Goals :31 apart in the first and :20 in the second are enough to propel the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins past the Charlotte Checkers for the first time this season. Pens win 5-3 and reduce their magic number to 21. They also use one of their five games in hand to eat into Lehigh Valley’s lead on the Atlantic Division. It’s now nine points.
Teddy Blueger had himself a game. Two goals, one being an empty netter. Blueger also swept away a would be Checkers goal late in the third period.
Checkers have been riding high as of late. They scored first but the Penguins answered quickly with two quick hitters in the first period that set up the second period.
Anthony Peters was good in net, picking up his tenth win of the season. Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith set up the Penguins in the first half of the season and Anthony Peters has done a fine job guiding the ship the rest of the way.
These two teams rematch Wednesday.
Anthony Peters opposed Alex Nedeljkovic.
Adam Johnson – J-S Dea – Christian Thomas
Garrett Wilson – Gage Quinney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – Sam Lafferty – Joseph Cramarossa
Thomas Di Pauli – Teddy Blueger – Daniel Sprong
Chris Summers – Ethan Prow
Kevin Schulze – Kevin Czuczman
Jarred Tinordi – Zach Trotman
Anthony Peters – Etienne Marcoux
Lineup Notes: Zach Trotman was back in the lineup for the first time in seventeen games….Dylan Zink was returned to Wheeling Monday.
First Period: Valentin Zykov scored his league leading 31st goal of the season when Anthony Peters stopped a Dennis Robertson shot but spilled the rebound back to the Checkers defenseman who dished over to Zykov for the goal…
Checkers are 21-3-0-1 when scoring first.
But the Penguins answered rapidly, :31 apart, when Daniel Sprong put a shot high over the cage of Nedeljkovic that rimmed around to Trotman, who gathered the puck and fired at goal that tied it at one.
Next, Garrett Wilson used his body to create a turnover and the puck went over to Gage Quinney who found Tom Kostopoulos for the goal that made it 2-1 Penguins…
Kostopoulos has two goals and four assists in his eight games since his return from injury.
Second Period: Penguins scored a pair of goals :31 apart in the first, so they wanted to beat that record set in the first frame and scored two within :20 in the second.
Tom Sestito forced a turnover, Sam Lafferty continued to forecheck and passed off to a streaking Joseph Cramarossa for the goal that made it 3-1 Penguins…
That was Sam Lafferty’s first professional point.
Off the face-off at center ice, Gage Quinney was high sticked, setting up another Penguins power play. Their first was a train wreck, but this second coming was much more successful.
Give and go with Garrett Wilson who found Teddy Blueger for the power play goal. Coming into tonight’s contest, the Penguins had the leaves worst power play.
Penguins gave away a power play and the Checkers third best overall power play improved on their 27% conversion rate on home ice when Andrew Poturalski was left alone in the slot for this goal that cut the Penguins lead back to 4-2…
Third Period: Penguins nearly score but are denied here when Nedeljkovic went post to post to deny Teddy Blueger.
Teddy Blueger then saved a goal late as a puck got past Peters but Blueger swept it away.
With just under five minutes to play, Nedeljkovic vacated his cage for an extra attacker, never found the equalizer and Teddy Blueger nailed the empty net to make it 5-2.
Three Stars: 3) Lucas Wallmark (two assists, even) 2) Anthony Peters (29 saves on 31 shots) and 1) Joseph Cramarossa (goal, even)
No idea what they were thinking with the three stars. Teddy Blueger had two goals, Garrett Wilson assisted twice and Tom Kostopoulos had a goal and an assist. Who knows.
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Lehigh Valley (.690 percentage points) — Penguins (.661) — Providence (.631) — Charlotte (.579) — Bridgeport (.557) — Springfield (.492) — Hartford (.476) — Hershey (.468)
Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. They are moving to the ECHL’s Central Division of the Western Conference next season.
Charlotte may put up video highlights. If they do they will run in this spot in a later edit.
These two teams are back at it again Wednesday at 7. Gameday setup comes at you Wednesday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!