Penguins raced out to a 2-0 lead and then, well that was it.
Lehigh Valley ran right back into the contest and it took them almost all 40 minutes to get there, after going down 2-0 to the Penguins after the first.
They call a two goal lead the worst lead in hockey and you say it on full display tonight. The Penguins were a great first period team, then a not so great second and third period team. Lehigh Valley wins 3-2 in a shootout.
Alex D’Orio deserved a better fate, especially with some of the saves he was making for his team.
He opposed Kirill Ustimenko.
Here’s how they lined up. No lineup changes but for a shuffle here and there for the Penguins.
First Period: P. O. Joseph with a shot that may or may not have been tipped by Jonathan Gruden for a 1-0 Penguins lead.
Pens would go up 2-0 on a nice feed from the aforementioned Joseph setting up Filip Hallander for a power play goal.
Second Period: The period opens with Alex D’Orio with the save of the season, stopping a shot by Garrett Wilson. Here it is in all its wonderful glory:
So the Penguins were up 2-0, their goalie was dialed in, and the team was rolling in the second period and beyond.
[Jazz music stops]
I don’t want to say that the goaltender making the save for your team is the turning point of a game, but in this instance I think it may have. Reason being is I couldn’t remember a single positive thing the Penguins did after the D’Orio save.
Lehigh Valley would connect when Adam Clendening found Max Sushko for a wide open shot for a goal that would put the Phantoms on the board.
(Lehigh Valley didn’t GIF the goal nor tweet the game at all)
Third Period: Remember in the Weekend Preview setup I mentioned that the Penguins don’t want to get jobbed out of a point for a silly puck over glass delay of game call? Well, it wasn’t that in the third period but three consecutive soft, and I mean soft, calls which would give the Phantoms a power play. Lehigh Valley finally connects :06 into their third consecutive power plays when Hayden Hodgson scores to make it a 2-2 tie.
Anthony Angello board, Taylor Fedun slash and an Anthony Angello trip were the penalties assessed in that sequence by referees Alex Ross and Jack Young.
Overtime: Nothing of substance, I thought the Pens overthought the sequence.
Shootout: Adam Clendening scores in the bottom of the first and Kirill Ustimenko turns away Alex Nylander, Valtteri Puustinen and Drew O’Connor in that order for the win.
The Good: I liked the start. Didn’t like the finish.
The Bad: Two third period penalties taken by a veteran on the team in Angello isn’t good by any means, no matter how ticky-tack the calls may have been from Ross and Young.
Turning Point: Hate to say it, but the subtle but flashy at the time save D’Orio made on Garrett Wilson just made the Phantoms mad, and they pressed and pressed form there until they got what they wanted.
Around the Division: Bridgeport loses in Springfield 5-3.
Standings: Pens remain at .500 in sixth. Hershey above at the five with .571, so a decent cushion. Lehigh Valley in seventh with .489 and Bridgeport in last at .459.
Wheeling Update: Nailers get pumped by the Reading Royals 4-1. Patrick Watling the lone Nailers goal scorer.
Video Highlights: If they go up and I can work the edit in, I will.
Off day Friday, Bridgeport Saturday. More then.
Let’s Go Pens!