You can’t win a game in the first period but you can give it away.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were outshot 20-10 in the first period and were down 2-1 and at one point went down 3-1 but then rattled off four straight and win 5-3 behind a solid effort in goal by Emil Larmi and a late game winner by Stefan Noesen. Noesen ended with two goals (an empty netter at the end of the game) he also leads the AHL in goals scored.
Binghamton was a quick team in the first and came at Wilkes-Barre from all angles and the Penguins looked shellshocked. Credit to Mike Vellucci for righting the ship as the Penguins locked it down from there. I wonder what the message was in the room.
Emil Larmi opposed Evan Cormier.
Lineup: Essentially Michael Kim for Matt Abt and Justin Almeida for Thomas DiPauli.
And for Binghamton…
First Period: Binghamton connected on a tic tac toe power play goal started by all ex-Penguin players consisting of Joe Morrow, Ben Street and Chris Conner. Conner connected off a nice tic tac toe play that gave the Devils a very early lead.
Conner’s 200th AHL goal.
32 seconds later, Jake Lucchini walked through a defenseman like grass through a goose and scored this pretty goal that brought the sides level at one.
The Devils would continue to bombard the Penguins with speed and shots, twenty in total in the first period and took a lead with 1:38 to play when Ben Street came in hot off the bench on a delayed Penguins penalty and connected for a goal through a screened Larmi which made it 2-1.
Second Period: The Pens outshot the Devils 16-4 in the middle frame but made a terrible mistake when Michael Kim misplayed a puck by Larmi’s net that ended up inside of it for a 3-1 Devils lead.
The Penguins did manage to break through for a goal when Justin Almeida sniped home his first pro goal with this effort in the final minute of the period that got the Penguins to within one.
That was confidence boost / builder for Almeida, playing in just his second game of the season.
Third Period: Jake Lucchini had a hell of a game. He had a chance early in the third but was denied. Later, Kasper Bjorkqvist scores his first pro goal that tied to game at three.
Wilkes-Barre kept coming and coming and finally broke through with 2:14 left in regulation.
Devils called time out and eventually pulled Cormier, but Noesen scored from about Public Square to ice the game away and give the Penguins the win.
The Good: The smothering defense from Wilkes-Barre after the first period and the no nonsense goaltending from Emil Larmi to lock down the Devils and deny any more goals.
The Bad: That Michael Kim giveaway was bad, bad, bad. If you’re in between him and Matt Abt, you’ve got a problem. It’s just one game though.
Turning Point: This happened in the second period with the Penguins down 3-1:
Around the Division: Providence was in Laval and came back from four goals only to lose in a shootout 5-4…. Hershey was in Toronto and lost 4-3.
Standings: Hartford and Providence with 7, Hershey and Wilkes-Barre with 5, Charlotte and Springfield with 4, Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport with 3.
Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. They are in Fort Wayne on Friday.
Pens are off Friday, the only Friday off all season (that mid-December meeting with Cleveland got bumped from that Sunday to Friday) so enjoy the night off. I know I will. Power Rankings will be here Thursday morning at 11. Gameday setup for Bridgeport will be here Saturday afternoon at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!