Chirps from Center Ice

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

Bear Bites Back — Pens LOSE 4-0

WBS        @       HER

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The unreasonable Penguins fan will be mad with this result.

That’s because the unreasonable Penguins fan expects their team to win 85-0 every game.

Don’t be an unreasonable Penguins fan.

Here’s what I wrote in my Gameday setup this afternoon…

Bears cannot be happy with the way Saturday went. Expect a relentless attack from Hershey tonight. Pens can’t be thinking about the turkey dinner yet or they’ll get embarrassed tonight.

Final result was a 4-0 Penguins loss. I wouldn’t call it an embarrassing loss, but whenever you get shutout of a game or lose by multiple goals, it’s not the first topic of conversation.

It’s also unreasonable to expect the Penguins to sweep the Bears all 12 games in this season series. The Bears are a good team and well coached. They were legitimately embarrassed by coughing up a two goal lead in the third period last Saturday against this very Penguins team. To think that this did not stick with Hershey and wasn’t a focus point in practice this week is unreasonable.

I mean if you disagree, this is an open forum and the comment section is always available. If no one comments I assume I am correct in my analysis, but I am not mad at this loss at all.

Now, if the trend continues and the Pens are swept by Bridgeport, themselves a very dangerous team, then the unreasonable fan may be onto something…

Tristan Jarry opposed Vitek Vanecek.

Lines were…

Tom Kostopoulos – Carter Rowney – Danny Kristo
Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Ryan Haggerty
Garrett Wilson – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Thomas DiPauli – Jarrett Burton – Reid Gardiner

Derrick Pouliot – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Lukas Bengtsson
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Derrick Pouliot is down for his conditioning stint, playing his first game for Wilkes-Barre since January 16 at Syracuse. Oskar Sundqvist was a surprise injury scratch. Obie said on radio that he picked up a minor lower body injury in practice Tuesday. It isn’t expected to be long term. With Jake Guentzel currently on recall to Pittsburgh, Danny Kristo took his spot on the first line, making his debut in a Penguins sweater.

First Period: Better start by the Penguins to start in contrast to Saturday. Wilkes-Barre had six shots on the board before the Bears registered their first. Both goalies made saves on breakaways. Vanecek on Josh Archibald and then later Jarry on Ryan Bourque when the Penguins were on a power play.

Second Period: Game was settling into a defensive battle, with just five shots by the teams nineteen minutes into the second period. Then, with 20.5 seconds left, Zach Sill scored his first goal of the season on this shot that broke the 0-0 deadlock…

Bears had started to setup and control the offensive zone time before breaking though on the goal by Sill.

Third Period: Pens weren’t going to win this game tonight after Josh Archibald was stopped for the second time on the breakaway by Vanecek. Hershey comes right back down the other way and scores this goal that made it 2-0 for the Bears…

Referee Evgenii Romasko appeared to be out of position slightly to not be able to initially blow the play dead on the initial stop by Jarry. I guess in hindsight he was in perfect position because he allowed play to continue and Christian Thomas to score the goal. After an officials review, the goal stood.

That goal wasn’t the reason why the Penguins lost this game. Something seemed off here by Wilkes-Barre. They seemed to be chasing the game since around the half way point and the score line showed.

Christian Djoos scored to make it 3-0…

Djoos’ first goal since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Marlies in last years Calder Cup Playoffs.

Pens had a late power play but just were not able to set anything that looked close to a chance up.

After the easy Bears kill, Paul Carey put the cherry on top of the sundae, or to use a more date-appropriate term, the gravy on top of the stuffing…

Three Stars: Vitek Vanecek (24 save shutout) 2) Christian Thomas (goal, even) and 1) Zach Sill (game winning goal, +1)

Observations: Derrick Pouliot had a good game, drawing three tripping penalties. Noticed Danny Kristo a lot in the first half of the game, but not so much in the second half. Shots ended up 24-18 favoring the Penguins.

Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Hartford 4-2. One of their goals was scored in this manner…

Not only is Hartford a bad team (in last place in the Atlantic) but there have ZERO puck luck.

Other finals included a Lehigh Valley 1-0 win in Binghamton in a game that was similar to the Pens / Bears game somewhat in a defensive battle. Rookie Alex Lyon picked up his first AHL shutout with 28 saves….Providence beat Rochester 6-4. The Amerks have lost four in a row.

Standings: Penguins (.735 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.719) — Bridgeport (.688) — Hershey (.647) — Springfield (.563) — Providence (.500) — Hartford (.353)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers are off until Saturday when they host Greenville.

Video highlights…if you want to call them that if you are a Penguins fan…

Pens travel to Bridgeport for the first of a home and home Friday. Gameday setup hits the blog Friday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

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