Tonight’s Rapid Recap lede was too good to bury under the regular game story, so I am bringing it back. If you have already read these words, thanks.
Wilkes-Barre put 40 shots at Lehigh Valley Phantoms goaltender Martin Ouellette tonight and he didn’t flinch.
Wilkes-Barre had eight opportunities on the power play and the Lehigh Valley penalty killing unit didn’t flinch.
A 4-0 throttling at the hands of the Phantoms and all of a sudden the Penguins have lost three straight and have allowed an opponent to score a hat trick in two of the last three games. Adam Comrie did the honors tonight with a trio of goals.
Ouellette is a goaltender up from ECHL Reading. He has back to back shutouts after his Phantoms shut out the St. John’s IceCaps 4-0.
The reason the Penguins lost this game? The power play. I said this at the end of the first…
It turned out to be true. The Penguins had three more opportunities on the power play in the second period and couldn’t cash on one then the Phantoms scored on a fluky, lucky shot when Adam Comrie toe dragged around a Penguin defender and put a shot that went bar down and in past Tristan Jarry, starting his eleventh straight game. It was Lehigh Valley’s ninth shot of the contest.
I said this at the end of two…
I had a feeling that the Penguins were cooked. They played the perfect game, outshooting the opposition and dominating the play but trailed by one on a goofy shot that went in. They had one period to play and needed to play carefully, not to push the pace frantically but get the next goal.
For fifty-eight seconds of the third period, it worked.
Tim Brent scored on a rebound of a Chris Conner shot :59 in, and the rout was on.
Adam Krause had a chance shorthanded to make it 2-1, but Adam Comrie scored his second of the game on the power play from the high slot that made it 3-0 Lehigh Valley.
Comrie accomplished his hat trick with the Phantoms up two men in dramatic fashion. His shot broke his stick and still found the back of the net.
That was it. It was a game marred by penalties. The Phantoms scored on two of their eight tries. The Penguins played as the better team for 40+ minutes and could not score on any of their eight tries.
The Penguins have lost three in row and now travel to Hershey for a home and home series beginning Saturday. If the Bears sweep, they win the Atlantic Division title.
Lineup Notes: Ethan Prow made his professional debut on the third defensive pairing. He didn’t look out of place jumping into plays and had a few good opportunities to score. He replaced Reid McNeill….Patrick McGrath was back in for the Penguins and fought Tyrell Goulbourne in the first period….Nic Andersen and Steve Oleksy were a combined -4 tonight. If you count the power play goals as part of the +/- equation, they were -7.
Three Stars: 3) Chris Conner (three assists, +2) 2) Adam Comrie (three goals, +1) and 1) Martin Ouellette (40 save shutout)
Around the Division: The Hershey Bears defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-1. The Bears capitalized on a 5:00 major power play, striking twice…The Springfield Falcons cannot help the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins sew up a playoff spot as they lose 7-3 to the Hartford Wolf Pack….The Portland Pirates are up to third in the Atlantic after beating Providence 3-2 in Rhode Island.
Standings: Hershey (.648 percentage points) — Penguins (.613) — Portland (.599) — Providence (.599) — Bridgeport (.585) — Hartford (.556) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Springfield (.408)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers punch a ticket to the Kelly Cup Playoffs thanks to a late goal by John McCarron and defeat the Reading Royals 4-3. The Royals also clinched berth tonight as well.
I’ll post any video highlights or infographics I see in a morning update.
Win and you are in. Penguins will try to accomplish that tomorrow in Hershey. I am actually making the trip to Chocolatetown tomorrow so if you are a Bears fan that happens to read the blog, stop me and say hi. I’m probably going to be the tallest person you see there.
Let’s Go Pens!