Chirps from Center Ice
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
The Return, Kinda — Pens LOSE 4-3 (SO)
February 18, 2023Posted by on
I am back, kind of, after the death of my father, in case you only read my blog and don’t follow my other social platforms. I’m a maybe for the in person Sunday home game, depending on how my mother feels. Debated even firing up the game and writing about it, but I watched most of the Wednesday home game against Hershey, so felt it was as good as time as any to get the blog out of the moth balls and back up and running again. This past month has been hell. Medicine is war.
Tale of two games here as an inauspicious start turns into a quite entertaining hockey game. Lehigh Valley wins in a shootout 4-3.
Here’s how they lined up.
Lineup Notes: I am back, partially, that’s all that matters. Ty Smith too. I think Filip Lindberg is battling injury. I know for a fact that Xavier Ouellet is done for the year after I think ankle surgery.
First Period: No shot for either team before the first media break. It was a bit of a slog to generate any type of offensive threat. Pens had the only power play in the period and got close on a Valtteri Puustinen chance but Troy Grosenick made the stop.
Second Period: Pens navigate through a sleepy first period and a sleepy start to the second frame and get two goals. The first comes from Drake Caggiula on a boffo play from Grosenick, who makes a glove save and drops the puck right in front of a game Caggiula who sweeps it in for a 1-0 Wilkes-Barre lead.
Penguins don’t score on one of their power plays but do on the second when Valtteri Puustinen fires a shot off a Phantom defender where Alex Nylander is for a power play goal that gives Wilkes-Barre a 2-0 lead.
Penguins convert a sloppy game and get two goals in the period. Not bad, but they needed to tread carefully.
Third Period: Sometimes I hate when I’m right.
Phantoms score :16 apart. I didn’t love when Lehigh Valley went to a power play immediately into the period.
Igor Zamula scores a second or so after the expiration of the power play to make it 2-1 and then Ty Smith takes a shot off the face that Alex Kile puts in.
Bad to worse, seemingly, as Jonathan Gruden is slammed violently into the bench by Garrett Wilson. The resulting power play leads to a Valtteri Puustinen goal that gives the Penguins the lead again.
Ty Smith did return with a bubble shield. Gruden did not.
Alex Kile scores again to tie the game again.
Felt like a last shot wins type of a game at this point.
They battled to…
Overtime: Tyler Sikura was awarded a penalty shot with 35.5 seconds left and when the Penguins had the majority of possession time but Sikura was unable too score.
Shootout: Bobby Brink scores the only goal after a lengthy video review from referees Jake Kamrass and Dre Barone, who were fine tonight but not in this instance, three different reviews clearly show the puck enter the net but the Barone / Kamrass review took over two minutes.
Three Stars: 3) Alexander Nylander (goal, assist) 2) Troy Grosenick (25 saves, first win since October 23) 1) Alex Kile (two goals)
The Good: Playoff like atmosphere here Saturday night in Allentown.
The Bad: I think that the Penguins win this game if they play it under playoff rules, but they didn’t.
Turning Point: That :16 turned the game on its head and in the favor of the Phantoms.
Around the Division: Hershey doubles up Charlotte 6-3….Springfield loses 5-4 in overtime after a Marty Frk hat trick in the first period….Hartford beats Providence 3-2 in overtime.
Standings: Providence 70 – Hershey 68 – Charlotte 60 – Lehigh Valley 55 – Springfield 54 – Bridgeport 50 – Hartford and the Penguins 49
Wheeling Update: Nailers are out in Iowa and late, that box is here.
Back at it Sunday at home against Bridgeport. They are all big from here on out.
Let’s Go Pens!
So sorry to hear about your dad. Prayers to you from a Hershey fan in Baltimore.