Cheap way out is burying the officials. Jeremy Tufts and Conor O’Donnell were awful today. I have seen a lot of bad officiating at this level for years. Today’s game was about the worst I have seen from the officiating side all season.
But I am not going to bury stripes. No, not today.
Total lack of effort by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who could have cut the magic number to five with a regulation win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The coaching staff set the week up right by staying in Toronto for the week and then staying in Utica Friday night with resting three regulars Saturday plus the starting goalie for today’s game. Sometimes you just don’t have it.
Stick fouls. A rested opponent that bussed down from Syracuse Friday night and spent two nights in Wilkes-Barre. Questionable officiating seemed like an afterthought. A road weary team gets slaughtered after a hellish week of travel at the tail end of a three in three. Bridgeport wins 6-3.
It was a snowball of the Pens tired from all the travel, mixed in with their slow starts and a little of a rested, desperate Bridgeport team currently out of a playoff spot mixed in with some bad officiating. I suppose when you say that the referees, “lost control” of a blowout win for a team over another when there are fights and guys getting 10 minute misconducts like kids at Halloween, this was the total opposite.
Tristan Jarry opposed Eamon McAdam.
Garrett Wilson – J-S Dea – Daniel Sprong
Adam Johnson – Josh Jooris – Ryan Haggerty
Tom Sestito – Jarrett Burton – Christian Thomas
Joseph Cramarossa – Teddy Blueger – Tom Kostopoulos
Chris Summers – Kevin Czuczman
Andrey Pedan – Lukas Bengtsson
Jarred Tinordi – Zach Trotman
Tristan Jarry – Anthony Peters
Lineup Notes: Tom Kostopoulos and Tom Sestito were back in after getting the night off Saturday in Binghamton for Sam Lafferty and Gage Quinney. Anthony Peters backed up. Michael Leighton was given the night off. As expected, Thomas DiPauli is week to week with an upper body injury, he will be evaluated this week to learn the extent of his injury.
First Period: Bridgeport set up shop in Pens end all period and took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Ryan Hitchcock scored his first professional goal after a shot blocked by Kevin Czuczman came right to him to put Bridgeport on the board.
Sound Tigers extended their lead on a power play goal by Travis St. Denis when St. Denis collected a shot that rang off the post.
All of Wilkes-Barre’s chances, but for one power play seemed one and done. Result of a team that spent the entire week on the road against a team that didn’t play yesterday?
Shots were 10-8 for the Sound Tigers but seemed like there were more than didn’t register as actual shots at Jarry.
Second Period: Sound Tigers made it 4-0 before the Penguins finally respond with a Chris Summers goal, but then with a turnover in the Penguins zone, the Sound Tigers quickly re-establish their four goal lead to make it 5-1.
Sound Tigers made it 3-0 when Ryan Bourque scored just as a double minor against the Penguins expired. Bourque scored again on a power play that made it 4-0.
Penguins would get two cracks at full power plays and could not score. They won’t get far in the postseason if that isn’t figured out quickly in the next three weeks of the regular season.
Summers finally scored to break up the McAdam shutout to get the Penguins on the board. But then Bridgeport scored again and through fights involving Tom Sestito and Garrett Wilson separately, all momentum the Penguins built to this point went out the window.
Third Period: Penguins got two back on the power play. J-S Dea from the slot while the Penguins were on a two man advantage and then Andrey Pedan finished off the other end of the power play that made it 5-3.
But that’s where the momentum died.
Penguins took three straight penalties; Haggerty and Czuczman for interference and a roughing penalty to Trotman. Penalties where you let them go if a team is battling late in the third period of a Sunday game in the AHL.
Sound Tigers hit an empty net which ended up being a power play goal that made it 6-3.
Three Stars: 3) Ryan Hitchcock (goal, assist, even) 2) Garrett Wilson (two assists, even) 1) Ryan Bourque (two goals, +1)
Around the Division: Toronto shuts out Springfield 2-0. Hershey loses to Hartford 4-2. Everyone else were off.
Standings: Lehigh Valley (.684 percentage points) — Providence (.644) — Penguins (.636) — Charlotte (.596) — Bridgeport (.545) — Hartford (.500) — Hershey (.478) — Springfield (.463)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.
Power Rankings Monday at 4. I will be surprised if the Penguins practice this Tuesday, the next day they are scheduled for any on ice activity.
Let’s Go Pens!