This was a fun game to watch Saturday night.
An offensive explosion in the first period by both teams quickly turned into a defensive and special teams battle. Overtime doesn’t solve anything and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins score in all three rounds of the shootout and defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-2 in a shootout.
Casey DeSmith opposed Christopher Gibson.
Lineup: Matt Abt for Michael Kim. I saw a tweet from the Pens practice the other day that didn’t show Thomas DiPauli in a red no contact and Tyler reported after the game Wednesday that DiPauli is not seriously injured and they don’t want to rush him back. Better safe than sorry, I suppose, but it’s Beau Bennett redux, the guy just cannot stay healthy.
First Period: Felt like a slow rock fight. Pens jumped to a 2-1 after falling into a 1-0 hole, but the pair of goals that bookended the start and finish of the period saw the sides skate to the locker room at 2-2. Each team scored a power play goal in the period also.
The Sound Tigers jumped to a 1-0 lead when Ryan Bourque tipped in a Ryan MacKinnon shot that gave Bridgeport a 1-0 lead.
The Penguins responded quickly, in bang bang fashion in a span of :57 when Andrew Agozzino scored his first Penguin goal when Jake Lucchini came screaming down the far wall and intended pass for Kevin Czuczman that nutmegged the Pens defender but the trailing Agozzino was there to bring the Penguins even.
(no GIFs of the Bridgeport goals tonight if you were wondering)
With Travis St. Denis in the box for a high stick, :16 later Sam Miletic scored to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead on the power play.
Joseph Cramarossa had a shorthanded breakaway but was denied by Gibson. Late, an Andrew Agozzino sucker punch to Arnaud Durandeau saw the Sound Tigers on a late power play. A Sebastian Aho shot hit the post, died in the crease and was swept in by Nick Schilkey to even the score at two. It’s the sixth straight games where the Penguins allowed two goals in the first period.
Second Period: Less of a rock fight in comparison from the first, teams traded a couple of power plays, but DeSmith and Gibson kept the second period scoreless.
Third Period: Penguins had a 1:50ish of two man advantage and were not able to score. Less so of a lack of offense as there were a lot of shots and more so a hell of a job by Christopher Gibson in goal, blocking all the shots and making the saves necessary to keep his team level with the Penguins.
Overtime: Periscoped here for you.
– Matt Lorito and Kieffer Bellows had a rush up ice, made contact with DeSmith and the puck went in but the referee (I didn’t catch who as I was Periscoping) washed out the goal immediately for contact with DeSmith.
– Joseph Cramarossa led P-O Joseph and fed him a pass that Joseph sailed wide. Why that combination was out there on a three-on-three overtime baffles me, but then I’m reminded that DiPauli is hurt and a trio of players are in Pittsburgh.
Shootout: It’s in the Periscope above. Noesen, Cramarossa and Haggerty all scored. Matt Lorito scored in the bottom of the first and DeSmith stopped Keiffer Bellows in the bottom of the second. Here’s all three Penguins goals…
The Good: Looks like we have a good shootout lineup.
The Bad: The two man advantage power play unit needs work, but credit Gibson for standing tall.
Turning Point: That :57 sequence in the first was good to get the Penguins the goals needed to get it to the shootout round, where all three players scored quite easily on Gibson, who looked like an impenetrable wall in regulation.
Three Stars: 3) Joseph Cramarossa (game winning shootout goal) 2) Casey DeSmith (23 saves on 25 shots) 1) Andrew Agozzino (goal, assist)
Around the Division: Charlotte, who I think is this seasons Lehigh Valley with how inconsistent they are from night to night, throttle the Syracuse Crunch 7-3….Springfield beats Lehigh Valley in an eight round shootout 4-3…Providence scores a touchdown in Belleville 7-4….Hershey doubles up Laval 4-2 and Hartford stays unbeaten in regulation with a 4-3 overtime win in Binghamton.
Standings: Hartford 11 – Providence and Hershey 9 – Penguins 7 – Lehigh Valley, Springfield and Charlotte 6 – Bridgeport 4
Wheeling Update: Alec Butcher scores twice, Jordan Ruby stops 26 shots and the Nailers take down the Indy Fuel 4-3. Blake Siebenhaler scored with 23.7 seconds left in regulation.
Pens will bus home and get ready for their Wednesday road game in Binghamton. I’ll have the first look at the expanded stats charts for you Monday. Look for that then.
Let’s Go Pens!