The Penguins came out flatter than the leftover champagne you had at midnight Wednesday and it cost them, losing 6-2 to the Hershey Bears Friday night. Andrew Agozzino, on his birthday and on a day he was selected to All-Stars, scores both Penguin goals.
Dustin Tokarski started the game but was chased after the fourth goal. Any effort to try and kickstart a run before or after failed. The Pens made a furious push in the third, but never got close.
Tokarski opposed Vitek Vanecek.
Casey DeSmith served as backup. I suppose he decided to stick around and make Thomas DiPauli drive while he flys to Montreal Saturday. Pens signed Sebastien Caron to a PTO per AHL transactions.
First Period: Pens had the better start, Hershey had the better finish.
Andrew Agozzino opened the scoring after getting named to the All-Star team earlier in the day on his birthday.
I’ve missed Taylor.
Anyway, Hershey has a power play come and go then killed a penalty. As it was expiring, Brian Pinho streamed up ice and scored unassisted to get the Bears on board.
Hershey really took it to the Penguins, outshooting them 14-6.
Second Period: Garrett Pilon and Eddie Wittchow scored within minutes of one another to give the Bears a 3-1 lead. Setup went like this, draw attention to far side, get players to overcommit and draw off a man, opponent passes to streaking team mate and the goal is scored.
Off of the faceoff following the Wittchow goal, Kale Kessy and Jamie Devane fought.
But there’s a problem. They fought off of the faceoff which is a direct violation of Rule 46.10 of the AHL Rulebook which outlaws fighting off of a faceoff. In part…
46.10 Fighting Prior to or at the Drop of the Puck – Unless this occurs prior to the start of the game or any period (see 46.9), a player or players who enter into a fight, prior to, at the drop of the puck, or immediately following any face-off during the game, shall be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to any penalties assessed.
They have had this rule in the book for a few years now but you may as well outlaw fighting altogether if you are going to write rules like this. They already suspend you for 10 fights, guys like Steve MacIntyre are out of the league and fights are becoming less and less.
There’s a time and place for it. Getting scored on again in the period was the perfect time to try and spark the bench to get a rally going. Kale Kessy and Jamie Devane are both willing, trained professionals who probably know more about what you read about CTE than the people writing it. That doesn’t stop them from trying to knock each other out, so why stop them and come up with 5,000 rules trying to disavow it.
Just ban it. I’ve wasted three full paragraphs veering off base on it. Just make a rule that if you fight, you’re thrown out of the game and suspended for one. If you do it again, you’re suspended for two games and your team is fined $500. Double the fines and suspensions from there. Simple.
Hershey continued to pile on with another Pinho goal for a tap in which chased Tokarski for DeSmith and then on a tail end of a two man advantage when Philippe Maillet hacked and whacked at a puck that got by DeSmith that made it 5-1.
Third Period: Andrew Agozzino with his second of the game in the first minute of the period.
Pens put on a clinic in the offensive zone but couldn’t get a few power play chances to fire and were running out of time. Liam O’Brien iced it away with an empty net goal.
Wilkes-Barre had 14 shots through two periods, ended up with 18 in the third. Vellucci’s challenge going forward is going to be getting a full effort out of his team with all three periods.
Three Stars: 3) Philippe Maillet 2) Andrew Agozzino 1) Brian Pinho
The Good: That third period was promising. They dominated Hershey but it may have been a wolf in sheep’s clothing given the scoreline.
The Bad: Absent the rules on fighting, they got their asses kicked tonight by a blood rival and are now out of a playoff spot.
Turning Point: Hershey’s two quick goals to open the second put the Penguins on tilt, and it spiraled from there.
Around the Division: Hartford doubles up Providence 3-1….Lehigh Valley is shutout 4-0 in Laval….Springfield beats a game Utica club 3-2….Binghamton beats Bridgeport 3-1. Charlotte was off.
Standings: Hartford 47 — Hershey 43 — Providence 43 — Springfield 40 — Penguins 39 — Charlotte 35 — Bridgeport 31 — Lehigh Valley 29
Wheeling Update: Nailers win 2-1 in overtime in Cincinnati. Cam Brown with both goals including the overtime winner. Alex D’Orio faced a firing squad in goal, stopping 34 shots.
Springfield in Saturday with a chance to get back above the cut line. More Saturday at 3.