Chirps from Center Ice

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

Outclassed — Pens LOSE 4-2

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The reigning AHL Coach of the Year Mike Vellucci has his hands full.

His Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were totally outgunned and outclassed in a 4-2 loss in Rochester Wednesday. The scoreline is a bit of an oasis, this game wasn’t as close as the line indicates. Rochester went up 4-0, then let off and the Penguins got two, extra attacker goals in garbage time.

The Penguins couldn’t break the Rochester press, had their press broken easy and looked slow against Rochester’s speed.

Against Texas it was a team that had speed that the Penguins didn’t have a lot of film on and were unfamiliar with. The Stars came in on a point run also.

Against Hershey Sunday, they choked a lead late and lost in overtime.

Wednesday was a lesson in while yes, you were 9-2-1-1 in the month of November, Rochester didn’t lose at all in that month and just had a 12-game point streak cut by Charlotte last Saturday. This Amerks team suffocated the Penguins and if not for Casey DeSmith, the game could have been out of hand in the second period.

They have a lot of work to do because you run into teams like this, better ones even, in May and June. Vellucci of all people knows that.

The aforementioned Casey DeSmith opposed Andrew Hammond.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: A few switch ups to the bottom six and defense, but no one in, no one out in contrast to Sunday in Hershey. Adam Johnson is day to day and didn’t make the trip.

First Period: Rochester’s speed was on full display. They broke out quickly and easily marched through the neutral zone and into the attack zone.

Finally Curtis Lazar used a burst of speed to break in, nutmegged Zach Trotman and scored on a wicked wrist shot that beat DeSmith and gave the Americans a 1-0 lead.

The Penguins didn’t really have a lot of high danger scoring opportunities and didn’t score on the only power play awarded in the period.

Second Period: Wilkes-Barre had a quick little flurry of offense in the opening seconds of the period, then only mustered four total shots the entire period. Rochester had the puck seemingly for the entire period and doubled their lead when ex-Penguin J-S Dea stripped Zach Trotman of the puck and scored to make it 2-0 Rochester.

Earlier, Macoy Erkamps caught Casey Fitzgerald up high with an elbow….

….they later fought….

Fair fight, Erkamps caught Fitzgerald with two punches, they grappled and then Fitzgerald slipped and they both fell.

Wilkes-Barre killed two penalties in the period. The penalty killing looked good, but Rochester was breaking the press far too easy at even strength and using speed to get at DeSmith.

Third Period: Wilkes-Barre went over ten minutes without a shot on goal, even with a power play.

Andrew Oglevie deflected a shot from the point that iced it away.

Penguins got desperate and pulled DeSmith and J-S Dea picked off a Penguins defenseman and found a streaking CJ Smith for an empty net goal that made it 4-0.

Rochester packed it in there and let the Penguins back into the game.

Off the ensuing face-off, Jan Drozg scored his first AHL goal here.

That goal snapped a 128:18 scoreless streak for the Penguins in Rochester. Remember, they were shut out last season here.

Andrew Hammond went for an unsuccessful poke check and Sam Miletic scored to cut it to two.

Andrew Agozzino nearly scored which would have made it a one goal game. Time ran out shortly after.

Three Stars: 3) Curtis Lazar (goal, assist) 2) J-S Dea (goal, assist) 1) C.J. Smith (goal, assist)

The Good: Jan Drozg finally getting his first AHL goal. You can see that they are starting to trust him and hopefully that goal will unleash an avalanche of goals to come for the Penguins rookie.

The Bad: Rochester didn’t become a great team last night or last week. They have been good all season. The Penguins knew this and game planned for a victory tonight. The way that the Amerks basically laughed at that and walked through the Penguins has got to be a bit of a concern.

Turning Point: The Oglevie goal serves two purposes. Here, it iced away a game which was already out of reach for the Penguins. For the Amerks, it put the Penguins in desperation mode, they scored again to make it 4-0 and let off. The North Division has too many good teams in it for Head Coach Chris Taylor to feel good about his teams last five minutes. But that’s his problem.

Around the Division: Syracuse beats Providence 4-1. The Bruins have lost two straight….Hartford beats Binghamton 3-1 to go up to the top of the Atlantic Division clean again. Everyone else was off.

Standings: Hartford 37 — Providence 35 — Penguins 30 — Hershey 29 — Springfield 28 — Lehigh Valley 25 — Charlotte 23 — Bridgeport 22

Wheeling Update: Nailers are out in South Dakota taking on the Rapid City Rush. Box here.

Video Highlights: If Rochester or the Penguins add them on Twitter, I will work the edit in here.

Pens will travel to Cleveland for their games with the Monsters Friday and Saturday. Penguins have had some success with Cleveland and this series may actually be just what the doctor ordered.

AHL Power Rankings hit the blog Thursday. Check them out then.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Rochester 12/11

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Who: Rochester Americans

Where: Blue Cross Arena

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Sunday in Hershey, the Penguins coughed up a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 in overtime to the Hershey Bears. Sam Miletic and Anthony Angello scored for the Penguins. For Rochester, the Americans were defeated last Saturday 3-1 by the Charlotte Checkers. It was ex-Penguin J-S Dea with the lone goal for Rochester in the loss.

