I think the biggest difference between this weekend so far and last weekend is adjustments. Head Coach Clark Donatelli shook up his defense pairings, traded away dead weight and the Penguins have now won two straight games after beating Bridgeport 3-1 Saturday afternoon at home.
Couple that with the fact that the Penguins are getting good goaltending out of Anthony Peters and John Muse and scoring from guys like Jeff Taylor and Ethan Prow today and the sky is the limit with this team.
Four points so far out of the weekend with a chance to sweep it and get all six Sunday in Hershey. Good position to be in.
Anthony Peters opposed Jeremy Smith.
Smith has owned the Penguins.
…completely unchanged from last night. What wasn’t broke against a tough Cleveland opponent needed no fixing against an equally as stout Bridgeport Sound Tigers team.
First Period: Penguins played a great first half, then fell asleep in the second half and got scored on shorthanded and Bridgeport took a 1-0 lead to the room.
Sebastian Aho put a shot on that Otto Koivula tipped in to give the Sound Tigers the 1-0 lead.
Second Period: Penguins came out and dominated, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. They were outshot in the first 10-5, then came out in the second and outshot the Sound Tigers 17-8. Wilkes-Barre played disciplined, didn’t take a penalty at all in the frame and were awarded three power plays. But they still had nothing to show for it.
Smith stood on his head in the period.
Third Period: Jeff Taylor of all people finally solves Jeremy Smith and the Penguins were finally on the board and off to the races.
That’s another assist for Will O’Neill, he had one Friday night against Cleveland. The pairing with him and Kevin Czuczman is working. But for a few hiccups here and there this weekend, O’Neiol has been fine.
A little over a minute later, Ethan Prow sweeps home a rebound off the pads of Smith from a Lafferty shot that gave them Penguins a 2-1 lead.
Pens had to kill a Ryan Haggerty holding penalty. Bridgeport kept the puck in the zone the entire time, but never got one past Peters for the tie.
Penguins could have iced the game away on a power play of their own but failed but Teddy Blueger hit the empty net to make it 3-1 anyway.
The Good: The changes on defense and the power play are working. The Penguins never let off the throttle the entire time while trailing and even in the third period. The killer instinct which lacked in the past few weeks is stirring. Watch out.
The Bad: Hard really to find something bad when it is after all a developmental league, but the lapse in the first period where Wilkes-Barre got scored on could have cost them yet another 1-0 contest if it wasn’t for the relentless offensive attack the Penguins unleashed from the second period onward.
Around the Division: If the Penguins win Sunday in Hershey, then this weekend is going to set up as a perfect weekend for them both in what they can control and what they can’t control out of town. Friday was positive, Saturday setup the same way too. Lehigh Valley loses to Cleveland 4-2. Providence loses to Belleville 3-2. Hershey beats Hartford 6-3. Charlotte, down 4-2 after an empty net goal in Springfield, tie the game and win in overtime to stun the Thunderbirds and win 5-4.
Standings: Charlotte 39 — Bridgeport 32 — Lehigh Valley 30 — Springfield 28 — Providence 26 — Penguins 26 — Hartford 25 — Hershey 23
Pens can tie for fourth with a win and a Binghamton regulation win in Springfield tomorrow. It’s December and I am talking about seeding and regulation wins. Ha.
Wheeling Update: Nailers with a big 5-2 win in Toledo. Michael Phillips with two goals and an assist.
Pens are back in action Sunday afternoon at 5 in Hershey. Gameday setup hits the blog at 1.
Let’s Go Pens!