Chirps from Center Ice

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

Birds Battle — Pens WIN 3-2 (SO)


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This one was fun.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins battled the Springfield Thunderbirds tooth and nail tonight in Wilkes-Barre for the Penguins season opener. The Thunderbirds are going to be good this year and Michael Hutchinson is going to win them a lot of games. They didn’t disappoint, but it was the Penguins coming away with the two points with a 3-2 shootout win over Springfield.

When Tristan Jarry was re-assigned by Pittsburgh Friday, I thought that was the end of Anthony Peters here in Wilkes-Barre with John Muse already here on an NHL contract.

You will have to pry Anthony Peters out of the net with a crowbar. He was excellent. Sending him to the ECHL would be a waste of his talents, quite honestly.

Zach Aston-Reese didn’t have the best training camp with Pittsburgh so they sent him back to the AHL to work on things. Scoring a goal in regulation? Check. Scoring a goal in the shootout to help your team win? Check.

The only bit of concern was once again the power play. Wilkes-Barre could not score on the power play at opportune times and was 0-for-4 for the night.

Lines were…

Garrett Wilson / Adam Johnson / Jimmy Hayes
Zach Aston-Reese / Sam Lafferty / Anthony  Angello
Thomas Di Pauli / Teddy Blueger / Ryan Haggerty
Tobias Lindberg / Linus Ölund / Sam Miletic

Chris Summers / Stefan Elliott
Will O’Neill / Zach Trotman
Matt Abt / Ethan Prow

Anthony Peters / John Muse

Notes: The Penguins signed Matt Abt and Renars Krastenbergs to AHL contracts. Krastenbergs was sent to Wheeling….also this:

I knew that this was going to happen when Obie moved on leaving a spot open on color commentary. Stuccio won’t be at all the games, but will be filling in from time to time and it’s great to have him back.

First Period: Had everything. Goals, fights, more goals, more fights. Thomas DiPauli spilled a puck in the first minute of the game and Paul Thompson struck just :36 into the new season.

Thank you again to Taylor for first GIFing these things and second allowing me to run them here.

Ethan Prow scored the first Penguins goal of the season a few minutes later for the Penguins on a shot from the point that Hutchinson had to have been screened on and it was a tie game.

Zach Aston-Reese got the Penguins ahead with a nice curl and drag move here.

Hutchinson got most of it, but not all of it.

Then, all hell broke loose.

Garrett Wilson and Joel Lowry fought setting off an end of a period that had featured 46 PIMs.

Springfield’s penalty box had about six players in it at one point but the Penguins weren’t able to score on the power play. I said this at the end of the period…

Second Period: Thunderbirds connect on a power play half way through when a pin balling puck eludes Peters. Paul Thompson again, and it’s a brand new hockey game…

Penguins had a scare late when a puck dribbled through Peters but never crossed the line entirely. Pens killed a late power play and it was off to the…

Third Period: Goalie battle. Neither willing to give an inch. Michael Hutchinson was an offseason acquisition for the Florida Panthers from the Winnipeg Jets / Manitoba Moose and comes as good as his accolades with the Moose last year showed. But staring him down from 200 feet in the opposite direction was Anthony Peters, no slouch in his own right. No team scored here in the third, the Penguins had a late power play come and go.

Overtime: Anthony Peters with a ten baller here…

Aston-Reese came inches from ending it with 1.7 left but couldn’t get the extra oomph (I can say oomph on a blog, you couldn’t do that in a newspaper) to put it across the line and be the overtime hero.

Shootout: Zach Aston-Reese with the only goal. Anthony Peters stopped all three shooters he faced.

Three Stars: 

That graphic there saves me time. If anyone on Coal Street reads the blog, please keep doing this.

Around the Division: Charlotte, with an impressive weekend, sweeps a two game series with Rochester after a 4-2 win over the Amerks in Rochester tonight…Lehigh Valley beats a Bridgeport team that is built to contend 6-3…Providence coughs up a stunning 3-2 loss to the Laval Rocket, the Bruins are 0-2 to start the year…Hershey has their home opener spoiled by Syracuse with a 3-2 loss. Hartford was off.

Standings: Early days. No more percentages. It goes Charlotte with 4, Lehigh Valley, Hartford and Wilkes-Barre with 2, Springfield with 1 and Bridgeport, Hershey and Providence with 0.

Wheeling Update: Nailers are still in preseason, they get going next weekend.

If Coal Street runs a highlight package, I will edit it in here. I am probably going to cut my own for road games and stuff with the AHLTV platform. But it’s late, there were audio issues on AHLTV tonight in house and I want to get this gamer out at a reasonable hour so I could sit and cut up the stuff, but would rather just push this out now vs. try to do it all and and add it in.

Pens are off til Monday. My Power Rankings won’t run until Thursday. I am moving them there, for now, to see how it goes for me. It became way to strenuous on me on Sunday night’s trying to sort out and build the Rankings. Sometimes I would be sitting at the computer for 6 plus hours if the Penguins were playing on Sunday’s. I don’t want to do that anymore so Thursday it is. We will see how it goes.

Pens plan on making roster moves before they hit the road for two in Cleveland next weekend so when that news breaks, look for it here. Those games in Cleveland are next Thursday and Saturday.

Let’s Go Pens!

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