Chirps from Center Ice

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

Night of Firsts — Pens WIN 5-4

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Couple of first goals for a few guys, first assists, first win for J.D. Forrest behind the bench, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win their first game of the 2021 season 5-4 up in Syracuse Saturday night.

It wasn’t without a few puff out your cheeks moments, most especially in the third, where they have struggled the most.

After controlling play for the first forty minutes, it was a frenetic, nearly goal a minute pace in the third.

Things settled though without much more incident and the Pens have their first win of the season.

Emil Larmi opposed Sam Montembeault.

Before the game, the Penguins tweeted this…

Don’t want to speculate. Times are weird. Family, always first.

Lineup:

Lineup Notes: Felix Robert and Luke Stevens made their AHL debuts. Robert took Jordan Nolan’s spot, Stevens was in Justin Almeida’s spot. D pairs shuffled, Dylan MacPherson for Josh Maniscalco. 300th AHL game for Josh Currie.

First Period: I liked the way they played in the period. Syracuse is a dangerously offensive team that like to run you and gun you.

40 seconds out of the gate, Radim Zohorna drives to the net and Jan Drozg sweeps the puck in to give the Penguins an early 1-0 lead.

Penguins would work out of a double minor penalty. They tiptoed in and out of trouble on the kill.

Emil Larmi continued with his on point play, stopping Gabriel Fortier point blank then Alex Barre-Boulet after this ridiculous pass which sprung him for a scoring opportunity.

Barre-Boulet finally got a goal to go when he picked a corner on Larmi and tied the game at one.

Second Period: They clamped down in the second, went on three power plays and scored two goals in the period.

Good to see Berger get going early.

They kept grinding away at Syracuse and got a late goal from Kyle Olson on this dart that gave Wilkes-Barre a two goal lead.

Play by play man Nick Hart mentioned it in the intermission, but Felix Robert was getting under the skin of the Crunch skaters.

Shots were 13-6 Wilkes-Barre in the period.

But the big test was navigating the third period, which hasn’t been kind to them in the first two games.

Third Period: Four goals in the first forty minutes, then four in the games first 4:40.

2:10 in, Grigori Denisenko scored to bring the Crunch to within one.

About 1:40 later, Gabriel Fortier scored to tie the game at three.

Not this again.

Will Reillly scored to push the Pens ahead again.

That was :16 later, by the way. A hell of a response.

But :29 after that…

Chaos indeed.

Wilkes-Barre goes on the first power play of the period.

They scored on it.

And they settled things down from there. No more scoring and the pace of the game stayed quick as the Crunch, with Montembeault pulled for an extra attacker, never found the equalizer.

Those firsts I mentioned at the open?

Three Stars: 3) Grigori Denisenko (goal) 2) Alex Barre-Boulet (two goals) 1) Kyle Olson (goal, assists)

The Good: They stayed step for step with an offensively gifted Syracuse Crunch team when they were running and gunning. They did, for large stretches, control the pace as well.

The Bad: Why all of a sudden after an overall quiet first forty minutes did we get four goals in the first 4:40 of the third?

Turning Point: That power play that they scored on after all of that scoring deflated the Crunch after the frenetic push they made. Penguins hung on from there.

Around the Division: Utica clips Binghamton 6-5 in a shootout.

They are off for a whole week before they meet up with Hershey again. More likely then, no Power Rankings this year or anything like that. News and notes as it warrants.

Video Highlights:

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.

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