Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

First Win of 2020 — Pens WIN 3-0

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You saw it Friday if you watched them lose 2-1 to the Hershey Bears in a shootout. They only allowed one regulation goal and but for the goofy rules of, “no ties” these days, lost in a shootout.

I said then that if they played the same way that the wins would come.

Well, we didn’t have to wait long. Just the next night, actually.

A 25 save shutout by Casey DeSmith, his third of the season  and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win 3-0 over the first place Hartford Wolf Pack. DeSmith’s first win since November and the teams first win in 2020.

DeSmith opposed Tom McCollum.

Lineup: They didn’t post them, neither side did. Macoy Erkamps for Jon Lizotte on defense. Mike told Tyler postgame the following:

Good sign, going on the long road trip.

First Period: Zipped by. One power play chance for the Penguins and a 9-8 shot advantage. McCollum had a hell of a save to deny Anthony Angello with a pad and then again in the same play Matt Abt fired wide from behind center ice with McCollum out of the net.

Second Period: Same as the first, only Hartford went on the power play and didn’t score.

Then, Kevin Roy scored his first in a Penguin sweater capitalizing on this turnover by the Wolf Pack.

Third Period: Pens thought they scored again when Anthony Angello’s shot was smothered but not covered by Tom McCollum. McCollum went into the snow angel to cover but never fully contacted the puck to the ice and it came loose. Referee Ted Anstett comes out of the corner, loses sight of the puck because of the mass of bodies in the pile, has intent to blow his whistle all while Angello finds the puck and flips it into the net with McCollum prone. No goal on account of intent to blow the whistle.

In the final ten minutes, that’s when Casey DeSmith shined. He flicked out the pad on a quick Hartford shot off the rush, then stopped a puck in a pile of bodies to preserve the lead. To this point, Hartford was never a threat to score.

Finally with time dwindling, Wolf Pack Head Coach Kris Knoblauch pulls McCollum and David Warsofsky and Anthony Angello both hit empty net goals.

Don’t normally post empty netters, but it’s been so long since I have been able to do this too, please forgive me.

(If you don’t follow me on Twitter, it’s a thing I do after every home win. The etiology of the term, “Bang Biscuit” can be found here. I do love me some Danny Patrick)

Three Stars: 

The Good: Nice way to shutout the Atlantic’s top team in Hartford. The Wolf Pack have now lost their ninth game of the season in regulation. I think the Penguins may have exposed some flaws tonight as well because the Wolf Pack looked flat and very pedestrian.

The Bad: Nitpicking a 3-0 shutout win, but the power play went 0-for-2 and on a night where a lot of things went right, the power play needs work because they never looked like a threat tonight or on Friday.

Turning Point: Going to throw in a few of those DeSmith saves in the third here. They get by him and obviously it’s a different result.

Around the Division: Providence beats Springfield 5-2….Lehigh Valley shuts out Laval 2-0….Hershey doubles up Cleveland 4-2….Charlotte thumps Bridgeport 5-2.

Standings: Hartford 53 — Hershey 51 — Providence 45 — Springfield 44 — Charlotte 43 — Penguins 42 — Lehigh Valley 33 — Bridgeport 31

Wheeling Update: Nothing went right for the Nailers tonight, losing 6-1 to Fort Wayne. Yushi Hirano had the only goal for the Nailers in the loss and Alex D’Orio stopped 28 of 34. Fort Wayne scored twice on the power play.

Video Highlights: 

They are off Sunday, then hit the road for a while and spend a week in Austin, Texas for Wednesday and Friday’s games against the Texas Stars. But for anything breaking between now and then, talk to you Wednesday for the 8 p.m. start for the Penguins / Stars game. Gameday setup hits the blog Wednesday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

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