I almost wanted to use the headline, “Evil Twin” tonight because the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Providence Bruins are so evenly matched. But on a night where one twin was so much better than the other, the headline accurately describes what the Bruins did to the Penguins tonight.
A 5-2 loss tonight by the Penguins which ends the seven game losing streak and finally sees a regulation loss go up in the column for Casey DeSmith. Third straight game where an opponent scores at least one power play goal and the second time this season that an opponent scores two power play goals in a game. Also, the first shorthanded goal of the season was allowed by the Penguins who were the last team in the AHL to allow a shorthanded tally.
If you read the second paragraph and though, “boy, sounds like a disaster on special teams,” it was. Sitting here trying to dissect it all, special teams is what cost the Penguins any chance in the game tonight because the two sides were pretty even at even strength.
All is not lost though…
Casey DeSmith opposed Zane McIntyre
Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Jake Guentzel – J-S Dea – Danny Kristo
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Reid Gardiner
Tim Erixon – Stuart Percy
Derrick Pouliot – Lukas Bengtsson
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow
Casey DeSmith – Doug Carr
Lineup Notes: Tom Sestito returned to the Penguins lineup after a two game absence. He had been dealing with migraines.
First Period: Penguins had an early power play which came and went which really would set the tone on how the night would go on special teams for Wilkes-Barre. After the kill, Zac Rinaldo fires a fallaway shot at Casey DeSmith which the Penguins netminder makes the save on, but dropped it in his glove and Justin Hickman in the right place at the right time, pushes it across to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead.
Soon thereafter, Alex Grant hits Jake Guentzel late. Guentzel didn’t like that and slashed the ex-Penguin. Referee Terry Koharski sees this and puts Guentzel in the box. The Bruins score on the power play to double the lead when Colby Cave scored.
Providence was flying. They jumped all over the Penguins off the drop of the puck and had a two goal lead and led in shots 11-5 halfway through.
But the Penguins turned the tables and scored to cut it to one, the closest they would get the remainder of the night, when Oskar Sundqvist left a drop pass of Josh Archibald who scored on a bad angle shot that made it 2-1.
Pens couldn’t connect on another power play late, hit a post in the final minute at even strength, and it was off to the…
Second Period: It took just :19 for Providence to re-establish their two goal lead, when Rob O’Gara wired in a shot to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. In the rush after the goal, O’Gara cross checked Kevin Porter. Remember this for later.
Pens sat back, let the rush come to them, Cameron Gaunce fell down and O’Gara sniped home his second of the season.
If you want to call that the turning point of the game, I wouldn’t blame you.
If you want to call these next couple paragraphs the turning point, I wouldn’t blame you either.
The aforementioned O’Gara took a cross checking penalty he didn’t like and while skating to the box let Koharski know about it. Koharski had enough of his dissenting opinion and added on an unsportsmanlike penalty giving the Penguins a 4:00 double minor.
Then the Penguins had :53 of 5-on-3 power play time when Kevin Porter ate a high stick which cut him.
Not only did Providence kill off the two man disadvantage, when they did, Zac Rinaldo exited the box and was fed a pinpoint pass by Tommy Cross. Rinaldo beat DeSmith to give Providence a 4-1 lead. It was the first shorthanded goal the Penguins allowed this season.
Bad to worse, Peter Cehlarik scored on a cross ice pass from Danton Heinen on a power play made it 5-1 Providence and that was all she wrote at the end of the second.
Third Period: Doug Carr relieved DeSmith in net, the Penguins allow Providence just two shots on goal, Kevin Porter got his pound of flesh on Rob O’Gara with a 5:00 major penalty and game misconduct for a boarding call. I don’t think it’s suspension worthy, but that remains to be seen. Penguins get one back on the power play when Jake Guentzel set up Oskar Sundqvist for a power play goal. Wilkes-Barre kept pushing for the next goal but Providence wasn’t having any of it.
Three Stars: 3) Oskar Sundqvist (goal, assist, even) 2) Zac Rinaldo (goal, assist, +2) and 1) Colby Cave (gola, assist, +1)
Notes: Five goals allowed tie a season high for the Penguins…Zane McIntyre improved to 10-0 on the season for Providence.
Around the Division: Hershey crushes a listless Bridgeport team 6-2. Bears connected twice late in the third on a 5:00 slew-footing major assessed to Bridgeport….Rochester beats Lehigh Valley 4-3 in overtime. The Phantoms scored late to force overtime….Springfield beats Hartford 3-2.
Standings: Penguins (.750 percentage points) –Lehigh Valley (.710) — Hershey (.694) — Providence (.672) — Bridgeport (.567) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.419)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers fell 4-2 in Reading tonight to the Royals. Mike Webster and Derek Army scored goals for Wheeling. Sean Maguire took the loss in net, stopping 24 of 28.
Please note the special start time Saturday in Binghamton. The game begins at 6:05 so therefore the Gameday setup for that game will hit the blog Saturday at 2.
Let’s Go Pens!