Late in the second period of this game and with the Penguins cruising 4-0, I had the thought of a tank that was running out of control downhill. That was the story of this game, a 5-0 Penguins win against the Binghamton Senators.
The Senators had come into the game winning four games in a row and were looking to slow the momentum of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who had just finished a weekend sweep of their bitter rivals in Hershey.
A sleepy Wednesday night game against an opponent well out of the playoff discussion. The definition of a trap game, if there ever was one.
But not tonight. The Penguins got on the board early, dominated the visitors in large portions the entire game and methodically win the hockey game to remain in first place in the Atlantic Division. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot shrinks to 13.
Tristan Jarry opposed Chris Driedger.
Dominik Simon – Dustin Jeffrey – Adam Krause
Mattias Plachta – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Jake Guentzel – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – Jarrett Burton – J-S Dea
Tim Erixon – Steve Oleksy
Will O’Neill – Barry Goers
Niclas Andersen – Harrison Ruopp
Tristan Jarry – Franky Palazzese
Lineup Notes: Nic Andersen was back in the lineup and Reid McNeill was out sick. Jake Guentzel made his professional debut on the third line with old college buddy Josh Archibald and Kael Mouillierat. Patrick McGrath took warmups but was scratched.
First Period: Period zipped by with no penalties and few stoppages. The Pens got on the board quickly as Carter Rowney banged home his 21st goal of the season:
That goal extended Rowney’s career best point streak to eight games. He has 15 points (7G-8A) during the run.
Shots were 12-4 Penguins who controlled the period in large chunks.
Second Period: Despite the good start by the Pens, it was still just a one goal game.
The Penguins took care of that quickly.
Dominik Simon collected this puck from out of the air, let it settle and knocked it in on a Penguin power play:
The Penguins then continued to dominate the offensive zone time. Harrison Ruopp connected with J-S Dea and Dea whipped home this one for a 3-0 Wilkes-Barre lead.
That was Harrison Ruopp’s first ever AHL point.
Kael Mouillierat and Josh Archibald started up ice and Mouillierat fed Archibald who tapped it in for a 4-0 Pens lead.
At this point the tank was rolling downhill, obliterating everything in its path.
In the next shift, Zack Stortini tagged Tim Erixon hard into the boards. Josh Archibald then fought Travis Ewanyk.
Third Period: Simon added his second power play goal of the night putting home a rebound of a shot by Tom Kostopoulos that iced the game away and drowned any Binghamton hopes of a comeback:
Pens killed two consecutive Binghamton power plays quite easily.
Harrison Ruopp, clearly feeling the momentum of picking up his first AHL point, then fought Buddy Robinson. Here is tail end footage of the fight:
Penguins then had a power play and spent the entire time in the offensive zone but could not connect.
Tristan Jarry didn’t see many pucks in the game, so the only question would be would he collect the shutout. He was dialed in and stopped a quick developing chance by Binghamton who was looking to break up the clean sheet by the Penguins rookie netminder.
I thought that Jake Genteel had a fine debut. He has a nose for the puck, can skate, and doesn’t want you to blink or else you will miss his shot. Once he rounds into form and eases into the pro game, he should be fine.
Three Stars: 3) J-S Dea (goal, assist, +1) 2) Dominik Simon (two goals, even) and 1) Tristan Jarry (20 save shutout)
Around the Division: The Hershey Bears took out a weekend of frustration out on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and defiled the Phantoms 8-0….Portland beats Bridgeport 6-3….Providence edges Hartford 3-2 in overtime. Springfield was off.
Standings: Penguins (.638 percentage points) — Hershey (.638) — Providence (.615) — Bridgeport (.591) — Portland (.570) — Hartford (.562) — Lehigh Valley (.462) — Springfield (.422)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost 1-0 in overtime out in Fort Wayne, Indiana to the Komets.
Rematch between these to teams is Friday in Binghamton. Don’t be surprised if Franky Palazzese starts that one to keep Jarry fresh for Providence Saturday at home in a game which has bigger implications.
Let’s Go Pens!