Matt Abt is sitting in the catbird seat.
With Chris Summers and Zach Trotman injured, the Penguins still have way too many veterans in the lineup to justify Abt sitting out a game. Tim Erixon, who counts as a veteran, also plays defense.
Abt took three consecutive penalties in the second period on Friday and the Penguins anemic penalty kill, 29th overall in the American Hockey League coming into the game, kill the first two but not the third and that stands up as the game winner as Hershey wins 3-2.
Putting Erixon in means that you are over the veteran limit. Abt still gets in cause Will O’Neill would go out. If they wanted to do Erixon and O’Neill and force Abt out, someone like Jimmy Hayes, currently a fourth line forward, comes out and Troy Josephs would go in. I’d be OK with that, honestly, but then you are still gambling with Will O’Neill doing something that makes you grit your teeth.
I guess the moral of the story is that Zach Trotman and Chris Summers need to come back, and quickly.
I am burying Abt. Is it fair? The Pens were 7-3 in their last ten while the Bears were 3-6-1 and winless (0-3-1) in their last four.
Tyler sums it up nice here.
Anthony Peters opposed Vitek Vanecek.
Coal Street didn’t post the lines tweet so this was what I saw as they rolled off early in the first:
Joseph Cramarossa – J-S Dea – Ryan Haggerty
Anthony Angello – Teddy Blunger – Garrett Wilson
Sam Lafferty – Ben Sexton – Adam Johnson
Jimmy Hayes – Linus Ölund – Jarrett Burton
Kevin Czuczman – Macoy Erkamps
Ethan Prow – Matt Abt
Jeff Taylor – Will O’Neill
Tristan Jarry backed up tonight.
Lineup Notes: Erkamps made his WBS debut, Erixon was the D scratch. With Garrett Wilson back down from Pittsburgh, Troy Josephs was also a scratch.
First Period: Ever ride on a see-saw? One side goes up, the other side goes down. Hours of endless entertainment.
That best defined the first period from Hershey.
J-S Dea made it 1-0 for Wilkes-Barre 1:07 in, but then Hershey rattled off two power play goals to make it 2-1 before Teddy Blueger redirected a Garrett Wilson shot on a power play that made it 2-2.
Penguins need to tighten up their putrid penalty kill. I say that because they go to Syracuse on Saturday and the Crunch power play should be illegal it is that good.
Here are the goals.
Riley Barber, who seconds earlier rang iron, drew a lot of attention as he had the puck and instead passed to Mike Sgarbossa who tied it on the back door.
Nathan Walker redirected an Aaron Ness shot from the point on another power play that made it 2-1.
But then the Penguins got it back even when Blueger redirected a Garrett Wilson shot as the Pens were on a two man advantage.
Second Period: Awful hard to build momentum when you are constantly killing penalties in a period, just like the Penguins did in the second. It’s also doubly hard to do so when it’s the same player heading into the penalty box.
Matt Abt took all three penalties in the period, and Riley Barber scored on the third try for Hershey. The Bears outshot the Penguins 15-7 in the period and I couldn’t identify anything other than a Teddy Blueger shorthanded bid as a Penguin shot on goal and a good play on a tic tac toe that Vanecek stopped early on in the period as quality chances for the Pens.
Here is the Barber goal.
Third Period: Penguins had a leftover power play which was really their best shot to get back in the game in hindsight because they wouldn’t get another chance on the man advantage. Wilkes-Barre had to kill another penalty (not Abt this time; Lafferty high stick) but with Peters vacated for the extra attacker they never were able to find the equalizer.
To their credit, Wilkes-Barre outshot Hershey 13-5 in the third period but Vanecek is a good goaltender for Hershey and the Bears seemed locked in tonight after getting smoked in Allentown on Wednesday, putting up a flaccid 18 shots on goal in the game.
The Good: Hershey didn’t score a goal at even strength.
The Bad: Hershey scored three power play goals and the Pens struggles on the penalty kill continue.
Three Stars: 3) Mike Sgarbossa (goal, assist) 2) Vitek Vanecek (26 saves on 28 shots) 1) Riley Barber (goal, two assists)
Around the Division: Bridgeport with a convincing win in Charlotte, the Sound Tigers crush the Checkers 6-1…Binghamton beats Providence 6-3…Syracuse clips Lehigh Valley in a shootout 3-2…Hartford doubles up Rochester 4-2…Utica beats Springfield 2-1.
Standings: Charlotte 46 — Bridgeport 41 — Lehigh Valley 35 — Springfield 35 — Penguins 34 — Providence 29 — Hartford 29 — Hershey 26
Video Highlights: Bears are usually quick on them. If I see one tweeted I will edit it in here.
Pens are in Syracuse tomorrow. They will need to be a lot more disciplined than they were tonight if they want to have success.
Let’s Go Pens!