Scott Wedgewood had that look in his eye tonight.
So did John Muse.
So in a goaltender duel where both net defenders become the storyline, mistakes become magnified.
In an equal game overall, the Penguins had one mistake that cost them a goal.
In a tight game where neither goalie gave an inch, that’s all that you need sometimes.
Rochester wins 1-0.
Lineup Notes: Top line remained intact, the returning J-S Dea centered Adam Johnson and Ryan Haggerty. Troy Josephs was a scratch as Linus Ölund, who centered Johnson and Haggerty Wednesday in Hershey, dropped to the fourth line with Joe Cramarossa and Jarrett Burton. On defense, Jeff Taylor and Will O’Neill replaced Tim Erixon and Stefan Elliott.
First Period: The Penguins looked like a team energized to have their old hand back in J-S Dea, who had three shots in the period. Scott Wedgewood was under bombardment from the Penguins but held Wilkes-Barre out of the back of his net, saving all 16 shots sent his way. John Muse was dialed in too, turning away 11 Amerks shots including two in quick succession from Justin Bailey who had a breakaway on a shot that was saved by Wedgewood on the opposite end of the ice. Bailey collected the puck in the high slot, raced down and put a shot then his rebound on at Muse but was turned away.
Second Period: Will O’Neill with a bonehead turnover on a lazy exit attempt and Victor Olofsson scored to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
Taylor is too kind. She left out the O’Neill turnover seconds before the goal.
Reminder that Stefan Elliott and Tim Erixon were scratched tonight.
Sam Miletic wasn’t seen much in the second period, as Nick Hart noted his absence on radio.
Wedgewood remained dialed in, turning away the Penguins on a power play late in the period.
John Muse had a great stop late in the second, stopping this Americans bid:
Third Period: Pens threw everything they had at Wedgewood, including some shorthanded stops on J-S Dea in quick succession.
Turning point of the game, if you want to look at it from a Penguins offensive perspective, was when Wilkes-Barre had a late power play on a Rochester delay of game.
Haggerty had his goal that he thought he scored Sunday awarded to Adam Johnson on a scoring correction this week. Absolutely snakebit.
The Penguins, with Muse pulled for the extra attacker, were never able to find the equalizer.
The Good: Save for a boneheaded play by their defender, the Penguins looked equal all night with the class of the North Division.
The Bad: Will O’Neill should not see the ice for Wilkes-Barre unless it is absolutely, positively, necessary. And that includes exhausting better defensive options currently in Wheeling. Wilkes-Barre is going to live to regret the one or two points it gave away tonight because of one play tonight.
Around the Division: Charlotte loses in Providence tonight 2-1. Lehigh Valley gets an extra attacker goal by Phil Varone to force overtime then an overtime game winning goal by Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored in overtime to give the Phantoms the 3-2 overtime win. Everyone else was off tonight in an uncharacteristically light night in the Atlantic Division.
Standings: Charlotte 33 — Bridgeport 27 — Springfield 24 — Hartford 23 — Lehigh Valley 22 — Penguins 22 — Providence 21 — Hershey 19
Wheeling Update: I saw Taylor tweet a great recap so here’s Taylor:
Here is the box.
Video Highlights: If I see a tweet by the Americans or Penguins with one, I will run it here.
Pens will bus across the border for a 4:00 p.m. start time against the reigning, defending, undisputed Calder Cup Champion Toronto Marlies Saturday afternoon. Check out the Gameday setup here on the blog at noon Saturday.
Let’s Go Pens!