After a 13 goal explosion in Bridgeport Sunday, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins needed to tighten things up.
Success defensively. They allowed the opponent, tonight it was the Providence Bruins, just one goal in regulation on a busted tic-tac-toe play on a power play.
But, the offense sputtered at times with Bruins starting goaltender Dan Vladar stymying the Penguins with save after save after save, until Sam Lafferty struck with under five minutes to play to tie the game to force overtime.
Overtime was run and gun, as you would expect when you remove two skaters and go three on three, and the Bruins strike on a power play goal and take a 2-1 overtime decision from the Penguins Friday night.
Baby steps. The Pens lost their two leading scorers in Zach Aston-Reese and Garrett Wilson to recall to a sputtering Pittsburgh Penguins team earlier in the week. Perhaps the best team for the Penguins to face was the last place in the Atlantic Providence Bruins.
Tristan Jarry opposed the aforementioned Vladar.
Lineup Notes: With Garrett Wilson and Zach Aston-Reese in Pittsburgh, the forward lines were shuffled top to bottom. Johnson-Grant-Hayes was a new top line….Jarrett Burton replaced Aston-Reese on the second line with Lafferty and Haggerty….DiPauli moves up to the third line w/ Blueger & Angelo and Ryan Horvat jumped back in and Ölund drops from 1C to 4C w/ Lindberg.
On defense, there were new defensive pairings there as well. Czuczman and Elliott; Summers / O’Neill and Abt (for Taylor) with Prow.
Injury wise, Nick Hart mentioned that Zach Trotman is week to week with a lower body injury.
First Period: Penguins were aggressive off the hop on their first shift; Ryan Haggerty flipped a puck in from center ice, Sam Lafferty tracked it down from behind the net and centered to Haggerty who put a good shot on Vladar.
Wilkes-Barre would take an offensive zone penalty and the Providence power play made them pay on a nice tic-tac-toe scoring play that Martin Bakos finished that game the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Fitzgerald to Jan Kovar to Bakos for the goal. Pens lost a mini scrum along the near wall there. Fourth straight game where the opponent scores first.
The Pens weren’t able to score on a late power play and it was noted on the broadcast that the Bruins were perfect going into tonight’s game on opponents penalty kills at home (12/12) – the Pens had a few late looks but could not solve Vladar.
Second Period: No scoring in the period, but loads of action. Bruins started with some early action, then Anthony Angello was denied in the high slot via a glove save by Vladar.
Then Ryan Horvat was chasing down a puck that was dying on an icing call and hit Emil Johansson. The initial call was a boarding call, but Trent Frederic, who was wreaking shop on the Pens prior to this, took it upon himself to fight Horvat.
Frederic picked up an instigating minor, a fighting major and a ten minute misconduct.
More heavy pressure from both teams as the period winded down, but neither goaltender blinked. A goalie battle was a-bruin’ in Providence.
Third Period: If the Penguins would have scored on a power play here which would have been the first goal scored by a visiting team on a power play against the Bruins, that would have carried more headlines. Penguins had three chances and were not able to score.
Sam Lafferty stripped Wiley Sherman at his own blue line and scored to tie the game late.
Penguins had a late power play which bled over to…
Overtime: I think I will Periscope overtime road games as long as I am able, like I did here…
You will see there that the Penguins weren’t able to score on the carryover power play time and that Tobias Lindberg takes a cross checking call. Bruins head coach Jay Leach calls time out, Providence keeps it in and in and in on the power play before Ryan Fitzgerald or Cody Goloubef scored to give the Bruins the extra point.
Here it is in a tweet:
Three Stars: 3) Dan Vladar (27 saves on 28 shots) 2) Martin Bakos (goal) and 1) Ryan Fitzgerald (overtime game winning goal, assist)
Around the Division: Lehigh Valley obliterates Springfield 8-2 in Allentown…Utica beats Hartford at home 4-3 in a shootout…Binghamton drops Charlotte 4-3 on the Southern Tier. Hershey and Bridgeport had the night off.
Standings: Charlotte 20 — Springfield 16 — Lehigh Valley 16 — Bridgeport 15 — Penguins 14 — Hershey 13 — Hartford 13 — Providence 9
Wheeling Update: Nailers crush Greenville in West Virginia 5-1. Renars Krastenbergs, Cam Brown and Troy Josephs were some of the goal scorers for the Nailers. Johnny Muse stopped 17 of 18.
I doubt Providence will have any highlights package, since they don’t even have a broadcaster, only one camera at the Dunkin Donuts Center and get by on the bare minimum as an AHL franchise. But if I see one, I will tweet it here.
Pens are staying in Providence till Tuesday. They are going to Hartford tomorrow. That Gameday setup will be here on the blog for you at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Let’s Go Pens!