Chirps from Center Ice

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

Hit Hard, Hit Often — Pens WIN 5-2


5                             2

They ramped up the physicality tonight and it paid off. Wilkes-Barre wins the rematch with the Checkers on Wednesday night 5-2.

Recipe for success? Seems like they ground down the Checkers and that aggression paid off in the form of goals. See if the same level of aggression makes the flight home for a game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday. Phantoms are a lot better than the last time we saw them about a month ago.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: Nathan Legare for Sam Houde up front and Jack St. Ivany for Jonathan Lizotte.

First Period: You could tell they were a lot more physical with the Checkers as opposed to Monday. Valtteri Puustinen feeds Sam Poulin on the back door for a goal to give the Pens a 1-0 lead early on.

Wilkes-Barre had to kill a penalty and Dustin Tokarski stayed busy, stopping a breakaway with a minute to play on Aleksi Heponiemi. Tokarski stopped 9 shots in the first.

Second Period: Checkers get even on the Pens when Gerry Mayherw sonnets with Henry Bowlby for a goal.


But then the Penguins turned up the intensity and get three goals in 2:43 to stun the Checkers.

Valtteri Puustinen with a goal on a breakaway and it’s 2-1.

Drew O’Connor takes a puck fluttering around the crease and puts it in for a two goal lead and it’s 3-1.

Tyler Sikura a few short moments later and it’s 4-1.

Here they are all in the order they occurred.

Pens get a power play, their first of the game looking to turn it into a runaway but aren’t able to convert.

Charlotte kept coming and Tokarski was pressed into some saves that kept it a three goal lead for the Penguins.

Third Period: Checkers scored to cut the deficit to two. I know what you are thinking. Here we go again. Fluky play that sees Michael Del Zotto get credit for it when the shot is deflected off of Penguins defensemen Mark Friedman and in past Tokarski.

Eyes indeed.

Pens had a power play but that hasn’t clicked in a while and was of no benefit to them here.

Charlotte puts 14 shots on and but for that fluke goal by Del Zotto, Tokarski and the Penguins defense was fine.

Friedman, in a bit of redemption, hits an empty net for a goal that iced the game away for a 5-2 Penguins lead for good.

Three Stars: 3) Michael Del Zotto (goal) 2) Filip Hallander (two assists) 1) Valtteri Puustinen (goal, assist)

The Good: I liked the response and subsequent result. Push teams around and get what you want and get out of there.

The Bad: It’s nitpicking because of the no doubt result, but there are still gaps that need to be sewn up. If the Pens don’t blow it open in the second, it’s probably a lot tighter like it was on Monday.

Turning Point: That 2:43 run they went on in the second carried them across the line.

Around the Division: Bridgeport doubles up Hartford 6-3…Hershey skates past Springfield 2-1…Providence lose a lead against the Rochester Americans and lost in OT with 5 seconds left. Americans win 4-3.

Standings: Providence 25 – Bridgeport 23 – Hershey 22 – Charlotte 22 – Penguins 18 – Springfield 17 – Lehigh Valley 15 – Hartford 14

Wheeling Update: Nailers beat the Indy Fuel 4-2. Josh Maniscalco with a goal and an assist.

Video Highlights: I probably won’t get to these. The AHL Video Cenetr will have this if you really want to see the highlights. Happy Thanksgiving!

More Friday after the Black Friday game against the Phantoms.

Let’s Go Pens!

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