They deserved a better fate tonight.
In what can best be described as their best game in weeks, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lose 2-1 in a shootout Friday night to the Hershey Bears. Both teams played high energy, tightly contested hockey and it was a joy to watch at times. Shane Gersich’s goal in the bottom of the sixth round of the shootout was the only goal scored in the shootout round.
A team that is battling right now needed a result like this and got one, they just came up empty on the winning end of it. If they continue to play like this, then the wins will eventually come around.
Dustin Tokarski opposed Pheonix Copley.
Lineup Notes: The Penguins recalled Christopher Brown from Wheeling Friday, seemingly to end the disaster that is the Oula Palve experiment for the moment. Jamie Devane slotted back in the lineup for Jan Drozg. Michael Kim was in for Macoy Erkamps on defense.
First Period: Strong start for the Penguins. Matt Abt had a shot hit both posts that stayed out. After a long review by referees Terry Koharski and Dan Kelly, Koharski’s initial call on the ice of no goal was confirmed.
They played a good period, limiting the Bears to just six shots in the period and giving up one power play.
Second Period: Sleepy open as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby sneaks past the defense off of a nice feed by Liam O’Brien and beat Tokarski for a 1-0 Hershey lead.
Jon Lizotte was injured on and did not return on this hit by Beck Malenstyn.
They teach you at a young age to keep an eye on the puck. Both players did there, and because they are built like professional athletes, had an accident where they ran into one another and Lizotte was the recipient of a hit that may cost him some time.
Penguins Head Coach Mike Vellucci told Tyler postgame that it’s a head injury and they will know more Saturday. Assume concussion protocol and all that. Will be interesting to see if Lizotte accompanies the team on the road trip next week.
Jamie Devane finished off an excellent feed from Niclas Almari to tie the game at one.
Penguins had two golden opportunities to go ahead when Hershey were called on back to back minors, but Wilkes-Barre failed to cash.
Third Period: Zipped by without many whistles and they just played. Hershey had a long stretch where they just had two shots in the entire period. The Penguins were peppering Copley but couldn’t score.
Overtime: Tokarski stopped a Jonsson-Fjallby breakaway and Copley stopped a DiPauli one. The Penguins had a power play they didn’t score on.
Shootout: No scoring for either team until the bottom of the sixth, where Shane Gersich goes five hole and wins it for the Bears.
Yo, Coal Street, that graphic is awesome and the tweet explaining is better too. Please keep it up!
The Good: They played an almost perfect game. They only took one penalty and only allowed one goal in regulation.
The Bad: Can’t go 0-for-5 on the power play.
Turning Point: The obvious answer here is the Gersich goal that ended the game.
Around the Division: Utica beats Lehigh Valley 5-2….Springield shuts out Bridgeport 4-0….Hartford doubles up Charlotte 6-3….Providence was off.
Standings: Hartford 53 — Hershey 49 — Springfield 44 — Providence 43 — Charlotte 41 — Penguins 40 — Lehigh Valley 31 — Bridgeport 31
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 5-2 in Reading. Graham Knott had a goal, Ryan Scarfo had two assists.
Hartford is in Saturday for what should be a good measuring stick game. Wolf Pack have been the class of the division and the Penguins haven’t seen them yet this season. Gameday setup is here Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!