Chirps from Center Ice

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

Ses-Three-To — Pens WIN 5-3

WBS        @       HER

5                                         3

When Mike O’Brien tweeted out Monday afternoon the lines for the Penguins matinee game against the Syracuse Crunch and noted that Tom Sestito was going to play on the top line, I tweeted this at the time…

The experiment didn’t work as the Penguins lost for the first time in 2017 to Syracuse that day.

Fast forward to Wednesday night and Sestito was back on the top line again and seeing power play time with the first unit.

No, this isn’t a situation where the Penguins are so hard up for forwards due to injuries and recalls that Sestito is forced there. Not at all. (yet)

In case you missed the Second Quarter Grades I ran Sunday afternoon, I had this to say about Tom Sestito…

Tom Sestito – 5-3-8, +2, 14 GP – Sestito is a fighter. The AHL wants to phase out fighting. Guys who fight for a living in this league will be gone in two years. Not Sestito. What does he do in response to the AHL’s crackdown on knuckle throwing? Become one of the biggest offensive threats on the ice. He has a great setup man in Teddy Blueger, and is finishing. If you fight for a living and that’s all you do, you fade away. Sestito is playing like someone who deserves to be in the lineup and will contribute with points instead of penalty minutes. You just hope he keeps it up. Grade: A-

So in keeping with leaving Tom Sestito on the top line again in Hershey, what does he do?

  • Get in a fight :05 off the opening face-off and is thrown out of the game? Nope.
  • Injure Chris Bourque with a cheap boarding penalty, takes on two Bears skaters in retaliation and is assessed 54 penalty minutes? Try again.
  • Punches a referee and goes after a fan? Nah.

Try a goal and two assists, helping the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Hershey Bears on Wednesday night at Giant Center.

The Penguins, for all accounts, were extremely lucky to win this game. Reason? In the third period of a 3-3 game, a period that saw the Penguins start with a 3-1 lead, I tweeted this…

They ended up with three more for a total of 12 in the second and third period. Out of those three came two more goals.

Pens good or Bears bad? I think a combination of both.

I honestly don’t know what any of that means, I looked up articles trying to explain PDO in layman terms and was met with a bunch of jargon on advanced statistics. Considering I have Horace Gooch to thank for sitting next to me in Statistics 302 in college so I could check out his answers in order to maintain a C status through my college years and pass that Statistics course in college, I’m a math illiterate. Numbers of any kind challenge me. All I know is Hershey’s is bad.

Anyway, not to bore you. C’s get degrees, by the way. Proud Coppin State College, now University Class of 2001 Alumnus right here.

Tristan Jarry opposed Joe Cannata.

Lines were…

Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Carter Rowney – Danny Kristo
Sahir Gill – Teddy Blueger – Ryan Haggerty

Brett Stern – Tim Erixon
Stuart Percy – Barry Goers
David Warsofsky – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Warsofsky was re-assigned back to Pittsburgh Tuesday. Cameron Gaunce was recalled to Pittsburgh in the swap. This is smart roster jockeying as Warsofsky is waiver eligible…Kevin Porter was sick. Sahir Gill and Ryan Haggerty were in for the aforementioned Porter and Patrick McGrath. No other changes other than Warsofsky down for the recalled Gaunce.

First Period: The last time these two teams met back on January 8, they combined for a sum total of six goals a piece and there were constant stoppages because goaltenders were fishing pucks out of their nets. Fast forward to the present, it was an extremely first period for both teams, with no whistles for the first 10:41 of play.

Penguins were rewarded the only power play of the period but Hershey killed it easily. Later, Ethan Prow down low in his own corner went to get rid of the puck but put it right on the stick of Nathan Walker in the slot. Walker wasted no time giving the Bears a 1-0 lead. Shots were 13-10 Penguins and but for that Prow gaffe, a really even period by both teams.

Second Period: :29 in, Tom Sestito did this…

Hershey then went on a power play with Oskar Sundqvist off for a slashing penalty and hit the post three times in the first minute on said power play.

Then, with Jarry off the ice for a delayed call on the Bears, Wilkes-Barre scores to take the lead at 2-1….

That’s J-S Dea centering to Sestito who left a drop pass to Teddy Blueger who pounded it home to give the Penguins the lead.

Wilkes-Barre got a little antsy in its own end and was whistled for tripping. On the ensuing penalty kill, Tristan Jarry left his net to play a puck, mishandled it, Bears nearly score on the empty net. They didn’t. Pens got it out. Blueger relentlessly forechecked Aaron Ness into a turnover straight to Josh Archibald who scored to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead….

Bears hit another post on a later power play then later on Tim Erixon hit a post on a Penguin power play. That was five posts hit on the man advantage alone on a power play. In the second period.

If you made the trip down I-81 or watched the game on AHL Live and felt like the entire period was played in front of Tristan Jarry, you were correct. Shots were 12-5 Hershey in a period largely dominated by the Bears. But the Penguins score three times on just five shots and led by two goals heading into the…

Third Period: Paul Carey absolutely works Tim Erixon and goes end to end and scores over the glove of Tristan Jarry to put the Bears back within one. I talk about Dave Warsofsky being snubbed for all-stars. Paul Carey didn’t get named either. Carey at one point this season had a 19 game point streak for the Bears.

Defenseman Darren Dietz was left unmarked and walked right in and scored to tie the game at three a piece right past half way. In a game where it was all Hershey for the last 30 minutes of game action, it was tied.

Carter Rowney scored his fourth goal in as many games when Tom Sestito, fresh off the bench, created space to make a pass to Barry Goers who put the puck on net where Rowney was to score on a rebound to make it a 4-3 Wilkes-Barre lead….

Garrett Wilson added the insurance goal with 36.9 left in regulation on an empty net to salt the game away.

Three Stars: 3) Paul Carey (goal, -1) 2) Tom Sestito (goal, two assists, +2) and 1) Carter Rowney (game winning goal, -1)

Sestito, announced as the second star, did this…

Oh, the content!

Sestito, to the papers, as told to Tom after the game…


Before you start, Louis Robitaille used to incite Wilkes-Barre fans all the time. Braden Holtby did something similar after a shootout win one time in Wilkes-Barre where he fist pumped all the way to center ice. It cuts both ways. You just hope you aren’t on the butt end of it. Someone on the Bears that we all hate in Wilkes-Barre will do something that the Penguins fans don’t appreciate and playfully celebrate it to the chagrin of us all and we all be mad about it and boo, flip the player off and fill up the social media mentions of the Bears, the AHL and scribble on Facebook about how that player should be fined, suspended, drawn and quartered, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Around the Division: They all watched us.

Standings: Penguins (.763 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.703) — Providence (.654) — Hershey (.603) — Bridgeport (.556) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.410)

Lehigh Valley has three games in hand and are about to get really cozy with Wilkes-Barre with 11 head to head meetings starting Friday in Allentown. The Penguins have insurance in the form of a 9 point lead, but the race for the Atlantic is far, far from over.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers and ECHL in whole are on the All-Star Break up in Glens Falls.

Video highlights…

Pens travel to Allentown for a date against the Phantoms Friday at 7. Gameday setup will hit the blog Friday afternoon at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

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