Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

The Devil Inside — Pens WIN 5-2

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Tyler’s tweet at the end of the Penguins 5-2 win over the Binghamton Devils Monday night gave me the headline idea.

110 PIMs Saturday in a blowout win over Lehigh Valley. Only 54 PIMs tonight but it was a testy affair that saw Garrett Wilson tossed for an illegal check to the head match penalty which may get him suspended, more on that in a bit, but the Penguins are mucking it up and being physical and going to the window with wins in their last two contests where they get their pants dirty.

Right now, Wilkes-Barre is in a bird fight with Springfield for the fourth spot in the Atlantic so, whatever works.

Tristan Jarry opposed Cam Johnson.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Joseph Cramarossa was suspended for the instigator he picked up in the last five minutes on Saturday in Allentown so Ryan Haggerty jumped in for him one the line with Dea and Hayes. The Penguins sent Troy Josephs and John Muse to Wheeling on Sunday and recalled Cam Brown who jumped right into the action on the fourth line, centering Linus Ölund and Patrick McGrath. Jarrett Burton is day to day with an injury.

First Period: Binghamton on the board first as a shot caromed off of Jarry and was swept in by Ryan Schmelzer that gave Binghamton a 1-0 lead. The Devils heavily pressured and struck first at 4:13.

Penguins would get it back on a weird sequence. Garrett Wilson just left the penalty box when two Devils got tangled up in the neutral zone by the penalty box. Kurtis Gabriel, in the box with Wilson on a roughing minor ran into his teammate Marian Studenic who had the puck. Wilson then did this…

…and that tied the game at one a piece heading into the second period.

Second Period: Wilkes-Barre scores three times in a period that really could have gone either way.

Garrett Wilson with a nice blind pass to the slot for Teddy Blueger that made it 2-1.

Penguins found themselves in some penalty trouble and Colton White scored on a two man advantage that tied the game at two.

But then Kevin Czuczman stepped out of the penalty box and set up Ben Sexton who scored to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.

That was Kevin Czuczman’s 100th AHL point on the assist.

Wilkes-Barre doubles the lead on a shot by Garrett Wilson which is cleaned up by Anthony Angello for a 4-2 Penguin lead.

Wild period which really could have broke for either side. Binghamton’s defense is leaky and the Penguins were better. They got in penalty trouble but were able to navigate out of it only giving up one goal and managed to net three of their own in the period.

Third Period: As mentioned in the open, Garrett Wilson may be looking at a suspension for an illegal check to the head Match Penalty on Nathan Bastian who was shaken, but not stirred as he would return to action after getting checked out on the bench. Binghamton had a 5:00 power play that they really let get by them as Jarry was never really challenged.

Here is all your verbiage on the Match Penalty and Illegal Check to the Head sections of the AHL Rulebook.

Here is the hit with the replays.

Teddy Blueger would hit an empty net with about 44 seconds left to ice the game away and give the Penguins the win to close out 2018.

The Good: When previous iterations of Penguins teams played, its always came with a physical edge that not many opponents were ready for that worked out in their favor. If this Wilkes-Barre team plays with ruthless aggression, they will be a hard team to beat on most nights, provided they play within the lines of the AHL Rulebook.

The Bad: I don’t think if Wilson is suspended it will be for a long time and I’d even argue that the match penalty he was assessed is enough punishment to fit the crime since Bastian returned to the game none the worse for wear, but going back to the previous paragraph, the Pens don’t want to catch a label as a dirty team.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Another day where the Charlotte Checkers go down big to an opponent, another comeback for the Atlantic Division leaders. Checkers get a point in Toronto and lose 5-4 in overtime. Everyone else was off.

Standings: Charlotte 51 — Bridgeport 47 — Lehigh Valley 41 — Penguins 39 — Springfield 37 — Hartford 34 — Providence 33 — Hershey 30

Wheeling Update: Nailers shutout the Reading Royals 4-0 at home. Johnny Muse a 28 save shutout, Troy Josephs with a goal.

Video Highlights: 

Have a happy and safe New Year. If there is anything mentioned about Garrett Wilson and any supplemental discipline from the League, I will run a blog post this week. If not, the AHL Power Rankings are out Thursday and the Pens are back in action at home against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Let’s Go Pens!

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