Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Battling Back the Bear — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)

WBS        @       HER

4                                         3

When the Hershey Bears get a multiple goal lead on an opponent at Giant Center, it’s lights out for the opponent.

You can’t stop a Chris Bourque train.

Zach Sill will hit you into next week if you try to take liberties and look like you want to come back.

It’s hard to think when a sellout crowd of 10,000+ is yelling and screaming for their home team en route to another win for the storied Hershey franchise.

Yeah, well none of that fazed the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who, were down for most of this game and down two goals in the third period when the come back happened.

A Garrett Wilson single to center, through the pads of Joe Cannata and in for a 3-2 Bears lead.

Watching the game on AHL Live, on my computer in my cats basement, even I could feel the tension of the Bears faithful. The Bears weren’t going to blow this lead, against this team, were they?

Were they?

Tom Kostopoulos, the captain and living legend of Wilkes-Barre teams past and present, scored on his own rebound with 64 seconds left and poof, the lead was gone.

Penguins possessed for much of the overtime that followed and Carter Rowney swept in a puck using the stick blade as almost and extension of his arm, harmlessly past a sprawled out Cannata who never sealed off the post.

There would be no Chris Bourque train.

No Zach Sill booming hit.

A crowd of 10,355 left the Giant Center with their mouths agape, stunned as to what happened.

A 4-3 Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins overtime win.

Tristan Jarry opposed the aforementioned Joe Cannata.

Skip through the jump  if you didn’t link in direct to see all the videos I cut top for this one.

If you missed the news of the day, it was that Reid McNeill was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Danny Kristo. It’s essentially an AHL player trade. Kristo and his 20+ goal scoring prowess come to Wilkes-Barre. News on all this here.

Lines were…

Garrett Wilson – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Kevin Porter – Jake Guentzel – J-S Dea
Thomas DiPauli – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Sahir Gill – Jarrett Burton – Reid Gardiner

Cameron Gaunce – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Lukas Bengtsson
Barry Goers – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Ryan Haggerty yielded for Reid Gardiner on the fourth line. Barry Goers slotted in for the departed Reid McNeill. Danny Kristo hasn’t made it to town yet, you will probably see him Wednesday when the Penguins re-visit the Bears in Hershey.

First Period: In a word, the Pens were run over in this period. Like last night against Bridgeport, they were outshot by a wide margin, didn’t register their first shot on goal until 6:30 left to play in the first period and unlike last night, trailed after one period on this nice give and go between Travis Boyd and Jacob Vrana:

Hershey outshot the Pens 12-3 in the period and out chanced them by about double that. If not for Tristan Jarry it could have been a wider margin. The three shots on goal tied a season low for the Pens.

Second Period: Immediately out of the gate, head coach Clark Donatelli started shuffling up their lines. It was their money line, the ‘GRK’ line, that evened the game at one a piece:

Pens were not able to get anything going on a two-man advantage for :57. I don’t think that they even registered a shot on goal during the power play.

Bears, riding the wave of momentum from the giant kill of the 5-on-3, scored as Liam O’Brien scored on this back door pass that made it 2-1 for the Bears. Bad turnover by Wilkes-Barre set this goal up:

It wouldn’t be Pens / Bears if not for a fight here and there. Carter Rowney fought Nathan Walker, who is a tough cookie, and won this fight easy…

Wilkes-Barre continued to march to the penalty box, but Oskar Sundqvist was hauled down by Chris Bourque. On the ensuing penalty shot that ensured…

Would have been a back breaking goal for the Bears to render to the Pens, but Sundqvist went wide, trying to pick his spot on Cannata.

Third Period: Determined, the Bears wasted little time in extending the lead to two on a gaol by Christian Thomas. The Penguins didn not win a single board battle leading up to the sequence of the Thomas goal. How often do you see this? You don’t.

Undeterred, the Penguins started their comeback. Garrett Wilson popped in this puck which was in the air past Cannata to make it a one goal game.

But time started to dwindle. The Pens had a great sequence that drew a Bears penalty but the Penguins weren’t able to score on the power play.

Penguins called time out with 1:42 left to play and pulled Jarry. The captain, Tom Kostopoulos, netted the goal which tied if for the Pens.

Pens nearly scored in the dying minutes of the game, but it was off to…

Overtime: Carter Rowney scored. What I want you to watch here is two things. First, Christian Djoos draping Rowney like a cheap suit after Carter’s first attempt. Second, the puck.

First attempt blocked by the pad and goes wide. Second attempt denied by the post and dies. Rowney then, again with Djoos on half of his body, pulls the puck off the net, collects it and sweeps it past Cannata for the game winning goal.

What a comeback.

Sucks it’s a November game and will probably be forgotten come playoff time.

Three Stars: 3) Liam O’Brien (goal, +1) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (game tying goal, assist, +1) and 1) Carter Rowney (overtime game winning goal, +3)

Around the Division: Ding dong, the winning streak is dead. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will not win nine in a row as the stone in their shoe, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are now 3-0 against the Phantoms, beat Lehigh Valley by a score of 5-2. Binghamton beats Hartford by a score of 6-3. Providence takes down Springfield 5-4 in a shootout.

Standings: Penguins (.781 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.700) — Bridgeport (.643) — Hershey (.625) — Springfield (.563) — Providence (.467) — Hartford (.333)

Wheeling Update: Nailers beat the Quad City Mallards in Moline, Illinois by a score of 3-2. Brett Stern had a late go ahead goal that sealed the win for Wheeling. The two teams rematch Sunday at the iWireless Center.

Video highlights from Hershey…

No game tomorrow for the Penguins, and a much needed day off for the Pens who have played a ton of games. Blog wise, the Week 6 AHL power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4 followed by the Wheeling Wrap Tuesday at noon.

Let’s Go Pens!

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