Pardon any formatting errors as I’m drawing this up on the fly. No, I don’t have work on Thanksgiving, but I’m traveling and want the majority of the heavy lifting done now vs. later. Great game by two teams headed in seemingly different directions. Pens win 6-2 as the Phantoms slump woes continue. Big games by all the regulars with Stefan Noesen and Thomas DiPauli with two goal games a piece. Adam Johnson and Joseph Blandisi also scored. Casey DeSmith stopped 29 of 31 to pick up his ninth with of the season.
Lineup Notes: David Warsofsky was not in the lineup. Tyler reported after the game that it’s a nagging injury that isn’t serious. We’ll see. Michael Kim was the player who took warmups but was scratched. Matt Abt was in Warsofsky’s place….Jamie Devane made his debut, bumped Thomas DiPauli to the third line, Andreas Martinsen out as the veteran overage (Devane counts as a vet) – on defense, call it Nicolas Almari, returning from injury, for David Warsofsky.
First Period: Pens off to a very slow start, a turnover in their own end wound up in the back of their net when Tyler Wotherspoon connected for a goal that gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead in the first two minutes.
But the Penguins responded quickly on the power play when Stefan Noesen finished off this feed from Adam Johnson that evened the game at one.
Pens had another shot at a power play right after but didn’t score, later had a two on none and made too many passes and no shot.
Adam Johnson connected for his first of the season on this spin-o-rama shot that edged the Penguins ahead 2-1
In what looked like it could be a run and gun affair after the hot start settled into just a 7-4 shot advantage for the Pens heading into the…
Second Period: Stefan Noesen bagged his second of the game while getting hooked. The shot trickled up and over Lyon and in and gave the Pens a 3-1 lead.
Just when you thought that the Pens would be able to run away with it, Pascal Laberge floated to the high slot, pump faked a slap shot and instead went wrist shot and beat Casey DeSmith through a screen that brought Lehigh Valley back within one.
Joseph Blandisi added one on a Penguins power play that gave the Pens a two goal lead again. Andrew Agozzino’s shot knocked Alex Lyon’s mask off, but in one fell swoop, Blandisi was there to knock the puck in.
Legitimate gripe by Lyon, play is supposed to stop immediately when a mask is dislodged, but the rulebook has a gray area there.
Rule 9.6, paragraph four, in part…
When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has control of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask. When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity…..
Because the whole sequence was bang-bang, and the Phantoms never touched the puck after Lyon’s mask was dislodged, play continued.
Shots were an even 20 a side heading into the …
Third Period: Story of the period was the apparent benching of Anthony Angello. Angello was on the bench, but didn’t skate an entire shift for the entire period. Jake Lucchini jumped in his spot.
Pretty uneventful period otherwise, Pens hit an empty net with 3:10 left to play when Thomas DiPauli scored from center ice to seal it.
DiPauli for good measure added another the more conventional way, beating Lyon five hole.
Three Stars: 3) Adam Johnson (goal, two assists) 2) Thomas DiPauli (two goals) 1) Stefan Noesen (two goals)
The Good: Two players with two goals each. Two power play goals. That is enough to carry the day.
The Bad: If the Phantoms didn’t come in on a winless on the road slump (I think is five losses now) is it a different outcome when they score first? Still, glad the Pens responded quickly.
Turning Point: Blandisi’s power play goal that re-establishes Wilkes-Barre’s two goal lead in the second was a no look back moment for the Penguins. They smelled blood and put the game away.
Around the Division: Wild one in Hershey, Bears up 3-0, cough up the lead and lose 7-6 in a shootout to the Providence Bruins….Bridgeport has won three in a row, beating Springfield 3-2….Charlotte beats Cleveland 5-2.
Standings: Hartford 27 — Providence 27 — Penguins 26 — Springfield 24 — Lehigh Valley 21 — Hershey 21 — Charlotte 19 — Bridgeport 18
Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost at home to Fort Wayne 5-4 in overtime. They rematch tomorrow in Indiana on Thanksgiving. Brandon Hawkins, Ryan Scarfo, Blake Siebenaler and Renars Krastenbergs all bagged goals in the defeat.
Power Rankings are essentially done, just waiting on finals from out west and those will go up Thursday at 11 like they always do bi-weekly.
Have a great Thanksgiving if you celebrate. If you’re Canadian, happy Thursday.
Let’s Go Pens!