This is not a good road trip for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
In the four games now on the road for Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins have not led at all and are 0-4 after tonight’s 2-1 setback in Utica.
I still haven’t put my finger on what it is that’s been crippling the Penguins. Remember that the loss in Albany that set off this losing streak was a game that the Devils blocked a ton of shots. The Penguins ran into Reto Berra in Springfield who always plays the Penguins good and played run and gun in the third game in less than three days in Providence Sunday.
If you have a solution, please, leave me a comment here on this blog piece.
Tristan Jarry opposed Thatcher Demko.
Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Christan Hilbrich – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Tom Sestito – Jarrett Burton – Ryan Haggerty
Derrick Pouliot – Barry Goers
Stuart Percy – David Warsofsky
Tim Erixon – Ethan Prow
Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith
Lineup Notes: Brett Stern and Patrick McGrath were the scratches. Obie listed Lukas Bengtsson as ill, with Garrett Wilson and Thomas DiPauli among the injury scratches.
First Period: Jarry and this counterpart Demko traded some big saves to open. Pens controlled offensive zone time in bursts but were unable to solve Demko for the period. Utica chipped the puck out, transitioned and found Jordan Subban who ripped one past Jarry to make it 1-0 Comets…
Pens had two cracks at the power play which came and went.
Second Period: The Utica Comets came into the game with the worst goal differential in the second period and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins came into the game boasting the best goal differential in the second period.
That’s a stat that didn’t matter at all in this period.
Shots at the end of the second were 15-13 favoring the Utica Comets, but if you watched this game you would have sworn that it was more like 28-0 Comets with the way that the Comets dominated the offensive zone percentage this period, moreso than the Penguins in the first period.
Ryan Haggerty got a step on a guy and couldn’t score on an excellent Demko save. Referee Furman South reviewed the call on replay and confirmed his initial call on the ice of no goal.
Utica had the Penguins on their heels. Nick Hart described on color commentary that the Comets were playing the Penguins with a playoff like intensity.
Darren Archibald works Stuart Percy to put the Comets yup a pair…
Ethan Prow, who had his left arm injured in the first period, finally exited to the locker room right after the Archibald goal.
Penguins just couldn’t get anything going in the period.
Third Period: Prow did not rejoin the team for the third period.
Tom Kostopoulos scored on a power play that put the Penguins on the board. I don’t have a GIF of this, sorry. Dominik Simon assisted on that Kostopoulos goal and has three goals and two assists over his last six games and I would argue that he was the lone bright spot for the Penguins of late.
Penguins get a late power play and pull Jarry for an extra attacker in the games final minutes but were unable to score at all in a theme that I am picking tip here in this four game losing streak.
Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even) 2) Thatcher Demko (27 saves on 28 shots) and 1) Darren Archibald (goal, +1)
Around the Division: Springfield pays the Penguins a favor beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at home 5-3. The Phantoms will now bus back to Allentown for Saturday’s matchup against the Penguins….Providence ends the Bridgeport Sound Tigers winning streak by beating them 2-1 in regulation and Hershey thumps last place Hartford 6-1.
Standings: Penguins (.700 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.660) — Providence (.657) — Bridgeport (.654) — Hershey (.602) — Springfield (.481) — Hartford (.406)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers are currently trailing the Toledo Walleye 6-0. Box here.
If the Comets put up YouTube video of highlights of tonight’s game that I see I will run the edit here.
Pens will bus back to Wilkes-Barre, stay over night then catch a bus to Lehigh Valley Saturday afternoon for tomorrow night’s big matchup against the Phantoms at 7. Gameday drops here on the blog Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!