Chirps from Center Ice
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
Five of Six, Done Five to Two — Pens WIN 5-2
March 19, 2023Posted by on
Probably the finest weekend of Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hockey played in a while.
Five out of a possible six points and now four points out of the sixth and final playoff spot with 11 games left. This weekend could have been make or break for the Penguins and with the trend of play of late it was leaning towards break, but they find a way to get 5 of 6 possible points this weekend with a methodical 5-2 takedown of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday.
Justin Addamo scored again, his third goal in three games this weekend. Drake Caggiula had a pair of goals and an assist. Tyler Sikura, Jonathan Gruden, Filip Hållander all scored. Get scoring from these guys, 36 saves from Dustin Tokarski and yeah, you are going to win a whole heck of a lot more games than you are going to lose in this league.
Here’s how they lined up…
Lineup Notes: Josh Maniscalco for Taylor Fedun and Jamie Devane for Nathan Legare. Fedun was held out for precautionary reasons in case of a recall needed by Pittsburgh.
First Period: Figure that the Penguins, who are in their third game in their third day, would need a good start against a Phantoms team who didn’t play Saturday.
Drake Caggiula made sure that they got that good start.
A minute in and the Penguins had a goal. I’d say that’s a hell of a start.
They went 0/1 on the power play, Dustin Tokarski made a save that broke his blocker, Jonathan Gruden had a breakaway but then Kyle Olson took a later penalty giving the Phantoms a carryover power play into the…
Second Period: Drake Caggiula strikes again early, this time 1:04 in and shorthanded to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Penguins took four straight penalties in the run of play here in the period. Phantoms thought they scored in one of the sequences but Adam Brooks makes incidental contact with Tokarski and referee Jack Young washes out the goal. Goaltender interference giveth and goaltender interference taketh away.
No one knows what it is, so let’s not pretend to start now. Make it reviewable.
Jackson Cates with a goal which was intended to be a pass, and the Penguins lead is halved.
Not to worry, Jonathan Gruden reestablishes the two goal lead.
Huge response, indeed.
Third Period: Justin Addamo scores his third goal in as many games to lift the Penguins to a three goal lead.
Loose puck out at the neutral zone that Bobby Brink pounces on and scores on to again cut the Penguins lead in half. But then Ian Laperriere pulls Samuel Ersson with about four minutes left to play, putting a lot of pressure on his forwards and inevitably Filip Hållander beats out an icing race and scores to put it away.
Three Stars: 3) Jackson Cates (goal) 2) Dustin Tokarski (36 saves) 1) Drake Caggiula (two goals, assist)
The Good: Boy, I bet they wish they had a game Wednesday because they seem to be onto something here. Coming back from multiple goals down against Rochester at home Friday to win, an overtime loss Saturday in Syracuse where I maintain they were the better team and then Sunday in Allentown, where they got in late against a rested team that didn’t play the night before and win decisively is a character weekend. I don’t know if they read the blog (doubtful, if so please stop and focus on winning) but they got kicked in the pants last weekend by me and a lot of others and responded this weekend about as good as anyone could ask. Take the next couple days off, get a couple good practices in this week and come out firing against this Lehigh Valley team Saturday against what will likely be a sellout crowd and continue to push. Be that team no one wants to play in the playoffs.
The Bad: They couldn’t cash against the last place penalty kill in the entire AHL.
Turning Point: The Gruden goal late in the second. It reestablishes the two goal lead and halts all momentum Lehigh Valley was building.
Around the Division: Hartford and Bridgeport were off. Providence beats Springfield in a shootout 3-2.
Standings: Providence 84 – Hershey 81 – Charlotte 76 – Springfield 71 – Lehigh Valley 68 – Bridgeport 64 – || – Hartford 63 – Penguins 60
Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.
Video Highlights: I’ll likely edit these in before I start work in the morning.
Who plays who this week: Bridgeport is in Laval Wednesday. Hartford hosts Springfield Friday while Bridgeport is in Belleville. My Weekend Preview will likely be out Friday morning so those games will be covered along with who else the Islanders and Wolf Pack play next weekend.
Let’s Go Pens!