Like a tight game late in the eighth inning, Mike Vellucci walks up to the mound and calls in his closer.
Out of the bullpen steps Dustin Tokarski.
The one thing that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins failed to do in this five game losing streak was closing out opponents.
A very tightly contested affair in Cleveland, the Penguins win 3-1. Two goals for Anthony Angello, 27 saves for Dustin Tokarski and the five game losing streak is over.
Tokarski opposed Veini Vehvilainen.
…not tweeted in a graphic by the Penguins tonight, so they went this way.
Sam Miletic – Andrew Agozzino – Anthony Angello
Jake Lucchini – Oula Palve – Thomas Di Pauli
Graham Knott – Jordy Bellerive – Ryan Haggerty
Andreas Martinsen – Chase Berger – Jan Drozg
Jon Lizotte – P-O Joseph
Kevin Czuczman – Niclas Almari
David Warsofsky – Macoy Erkamps
Lineup Notes: Pens play by play man Nick Hart said that Zach Trotman has a head injury. Kevin Czuczman slotted in for him. Graham Knott made his Penguins debut, for essentially Joseph Blandisi who was recalled by Pittsburgh under emergency conditions again Saturday morning. Ryan Haggerty swapped with Jamie Devane vet for vet.
For posterity, Cleveland lined up like this…
First Period: Sam Miletic took a big hit his first shift and didn’t return, I was out for birthday dinner and would have got the video. I may at some point, just not tonight.
Anthony Angello scored for the Penguins when it appeared that Vehvilainen kicked in the puck that gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
It was a good period overall, one penalty (Bellerive for a high stick) and the Penguins led 1-0. They limited Cleveland to just six shots and played a very good opening period.
Second Period: Anthony Angello scored his second of the night when Andrew Agozzino forced the issue and pressured the goaltender. Angello zipped a hell of a shot that went in.
Dillon Simpson scored for the Monsters which unleashed a calvacade of teddy bears on the Monsters teddy bear night.
Third Period: Two big saves under pressure by Tokarski to preserve the one goal lead for the Penguins.
Both teams had very good looks at the net but no one scored.
Penguins had to kill a Joseph cross check and did so easily.
Then with time dwindling and Cleveland still looking for the tying goal, Thomas DiPauli hit the empty net at center ice that iced its away.
Simpson had the only goal for the Monsters.
The Good: Hell if I am Mike Vellucci, I give Tokarski the net Wednesday at home against Providence and go from there. He was the factor tonight in the Penguins victory. An otherwise bland sixty minutes and the goaltenders usually steal the show. Angello got hot and bagged two, Tokarski took it from there.
The Bad: Cleveland’s power play is bad, the Penguins allowed them to score again tonight. That has to get tightened up.
Turning Point: Angello’s second goal which made it 2-0 seemed like a breath of fresh air for the Penguins who led by multiple goals and rode their veteran goaltender across the finish line.
Around the Division: Lehigh Valley beats Hartford 4-2….Providence beats Springfield 5-4 in overtime….Hershey has won five straight, beating Bridgeport 5-2….Syracuse beats Charlotte 5-4.
Standings: Hartford 39 — Providence 37 — Penguins 32 — Hershey 31 — Springfield 31 — Lehigh Valley 27 — Charlotte 25 — Bridgeport 24
Wheeling Update: Nailers close out the third game out in South Dakota with the Rapid City Rush. Box here.
Video Highlights: I didn’t see any package by the Monsters, so don’t expect one but if Coal Street does one and I can work an edit it will run here.
Pens bus back tonight and will have a few well deserved days off before they are back at it Wednesday at home against Providence in an important two game series with the Bruins. News as it comes from there.
Let’s Go Pens!