Tom Sestito went down Friday night against Hershey with injury. He was playing every bit like a top line player and his absence going forward is a huge hole to fill from a Penguin offensive perspective.
Sahir Gill has been for the most part an often forgotten about player on the Penguins when they had the services of Jake Guentzel and Carter Rowney in town. Most weekends you’d never see him, other weekends you’d forget about him.
So of course this combination of the top line forward in Tom Sestito going down and Sahir Gill filling his spot on the Penguins top line was going to be a home run.
Gill scores two goals tonight and the Penguins roll to a 4-2 win over the Binghamton Senators.
Save the “fire Donatelli” complaints. The man is a genius and has proven, time and again this season, that he knows how to coach at the AHL level. Seth had a tweet postgame that I’d like to add to…
The Pens are the first team in the AHL to a lot of things. 10 wins. 20 wins, 30 wins, 75 points and now 20 wins on home ice. No other team will go higher than 18 home wins in the League tonight.
All because of one man. Clark Donatelli. No matter what you throw at the guy, he and his cadre of available players are going to make it work.
Now Donatelli is not going to be pleased tonight at his teams discipline. Up 4-0 in the second period, Binghamton chips away and makes it a 4-2 game by the end of the second period. The Penguins continue to shoot themselves in the foot and take silly penalties in the third, but Casey DeSmith and the Penguins defense batten down the hatches and hold on to win the game.
DeSmith was opposed by Matt O’Connor.
Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Danny Kristo
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Ryan Haggerty – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath
Derrick Pouliot – Steve Oleksy
David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow
Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: Jarrett Burton was recalled from Wheeling and flew cross country overnight from Boise, Idaho where the Nailers are this weekend and made it in time for the game. Tom Sestito was not listed as an injury scratch and Donatelli told WBS media after the game that he should be fine for Tuesday against Lehigh Valley.
First Period: Pens made it 2-0 before Binghamton even knew what hit them. David Warsofsky’s slap shot from the blue line made it 1-0…
And Sahir Gill’s first of two on the night made it 2-0…
Jarrett Burton, fresh from Idaho, with the primary assist on the Warsofsky goal. That’s Burton’s first ever AHL assist.
Wilkes-Barre was all over the Senators to start, up 4-0 in shots and 2-0 in goals. O’Connor was replaced at the first media timeout by Chris Driedger.
Binghamton thinks that they score on a power play…
…but referees Stephen Thomson and Alex Garon convene and rule no goal. The light never came on nor did the back ref Thomson signal goal.
Wilkes-Barre took two penalties in each period which squelched their momentum built up by their early goals.
Second Period: Much like the first, Wilkes-Barre scores two goals in quick succession. Sahir Gill on the rebound for his second that made it 3-0…
Then Dominik Simon :34 later that made it 4-0….
Binghamton would call timeout to collect themselves and it worked. Normally the time out just delays the inevitable, but this time it worked. They started chipping away and finally solved DeSmith on a knee drop one timer by Casey Bailey just as a power play expired for the visitors which made it 4-1…
Sahir Gill turned the puck over at his own blueline and Kyle Flanagan walked in and scored on a naked 2-on-0 that made it a two goal game…
The best thing that could have happened to the Penguins was the whistle that ended the period because the Senators were firing on all cylinders and the Penguins weren’t able to respond.
Third Period: No one scored. The Penguins are built from the goal out and try as they might, Binghamton was never able to get the third or fourth goals because in large part of the play of Casey DeSmith and the Penguins defense. You need to play a perfect game as an opponent to beat a great team like the Penguins and the Binghamton Senators did play this game perfectly in spurts but were down 4-0 before they knew what hit them.
With an open net and seeking his first AHL goal, local product Patrick McGrath put it off of a Binghamton stick and the puck deflected into the crowd.
Three Stars: 3) Dominik Simon (goal, +1) 2) David Warsofsky (goal, even) 1) Sahir Gill (two goals, +1)
Around the Division: St. John’s beats Lehigh Valley 4-3 in regulation…Hershey beats Hartford 4-2…Bridgeport takes down Providence 5-4 in a shootout and Utica beats Springfield 2-1.
Standings: Penguins (.750 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.688) — Providence (.643) — Bridgeport (.638) — Hershey (.622) — Springfield (.448) — Hartford (.418)
Wheeling Update: Nailers are in Idaho for the last time this weekend. Here is the box.
But for breaking news Sunday, here’s how the week sets up here on the blog….Power Rankings are here Monday at 4. Wheeling Wrap at noon Tuesday followed by the Gameday setup for the Valentine’s Day game against Lehigh Valley at 3 followed by the recap here on the blog after.
Let’s Go Pens!