Chirps from Center Ice

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

Case(y) DeSmith-ed – Pens WIN 4-1

RCH          vs.          WBS

1                                                  4

Methodical win by the Penguins tonight, who defeat the Rochester Americans 4-1 tonight.

I asked my pal John on the concourse tonight during the first intermission of a 1-0 Penguins lead at the time and he offered that the Americans were running with the Penguins step for step. There were 25 shots total in the period (13-12 Penguins) and Wilkes-Barre led 1-0 off of a guffaw turnover by Rochester right to the wrong man in Jake Guenztel who buried it past starting Americans goaltender John Muse to give the Penguins a lead they would never relinquish.

Wilkes-Barre would avalanche the visitors in the second period and led 3-0 and were outshooting the Americans 13-3 at one point.

A good team crushed a bad team tonight. Wilkes-Barre never let off the gas pedal tonight in a game when you looked at the records and statistics coming in you had that shadow of a doubt that they could have. Starting goaltender Casey DeSmith lost his shutout with 1:22 left to play. DeSmith improved to 7-0-2 and Wilkes-Barre won their fourth straight game.

About DeSmith, and this headline (compliments of Kaitlyn from Twitter) – DeSmith didn’t face a ton of shots tonight, but when he did they came in a flurry and shut down Rochester. DeSmith has not allowed opponents to one goal in five of his last nine starts.

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

Stuart Percy – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Lukas Bengtsson
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Derrick Pouliot was recalled to Pittsburgh on Thursday with the injury to Kris Letang. Only lineup change that affected Wilkes-Barre was Ethan Prow taking Pouliot’s spot.

First Period: Penguins started strong. Garrett Wilson rung a post. Pens were really knocking on the door. Shorthanded, Ryan Haggerty was denied twice and Oskar Sundqvist was denied on the followup rebound by John Muse. Rochester then couldn’t score on a small flurry in front of DeSmith in what was going to be a precursor of things to come.

Jake Guentzel stole a Rochester outlet pass and made it 1-0 Penguins…

High octane first period for both teams with the Penguins leading the Americans in shots 13-12 heading into the…

Second Period: David Warsofsky scored through bodies that doubled the Penguins lead…

Josh Archibald scored on a power move that made it 3-0 Wilkes-Barre just past halfway through.

As mentioned in the lede, Wilkes-Barre was leading Rochester 13-3 in the second period and completely smothering the Americans.

Then Rochester all of a sudden found themselves with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:22.

Enter Casey DeSmith.

If you don’t have a Twitter account and are wondering what the attribution is from the Penguins to me is in this tweet, it’s because they initially credited this save to Tristan Jarry.

Another look. Still photo.

If you are looking for a turning point in the game, you found it here with the saves by DeSmith. If Rochester makes it a 3-1 or even 3-2 game in the power play, who knows what the third period brings.

Third Period: Penguins didn’t GIF this one, but Lukas Bengtsson scored his first North American goal with a sweet dangle on John Muse and backhanded it past Muse to give the Penguins a 4-0 lead.

Coal Street highlight package will have it.

You would think that the Penguins, up big on home ice in the third period, would let off.

Nope.

Rochester didn’t get in their own zone for a while. Penguins were still sniffing for their fifth goal.

But it was Norfolk Admirals Legend Kyle Bonis* that would break up Casey DeSmith’s shutout bid with 1:22 left in regulation.

Three Stars: 3) Casey DeSmith (26 saves on 27 shots) 2) Jake Guentzel (goal, assist, +2) and 1) David Warsofsky (goal, assist, +4)

Notes: Third straight game where a Penguin scored his first goal of the year. (Percy, Gaunce, now Bengtsson) … Jake Guentzel had his fourth one goal, one assist performance in five games since returning from assignment from Pittsburgh…David Warsofsky has 11 points (2-9-11) in his last nine games…10 different players scored the last 10 goals for the Penguins. That is depth.

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley beats Hershey 3-2 in a shootout. There aren’t shootouts in playoffs, just saying….Providence does nothing until 4:38 left in their game with Bridgeport. Down 2-0, the Bruins explode for three unanswered goals and run their point streak to 13 games with a 3-2 win. Frank Vatrano (down on I hope is a conditioning stint) scored a goal, which is 37 straight games where Vatrano has scored a goal. Thirty. Seven. Straight. Games. If he sticks around, the Pennsylvania teams are in trouble….Springfield beats Binghamton 3-1 and Hartford picks up a 2-1 shootout win over the Syracuse Crunch.

Standings: Penguins (.750 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.712) — Hershey (.692) — Providence (.635) — Bridgeport (.615) — Springfield (.540) — Hartford (.385)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers storm back from down 4-0 to stun Fort Wayne 6-5. Adam Krause netted a hat trick.

Video highlights…

Gameday setup for tomorrow’s game vs. Springfield will be up on the blog Saturday at 3.

* – source

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