From a hat trick in the first period to two shorthanded goals and two goaltenders duking it out trying to keep their team in it, this was an exciting matchup between two teams that haven’t met in the regular season in the better part of a decade. Best yet, as the game wore on, they quickly grew an appetite of distaste for one another.
Penguins win 5-4 in overtime off of another game winning goal from the stick of J-S Dea. Stats and color man Nick Hart tweeted after the game that Dea now pulls into a tie with Tomáš Surový and Scott Wilson for the second-most game-winning goals in Penguins franchise history with 14.
Colin Stevens opposed Jusse Saros. This game really was a goaltending duel more than people realize. For Stevens, it was his first AHL start.
Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea — Ryan Haggerty
Dominik Simon – Colin Smith – Christian Thomas
Garrett Wilson – Adam Johnson – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Thomas Di Pauli
Lineup Notes: Daniel Sprong was a healthy scratch tonight. No, he’s not getting called up. He was a straight up scratch tonight. If body language was any indicator, he didn’t take it too well. His chin strap was not tied, he looked totally disengaged in warmups when his teammates were rushing, talking to the trainers on the bench during and left the ice with 3:30 to go in the warmup session. There was a report this week that GM Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh media that Daniel Sprong will not be called up any time soon because the coaching staff in Wilkes-Barre has given the brass in Pittsburgh no reason for him to be called up. If this is how Sprong reacts to the adversity of being scratched by the coaching staff, that is not a good sign.
I had someone on Twitter tell me that Sprong has had attitude problems going all the way back to his midget days and those problems were why he slipped in the QMJHL draft and followed him to his Junior team.
Tyler asked after the game and was told this…
Donatelli on Sprong's scratch: "Part of the process of being a pro here. We wanted him to watch from up top. We've been doing a lot of film work with him, and this is part of the process."
Chris Summers was given the night off. Josh Archibald was sent down on conditioning for the weekend to get him reps. Garrett Wilson was back also with Tom Sestito. Gage Quinney and Jarrett Burton were the odd men out of the forward corps.
First Period: In order for the Penguins to have success in the game tonight, the blueprint was to scored the first goal.
Credit to Colin Stevens, he had some big stops early on to keep Milwaukee to just one goal early on. Wilkes-Barre did a good job of insulating him in the first, and he did the rest in making the saves he needed to.
Second Period: Admirals leading scorer Emil Pettersson skated to the slot and let it rip and beat Stevens to make it a one goal game again.
Here is where Saros settled in and kept his team in the game by not allowing the Penguins to score on some decent chances. Colin Smith and Adam Johnson had better chances, Saros stopped them all. Milwaukee bided their time, waiting for a good opportunity on Stevens to make it 3-3.
But it never happened. The Penguins caused a delay of game for a face-off violation, giving the Admirals a power play. To be fair, both teams had issues with the way that linesman Tom DellaFranco and J.P. Waleski handled face-offs, but the Penguins had to pay a penalty out of it.
Josh Archibald wants you to remember that speed kills…
Big goal at the time. A one goal game is a one shot game. Momentum can turn instantly. Penguins skated into the second intermission up a pair.
Third Period: Milwaukee finally broke through on a power play when Mark Zengerle collected a puck far side and just dialed in and picked his spot on Stevens all in close that made it a one goal Penguin lead.
Milwaukee continued the sustained pressure. They hit a post. Finally, Zengerle put a shot on Stevens that he flicked away with the right pad but Anthony Richard was right place, right time and put the rebound home to make it 4-4 and a tie game.
That goal came with under five minutes to play. But for a total breakdown which didn’t come, it was off to…
Overtime: Stevens made a skate save in the overtime session, then J-S Dea skated on off the bench and ended it…
Use your offensive pieces to jump ahead on your opponent and your defense to insulate your young goaltender, get some OK saves out of him and a great team wins a good game. Easy. Just replicate it two more times this weekend and we all sincerely regret any doubts coming into the weekend in the goaltending department.
Three Stars: 3) Josh Archibald (goal, assist, even) 2) J-S Dea (overtime game winning goal, even) and 1) Garrett Wilson (hat trick, +1)