Chirps from Center Ice

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

Brick Wall Casey — Pens WIN 2-1

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Casey DeSmith’s season high 45 saves on Sunday afternoon give the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins a 2-1 win against a desperate Utica Comets team fighting of their playoff lives.

Six regulars on NHL recall to Pittsburgh, but the Penguins have won four straight, seven of their last eight and sweep the weekend here.

Consider this the rehearsal when the Penguins rematch with the Comets next Sunday which also happens to be Wrestlemania. I’m a big wrestling mark and I’m going to have a basement full of frosties and friends over for the Show of Shows a week from now. So this game recap is being hammered out in the parking lot. Mind the misspellings and comma splices, moreseo than usual.

Lines were:

Casey DeSmith was backed up by Tristan Jarry. He opposed Michael Gartieg.

Lineup Notes: Two lineup changes and a surprise. Patrick McGrath was in for Adam Krause and Frank Corrado was in for Ryan Segalla. Now the surprise, as Obie was tweeted the line rushes above, I was looking for an extra forward and saw a 19 skate by. Wait a minute…Garrett Wilson! Indeed it was he!

First Period: Penguins went up 11-1 on shots then the Comets rattled off nineteen shots for a season high in a period for them and a season high in saves in a period for a Penguins goaltender. Some of the saves made by DeSmith were highlight reel caliber. For two teams playing their third game in under 48 hours, combining for 35 shots total in the period was a sight to see.

Second Period: Pens had thought they scored on this play but ref Mike Sheehan waved it off and the call was confirmed on replay.

Good call here. Puck hit both posts and never fully crossed. Better call by Sheehan in real time waving it off.

Penguins got a power play that came and went. Then Utica got a power play and of course scored to take the 1-0 lead. Darren Archibald pounced on a juicy rebound left by DeSmith that gave the Comets the 1-0 lead.

:41 later, Sahir Gill connected on a power play which counted and tied it at one.

After a first period where both teams seemingly went for broke, the teams were deadlocked at one heading into the…

Third Period: Dominik Simon scored this goal over a way out of his crease Gartieg gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish…

Wilkes-Barre just ground the clock down form there. The Comets, with Gartieg pulled, were never able to find the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Sahir Gill (goal. even) 2) Dominik Simon (goal, +1) and 1) Casey DeSmith (45 saves on 46 shots)

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley was down 3-1 to start the third at home against Bridgeport and storm back and take the Sound Tigers to overtime and beat them 4-3….Hershey beat St. John’s on the Rock 2-1…Rochester shutout Springfield 2-0 and Providence beat Hartford 5-2. Rare that all seven teams in the division are in action on a Sunday.

Standings: Penguins (.709 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.672) — Providence (.649) — Hershey (.640) — Bridgeport (.612) — Springfield (.485) — Hartford (.373)

Penguins can clinch Friday if Bridgeport, who is in action Wednesday, loses and the Penguins win Friday and the Sound Tigers fail to record at least a point. Or, the Sound Tigers can pick up a point Wednesday and lose clean Friday but the Penguins would still have to win Friday.

Sprong Watch: Daniel Sprong’s Charlottetown Islanders hold a 2-0 series lead on the Base-Comeau Drakkar as now the series switches to Quebec Tuesday for Game 3.

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. More on them Tuesday in the Wheeling Wrap.

Video highlights….

Week 24 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog Monday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

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