In an important game for both teams currently sitting out of a playoff spot in a midweek in February, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins stood toe to toe with the Hershey Bears.
Ever the championship opponent that they are, the Hershey Bears stood right back.
Bears take this one in a shootout. If I didn’t write these road games on the fly after the intermissions, I would just start at the third period and go from there.
Ah, hell, let’s do it anyway.
After the Penguins took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission, the Hershey Bears faced a deficit in the third period and only one time before after trailing after two periods.
Tristan Jarry goes out to play a puck, and with visions of Mike Sgarbossa scoring on an empty net the last time Tristan Jarry tried that move in this rink, the Pens caught a small break and avoided the embarrassment of having a goal scored in a wide open net with the goaltender nowhere to be located but still on the ice.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The Penguins chased, panicked, took a penalty and on the delayed call Tyler Lewington scored to tie the game.
The Penguins responded immediately with Ryan Haggerty throwing a puck at the net trying to find teammate Ryan Scarfo for a back door tap in goal. Only the puck hit the skate of Brian Pinho and deflected into his own net to give the Penguins the lead.
Adam Johnson was not able to score on a penalty shot where he was slashed by Lewington. That would have made it 4-2 and would have changed the entire complexion of the game.
Later, Haggerty, who ended up having a very eventful period, was tagged for a very soft tripping call out of a face-off that put the Penguins on the penalty kill. Jayson Megna, playing in his 400th professional game, would score a power play goal for Hershey on a double deflection on an Aaron Ness shot from the point that made it 3-3.
That forced overtime, where Adam Johnson hit the post. Sam Miletic and Zach Trotman ran into each other. No one would score but it was end to end action.
Riley Barber and Nathan Walker would score in the shootout. Sam Miletic and Jimmy Hayes would not. Penguins lose 4-3.
Tristan Jarry opposed Vitek Vanecek.
Lineup Notes: Anthony Angello slid to fourth line center, Jimmy Hayes went back in for Linus Ölund on the fourth line and Macoy Erkamps went in for Tim Erixon on defense. John Muse backed up Tristan Jarry. The Penguins reassigned Cam Brown and Kevin Spinozzi on Tuesday. Thomas DiPauli is still week to week and Jeff Taylor is upgraded to day to day. I saw picture of him on the Pens social media of him practicing in a red no contact sweater.
First Period: Jarry was called into duty quickly, stopping Mike Sgarbossa in the games opening sequences.
Vitek Vanecek responded with a nice stop on a deflection by Jimmy Hayes.
Hershey would get on the board first with a goal by Nathan Walker from the top of the slot.
That goal snapped the Penguins to attention because they took the period over from there. They scored on their only power play of the period with this goal by Kevin Czuczman that tied the game at one.
Jarrett Burton may have deflected the puck in front there. They Penguins won a puck battle and kept the puck in.
I counted just two shots on goal on Jarry after Walker’s goal. The Penguins had a stranglehold on possession an outshot the Bears 14-4 heading into the…
Second Period: Period remained a closely contested affair. Pens had two power plays but didn’t capitalize. Hershey had some better looks in the period but Tristan Jarry turned them all away.
Jimmy Hayes had a breakaway in the first period but couldn’t score. He found himself on another in the second and would have been chased down had he tried to advance closer towards the goal so he did this instead:
If you can’t beat them with speed, use an old school windmill type slap shot goal and blow away the opposing goaltender to give your team a lead on the road against an opponent that hasn’t lost in regulation in over a month. Superb goal.
Third Period: Gave it to you in the lede.
Overtime: I Periscope these when I am not at the games. Here is the entire overtime and shootout for you if you want to sit through 10 plus minutes of camera shake. One day I’ll get a professional setup and just put an iPad on a table and position it towards the TV and walk away. Today wasn’t the day.
The Good: As mentioned in the open, the Penguins stood toe to toe with a division rival in a tightly contested affair.
The Bad: I don’t think anything was figured out here. It’s going to be a very interesting finish.
Turning Point: Adam Johnson’s miss on the penalty shot in the third period would have given Wilkes-Barre a two goal lead with 9:57 to play. Instead, the referees get Haggerty for an awful tripping call and Hershey ties it on the ensuing power play.
Around the Division: Hartford beats Toronto 3-2. Everyone else was off.
Standings: Charlotte 71 — Bridgeport 62 — Providence 59 — Lehigh Valley 57 — Hershey 57 — Penguins 54 — Springfield 52 — Hartford 48
Wheeling Update: Cam Brown and Kevin Spinozzi with an immediate impact in their returns, scoring in a 5-2 win over Reading.
Pens are off Friday; check out the Week 19 AHL Power Rankings Thursday.
Let’s Go Pens!