If you have been coming to this blog for any number of years you will often read me write that there are great teams in the AHL, good teams and bad teams. Charlotte, a team that hasn’t been seen in the Eastern Conference since 2011, is a great team. They were a playoff team last year in the Central Division and were not intimidated by this new look, revamped Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Penguins team. The Checkers spoil the Penguins opener with a 5-2 win.
No, my lede did not include a diatribe against referees Evgenii Romasko and Terry Koharski. They called what they saw and they happened to call a lot of it. The Penguins got burned twice shorthanded by Warren Foegele, who by all accounts should be AHL Player of the Week this Tuesday. Koharski / Romasko called it down the middle, six penalties a side for each team, and the Penguins gave up a power play goal to Charlotte and also allowed Foegele to score twice shorthanded. You don’t win many hockey games that way no matter if its opening night or not.
The only reason it wasn’t a Checkers runaway was due to the play of Tristan Jarry, who stopped 31 of 35 shots.
Jarry opposed Jeremy Smith. Here’s a look at the lines…
Sure beats me hammering out the lines like the old days no?
First Period: Pens nearly got on the scoresheet first with this nice setup and play by Tom Sestito. Yes, Tom Sestito.
Real quick, want to thank Taylor for putting these GIFs out there on Twitter and being so nice to allow me to embed them on my blog for you all. I think it enhances the read.
Penguins struck first with a goal boy Daniel Sprong on the power play. Get used to seeing a lot of this this upcoming season…
That release is sickening, by the way.
Checkers would get on the board after an intentional offside call from the Penguins put the draw down in the Penguins zone to Jarry’s right. After the face-off Valintin Zykov turned around and fired at Jarry and it went in….
Second Period: All out Checkers blitzkrieg, 23 shots to the Penguins 9, put Charlotte ahead of Wilkes-Barre 3-2 after things ended in the second.
Penguins jumped out to a 2-1 lead when Thomas DiPauli follows his own shot while shorthanded and beat Smith to push the Penguins ahead.
Ferocious forechecking by Teddy Blueger set up the whole thing. DiPauli takes advantage.
Undeterred, Phil Di Giuseppe cashed on a power play when he put a shot on Jarry then followed the rebound off of Tristan’s shoulder and put a backhand in to tie it at two for Charlotte.
Penguins then found themselves on the power play looking to make something happen, but J-S Dea turned the puck over to Roland McKeown who found Foegele who scored his first shorthanded goal of the night….
Again, shots 23-9 for Charlotte and nary a goal scored even strength for the Checkers.
Third Period: Foegele again, shorthanded again….
Shots were an even 6-6 this period including a not shown 175′ empty net goal by the Checkers with Jarry vacated from Di Giuseppe.
Charlotte, already leading coming into the period, get another shorty from Foegele to make it 4-2 then get an empty netter. Ballgame.
After the game, Tom tweeted this…
Three Stars: 3) Thomas DiPauli (goal, even) 2) Lucas Wallmark (two assists, +1) and 1) and Warren Foegele (two shorthanded goals, +2)
Around the Division: Lehigh Valley pounds Hershey 7-2 in Allentown….Bridgeport loses 2-1 in Binghamton….Providence beats Springfield 5-2. Hartford was off, they host Lehigh Valley Sunday afternoon.
Too soon for a Standings look. Lehigh Valley, Charlotte and Providence all won so they are on top of the division, the rest of us, Wilkes-Barre included, have 0 points. Still early days.
Wheeling Update: Nailers get ripping on their season next weekend.
I don’t think that the Penguins will post video highlights but if they do, I will edit them in.
Power Rankings debut Monday at 4. Check them out then. Let’s Go Pens!