Gritty win for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who defeat the understaffed Lehigh Valley Phantoms in overtime, 2-1.
Anthony Stolarz stopped 44 of 46 shots on his conditioning stint from the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins shot 70% of their shots at Stolarz directly into the Phantoms logo on Stolarz’s chest. I don’t think that he had many high risk saves that he had to make today. Penguins shooters made it pretty easy for him though the first forty minutes, putting 32 shots on Stolarz.
But it was the Phantoms scoring first, Mike Huntebrinker scored his first of the season with this goal in the opening stages of the third period.
That’s Kevin Czuczman there in front going for the half block. Huntebrinker put it past him and then off the post, Jarry and then in.
The Penguins had two power play opportunities but couldn’t muster anything close to a dangerous look that Stolarz would have had a chance to turn away.
One second after power play expired, Adam Johnson scored his fourth goal in three games that tied the game at one and the Penguins had life again.
Diving block by the Phantoms defender may have taken something off of the shot that changed up on Stolarz.
The teams skated even the rest of the way in the third period and went off to overtime.
After a herky jerky start to overtime whee it looked like a shootout was inevitable, Ethan Prow ended it.
Teddy Blueger drove the net, put a shot on that Stolarz denied but didn’t cover, and Ethan Prow was there to sweep it home. Ball game.
Kind of writing the game story backwards from here. Nothing really happened offensively in the first two periods. The Phantoms has 17 shots through two periods and the Penguins had 17 shots in the second period alone. It was a dominating performance from the Penguins offensively, but all offerings laid at the feet at Anthony Stolarz were easily turned away.
Two rivals on the ice in a game that had importance for both, the Phantoms and Penguins have been reeling of late, so you would think that they would be ornery for a 1 p.m. Monday start. No. They played good, legal hockey for much of the game. Referees Terry Koharski and Ryan Jenken had long leashes today and only called what needed to be.
Tristan Jarry got the start for the Penguins. Here is how they lined up.
Joseph Blandisi was sent down by Pittsburgh on Sunday and is expected to arrive tonight and practice with the team Tuesday before they get on a bus and head to Bridgeport for a 10:30 a.m. start on Wednesday.
Zach Trotman and Chris Summers were both back from their injuries and had big impacts on the ice today, erasing any high chances that any Phantoms players tried to produce. As a result, Joseph Cramarossa had to sit as the extra veteran. Other lineup notes were Ryan Scarfo up with Teddy Blueger and Anthony Angello top line. Cam Brown to third line. Jimmy Hayes up from, Ryan Haggerty down to, fourth line. Patrick McGrath went in for Cramarossa. Macoy Erkamps and Danny Fick (who skated as the extra in warmups) yielded to Summers ands Trotman.
The Good: I like the amount of shots that the Penguins put up today. They ran into a goaltender who was very, very good today in Stolarz, who deserved a better result today.
The Bad: Flipping that, at what point do the shooters try a different angle or release point when Stolarz is getting hit in the chest time after time after time? That may be be nitpicking, though.
Around the Division: Hershey beat the suddenly reeling Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4-1. Providence beat Hartford 5-2 and the Bruins collect 5 of 6 points this weekend. Springfield hosted Laval Monday night and lost in overtime 4-3.
Standings: Charlotte 64 — Bridgeport 52 — Lehigh Valley 49 — Springfield 48 — Providence 47 — Penguins 45 — Hershey 42 — Hartford 42
Wheeling Update: The Nailers are off this week.
Pens are practicing Tuesday, will then get on a bus and then head to Bridgeport for a 10:30 morning start against the Sound Tigers. I will have the Gameday setup with your morning coffee bright and early at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Let’s Go Pens!