The big news in the organization today was the recall of Daniel Sprong to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sprong, coming off of his second hat trick of the season last night, earns his first recall of the season. Pittsburgh sent Dominik Simon back in the transaction. In an unrelated move, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins recalled Cody Wydo and Reid Gardiner from Wheeling about an hour after the Sprong news.
I wrote that paragraph at around 6:10 p.m. Saturday night. Fast forward about three hours and it’s the aforementioned Simon that completely asserts himself in the contest with the Hershey Bears tonight, scoring the game winning goal in overtime to propel the Penguins past their I-81 rivals by a score of 2-1.
So the Penguins sweep the weekend and close out 2017 on a winning note.
Here’s how they lined up tonight…
Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea — Ryan Haggerty
Thomas Di Pauli – Greg McKegg – Dominik Simon
Adma Johnson – Teddy Blueger – Colin Smith
Cody Wydo – Jarrett Burton – Freddie Tiffels
Jarred Tinordi – Ethan Prow
Kevin Czuczman – Zach Trotman
Kevin Spinozzi – Chris Summers
Anthony Peters – Adam Morrison
Lineup Notes: Thomas DiPauli returned from his four game absence and Dominik Simon made it in time from North Carolina last night and those two were in for Gage Quinney and Daniel Sprong. Ethan Prow replaced Jeff Taylor on defense. Cody Wydo was in for Patrick McGrath on the fourth line. Reid Gardiner joined Taylor, McGrath and Quinney on the healthy scratch list.
First Period: No scoring in the period, but the Penguins dominated the play in the period and the difference maker was the play and passing from Dominik Simon. If he wasn’t setting up his teammates, he was creating chances. He drew a penalty and in the power play that ensured, the Penguins spent the entire time in the zone and fired shot upon shot on Bears starting goaltender Vitek Vanecek.
Second Period: Anthony Peters was dialing in, stopping a Wayne Simpson breakaway and the follow-up rebound.
Right around the mid-point of the second period, Zach Aston-Reese put one home for the Pens to give them a 1-0 lead.
This game featured tow things. Physicality and goaltending. Jarred Tinordi laid a hit on a Bear right at center ice that set up a three on one for Hershey. Anthony Peters stopped it. Then the Penguins had to kill two penalties late and did so successfully thanks in part to shot blocking and saves made by Anthony Peters.
Third Period: Penguins were perfect last night on the penalty kill against the Hartford Wolf Pack and perfect again tonight against the Hershey Bears. Seconds after their fourth kill of the night on the Bears power play, Ty Graovac scored to tie the game on this goal…
Penguins got a power play but were not able to score on it. Later, J-S Dea thought he scored but replay confirm that the puck did not cross the goal line. Teams traded late penalties, but it was off to…
Overtime: Dominik Simon raced past all three Bears defenders and that was your ballgame…
Three Stars: 3) Anthony Peters (20 saves on 21 shots) 2) Vitek Vanecek (36 saves on 38 shots) and 1) Dominik Simon (overtime game winning goal, even)
Around the Division: Belleville beats Providence at home 3-2 in overtime….Bridgeport shuts out Binghamton 5-0 at home….Springfield takes down Hartford 5-4 in the Connecticut capital….Charlotte takes down Lehigh Valley in Allentown 5-2.
Standings: Providence (.703 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.657) — Charlotte (.632) — Penguins (.629) — Bridgeport (.565) — Hershey (.486) — Hartford (.471) — Springfield (.429)
Wheeling Update: An undermanned Nailers team stayed with the Toledo Walleye, but fell on home ice 5-4.
Great stat here from Pens color man Nick Hart…
Pens are off now until Wednesday when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. I’ll have the Week 13 AHL Power Rankings up at a special time on Monday and that time will be at noon. Check them out then. Have a safe New Year.
Let’s Go Pens!