Quick aside, something to be thankful for: This is the last work night home game until March 6. There are actually just two left. Kindly mind any spelling or format errors as the game story was thumbed out on my iPhone. You may be lucky enough to have this week off before the New Year, but I burned off the last of my vacation time last week.
Anyway, enough about me.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins had this game in the bag early, but then lost it in the end due to a questionable onside play and the fact that their defense is in big time flux with dependable blue liners injured. Penguins lose 5-3. A late goal by Tyrell Goulbourne pushed the Phantoms ahead with 1:02 left in regulation.
A bad way to lose, yes, with how close things are right now in the division. It looked like the Penguins were on track for two points, then maybe one, ultimately none.
Tristan Jarry opposed Alex Lyon.
Lineup Notes: Ethan Prow missed the game due to presumed injury. He is indeed just day to day per Clark to the Pens media postgame. As a result, the defense pairings were all shook up from Saturday. Tim Erixon replaced Prow and as a result that forced Joe Cramarossa out of the lineup due to the veteran rule. Jarrett Burton, who was scratched Saturday, slotted in on the fourth line and Ryan Scarfo replaced Cramarossa on the second.
First Period: These types of periods coming out of holiday breaks are dangerous because they can be traps. Lehigh Valley played decent, but took two penalties and had Ben Sexton tag them for all the offense in the period.
Sexton’s first came after Adam Johnson broke in and was stopped by Lyon. His follow up try was also denied, but hit the post and was there for Sexton to sweep in for his first of the season.
Sexton would strike again with 2.3 seconds left to play in the period when his low angle shot eluded Lyon which gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead heading to the first intermission.
Second Period: Penguins would keep the pressure on and lead in shots for a good amount of the period. But Lehigh Valley continued to test Jarry and the Pens netminder was successful.
But a bad outlet pass by Jeff Taylor found Reece Willcox instead and Willcox left a pass for Tyrell Goulbourne who finally solved Jarry to cut it to one.
But, the Penguins would strike again before the clock hit midnight again when Jeff Taylor’s dump in took a funny bounce right to Teddy Blueger who had a wide open net to shoot at when Lyon left his crease to play it.
Taylor atones for his previous error.
Third Period: Lehigh Valley gets one back quickly to open the frame when a Phillipe Myers shot is redirected in by Taylor Leier in front.
Then, Connor Bunnaman scores on a breakaway. Initially it looked like he was offside by a foot, but linesman Jud Ritter who has a history of calls that usually go against the Penguins, deemed it clean.
No way to definitively say yes / no on that. Clark postgame to Tyler…
Phantoms score late when a puck is redirected pulling Jarry out of position when Tyrell Goulbourne scored with 62 seconds left to edge the Phantoms ahead.
Phantoms score again off the faceoff when a routine dump in handcuffs Jarry that made it 5-3.
(no GIF of this sequence that I saw)
Pens shellshocked with Jarry pulled, saw the game end with the arena chanting, “Let’s Go Phantoms!”
The Good: The start was fine. Going up 2-0 in the first was the perfect way to set up the second and third.
The Bad: Can’t blame special teams here. Pens couldn’t defend a lead with the vertebraes of defense (Prow, Trotman, Summers) injured. It’s a concern going forward.
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Charlotte 48 — Bridgeport 41 — Lehigh Valley 39 — Springfield 37 — Penguins 35 — Hartford 31 — Providence 31 — Hershey 26
Wheeling Update: Nailers, along with the entire ECHL, were off tonight.
Video Highlights: I will catch up on this later if I see any when I get home or Thursday morning.
Check out the Week 12 AHL Power Rankings Thursday around 11 a.m.
Next game is Friday against Hershey. Look for the Gameday setup here against the Bears Friday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!