Chirps from Center Ice

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

Building Cassels in the Sky — Pens WIN 5-4

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When a player is traded to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, I usually start thinking of how I can use that players name in a pun in a headline for a postgame recap.

From January 4, the day that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins acquired Cole Cassels.

The Penguins win 5-4 in Charlotte Friday night and Cole Cassels figured into every single goal. Cassels had a pair for goals to go with three assists.

Other rejected headlines include, “Four-Sofsky” for David Warsofsky’s four point night (2-2)

All jokes aside, this was a gritty, greasy, messy win for the Penguins over the Charlotte Checkers. You take them how you get them but it’s the kind of win you look for out of a team battling for a playoff berth. With the influx of players from Pittsburgh down from the all-star break, you need to maximize points against a team you are chasing for said playoff berth. So far, so good.

Casey DeSmith opposed Anton Forsberg.

Lineup: 

Lineup Notes: Friday morning, the Penguins assigned Matt Abt, Michael Kim and Christopher Brown to Wheeling. With the cadre of players sent down from Pittsburgh coupled with the fact that the Nailers have a boatload of home games in the next week or so, it made sense to get Abt, Kim and Brown back down to Wheeling for reps. Also, announced Thursday, Sam Miletic will replace Andrew Agozzino at the All-Star Classic later this weekend.

There was other news today around noon. Andreas Martinsen was placed on unconditional waivers for the purposes of contract termination. What it basically means is that Pittsburgh wants to shred his NHL contract so he can go to Europe. 24 games with Wilkes-Barre, a goal and two assists and takes up a vet spot. Thanks for the fish.

Current lineup wise, all the reinforcements were in, Jamie Devane and Andreas Martinsen were out and Chris Brown too, but he was sent to Wheeling. On defense, Zach Trotman returned from injury and, with Kevin Czuczman, replaced John Nyberg and Macoy Erkamps.

First Period: On a power play, Kevin Czuczman went to center to Anthony Angello. The pass never got there. Instead, a Checkers defender Steven Lorentz’s stick got in the way but deflected the puck into his net.

You take them any way you can get them.

Later, Cole Cassels finished off a two on one with Adam Johnson. It was all setup by a big save by Casey DeSmith on Lorentz that was setup by P-O Joseph falling over giving Lorentz and the Checkers a breakaway. Here it is:

Not a very good period by the Checkers Steven Lorentz there.

100th AHL point for Adam Johnson with that assist.

Second Period: You had a lot going on in this period.

First, David Warsofsky’s third attempt at a goal in one sequence goes in and the Penguins have a 3-0 lead.

But then Charlotte dug in and went to work.

Julien Gauthier was in front and collected a rebound off DeSmith and swept it past him on a power play that put the Checkers on the board.

Then Eetu Luostarinen with a tip in front. 3-2 Penguins.

Charlotte hit a post on a dangerous power play after their second goal, but the Penguins got out of that unscathed.

Charlotte continued to buzz and fire, Casey DeSmith had a ten bell save, but Thomas DiPauli lost his stick and Gustav Forsling scored to tie the game at three.

(Charlotte didn’t post a GIF here)

Hardly ideal from the Penguins perspective. They were getting run over and hadn’t had a significant scoring chance since the Warsofsky goal. Until…

On a power play, Warsofsky connects with a looooong pass to Cole Cassels who stays onside and breaks in to beat Forsberg that gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead.

Big goal. Big, big goal for the Penguins who crack Charlotte’s power play.

Third Period: Hit the drop!

:08 in, Sam Lafferty finishes off a power play goal, the Penguins third of the night, to give the Penguins a 5-3 lead.

But Charlotte would respond in kind with another power play of their own when Dave Gust would punch in a goal that brought the Checkers within one again.

Wilkes-Barre would find itself in penalty trouble off of the whistle from referee Corey Syvret, who bagged Andrew Agozzino for soft hook and then P-O Joseph for an even softer hook. The Penguins would navigate the rough waters fine, Chase Berger would block three shots in the kill and then with the time dwindling, Charlotte pulled their goaltender but never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Eetu Luostarinen (goal, assist) 2) Cole Cassels (two goals, three assists) 1) David Warsofsky (two goals, two assists)

The Good: They stepped up and took one from the defending champs. Noted in the lede, it wasn’t pretty, but necessary.

The Bad: Penalty kill wasn’t great, I didn’t like what I saw late from the Joseph – Lizotte pairing, but they got the two points.

Turning Point: I am going to go with that kill late when the Checkers were up two men. They score there and who knows what ends up with this one.

Around the Division: Providence beats Lehigh Valley 4-3….Hershey thumps Springfield 5-2….Hartford beats Bridgeport 4-1.

Standings: Hartford and Hershey 57 — Providence 54 — Charlotte 51 — Springfield 50 — Penguins 49 — Lehigh Valley 42 — Bridgeport 35

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose in overtime at home to Cincinnati 3-2. Matt Abt had an assist and was a +2.

Video Highlights: 

They rematch Saturday at 6, so that means the Gameday setup is here at 2 p.m. If things break the right way, Wilkes-Barre can tie the Checkers in points and depending on other out of town scores, could be a fourth place team at the break.

Let’s Go Pens!

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