Chirps from Center Ice

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

Czech Your Apples — Pens WIN 6-2

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Here’s where I think that the game was decided tonight in favor of the Penguins and sort of shut down the Hartford Wolf Pack’s attempts at giving the Penguins a run.

Second period of a 1-0 Penguins lead Niklas Jensen, fresh off NHL re-assignment, scored to make it a tie game at 1-1. Hartford had been building a crescendo all period to bring it level and finally did.

Ensuing face-off at center ice, :16 later, Wilkes-Barre regains the lead. Lukas Bengtsson puts a shot on starting Hartford goaltender Magnus Hellberg, rebound spills to Kevin Porter who cashes on the rebound and the Penguins are back out in front 2-1 and never look back.

6-2 the final tonight and the Penguins cruise over a bad luck Hartford side. Dominik Simon had four assists. For someone who had been slow to get out of the gate to start the year, Simon has 1-9-10 in his last eight games. He’s shaking off his sophomore slump in a big, big way.

I was out celebrating the ninth anniversary of my 29th birthday tonight, so I only got to watch the third period in front of the computer. So I am going to piecemeal this recap the best I can.

Lines were…

Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Jake Guentzel – J-S Dea – Danny Kristo
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Ryan Haggerty

Derrick Pouliot – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Stuart Percy
Cameron Gaunce – Lukas Bengtsson

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Ryan Haggerty for Reid Gardiner was the only lineup change from Sunday in Bridgeport.

Garrett Wilson scored in the first period off of a Hartford turnover. He followed his shot and roofed his own rebound into the net behind Hellberg.

In the second, Hartford was building towards a goal and got one by way of Niclas Jensen. Tie game. :16 later the Penguins respond…

Kevin Porter on a rebound of a Lukas Bengtsson shot that made it 2-1 Penguins and as I mentioned in the lede, where Wilkes-Barre really sucked the life out of the Wolf Pack.

Wilkes-Barre extends the lead to 3-1 on Cameron Gaunce’s first in a Penguin sweater with :29 seconds to play in the period…

Most excellent feed from Kevin Porter to Gaunce who found a lane and cashed. Dominik Simon won a board battle that set the whole thing up to start.

In the third, the Pens made it 5-1 before Hartford responded to make it 5-2. Tom Sestito then scored on a power play late that brought the score to its final at 6-2.

No really, Tom Sestito scored a goal. On the power play. He also set up this Ryan Haggerty goal to make it 4-1 Penguins…

Sestito played in a milestone AHL game, his 300th, tonight.

If Hartford had any thoughts of coming back in this game, giving the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins three straight power plays wasn’t the best game plan.

Pens didn’t cash on the first one, but they are up 4-1 cruising in a weekday game.

OK, so you’re giving us a second one? We will score on that one. Tom Kostopoulos, ladies and germs…

If you are thinking that the Penguins have been scoring a lot of power plays recently you are not wrong, that’s seven straight games where the Penguins have scored at least one power play after going cold and not scoring a single power play in almost 30 attempts.

Late, Tom Sestito scored with one second left in a power play that turned this one into a laugher. 6-2 Penguins, what a pass by Teddy Blueger here…

Sestito was a fight away from a Gordie Howe with an assist and a goal. When you are getting these types of results from these types of players, you know that no matter what you step in, you know it’s going to turn up gold.

Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (power play goal, +2) 2) Dominik Simon (four assists, +2) and 1) Kevin Porter (goal, assist, +2)

Jake Guentzel registered four shots and was a -1. He did not record a point tonight.

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley sees a 5-1 lead evaporate in 7:40. Bridgeport ties it at 5-5, but Lehigh Valley ultimately wins 8-6. This is the number one reason why you can’t trust the Phantoms. All-Star defense, lets four goals past in 7:40? Calder Cup winning teams don’t allow this. I can’t take this team seriously, sorry. Everyone else in the division was off.

Standings: Penguins (.740 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.700) — Hershey (.700) — Bridgeport (.667) — Providence (.620) — Springfield (.521) — Hartford (.360)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were defeated at home by the Orlando Solar Bears 5-2. Sean Maguire stopped 25 of 30 and was pulled after the fifth Solar Bears goal. Doug Carr stopped all 8 shots he faced. Christian Hilbrich and Cody Wydo scored for the Nailers. Orlando struck twice on the power play.

Video highlights…

Pens are back in action Friday at home against Rochester. But for anything newsworthy Thursday, next blog update comes at 3 p.m. Friday for the Gameday setup against the Americans.

Let’s Go Pens!

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