Another ridiculously tight, too close to call game between the Hershey Bears and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. The Penguins, despite a few blowouts and 1-0 shutouts against, have played decent hockey in the month of December but they lacked any type of scoring unless your name was Anthony Angello. The Hershey Bears haven’t lost a game in the month of December.
Until tonight. The Penguins win 2-1 Saturday night to end the Bears nine game winning streak.
I ran the numbers back to that December 11 game in Rochester where Sam Miletic and Oula Palve scored in the third period. Depending on what your view of an even strength goal is, Jan Drozg scored an even strength goal and then Sam Miletic scored one with an extra attacker on, Drozg’s goal came 365:37 minutes ago, Miletic’s was 361:56.
Well make it 425:37 or 421:56 (again, depending on your views of what is even strength) since a player not named Anthony Angello scored an even strength goal for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
Angello scored the Penguins first goal and Thomas DiPauli, in his return from Pittsburgh, added on a power play goal and the Penguins tidily sweep the weekend.
Dustin Tokarski opposed Vitek Vanecek.
Lineup Notes: Thomas DiPauli was returned from Pittsburgh, he replaced Jamie Devane on the fourth line. Casey DeSmith didn’t make the trip, Wheeling is in Indianapolis and Emil Larmi was up for the week and his itinerary included going back to the ECHL to get a bunch of games in during the Nailers crazy busy stretch coming up here so logistically he couldn’t rubber band back to town. Penguins signed Sebastian Caron to a PTO and he spent his afternoon / evening as the backup.
First Period: Was basically all centered around this play which a lot of Bears fans weren’t happy with.
Bobby Nardella puts the puck in the net but referee Michael Duco immediately washes out the goal and puts Matt Moulson in the penalty box for interference.
Soft call? Yes. Right call? Who knows. Whenever you think you know what a call is or isn’t, they move the target on you and you end up wrong.
These types of calls usually go for you and against you at least once a season.
There was no (legal) scoring in the period.
Second Period: Anthony Angello continued his goal scoring tear for the Penguins with this shot for a goal in the slot that gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
Hershey would get a two man advantage and Matt Moulson tapped in an easy goal that tied the game at one.
Cheeky point by Moulson there, mocking the referees that that one counted.
Penguins had a power play that went like this. Lose face off, give up two on none, then have this happen to your goaltender.
Third Period: Thomas DiPauli scored on a rebound of an Oula Palve shot. His offering dribbled up the back of Vancek and into the net.
Hershey responded in kind, by Penguins defenseman Michael Kim had a better shift, dropping to a knee to save a goal which preserved the Penguins one goal lead.
Bears pulled Vanecek in search of a tying goal, but weren’t able to get the equalizer. It was a ferocious final stand by Tokarski and the Penguins defense that preserved the win and ended the Bears winning streak.
Three Stars: 3) Anthony Angello (goal) 2) Matt Moulson (goal) 1) Thomas DiPauli (goal)
The Good: Despite the tumult, a nice turnaround by Wilkes-Barre / Scranton to sweep the weekend. They proved that they can hang and squeeze out goals when they need to in order to win hockey games.
The Bad: Really nitpicking as I am sitting here watching the cursor flash by on me as I am trying to think of one. Penguins played a great game, top to bottom with luck, and got the result they were seeking.
Turning Point: I’m going to let Tyler give this to you.
Hard to disagree with it. You could also go DiPauli’s goal which gave the Penguins a lead and then Tokarski shutting the door from there also.
Around the Division: Providence and Hartford are playing hot potato with the division lead, Hartford wins 4-1….Ethan Prow’s goal in overtime gives Springfield a 4-3 win over Bridgeport….Charlotte thumps Cleveland 5-1….Lehigh Valley loses at home to Utica 4-2.
Standings: Hartford and Providence 43 — Hershey 39 — Penguins 38 — Springfield 36 — Charlotte 33 — Bridgeport 31 — Lehigh Valley 29
Wheeling Update: Nailers are off tonight, play Indy Sunday. Emil Larmi may get that start.
Pens are back in action Tuesday at 3 p.m. for a New Years Eve game at home against Springfield. Breaking news here as it warrants between now and then. If not, then look for the next blog update to come at 11 a.m. Tuesday for the Gameday setup for the clash with Ryan Haggerty and the Thunderbirds.
Let’s Go Pens!