Wilkes-Barre loses another 2-1 contest where all of the offense was made in the first period. It’s really becoming the microcosm of the season.
– Start slow. The Pens haven’t been a playoff team in a while now, lingering around the fifth and sixth place seeds in the the Atlantic Division.
– Get hot, but run into interference. After getting outshot 14-7 in the first period by Rockford, the Pens go on to outshoot the IceHogs 39-13.
– Come up empty. Despite the shot total, they could not solve Anton Forsberg in the Rockford crease.
It’s really a one game summary of the season in whole. The Penguins are now two games removed from a four game win streak and despite this, are now seventh in a division full of hot teams around them namely the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears.
Anthony Peters opposed the aforementioned Forsberg in net.
Lineup Notes: The Penguins signed Tim Erixon to a contract for the rest of the season earlier in the week. Tristan Jarry was recalled to Pittsburgh after it was announced that Matt Murray is day to day with an upper body injury. John Muse was recalled from Wheeling and arrived to the arena late.
That is just the off ice stuff. On ice, Sam Lafferty was back in and bumped out Pat McGrath. He centered Cramarossa and Hayes on fourth line. On defense, Kevin Czuczman returned and was paired with Trotman. Erixon went from top pair to third pair with Summers and bumped out Macoy Erkamps.
J-S Dea served the final game of his two game suspension.
First Period: Goals came quick.
Josh McArdle scored at 1:42 of the first when Peters made an initial save when the puck squirted to the slot for him and he scored to put the IceHogs on the board:
63 seconds later, Jarrett Burton scores to tie the game after he raced in unabated from center ice and wired a shot over Anton Forsberg to tie the game at 1.
The Penguins were getting flattened by the IceHogs and took a bunch of unnecessary penalties. Three of them in fact and a pair that gave the IceHogs a two man advantage for over a minute and Rockford’s 30th out of 31 AHL teams power play connected to reestablish the lead at 2-1.
Luke Johnson connected with Dylan Sikura.
Wilkes-Barre was outshot 14-7.
Second Period: Penguins outshot the IceHogs 19-6 in the middle frame but were unable to solve Anton Forsberg. They managed to kill two penalties in the period as well but Forsberg was dialed in.
Third Period: Penguins fail to cash on two power plays awarded in the period, have to kill a penalty late and with Peters pulled for the extra attacker were never able to get the equalizing goal.
The Good: Quantity of shots was there. Were they good shots? Most of them were, yeah. Effort was there after the second period.
The Bad: Another 2-1 setback.
Turning Point: The two man advantage Rockford had in the first period holds up after Forsberg stayed dialed in after the Jarrett Burton blemish against him.
Three Stars: 3) Luke Johnson (power play goal) 2) Josh McArdle (goal) 1) Anton Forsberg (45 saves on 46 shots)
Around the Division: Hershey stays hot, defeats Springfield 4-2 in Massachusetts…Charlotte loses 5-1 at home to a desperate Cleveland team spilling points everywhere.
Standings: Charlotte 70 — Bridgeport 58 — Providence 55 — Lehigh Valley 55 — Springfield 52 — Hershey 51 — Penguins 51 — Hartford 44
Things are tight. But do you really think the Penguins are a playoff contending team right now?
Wheeling Update: Nailers are off, they play in Manchester, New Hampshire this Friday.
Pens travel up to Milwaukee for a Friday meeting against the Admirals at 8 Wilkes-Barre time. Gameday setup is here Friday at 4. Check out the AHL Power Rankings Thursday before.
Let’s Go Pens!