Before you start, no, the reason the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lost today was not because Jake Guentzel got recalled to Pittsburgh today. It wasn’t because Chad Ruhwedel was either. No, not because of Brett Stern coming up from Wheeling or Derrick Pouliot missing the game with an injury.
Here’s the facts. The Syracuse Crunch do not lose at home. Coming into this afternoons game, the Crunch were 13-3-1-2 on home ice. One of those three losses came courtesy of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on Saturday. The Crunch are the number one team in the North Division and while you may want to complain about Pittsburgh taking two players from the farm here in Wilkes-Barre, try walking a mile in the shoes of a Syracuse Crunch fan. Literally everyday for the past month, maybe month and a half, the Crunch have had to deal with a roster transaction. I don’t think Syracuse has dressed the same lineup in back to back games in 20 games.
So in a rematch Monday afternoon with some roster shuffling on both sides and the situation being what it was, the Penguins lost for just the first time in 2017 and see their seven game winning streak comes to an end by a 4-1 score.
Tristan Jarry opposed Adam Wilcox.
Tom Sestito – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Carter Rowney – Danny Kristo
J-S Dea – Teddy Blueger – Patrick McGrath
Brett Stern – Tim Erixon
Stuart Percy – Barry Goers
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow
Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith
Lineup Notes: A ton. As mentioned in the open, Brett Stern was brought up from the Wheeling Nailers on a PTO yesterday. Chad Ruhwedel was recalled to Pittsburgh with the news that Kris Letting is week to week with a lower body injury. Also, Jake Guentzel was recalled to jumpstart their offense having lost three games in a row. Derrick Pouliot was out and is day to day with a lower body injury per the broadcast.
First Period: Penguins carried play the first ten minutes of the period, but Syracuse would strike first on their first shot of the game when Yanni Gourde pounced on a defensive cross up between Barry Goers and Stuart Percy to give the Crunch a 1-0 lead…
Immediately after the goal, Garrett Wilson high sticked Cory Conacher, drew blood, and the Crunch were on a 4:00 power play. The Penguins nearly killed it, Brett Stern broke a stick, Carter Rowney gave him his, the Penguins cleared it, a puck rimming around the cage of Jarry took a funny bounce and Syracuse nearly scored on an open net. Daniel Walcott scored on the tail end of the double minor….
Jarry stopped Walcott’s first attempt but Walcott followed his shot and squeaked it past Jarry to put the Crunch up 2-0.
If this makes any sense, the Penguins were the better team in the period but the scoreboard didn’t agree with them.
First Intermission Highlights: Love that Syracuse offers these…
Second Period: Penguins came out knocking hard on the door to score a goal, but Wilcox wasn’t answering. Then, Syracuse scored to extend their lead to 3-0.
Two issues here. Linesmen called the Penguins for icing setting up the face-off in front of Jarry. I didn’t think it was, the players on the ice didn’t think it was and Clark Donatelli didn’t think it was. That’s the first problem. The second problem was that drop by the linesman. You’ve read recently how I think that the linesmen have been worse than the referees.
Penguins finally go their first power play of the game and Seth had this to say about that when it came and went…
Carter Rowney would score his third game in as many games since returning from injury off this nice rebound of an initial Dominik Simon shot…
Penguins couldn’t score on another power play after the Rowney goal. Adam Wilcox stoned Dominik Simon with the glove in the slot off of a face-off. A big time save by Wilcox to keep it a two goal lead heading into the third.
Second Period Highlights:
Third Period: Penguins would outshoot the Crunch 10-3 in the third period but Adam Wilcox stood on his head in the period and preserved the two goal lead for his side. The Penguins hit a post. Wilkes-Barre had two power play chances, couldn’t score. In fact, going with a 6-on-4 advantage with Jarry pulled, Matthew Peca hit an empty net to make it 4-1 Crunch.
Postgame, as told to Seth Lakso of The Citizens’ Voice Clark Donatelli said that the Lyme Disease that was bothering Lukas Bengtsson is back again and that Derrick Pouliot’s injury is walking a fine line between day to day and week to week. Personally, I wouldn’t expect to see Pouliot Wednesday in Hershey nor Friday in Lehigh Valley. I think they re-assess Thursday maybe at best to determine his status for the weekend which includes a Saturday home game against Hershey.
One other note, Tristan Jarry took the loss and this was his first since December 9 at home against the Hershey Bears.
Three Stars: 3) Mathieu Brodeur (assist, +1) 2) Adam Wilcox (31 saves on 32 shots) 1) Daniel Walcott (goal, assist, +1)
Around the Division: One other game this afternoon on Martin Luther King Day, the best third period team in the AHL in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were down 3-1 in Springfield, rattle off three straight goals in the games final 3:57 and beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-3.
Standings: Penguins (.756 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.703) — Providence (.654) — Hershey (.618) — Bridgeport (.556) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.410)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off, they visit Norfolk this Friday. More tomorrow in the weekly Wheeling Wrap.
Video highlights in a nice tidy tweet…
In case you missed it, I published the Second Quarter Grades and the Week 14 AHL Power Rankings on Sunday. Check out the links or keep scrolling down.
But for anything breaking, look for the Wheeling Wrap tomorrow at noon then the Gameday setup against Hershey on Wednesday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!