Five wins win a row for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who win 4-1 over the hapless Lehigh Valley Phantoms Friday night. Jake Lucchini scored a pair of goals, Casey DeSmith stopped 29 of 30. More importantly, it was a favorable out of town scoreboard for the Penguins, who are now a playoff team by a point over fifth place Springfield and just two back of a very milquetoast Providence side. More on that in a bit.
The aforementioned Casey DeSmith opposed J-F Berube.
Lineup Notes: Anthony Angello and Andrew Agozzino were recalled to Pittsburgh Thursday. Coal Street recalled Brandon Hawkins but he didn’t play. Andreas Martinsen left to play overseas.
First Period: Hot start for the Penguins scoring :46 apart.
Jake Lucchini in behind the defense who lose their stick and he scores to make it 1-0.
Soon after, P-O Joseph fires a shot on that is kicked to Jan Drozg from a low angle. Drozg banks the shot off of Berube for a goal and it’s 2-0.
Pens nearly made it 3-0 with Drozg hitting a shot on the power play, but Lehigh Valley killed off the penalty and Andy Andreoff cherry picked for a goal and scored to make it 2-1 and Wilkes-Barre’s lead was cut in half.
The Phantoms started pushing back and actually got the better of the chances but the score stayed 2-1 heading to the…
Second Period: Penguins played the better of the two sides and extended their lead by two again. Jake Lucchini again, the guy loves scoring against the Phantoms.
How do you leave the net that wide open.
Six of Lucchini’s professional gold have come against the Phantoms.
Third Period: :53 in, Sam Lafferty drives the net and scores to give the Penguins a 4-1 lead.
That goal chased J-F Berube and Felix Sandstrom took over the net. Sandstrom cooled things down for the Phantoms and didn’t allow any goals, but the Penguins also may have backed off to preserve the lead.
The Good: They needed to keep the momentum going and the recipe was there with the Phantoms only winning four road games all season. Five wins in a row with another opportunity Saturday night against last place Bridgeport.
The Bad: Can’t really identify one. They stayed disciplined, taking just three penalties but got lax a bit on the Andreoff goal in the first and let off after their second goal. Can’t really do that or get into the habit of it. They did respond well in the second period on.
Turning Point: Sam Lafferty’s goal that made it a three goal contest :53 into the third was the punch in the gut that folded the Phantoms.
Around the Division: Favorable night for the Penguins. Providence loses 3-1 in Binghamton….Springfield loses 6-3 at home against Hartford and Charlotte gets trounced in the 6ix by the Marlies and lose 6-2. Hershey also beats Bridgeport 4-1.
Standings: Hartford and Hershey 61 — Providence 55 — Penguins 53 — Springfield 52 — Charlotte 51 — Lehigh Valley 42 — Bridgeport 35
Setting Up Saturday: Too soon for this, but I’ll do it anyway. Pens have a game in hand on Providence, who are in Syracuse….Springfield and Hartford rematch in Connecticut and so do Charlotte and Toronto. That game starts at 4. Pens have a game in hand on Springfield. Charlotte somehow has two games in hand on the Penguins.
Wheeling Update: Wheeling wins 3-2 at home against Orlando. Alex D’Orio stopped 34 for second star honors. Cam Brown scored a pair of goals.
Gameday setup for Saturday’s matchup against Bridgeport is yours Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!