I hate work night home games. I have to be up in a few more hours because I am traveling for my big boy job tomorrow.
Anyway, the first place Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hosted the second place Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight and it was the first place team beating the second place team 4-1.
Apologies if this recap is a bit stripped down. Work night games before a day of travel will do that for you.
Lineup wise, Gage Quinney was back in and played first line center. Colin Smith was also back in the lineup. On defense, Zach Trotman and Frank Corrado were in for the Pens.
Earlier in the day, J-S Dea was recalled by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Well deserved and long overdue call up for Dea. Pens are on the west coast this week so Dea is likely just an extra body, but I legitimately hope that the coaching staff gives J-S a game.
With Dea out of the lineup, the finesse that he brings to the rink with him night in and night out was missing. The Pens needed a workmanlike game tonight and got one. A lunch pail, roll up your sleeves and get to work type game against a second place Lehigh Valley side.
This is without many key players out of the lineup too. If you keep this defense intact and get names like Tom Kostopoulos back, among others, we may have a deep run. Hell, this June will be 10 years. Think about that.
Anthony Peters opposed Dustin Tokarski
First Period: Quick period that moved briskly. Phil Myers scored on a power play for Lehigh Valley giving them the lead. Puck may have deflected off of a Penguin defender in front.
Second Period: Pens explode for three goals and take command. Gage Quinney tied it on a nice drop pass from Ryan Haggerty, then Christian Thomas scooped in a shot laying in the crease for a power play goal to make it 2-1 then later Teddy Blueger scored on a nice pass from Colin Smith for a tap in goal that made it 3-1.
Further, Lehigh Valley only took five shots in the period. A lockdown middle frame by the home team.
Third Period: Lehigh Valley piped shots at Peters, who is filling out nicely as a legit goaltender at the AHL level, but got nothing past him. The Phantoms, with about five minutes left in the third and still down a pair, pull Tokarski and Zach Aston-Reese hits the open, empty net.
Ballgame. Eight wins in a row now and I can safely say that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are back.
Theee Stars: 3) Gage Quinney (goal, +2) 2) Zach Aston-Reese (goal, two assists, +2) and 1) Christian Thomas (game winning goal, even)
Around the Division: There were just two other games. Charlotte hosted Bridgeport in a 5 p.m. rematch from Tuesday night in an empty building because of snow and and beat the Sound Tigers 4-3. Checkers ended up sweeping Bridgeport in the two game series. Hershey traveled up to Springfield who have won four straight. Hershey battled back to force overtime but lose to the Thunderbirds 5-4 in a shootout.
Standings: Penguins (.689 percentage points) — Providence (.632) — Lehigh Valley (.622) — Charlotte (.588) — Bridgeport (.538) — Hershey (.500) — Springfield (.476) — Hartford (.439)
Wheeling is off as is the rest of the ECHL until Friday.
Pens are practicing Thursday before hopping on a bus for Providence for Friday’s game up in the Rhode Island capital. Gameday setup for that game will be Friday at 3. Check back then.
Let’s Go Pens!