Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Birthday Biscuits — Pens WIN 5-4 (OT)


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The last time Joseph Cramarossa was in Wilkes-Barre on his birthday he left with a broken nose.

Cramarossa had himself quite the game for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, winners 5-4 in overtime over the San Antonio Rampage Saturday night with a goal and an assist and first star honors.

Wilkes-Barre connected for three power play goals Saturday, the Rampage scored two of their own as the clown show known as Mathieu Menniti and Rob Hennessy rolled into town with court jesters Julien Fournier and Pat Dapuzzo. The officiating sucked tonight, top to bottom. I get trying to fast track guys through, but you have lower levels of hockey for that. I noticed that the game was really quick tonight, the officials struggled, at times, to keep up.

Casey DeSmith opposed Adam Wilcox.

Lineup: Wait, where is Dustin Tokarski? Apparently still hurt despite the assurances from Mike Vellucci last night when Larmi went down that he would be, “ready to go” if called upon. Wilkes-Barre went back to their past and signed Sebastien Caron to backup tonight because they either forgot that they have an ECHL affiliate in Wheeling or didn’t want to pay the gas money to get a guy here. Look, Casey DeSmith was always going to start the game Saturday, but enough is enough with the lies and misdirection from the coaching staff. Emil Larmi didn’t “fall ill” last night, he got hit in the head and probably has a concussion and is sidelined. Now, per a report by Tyler postgame, Tokarski has lingering concussion symptoms and isn’t cleared.

Again, what the hell are they doing? Why not call Alex D’Orio up from Wheeling? It’s Anthony Peters redux. I am starting to, as the days go on fall out of trust with everything Head Coach Mike Vellucci has to say. You may have won a Calder Cup and Coach of the Year in Charlotte last year, but you haven’t accomplished a thing yet here in Wilkes-Barre other than smoke and mirrors and a league worst penalty kill unit.

Justin Almeida for Ryan Scarfo, Reid McNeill for Matt Abt, Jon Lizotte with Michael Kim. Zach Trotman cleared waivers and was assigned officially to the team. Apparently, going on waivers usurps a conditioning loan, hockey is stupid and its rules are too.

First Period: Cramarossa got his night started off right with a great setup to Ryan Haggerty for a goal that gave the Penguins an early 1-0 lead:

San Antonio would be the beneficiary of four power plays in the period. They cashed on two of them.

Nick Lappin first and formally all over a rebound…

And then Nathan Walker with three swipes at the puck off of DeSmith’s pads for a 2-1 Rampage lead.

Second Period: The Penguins would finally be on the right end of a referee’s call and seven seconds in Stefan Noesen did what Stefan Noesen does and that’s score goals for the Penguins.

But wait, Noesen wasn’t done quite yet.

Quite the momentum shift, with the Rampage on full tilt and taking all the penalties.

Late, Mike Vecchione would backhand in a shot to tie the game at three.

Just a ridiculous pass by Nathan Walker to Vecchione for the goal.

Third Period: :31 in, a bouncing puck beat DeSmith for another Vecchione goal on a backhand for a 4-3 San Antonio lead.

(no GIF of this one, sorry)

Casey DeSmith led a penalty killing charge on a Reid McNeill holding call that kept it a one goal deficit.

Jordy Bellerive connected with Jon Lizotte for his first professional goal that tied the game at four on the power play, the Penguins third of the night.

The Penguins had a chance with Jake Dotchin in the box for a head butting penalty, an automatic double minor, to connect for some more power play goals but never got the setup they intended.

It was off to…

Overtime: The setup was a two on none led by Sam Miletic. Miletic dished to a cutting Joseph Cramarossa for the goal, win and two points.

Three Stars: Mike Vecchione (two goals) 2) Stefan Noesen (two goals, assist) 1) Jospeh Cramarossa (overtime game winning goal, assist)

The Good: Macoy Erkamps is playing like he never wants to go back to Wheeling. I thought he played like a bright spot on the Penguins defense all weekend, arguably the best of the defensive corps. Props to the power play unit too. San Antonio was top five in the AHL on penalty kill, connecting for one would have been good, two would have been something but three? That’s what got them to overtime before Cramarossa’s heroics.

The Bad: Besides the officiating and the fact that the head coach is a liar, the penalty killing in the first about near cost the Penguins the game but as we learned in Friday, you don’t win a game in the first period.

Turning Point: Jordy Bellerive’s first professional goal came at an opportune time because it was on the power play and tied the game and got it to overtime.

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley beats Charlotte 3-2….Hartford stays hot and beats Bridgeport 4-1….Utica takes down Hershey 2-1 in a shootout to stay undefeated….Laval beats Providence 3-2 in a shootout and Springfield beats Belleville 5-3.

Standings: Hartford 15 – Providence 12 – Springfield and Hershey 10 – Lehigh Valley and the Penguins 9 – Charlotte 8 – Bridgeport 4

Wheeling Update: Nailers go 4-0 in their home stand, defeating Reading by a score of 3-1. Cam Brown had two assists. Alex D’Orio stopped 35 shots to pick up the win.

Video Highlights: 

Pens get a week of practice before heading to Allentown next Friday. Power Rankings Thursday. News and notes as it comes before then.

Let’s Go Pens!

One response to “Birthday Biscuits — Pens WIN 5-4 (OT)

  1. CyGuy October 27, 2019 at 9:20 am

    1. It’s always easy to criticize the officials but I agree about last night. Muffed and Missed were the officiating operative descriptors.
    2. I thought Reid McNeill had an especially helpful game.
    3. My old saw has been that you have to put 3 solid periods together to win a hockey game but the Pens first period last night ran counter to the axiom. Shows we have to factor in the other character of the team’s 3 periods as well. Make that 3.25.

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