I have recycled this headline tonight, I think for the third time if the slug is any indicator, but it bears repeating again that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins had a chance to win tonight;’s hockey game against the Syracuse Crunch, but due to the inability to score on five power play opportunities, at key times in the contest, mind you, they were unsuccessful in winning tonight’s game, losing 4-3.
There is also something about the Syracuse Crunch that gave the Penguins fits this weekend. Maybe it was the speed, maybe it was a rag tag group fo Crunch players all playing out of position (defenders were playing forward and vice versa) that had teh Crunch wanting it more than the Penguins. I wouldn’t have faulted you at all if you thought that the Penguins were going to easily win this series with the Crunch. Count me in with those that believed that the Penguins were going to steamroll Syracuse in these two games.
Casey DeSmith opposed Connor Ingram.
A lot of chatter on my social media outlets that was wondering when Colin Steven was going to get a start in goal for the Pens. I think that DeSmith wanted tonight’s game as a revenge for what the Crunch did to the Penguins last night. Wilkes-Barre has three games coming up in a row Friday, (vs. Milwaukee) Saturday (vs. Rochester) and Sunday (at Hershey) next weekend, so Stevens is going to have to get a game. My money is on next Sunday at Hershey, but I could probably go with Saturday at home against Rochester too.
Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea — Ryan Haggerty
Thomas Di Pauli – Teddy Blueger – Daniel Sprong
Dominik Simon – Colin Smith – Christian Thomas
Adam Johnson – Gage Quinney – Freddie Tiffels
Andrey Pedan – Lukas Bengtsson
Chris Summers – Kevin Czuczman
Jarred Tinordi – Frank Corrado
Casey DeSmith – Colin Stevens
Lineup Notes: 400th AHL game for Chris Summers…Andrey Pedan was back in the lineup after seeing his three game suspension for Zack Trotman, who was given the night off. But for some shuffling up front, no changes to the forward core.
First Period: Daniel Walcott scored his first of the season with this tap in goal at 1:39 that put the Crunch out in front…
Penguins answer right back though with Freddie Tiffels first AHL goal after a nice pass from Gage Quinney in front…
Game developed into a fast paced affair. Then Teddy Blueger stuffed one under Ingram’s pads to put the Penguins out front 2-1…
Great offensive zone shift by the Penguins set all of that up. I personally thought that the entire play was offsides, myself, but that was never raised.
Here’s the turning point in the game in my opinion…
Reid McNeill interfered with Thomas DiPauli, so much so that I caught the infraction myself without even having to look at a referee’s arm go up. After the play stopped, referee Tyler Puddifant signaled the interference call but also indicated to DiPauli that he was guilty of something also. That something was embellishment, or formerly diving. I don’t see where that could apply here. McNeill stepped in front of DiPauli while DiPauli was hustling for a puck and knocked him down. Clear interference. How Puddifant saw a dive from DiPauli from the sequence is beyond me. Penguins had all the momentum at this point and had it all go poof because of a questionable at best embellishment call.
What’s better, is that after all of that nonsense, the other referee working the game, Pierre Lambert, got Teddy Blueger for a holding penalty. That player that Blueger held went down like a house of cards, but no embellishment call was called there.
Pens would kill that penalty, but Frank Corrado was called for interference and then Carter Verhaeghe scored on the power play to even it at two…
Just skated to the slot unabated and let it rip.
Second Period: Penguins get three straight power plays given to them. The first one was bad, the second one was worse, and the third one Michael Bournival scored a goal shorthanded…
To add insult to injury, two Penguins collided at center ice and Matthew Peca scored this goal late to make it 4-2 Crunch…
Third Period: Penguins played with vim and vigor this period but couldn’t dig out of a two goal deficit with a Crunch team playing confident in front of their young goaltender. Frank Corrado scored this goal to bring the Penguins back within one…
… but with a late power play that came and went and later with DeSmith pulled, the Penguins never found the equalizer.
While I am ragging on officials, linesman Jud Ritter had an overall embarrassing game for himself. There was a sequence late with the Penguins pushing for the final goal that Syracuse would go for a clear and Rutter (who called the delayed too many men on the ice penalty on the Penguins in Game 5 against Providence last year) tried to get out of the way of the clear but couldn’t, thus keeping the puck in the Penguins offensive zone. Play was halted for some reason by likely one of the referees killing all momentum. Oh, and it was the other linesman, J.P. Waleski that missed the offsides call on the Penguins second goal, just to show that I am being fair.
Three Stars: 3) Freddie Tiffels (goal, even) 2) Matthew Peca (goal, +1) and 1) Carter Verhaeghe (goal, assist, +1)
Around the Division: Bridgeport scores a goal late to tie it at 4-4 in Allentown, but Will O’Neill scores 1:22 into overtime to give the Lehigh Valley Phantoms a 5-4 win at home against the Sound Tigers….Hershey beats Hartford 4-1 in Connecticut and Charlotte crushes Providence 8-2 in a game between two teams that are up and down like the stock market. Springfield was off.
Standings: Penguins (.735 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.650) — Charlotte (.600) — Providence (.588) — Bridgeport (.583) — Hershey (.500) — Hartford (.425) — Springfield (.357)
Wheeling Update: fell at home to the Worcester Railers 4-3The Nailers despite two goals from Nick Saracino.
Week 8 AHL Power Rankings are here Monday at 4.
Let’s Go Pens!