Playoff like intense hockey game played in Providence, Rhode Island between the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and the Providence Bruins. After a scoreless forty minutes, two defensemen trade goals about five minutes apart but that solved little, and the Penguins need a shootout to take down the Bruins 2-1 Friday night in Providence.
With the win and the Phantoms loss in Syracuse Friday, Wilkes-Barre jumps to fifth in the Atlantic and is four points out of a playoff spot on the Bruins, who occupy that spot.
Tristan Jarry opposed Zane McIntyre.
Lineup: Sam Lafferty centered the top line after J-S Dea departed this week. The third line remained the same. The defense pairing were all shook up with Tim Erixon returning and Chris Wideman debuting, taking the place of Jeff Taylor and the recalled Zach Trotman.
First Period: No scoring in the period. The Bruins were slightly better at even strength. Tristan Jarry was up to the task with the in close shots that the Bruins were throwing at him.
Second Period: Penguins found themselves on a power play to start the period and all of a sudden had a two man advantage for 1:25. They got the perfect setup with Sam Lafferty but Zane McIntyre was there to make the ridiculous save to keep the game scoreless.
Anton Blidh and Chris Wideman fought in the only action that would have brought the fans out of their seats.
Third Period: The goal less drought would finally end when Ethan Prow would score to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
Providence then proceeded to slow the game down and through a mass of bodies to the penalty box, would see Chris Breen score a power play goal to tie the game at one. A laser from the point.
Game flipped back into a defensive battle after that. Time ticked down and it was off to…
Overtime: Periscoped below, with the shootout as well. In it, you will see Ethan Prow break up a Bruins scoring bid and the Penguins on a power play to close out regulation. Tristan Jarry stops both shooters he faced, Ben Sexton scored in the second and Joseph Cramarossa with the hammer to win it in the third.
If you don’t want to sit through the entire ~11:30, here is Cramarossa’s game winner in the shootout.
The Good: Pens played a tight, playoff intense affair against a really good team in Providence.
The Bad: Special teams continues to be a concern. Pens couldn’t score on a long 5-on-3 in the second period on a fresh sheet of ice and couldn’t score in overtime.
Turning Point: Tristan Jarry stopping Lee Stempniak, he of 900+ NHL games in the top of the second followed by Joseph Cramarossa’s goal in the bottom of the second proved to be the most important set off events in an otherwise drab, defensively locked down hockey game.
Three Stars: 3) Chris Wideman (assist) 2) Chris Breen (goal) 1) Ben Sexton (goal in shootout)
Around the Division: Charlotte beats Binghamton 4-2….Hershey loses in overtime in Utica 3-2….Lehigh Valley is shutout in Syracuse 4-0 and Springfield beat Hartford 5-1. J-S Dea had a goal for his new team in his Thunderbirds debut. Bridgeport was off.
Standings: Charlotte 81 — Bridgeport 73 — Hershey 68 — Providence 65 — Penguins 61 — Lehigh Valley 60 — Springfield 57 — Hartford 55
Setting up Saturday: Providence travels to Springfield. Lehigh Valley heads to Utica. Hershey hosts a rested Bridgeport team.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers beat Toledo 5-2. Blake Siebenaler, assigned there this week by Wilkes-Barre (technically Pittsburgh) had an assist. Winston Day Chief had a hat trick.
If I see Coal Street put out a video highlight package, I will run it here.
Pens head to Hartford for a 7:30 start Saturday against the Wolf Pack. Gameday setup is yours Saturday at 3:30.
Let’s Go Pens!