Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

I-81 Wars Re-Kindled — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)

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I wasn’t around for the early to mid 2000’s when the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Binghamton hockey teams used to beat the piss out of one another.

Comebacks in the playoffs and upset wins? Wasn’t there, wish I was.

Stolen whiteouts? Novel concept, but again, I wasn’t there but wish I was.

I am now, and this edition of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Devils putting on a showcase in front of a sellout crowd in Wilkes-Barre is high theater. Cast aside the records, when these two teams get together its a knockdown, drag out affair between two evenly matched teams that happen to hate each other.

Binghamton is the worst team in the AHL and the Penguins are in the top five, but styles make fights.

Wilkes-Barre wins 4-3 in overtime. Game had everything. Comebacks from Binghamton, fights and scrums after every whistle. Questionable officiating after that product has vastly improved. Pens take a lead, Binghamton ties it right back up. Tom Kostopoulos returned from injury.

Zach Aston-Reese’s overtime game winner seals it for the Pens, who hit the All-Star break at the top of the standings in the Atlantic Division and pushing to keep their consecutive playoff appearance streak alive and intact.

Nice game for Tristan Jarry, who made the saves when he needed to to push his team to overtime and the team took over from there. It’s been said that Casey DeSmith has outplayed and won spots over Jarry at every point imaginable when these two have been up for a spot. Getting this hard fought win to go in his favor is a step towards getting back to the NHL for Jarry.

Jarry opposed Mackenzie Blackwood.

Lines were…

Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea — Ryan Haggerty
Colin Wilson – Gage Quinney – Daniel Sprong
Adam Johnson – Greg McKegg – Jarrett Burton
Thomas Di Pauli – Teddy Blueger – Tom Kostopoulos

Jarred Tinordi – Ethan Prow
Kevin Czuczman – Frank Corrado
Andrey Pedan – Chris Summers

Tristan Jarry – Anthony Peters

Lineup Notes: 

Also, Prow for Zach Trotman. Colin Smith yielded to Kostopoulos, Dea was in for Thomas.

First Period: J-S Dea gets in behind everyone and scores to make it 1-0 Pens early on…

Penguins controlled long parts of the period, outshooting the guests 10-5, and lead after one. So just a carbon copy of the first in the second and it’s over right?

Wrong.

Second Period: After Kevin Czuczman dunked on Blackwood with this goal…..

…Binghamton responded and was on the Pens like a cheap suit the rest of the night. They were on the Pens at the drop of the puck, controlling offensive zone time.

On a power play, Nick Lappin scores his first of two power play goals for the Devils on this sequence:

Tim Kennedy puts one on the tape of Bracken Kearns who and dishes to Lappin for the near side slam dunk.

Physicality broke out after this. Every whistle was met with a shove or a fight. It was usually the Penguins on the short end of the whistles off of the fingers from referees Andy Wilk and Beau Halkidis, and Lappin made the Penguins pay on yet another power play the Devils had in the period, to tie it with 1:27 left in the second:

Same setup as the last power play goal. As if it were always this easy.

Third Period: Powder keg feeling was diffused a bit by long stretches of play between the two sides that made for a much quicker third period.

Garrett Wilson scored with 1:38 left in regulation to give the Penguins the lead on this snipe:

But Binghamton would get it back seconds later when Bracken Kearns scores on what looked like a high stick deflection that the officials discussed but confirmed and it was a 3-3 game with 63 seconds left to play.

No one scored in regulation so it was off to…

Overtime: Referees had a tough game. They missed a two many men on the ice call then a blatant slash on Gage Quinney in regulation. Then, in overtime, Ryan Haggerty was tripped and Nick Lappin had a name breakaway with the nearest player a good 10 feet behind him. For the hat trick and the game winner. he was turned away by Jarry as play continued.

Zach Aston-Reese….

Ballgame.

Three Stars: 3) Garrett Wilson (goal, +1) 2) Nick Lappin (two goals, even) 1) Zach Aston-Reese (overtime game winning goal, +2)

Around the Division: Losing streak is at eight for the Hershey Bears, who drop a 3-1 contest to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Connecticut….Utica ties it late with the extra attacker, then wins it in overtime against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a 3-2 score….Springfield beats Providence 5-2 and Hartford shuts out Charlotte 4-0.

Standings: Penguins (.667 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.644) — Providence (.614) — Charlotte (.568) — Bridgeport (.568) — Hartford (.500) — Springfield (.468) — Hershey (.456)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 5-2 at home to the Manchester Monarchs. Cody Wydo and Nick Sorkin score for the Nailers in the loss.

Video Highlights: 

AHL is off now for the All-Star break. My AHL Power Rankings will be out sometime Sunday. Check in Sunday evening.

Let’s Go Pens!

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