My headline tonight was spoiled because had the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins scored seven goals the headline tonight would have been, “Using Seven to Get to Seven.”
But alas, here we are.
A 6-2 pasting of the Hershey Bears tonight as the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins force a Game 7 in a series ticketed for such since the end of Game 2.
If anyone expected anything different, they are crazy.
The only thing that I can’t get a handle on is what happens in Game 7. I have no idea. The series has gone the distance, yet I have no idea what to expect in the final game of the series. The team that has scored first has gone on to win since the beginning of the season. Does that change? No idea. Expect the unexpected.
Casey DeSmith opposed Justin Peters.
Jump through if you didn’t link in direct, lots of eye candy for you in this one.
Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Dominik Simon
Jake Genteel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Mattias Plachta – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Daniel Sprong
Will O’Neill – Steve Oleksy
Ryan Parent – Barry Goers
Tim Erixon – Ethan Prow
Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: Other than the obvious DeSmith for Jarry. Ethan Prow made his playoff debut in for Nic Andersen. Daniel Sprong was dropped all the way to the fourth line after being stymied by Hershey; only being held to one shot on goal in the last two games.
First Period: Pens got the jump on the Bears and never looked back.
Foreshadowing, but it wasn’t that line that got the party started, it was Kael Mouillierat shooting this one in from a low angle to give the Penguins an early 1-0 lead….
Barry Goers took a hard shot on a puck that bounced off of a wall that Tom Kostopoulous got a stick on and it was 2-0 Pens…
But Hershey doesn’t get worked like this. You know they would respond. They did, sort of, getting a power play right after the Kostopoulos goal but the Penguins killed it. It helped that the Bears looked totally lost on the man advantage, running into each other. Seconds later after the kill…
Pens weren’t done. Jake Guentzel got the step on Tyler Lewington and was tripped, giving the Penguins a power play.
It wasn’t a hockey game at this point. It was a god damn blitzkreig.
In intermission they played this.
Second Period: Dan Ellis came out for the second period to man the Hershey nets, chasing Justin Peters.
It mattered little.
But for a slam dunk by Tyler Lewington pinching low to break up the DeSmith shutout, it didn’t faze the Penguins at all.
Here’s the Lewington goal….
Jake Guentzel scored on the doorstep to re-establish the Penguins four goal lead and squelch any germinating thoughts of a Hershey comeback.
The goal was predicated by two big time stops by Casey DeSmith that kept it a three goal game at the time. DeSmith wasn’t tested much to this point, but was dialed in.
Third Period: Gravy. 6-1 Penguins on this shot by Carter Rowney.
Dilly ding, dilly dong.
Turns out that it wasn’t a matter of if the Penguins were going to win the game, it was by how much.
Shots at one point were 11-2 Penguins in the period. Though some power plays for the Bears it ended up 11-9 for the Penguins.
Bears got a power play goal late on a Zach Sill deflection of a Chris Bourque shot from the point.
Game ended with some fights. Liam O’Brien and Tom Sestito and Nathan Walker and Will O’Neill. Both doozys.
Three Stars: 3) Jake Guentzel (goal, two assists, +4) 2) Carter Rowney (two goals, assist, +4) and 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, four assists, +4)
The line of Kostopoulos, Rowney and Guentzel had 11 points and was a combined +12.
Wheeling Update: Yes, the Nailers are still playing. The Pittsburgh Penguins organization is the only organization with all three levels (NHL, AHL, ECHL) still playing. However, the Nailers were beaten tonight in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals by the South Carolina Stingrays by a score of 3-0. Game 2 is Saturday night.
So it all comes down to this. Whatever happens, you have to be proud of what the Penguins have accomplished. You want a replicate of what happened tonight. With this series being as evenly matched as it has been, with one team getting a shutout (games one and two) and one team getting a blowout win (Game 3 by the Bears and Game 6 by the Pens tonight) and two close games (the overtime win by the Pens in Game 4 and the Bears win in Game 5) who knows what happens in Game 7. The Pens have yet to win back to back games in the series with the Bears already winning games two and three. Sticking with the even matchup theory, Game 7 goes to the Penguins, right?
Expect the unexpected.
Let’s Go Pens!