Chirps from Center Ice

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

Bird Flu – Pens LOSE 4-2


2                                         4

Didn’t realize that this was it this season with the Springfield Thunderbirds schedule wise this season. They only play four times this season and this was game number four.

Good thing, too. Because Springfield is on a heater, winning their seventh straight with a 4-2 Friday night win over the visiting Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who are heading in the opposite direction.

The Penguins didn’t play poorly, per se, getting goals from Colin Swoyer and All-Star Alex Nylander. They just made mistakes against a team you can’t make mistakes against right now and that’s Springfield. It’s a perfect storm team because in games there are going to be power play opportunities and Springfield just goes to work and cashes on them.

Wilkes-Barre is in a funk, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before and something they will eventually work their way out of.

Here’s how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Ty Smith is hurt, seemingly after getting rocked Wednesday and Filip Hållander is ill. Colin Swoyer and Lukas Svejkovsky, returning from injury, drew in.

First Period: Will Bitten laid a hit on Chris Ortiz that separated the Penguins defender from the puck and in the odd man rush dropped to Keenan Washkurak who scored to put the Thunderbirds on the board just four minutes in.

With :03 on a later Springfield power play, Matthew Highmore scores a between the legs goal to make it 2-0 Springfield.

But the Penguins respond right before the end of the period when Colin Swoyer nabs his first AHL goal.

I don’t know how you get ‘Sauce’ out fo Swoyer…

Second Period: Penguins first shot of the period doesn’t come until 11:08 was played in the period. Then Martin Frk shot a puck so hard (he is known to do this) that I didn’t see it go in nor thought it went in but it did and it was 3-1 Springfield on yet another power play goal.

Nothing went for either team late navigating through more power play troubles.

Third Period: Alex Nylander scored off the hop and you thought they had the jump they needed to get going again.

But the Thunderbirds held the Penguins at bay, and the time started to run out and with that the desperation grew. With Taylor Gauthier pulled for the extra attacker and the scheme drawn up after a Penguins time out, Wilkes-Barre never found the equalizer they were looking for and Springfield found another one with an empty net tally via Matthew Peca.

Three Stars: 3) Brady Lyle (two assists) 2) Martin Frk (goal) 1) Matthew Peca (goal, two assists)

The Good: Not much. They struggle on the penalty kill as others have mentioned to me and tonight it cost them.

The Bad: Giving up an eight point swing to a team they will be battling for a playoff spot isn’t a prime position to be in quite frankly.

Turning Point: The Martin Frk power play goal came so fast that the Penguins didn’t know what hit them. Apropos for the evening.

Around the Division: Hershey beats Bridgeport 4-1 to snap their mini skid….Hartford beats Utica 4-3….Charlotte slips past Syracuse 5-4 in overtime….Providence cools off a surging Lehigh Valley team 4-2 to stay in step with Hershey in pursuit of the division lead.

Standings: Hershey 63 – Providence 61 – Charlotte 52 – Springfield 49 – Lehigh Valley 47 – Bridgeport, the Penguins and Wolf Park 45.

Wheeling Update: Nailers bested at home by the Iowa Heartlanders 2-1.

Video Highlights: May be a morning edit depending on if I want to walk in the morning.

Meetup with Hartford before the All-Star break Saturday night. More then.

Let’s Go Pens!

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