigers would score even strength late when Matt Finn shot a puck from the blue line at Jarry. The rebound spilled to Justin Florek and went in…
The initially awarded the goal to Ben Holmstrom but quickly changed it back to Florek.
The Pens were playing like the better team but the penalties were holding them back. That Florek goal was scored even strength, by the way.
News in the period is that defenseman Niclas Andersen left the game with injury. I did not see how on the AHL Live feed.
Second Period: Andersen was on the bench but did not take a shift, then was not seen on the bench at all in the third period.
The second period was all about posts that the Penguins hit. J-S Dea hit one here on a shot that beat Williams but didn’t cross the line…
The Penguins were buzzing throughout the period and finally broke through when Carter Rowney scored here to tie the game at one…
Kostopoulos gained the zone, found O’Neill streaking then hit Rowney coming down the middle.
It was Rowney’s 10th point (6-4-10) in his last five games. He should be a serious contender for AHL Player of the Week.
Kael Mouillierat hit a post, the Penguins second of the period, then Mattias Plachta made it a trio when he hit one. The Penguins were close.
Tristan Jarry made a nice pad save here with interference in front…
Third Period: Tim Erixon unleashed a bullet from the point that made it 2-1 Pens. Assists on this one went Patrick McGrath and Adam Krause, both picking up their first career AHL point on the play.
Justin Florek scored his second of the contest when he hit a post of his own, the puck then bouncing off of Jarry and in to tie the game at two.
Then the Penguins just stopped skating and either became wholly disinterested in pursuing the next goal or Bridgeport was good in containing the Penguins in their own zone. Shots were 7-2 Penguins at one point, then suddenly became 8-7 Sound Tigers. You knew what was coming…
Justin Florek completes his hat trick. He came into the game with three goals and doubles his season goal scoring in one game.
The Penguins, with a time out and Jarry pulled, never found the equalizer.
Three Stars: 3) Stephon Williams (23 saves on 25 shots) 2) Ben Holmstrom (three assists, +2) and 1) Justin Florek (three goals, +2)
Around the Division: The Hershey Bears win in St. John’s today by a score of 3-2. Old buddy Zach Sill scored with 1:55 left in the third period to ice the game away for Hershey….The Utica Comets go into Providence and do something that no other team has been able to do since November 22, which was the first time that the P-Bruins lost at home. The Comets won 5-3. They were 18-0-3-2 during the run….Springfield beats Syracuse 4-2….Hartford beat Portland 4-3.
Standings: Hershey (.645 percentage points) — Penguins (.621) — Providence (.590) — Bridgeport (.581) — Portland (.558) — Hartford (.541) — Lehigh Valley (.484) — Springfield (.442)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers win at home against the Norfolk Admirals by a score of 3-1. The Nailers are on a run of 5-0-0-1 and are tied with Elmira for seventh in the Eastern Conference.
If the Pens put out an infographic or if the Sound Tigers put out video highlights, I will run them here.
My stat chart will update by the end of the night and then the Week 23 AHL Power Rankings will be out Monday at 4.
Let’s Go Pens!