Chirps from Center Ice

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

Stolen Point – Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)


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They stole that point Saturday. Troy Grosenick was that dude in goal for the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms who beat the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on opening night 3-2 in overtime with 1.4 seconds remaining.

Sometimes you run into a hot goaltender. If Grosenick was any hotter he would have lit the place on fire. I don’t think I have seen a goaltender that dialed in in some time. The Penguins threw everything at him, even strength and on special teams, and he just kept denying the Penguins time after time.

Wilkes-Barre scored dirty goals. An Alexander Nylander power play goal with Grosenick screened to tie the game at one and then a Sam Poulin deflection goal with a minute to play in regulation with Penguins starter Dustin Tokarski pulled to tie it to get it to overtime.

I liked the effort tonight. I liked the pace. I liked them on special teams. I liked what I saw tonight. You bring that same effort for 71 more games and they will be in good shape.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: I like the new graphic which gives you the extra skater who took warmups but didn’t dress for the game (Svejkovsky)

A little surprised they went with Tokarski over Lindberg too.

First Period: Penguins outshoot the Phantoms 8-1 halfway through the first period. Then the Phantoms respond and get a goal when Eliot Desnoyers is set up in front with the puck behind the net of Tokarski. Desnoyers was a beneficiary of right place / right time.

Second Period: Pens get on even terms on a power play goal from Alexander Nylander.

Phantoms regain the lead with a goal from Zack MacEwen who deflects a shot from the point and in past Tokarski for a 2-1 Lehigh Valley lead.

Pens had a power play late where they spent 1:45 or more in the zone but time after time get denied by Grosenick, so was quickly becoming the story.

Third Period: Pens take a late penalty they get out of fine then with Tokarski pulled find the equalizer via Sam Poulin with exactly one minute to play in the period.

(No GIF here sorry, he bunted the puck past Grosenick as the puck deflected three times behind the Phantoms goaltender)

Overtime: Drew O’Connor turnover results in a Louie Belpedio breakaway. Tokarski the initial save, but not the second. Too much time really was left on the clock, Belpedio with a second chance and scores to end the game with 1.4 seconds left.

Three Stars: 3) Alex Nylander (goal, assist) 2) Troy Grosenick (38 saves) 1) Louie Belpedio (overtime game winning goal)

Woulda been fine if they awarded Grosenick the first star, honestly.

The Good: Troy Grosenick played as an elite goaltender tonight. The Penguins got flat beat, but managed to steal a point. Tighten up a few things defensively and they will be fine.

The Bad: They looked scrambly at times, the first Phantoms goal and the overtime game winner especially. Gotta tighten that up.

Turning Point: Have to go with the Belpedio overtime game winner for obvious reasons.

Around the Division: Hershey beats Utica 3-1…Charlotte beats Hartford 3-1…Bridgeport beats Springfield 3-2. Providence was off.

Standings: Boy am I glad I don’t have to mess with percentages anymore. Early days, but it’s Charlotte with 4, Providence, Hershey, Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport with 2, Wilkes-Barre and Hartford with 1 and Springfield with 0.

Wheeling Update: Nailers get going next week.

Video Highlights: No idea if they will post them. If they do I’ll try to work an edit in.

Back at it Monday (Monday?) in Utica. More then.

Let’s Go Pens!

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