Garrett Wilson scored a power play goal to tie the game in the third period in a close, hotly contested affair against the Grand Rapids Griffins in Michigan Friday night. He later added an empty net goal to ice the game away as the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins defeat the defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins by a 4-2 score.
Great game to watch. Penguins trailed for the most part in the first and second but kept it close and pulled away in the third period and pick up an impressive win against the Griffins and get the weekend trips through the Central Division started off on the right foot.
Anthony Peters opposed Thomas McCollum.
Thomas Di Pauli – J-S Dea – Christian Thomas
Garrett Wilson – Gage Quinney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – Josh Jooris – Joseph Cramarossa
Adam Johnson – Teddy Blueger – Daniel Sprong
Chris Summers – Ethan Prow
Kevin Schulze – Kevin Czuczman
Jeff Taylor – Jarred Tinordi
Anthony Peters – Etienne Marcoux
Lineup Notes: Penguins signed Etienne Marcoux to a PTO for the trip. He’s from the Indy Fuel. Wheeling had injury problems and the Penguins don’t have another eligible contracted goaltender available, so Marcoux was it. Other lineup included Josh Jooris making his debut, Olympian Christian Thomas returning from the games in South Korea and Chris Summers returning to there lineup after missing five games with injury.
First Period: Griffins got on the board early when ex-Penguin Ben Street found Matt Puempel in the slot that put the defending Calder Cup Champions up 1-0. Penguins were getting run around a bit, saw what would have been another Grand Rapids goal get waved off on account of Eric Tangradi interfering with Peters in the crease.
Wilkes-Barre had one power play in the period and it looked improved with Thomas and Kostopolous out there on it.
Shots after one were 11-7 Penguins but Griffins carried large amounts of play during the period.
Second Period: Take of two halves really. Penguins came out with aplomb to open the period, scored here when they caught Grand Rapids with their pants down on a bad line change. Adam Johnson wheeled around the net and scored here to tie the game at one…
Four goals in five games for Johnson.
Period turned in favor of the Griffins when Wilkes-Barre had a power play, didn’t score then gave away a power play to Grand Rapids. To this point, the Griffins power play looked good.
They cashed. Eric Tangradi tipped in a Matt Puempel shot and it was 2-1 Griffins. Way too easy. Tangradi has carved out a niche in this league setting up in front of the goaltender and tipping pucks. No one was near him and he did what he had to do.
Shots were 17-12 Penguins after two periods. Penguins to this point did a terrific job of bottling up the Griffins but their top line of Puempel, Tangradi and Street were carrying the mail.
Third Period: Penguins had a power play to open the period, but failed to cash then the Griffins took a puck over glass delay of game penalty and the Penguins were headed right back to the power play. Angle on the story here was easy, if they Penguins don’t score and lose, you point back to this sequence here as to be of the reasons why.
We didn’t have to go there.
Kevin Czuczman puts it on net, Garrett Wilson gets the tip in. Power play goal, Wilkes-Barre.
Griffins didn’t counter this time, instead it was a big defensive gaffe that cost them.
Teddy Blueger takes advantage.
Follow your shot.
Time started to become the enemy of the Griffin, and with McCollum pulled, the Penguins defense held the Tangradi’s and Street’s at bay and then Gage Quinney connected with Garrett Wilson on the empty net to put a bow on this one.
Three Stars: 3) Matt Puempel (goal, assist, even) 2) Eric Tangradi (goal, assist, even) and 1) Teddy Blueger (goal, assist, +2)
Around the Division: Nutso results. Hershey was up 5-1 then lost 7-6 in Allentown. That, is not good…Providence beats Charlotte 6-3…Springfield clips Hartford 5-4 in overtime and Bridgeport beats Laval 4-2.
Standings: Lehigh Valley (.681 percentage points) — Penguins (.651) — Providence (.627) — Charlotte (.570) — Bridgeport (.530) — Hartford (.509) — Springfield (.473) — Hershey (.466)
Wheeling Update: Nailers were shutout 5-0 up in Worcester.
If the Griffins put up video highlights I can find I will run them in this spot. I think the fact they didn’t GIF any goals means that probably won’t happen.
Pens are bussing four hours to the Central time zone to Rockford, Illinois for a 7 pm Wilkes-Barre time start with the IceHogs. Gameday setup hits the blog Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!