Well, a nightmare scenario late in the third period of a tie hockey game is what dooms the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins Saturday night. Three goals in the span of about two minutes and thirty seconds from the Thunderbirds and it’s Springfield who wins 6-3.
The Thunderbirds are on the upswing and the Penguins are trending down. With Providence, Hartford and Hershey essentially the class of the division currently, the four and five ranked teams are what’s the buzz and right now the Thunderbirds are playing maximal effort games and the Penguins not so much. Lax in some areas, it’s costing them.
Casey DeSmith opposed Philippe Desrosiers.
Lineup Notes: Wait, Cassels? Who’s he? Cole Cassels. Wilkes-Barre acquired him in the afternoon from Belleville where he was on a PTO with the Senators. They signed him to an AHL SPC for the rest of the season. Get used to him, his ECHL rights are where he initially came from in Utah, so he can’t go down to Wheeling if he’s ever reassigned.
First Period: Kind of like the third period Friday against Hershey if you stuck around for it. They were flying around, limited chances against and took a 1-0 lead into intermission after Sam Miletic’s offering was kicked in by Desrosiers.
Shots after one were 11-6 Penguins. They seemed to let off in the final five and the Thunderbirds got a few cheap shots in before the bell.
Second Period: They went back and forth, with Springfield having more of the advantage. The Thunderbirds outshot the Penguins 17-10 in the period and led 3-2 after the period.
Thomas Schemitsch followed his own shot and put his rebound past DeSmith which tied the game at one.
Adam Johnson wired a shot past Desrosiers to give the Penguins a lead again and it was 2-1.
Then the Thunderbirds scored within a few minutes of one another when Dryden Hunt connected with a power play goal and Jake Massie followed with a man marking issue and gave the Thunderbirds a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
Really, the same things that bit Wilkes-Barre Friday against Hershey were starting to nip again here.
Third Period: They came out with great pop and Jordy Bellerive finished off a great individual effort with a goal which tied the game at three.
But the Thunderbirds are well coached and kept punching. Leading goal scorer Owen Tippett found himself wide open when Adam Johnson went for a poke check, missed leaving Tippett open to beat DeSmith five hole to give the Thunderbirds a 4-3 lead.
Less than two minutes later, a shot from the point by Brady Keeper broke his stick. The force of the shot wasn’t as great and Rodrigo Abols put in his first of the season that gave Springfield a 5-3 lead.
About two minutes after that, a Dryden Hunt redirect beat DeSmith for Springfields sixth goal.
Three Stars: 3) Sam Miletic (goal, assist) 2) Dryden Hunt (two goals, assist) 1) Owen Tippett (goal, three assists)
The Good: First period was good. Second was lax, third was OK but devolved from there.
The Bad: They are in a funk they have to punch out of themselves, cause it’s a bare bones roster with guys hurt or on recall.
Turning Point: Springfields three unanswered goals had the Penguins spiraling out of control quickly.
Around the Division: Charlotte shuts out Providence 4-0….Hershey goes ahead with 40 seconds to play in the third to beat Bridgeport 2-1….Hartford beats Utica 3-1….Belleville beats Lehigh Valley 5-3.
Standings: Hartford 49 — Hershey 45 — Providence 43 — Springfield 42 — Penguins 39 — Charlotte 37 — Bridgeport 31 — Lehigh Valley 29
Wheeling Update: Nailers were shutout 4-0 in Cincinnati.
Video Highlights: Doubt they will have them, if they do I will run an edit here if I see it.
Charlotte is in Wednesday. I’ll update the charts sometime Sunday. If anything breaks between now and then, I’ll have an update here.
Let’s Go Pens!