Chirps from Center Ice

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

Bounceback — Pens WIN 7-1

button_lv200      vs.      WBS

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Normally, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins alternate goaltenders on back to back game nights.

They needed to out of necessity in last December with Tristan Jarry on recall for the injured Matt Murray. It was the first time and only time that the Pens did it this season.

Fast forward to tonight, and it was Tristan Jarry leading the team out of the tunnel for warmups. First time all season for him.

Now there is a reason for that. The Penguins stunk Friday night and lost 5-2 to the St. John’s IceCaps. Four of those five goals were credited to Tristan Jarry and he would probably tell you that it wasn’t his best performance.

I don’t have locker room access nor would I want it really, cause I like having free reign over what I do as a fan and a blogger, but one of my first questions for Clark Donatelli tonight would have been why he went back to Tristan Jarry over Casey DeSmith in a game like this.

The answer is a layup. He was looking to bounceback. So were the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins as a whole, really. A 7-1 pasting of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight in Wilkes-Barre.

Here’s the thing about the Phantoms. Are they a good team? Depends on who you ask. If you are asking me, I say they are just good. Remember that I have three tiers of teams in the AHL. Great teams, good teams and bad teams. The League is loaded with bad teams. There are more good teams than great teams and only a few great teams.

The Phantoms have been pasted by the Providence Bruins 9-1 on January 21 and again by the Penguins tonight 7-1. Great teams occasionally lose games 5-2 like the Penguins did to the IceCaps Friday. Great teams don’t get pasted 9-1 then 7-1 a month later. Sorry, you aren’t going to sell me on the Phantoms being anything more than a good team right now.

The way that the Penguins continued to skate and outwork Lehigh Valley up big late with the game iced away really drove that point home I made above. Normally it is the other way around. Play for pride or some other cliche.

Tristan Jarry opposed Anthony Stolarz

Lines were…

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

Derrick Pouliot – Steve Oleksy
Stuart Percy – David Warsofsky
Cameron Gaunce – Barry Goers

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Tom Kostiopoulos played in his 600th game for the Penguins tonight. He is defying Father Time leading the Penguins in points at 38 years of age…Ethan Prow was a scratch in favor of Barry Goers. I didn’t notice Prow much in the second half of Friday’s game against the IceCaps. Ethan’s stock has been going down for a bit so the scratch should help him more than hurt him.

First Period: Kostopoulos scores on a quick 2-on-1 with Kevin Porter that put the Pens on the board early…

Provided Taylor does the GIFs when the Penguins don’t, she will be the go to anymore when it comes to goals and stuff. I don’t have any money to pay her, but if someone is doing work like this on Twitter, I have to pick up on it an include it in the blog recaps. Plus, I asked her directly if I could use her GIFs in the game recaps and she said yeah so it’s a win win for you guys.

Josh Archibald scored his first of two that made it 2-0. Garrett Wilson tried to make a move on a Phantom and was stopped. He collected the puck and found Archibald streaking down the slot for the goal…

During a break, Tom Kostopoulos acknowledged the crowd when the Pens ran a tribute video for 600 games played in their uniform…

With Barry Goers off for a tripping call, Josh Archibald made it 3-0 shorthanded on this goal…

The Penguins continued to frustrate the Phantoms, who took a penalty at the end of the period. The first intermission whistle probably came at the right time for Lehigh Valley, who were on tilt.

Second Period: Anthony Stolarz could only keep his team in the game for so long to start the period before Garret Wilson scored to make it 4-0 on this death defying move….

:59 later, Sahir Gill scored through Stolarz’s five hole to make it 5-0 Penguins.

So 200 pro games for Sahir Gill. Another milestone!

Lehigh Valley would finally get on the board when the Penguins took some penalties when ex-Penguin Chris Conner deflected a Greg Carey shot that made it 5-1 Penguins.

Phantoms still had a power play and instead of trying to get back into the game, TJ Brennan roughing a Penguins player after a routine Tristan Jarry save.

Wilkes-Barre re-established a five goal lead on a goal via a nice feed from J-S Dea.

T.J. Brennan didn’t have a good game. He and Tom Sestito briefly engaged in a tussle, Sestito didn’t want to waste another fight on him. Brennan was giving referee Pierre Lambert an earful after the altercation, Lambert heard enough and gave Brennan a 10 minute misconduct. It was all falling apart for the Phantoms.

Third Period: Game summed up for the Phantoms in one tweet:

Oskar Sundqvist left the game with an injury but is expected to be fine. It looked a lot worse to me than it apparently was as Sundqvist was down for a bit and needed help off.

Tom Kostopoulos with the extra point…

The GIF doesn’t do the play justice. Sahir Gill made a heck of a play with a delicious pass to Kostopoulos.

Penguins would go on to win 7-1 after some more extracurriculars between players. Tom Sestito was assessed an instigator penalty after Sam Morin stapled J-S Dea to the boards and was crushed like a fly on a windshield after answering Sestito’s challenge…

Three Stars: 3) Tristan Jarry (30 saves on 31 shots) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (two goals, +2) 1) Josh Archibald (two goals, assist, +3)

Around the Division: Springfield ends Bridgeport’s eight game winning streak with a 5-2 win in Connecticut tonight…Hershey beats St. John’s 5-2. Those two teams rematch again Sunday…Rochester beats Hartford 4-2…Providence was off.

Standings: Penguins (.755 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.689) — Providence (.652) — Bridgeport (.614) — Hershey (.609) — Springfield (.467) — Hartford (.415)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose in overtime 4-3 to the Reading Royals. Reading struck three times on the power play tonight.

Video highlights….

Power Rankings will be up Monday ta 4. Wheeling Wrap Tuesday at noon. Gameday setup for Wednesday’s rematch against St. John’s at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

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