For the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, this was about as complete a game you will find.
Yes, I realize it is the first game, but these points matter as much in October as they do in January when you are slogging with half of your offense either hurt or on recall and defenders coming in on PTO’s and a bus load of Wheeling guys playing on a Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre.
Penguins win this one 6-2. All of the players you come to expect to have big games did. Jake Guentzel had a four point night (1-3-4) but Oskar Sundqvist stole the show. Easily the best player on the ice by far tonight, Sundqvist was making all the plays you would expect of someone that spent the late part of last season in the NHL and in playoffs.
It was what appeared to be a knee on knee hit by Tanner Glass that took Sundqvist out of the game in the second period. He returned for the start of the third but went back to the room and was not seen the rest of the night when the game was already well decided for the Penguins. Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli on Sundqvist’s status…
Penguins are back in action next Friday when they host the Springfield
Tristan Jarry opposed Mackenzie Skapski.
Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – J-S Dea
Scott Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Patrick McGrath – Sahir Gill – Ryan Haggerty
Cameron Gaunce – Chad Ruhwedel
Stuart Percy – Steve Oleksy
David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon
Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith
First Period: Relentless pressure to open by the Penguins. Josh Archibald scored the first goal of the season for the Penguins with a nifty backhand after he snuck past the Hartford defenders who were out of whack the whole night by their own right.
There were a lot of unsung heroes in this game and Tristan Jarry was one of them. He won’t garner much attention because of the offensive explosion put on by the Penguins tonight but his saves kept his team in the game when they needed him to. Example: After the Penguins scored, Hartford broke in on a 3-on-1 and Jarry closed the door on them and made the save. What could have been a back and forth offensive affair just wasn’t because of the key saves made by Jarry throughout the night.
Penguins were skating the Wolf Pack in circles. It was really refreshing and fun to see.
Jarry was needed again when he stopped a Marek Hrivik breakaway after a giveaway by Dominik Simon.
Later, after a successful Penguins penalty kill, Nicolas Jensen put home an excellent turnaround shot that beat Jarry that tied the game at one.
The period ended tied, but don’t let the scoreline fool you, the Penguins dominated the period but were beat by a great shot by Jensen that made it look closer than it appeared heading into the…
Second Period: Pens stepped on the gas and accelerated away from the Wolf Pack and put the game away.
Carter Rowney on the power play. Perfect screen by Ryan Haggerty and great shot by Carter putting the puck where the goalie can’t see it. 2-1 Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.
Oskar Sundqvist with an excellent power move that made it 3-1. Stuart Percy spinned off of a Hartford defender, fed Sundqvist who went straight to the crease and backhanded one in past Skapski for a 3-1 lead. Sundqvist went to the dirty area and cashed.
Sundqvist would later leave the game after a nasty collision with Tanner Glass. Here is slow motion video I took of the hit on Sundqvist by Glass off of AHL Live Sunday morning…
Knee on knee? No penalty was called on the play. Will the Penguins send tape to the League for discipline? Remains to be seen.
Anyway, immediately after that series of events, watch Jake Guentzel score this goal.
I mean, seriously?
Pens could have responded with another fight, hung their heads or started making errors. Guentzel literally takes the puck off of the face off, skates in, its tripped, shoots in mid-air and while tumbling to the ice and scores to make it 4-1 Penguins and essentially ices the game away right there.
Third Period: Oskar Sundqvist returned to the game and played a bit in the third period before being taken off the ice when the game was already decided.
Period started with another big save by Jarry. He makes the initial save, leaves a rebound and gets over in time to deny the Wolf Pack a goal.
J-S Dea would find the back of the net on a defection of a Tim Erixon shot that made it 5-1 Penguins.
Patrick McGrath fought Tanner Glass for the hit earlier on Sundqvist:
That was McGrath’s second fight of the game and in today’s AHL that gets you ejected. McGrath has 8 more fights now before he is suspended.
I don’t like this rule. It totally allows for stuff like what happened to Sundqvist to go unanswered. You want to make the game safer? Call a penalty on Glass for the hit on Sundqvist (there wasn’t) and get Glass out of the game as soon as the hit happens. Fine and suspend for dangerous play. But no, police the game the wrong way by telling Patrick McGrath that he can no longer defend the valor of his teammates because he has fought twice in the game.
And if you are going to tell me that McGrath has no place in the game, I will tell you that Patrick himself had a hell of a showing for himself. He forechecked, caused turnovers and was generally raising (legal) hell out there tonight.
McGrath on his night and whether he knows about the 10 fight rule…
David Warsofsky scored on a power play that made it 6-1 Penguins. Wilkes-Barre was perfect on the penalty kill tonight (6/6) and perfect on the power play (2/2)
Tristan Jarry let in a late one on a lucky sequence featuring Matt Carey. Carey had a breakaway, Jarry made the initial stop. The puck hit the post back to Carey who banked the puck off of Jarry and in to make it a 6-2 game.
Three Stars: 3) Oskar Sundqvist (goal, assist, +2) 2) Carter Rowney (goal, assist, even) and 1) Jake Guentzel (goal, three assists, +3)
Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Providence 2-1 in their home opener. The P-Bruins are a surprising 0-2 to start the season…Binghamton shuts out Hershey 3-0 in their home opener. The Bears are an even more surprising 0-2….Lehigh Valley beats Springfield 4-2 in game that featured 15 power plays.
Standings: Pens / Wolf Pack and Phantoms will all lead the division with two points a piece. Everyone else is sitting on a big zero.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost in their home opener 3-2 in overtime to the Brampton Beast. I will link the box once the ECHL gremlins work their way out.
Pens are in action next Friday. I will have the Week 1 AHL Power Rankings on the blog Monday at 4, a new feature called the “Wheeling Wrap” on Tuesday at noon and any newsworthy bits on the blog during the week.
Let’s Go Pens!