Spare me the Anthony Peters gripes. The Penguins net minder took the net Saturday afternoon against the Hershey Bears and was dealt a 5-3 setback.
Now I am one of Peters biggest critics here, but listen to this logic.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are severely understaffed right now due to injuries. Patrick McGrath took the warmup today and was the only healthy scratch that the Penguins had.
That is a lot of regular contributors out of the lineup for Wilkes-Barre. It’s a patchwork lineup right now which is top heavy. You have your Blueger’s and Dea’s and Johnson’s, but inconsistency after that.
Anthony Peters can let in 100 goals. If the team ahead of him fails to move their feet to generate any offense and go down 2-0 in the first period like they did Saturday, with the lineup as it currently sits, it’s hard to dig out of against a Hershey Bears team that just has the Penguins number and is playing some excellent hockey of recent.
Peters opposed Ilya Samsonov, who by his own right is a big reason Hershey is playing so well recently. Hershey has now won four in a row.
Lineup Notes: Sam Lafferty, Matt Abt and Jeff Taylor all were out. We knew that Taylor and Abt left the game with injuries Friday against Rochester, Sam Lafferty was hit hard by Scott Wilson last night in the second period.
The Penguins signed defensemen and Nailers captain Danny Fick to a PTO earlier in the day Saturday. He was paired with Tim Erixon. Kevin Spinozzi went with Ethan Prow and Ryan Scarfo was used as the replacement for Sam Lafferty, but it was J-S Dea in Lafferty’s spot at the second line center.
Tom got an update from Pens head coach Clark Donatelli after the game:
Not mentioned by Tom, but Will O’Neill somehow is day to day as well.
First Period: Jarrett Burton was stopped on a early two on one by Samsonov. It was the only Grade A chance that the Penguins had all period in the six shots they mustered at the Hershey net minder.
Mike Sgarbossa opened the scoring on the power play with this play.
It was the tenth straight game that the Bears score first in.
I thought the entry should have been whistled down for offsides. Since I was not at the game today because of the snow, I had the ability to go back on AHL TV and go frame by frame. You tell me if you think the play should have been whistled down for offsides.
Hershey beat out and icing call and Shane Gersich scored to give the Bears a 2-0 lead.
Icing beat out, no one on the puck, no one marking Gersich. Yuck.
Peters had a big stop in the final minute. But the Penguins were badly outshot 11-6 in the first period. I heard Hart say on radio that the shots were at one point 6-6. The Penguins went the final nine minutes without a shot on goal.
Second Period: Anthony Peters was tremendous in the period. He stopped Nathan Walker right out of the opening face-off and stopped all 12 shots that he faced, including three Hershey power plays.
Adam Johnson scored a goal off of a J-S Dea shot when the Penguins were gift wrapped a two man advantage for a full two minutes.
Penguins hit a few posts in the period. Ethan Prow was freed from the penalty box and hit one. But the story of the period was Peters’ solid play in the second frame with his team down two goals.
Third Period: Hershey added another power play goal when Jayson Megna went pretty much unmarked in the slot with Nathan Walker screening and Hershey took a 3-1 lead.
Teddy Blueger got one back on a Penguins power play that got the Penguins to within one.
But then Joseph Cramarossa had a big hit on Shane Gersich and fought Connor Hobbs…
…but on the ensuing power play Riley Barber connected on the Bears third power play of the game to give Hershey a 4-2 lead.
Penguins got a later power play to possibly get it back to within one but Sam Miletic threw a pass to the point where there was no one but a Bears player. That Bears player was Jayson Megna who did this.
Just burned Tim Erixon and made Anthony Peters look silly.
J-S Dea set up Adam Johnson for his second of the game that cut it to two…
…but with Peters pulled the Penguins would get no closer.
The Good: The Penguins scored three power play goals.
The Bad: The Hershey Bears scored three. One is okay, two is a problem, three is unacceptable. It’s rare that you see a penalty free game. That last thing that you want to see is your penalty kill cost you games.
Oh, Hershey hasn’t won four games in Wilkes-Barre during the regular season since 2012-13 until today.
Three Stars: 3) Adam Johnson (two goals) 2) Mike Sgarbossa (goal, two assists) 1) Jayson Megna (two goals, assist)
Around the Division: Charlotte gets a point because that’s what they do, losing 4-3 in overtime to Toronto….Bridgeport takes down Providence 4-3 in a shootout…Lehigh Valley beats Rochester 3-2 in a shootout….Springfield shuts out Hartford 3-0.
Standings: Charlotte 64 — Bridgeport 52 — Lehigh Valley 48 — Springfield 47 — Providence 45 — Penguins 43 — Hartford 42 – Hershey 38
Video Highlights: I doubt that the Pens will run a package as I suspect the employees will want to make it home safe. If I see one, I will put it here.
Pens are off Sunday and will play Lehigh Valley at 1 p.m. Monday. Gameday setup for that will hit the blog at 9 a.m. I am taking the day off from the big boy job and will be at the Arena.
Let’s Go Pens!