Punch. Counterpunch. Punch. Counterpunch.
That’s how this game went for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins tonight in Springfield, a 4-3 overtime loss.
The Thunderbirds jumped out to a 1-0 lead and the Pens answered and made it 2-1. Springfield responded and made it 3-2, the Pens score on a weird goal and get a Lafferty puck over glass delay of game penalty and some key glove saves by Anthony Peters to force overtime but lose there on a Jacob McDonald power play goal.
It’s a game that the Penguins could have, should have, won.
Anthony Peters opposed Samuel Montembeault.
Lineup Notes: Sam Miletic and Garrett Wilson returned from injury. Tristan Jarry was recalled to Pittsburgh Thursday under emergency conditions as Matt Murray is out “long term” with a “lower body injury” so Johnny Muse was recalled later Thursday in the corresponding move by Coal Street.
Line wise, things were all jumbled up with Miletic and Wilson in. Tobias Lindberg and Pat McGrath were the odd men out there. Matt Abt was in for Jeff Taylor on the third defensive pairing.
First Period: Springfield struck on the first power play of the game when Harry Zolnierczyk was left wide open in the slot that made it 1-0 Thunderbirds.
That was the tenth straight game in where the Pens have allowed a power play goal.
Wilkes-Barre had a chance to get back even or better with 1:39 of 5-on-3 power play.
It was an unmitigated disaster.
Anthony Peters had to cover up and make a save on a shot that Springfield had on the penalty kill.
Will O’Neill, known for his power play prowess, had a chance to score in the slot and didn’t take shot. Then, he had something like three shots from farther back that was either easily blocked or defected away.
Second Period: Joseph Cramarossa smacked home a pin balling puck to tie it.
Great response for the Penguins coming out of the break.
Wilkes-Barre would scored to move ahead on the power play when Teddy Blueger sniped this one home that gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
But then Springfield loaded up the shots, 25 total in the period, and reclaimed the lead.
Paul Thompson with a knee drop one timer from the top of the far circle…
Not quite, Taylor, but it was yet another Penguins prospect that would score the go ahead goal to close out the period. Blaine Byron would score on a rebound off of the pads of Anthony Peters that put the Thunderbirds up 3-2 heading into the third.
Third Period: Penguins had a great chance at an early power play as they pinned Springfield deep in their zone and fired shot after shot at Montembeault but came up empty.
Ethan Prow scored a goal on a weird sequence as the shot that he shot redirected off of a Thunderbirds stick and into the net that tied the game at three.
Prow factored into all three Penguins goals tonight. If Pittsburgh needs a defensive recall, Prow is the man for the job in this writers opinion.
Anthony Peters had a couple of glove saves late that preserved the tie and forced overtime, but it was a puck over glass delay of game penalty by Sam Lafferty that put the Pens in a hole.
Overtime: Garrett Wilson dove in a clearing attempt. It’s a home run play that either works out great or it doesn’t.
Three Stars: 3) Anthony Peters (39 saves on 43 shots) 2) Ethan Prow (goal, two assists) and 1) Jacob McDonald (overtime game winning power play goal)
The Good: Points are points.
The Bad: 1) The extra one is one that the Penguins may wish they had come the Spring…2) The PK is now league worst at 75%.
Around the Division: Hartford beats Bridgeport 3-2 in a shootout….Lehigh Valley thumps Hershey 6-2. Charlotte and Providence were off.
Standings: Charlotte 29 — Bridgeport 25 — Springfield 22 — Lehigh Valley 22 — Hartford 21 — Penguins 20 — Hershey 17 — Providence 15
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.
Highlights: Coal Street quick on them tonight:
Pens will bus home and get ready for a home game against the Hershey Bears Saturday night. Gameday setup is here on the blog Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!