Record: For WBS: 13-8-3-1 (30 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division) // For RCH: 15-4-2-2 (34 pts., 2nd place North Division)

Referees: Conor O’Donnell / Alex Ross

Linesmen: Peter Feola / Brian Wasilewski

Why You Should Care: Coming off of a weekend where the Penguins played three games and only mustered a lowly point, rolling into Rochester where the Amerks have been good this season is not easy feat. Penguins need almost a perfect game if they want to, or expect to, have success in Rochester. Limit penalties, giveaways and chances and see where you are at in the third period.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Other Game to Watch: Syracuse visits Providence in a stiff challenge for both teams.

Next Five Games: @ CLE 12/13, @ CLE 12/14, vs. PRO 12/18, vs. PRO 12/20, @ BRI 12/21

Asked and Answered 12/11

Lots of questions in the mailbag this week so let’s get right to them…

1 being Completely Not Worried, 10 being Extremely Worried… 1-10 How alarmed should Wilkes-Barre / Scranton fans be of the teams recent form from this past week (1 out of 6 points)? Also, I know you have been attending games for a long time at Mohegan Sun Arena… Is there any hidden gem vendors or food stands you highly recommend?
– Matt

After one weekend? A four. The Penguins caught a team they never played before in Texas on a run that sometimes a team goes on which makes them unbeatable (Hershey last year, after the start of the New Year) and gave away points to a non-Conference opponent. Texas’ speed was on full display and it was something that the Penguins couldn’t keep up with. One of the fastest guys on the team in Adam Johnson is hit in the head with a puck from his own teammate in Jon Lizotte Friday and was out. Hard to combat that.

You can’t get too worked up over one bad weekend when you came off of an almost perfect November (9-2-1-1, 20 points out of a possible 26) – you just can’t. Now, if the trend continues (Rochester is an elite North Division team and the Penguins have not had much success there) and Cleveland is a bit inconsistent, but find me an AHL team which isn’t. The Penguins have to be careful here.

As for vendors, the stand right behind me in 104 has a decent chicken sandwich. They give you chips and a pickle. I add BBQ sauce. It is tasty. Also there is a nacho vendor across from me in 118/119 that has all the toppings you can think of for nachos besides your heated up cheese-wiz and olives. Chickie’s and Pete’s isn’t bad either, but they baste everything there in one big salt lick. The Roast Beast located in the Lion’s Den (enter the East gate, make a left, past Tim Horton’s, next stand on your left) is a good choice too. My best advice is come to the game on a full stomach.

Is there any consideration for future cross AHL blogging? Even though I’m a Hershey fan, your interview with 100 Degree Hockey was very enjoyable. I know it’s not a question about the state of WBS … but it would be awesome to see more of.
– Chrs

A long time ago, I used to host a divisional summit with fans and bloggers of all the teams in the division. Thing is, I have lost contact with most of them and with all the other things going on with the blog (the Stat Board, AHL Power Rankings, a real job, etc.) it hasn’t come up as an idea in recent times. Also, I don’t know anyone in Hartford, Providence or Bridgeport outside of media that goes to or blogs about those teams such as I do. So it would be an incomplete effort if I chose to resurrect it. However as this is an ever evolving project of mine, it may be worth considering because you aren’t the first person to tell me how much they enjoyed that piece with Stephen.

What is your view/projection for this team right now? I know call ups factor in to some degree but it feels like inconsistency is setting in..
– Tracey

I don’t see inconsistency. One bad weekend does not a season make.

As far as a projection, I think it is too soon to concede the division. I don’t honestly know how long Hartford can sustain the run they have been on. Now, the Wolf Pack did win all three of their games this past weekend and crushed an overall good Providence team in the process Sunday. They have resurrected themselves and are on top of the Atlantic Division again….I think two PA teams make playoffs. Right now Lehigh Valley is too banged up and far too inconsistent to be considered one of the two. That leaves Hartford, Springfield and Providence (assuming Wilkes-Barre and Hershey are locks) for two more spots. I like Providence over Springfield and Hartford and whomever between the Wolf Pack and Springfield are the least inconsistent and the time. The Thunderbirds always play the Penguins tough and you’ll get no argument from me if you tell me that they are the bigger divisional rival at present over the Phantoms and Bears. They, too, struggle with consistency.

To answer straight up the question, a three seed starting playoffs on the road either against Providence or Hershey.

1. Why do you think Vellucci is not playing Dustin Tokarski in goal? 2. Ryan Haggerty has been quiet and not scoring. Do you think they should try him on the top line right side with Stefan Noesen gone it might get him going or do you think he’s too slow for that line?
– Rose

They don’t need to play Tokarski in goal right now for two reasons: 1. Casey DeSmith is going to get the lion share of starts, 2. Emil Larmi is someone they see as their future in goal and want to immerse him into as much of the North American playing experience as possible. It’s obvious right now that Larmi is getting some mentoring from DeSmith. Also, while I am not covering practices or anything like that being around the team day-to-day, Tokarski could be simply resting up whatever it is that ailed him at the beginning of the season. The more and more Tristan Jarry plays well in Pittsburgh, the more and more that all goaltenders (Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith included) become trade bait for another NHL team. Eventually, Tokarski will get his reps. He’s a two time Calder Cup winning goaltender and right now a very valuable AHL insurance piece barring injury, trade or call-up.

Ryan Haggerty has been a victim of the veteran rule. I don’t see him as a top liner at all. I think right now, they really like Jan Drozg as the replacement for Noesen for as long as he stays up with Pittsburgh.

Without Stefan Noesen, the first line doesn’t look nearly as lethal. With Hershey getting hot and WBS already being in 3rd, can this team make the playoffs without him?
– Josh

Yes. I don’t foresee Noesen’s stay with Pittsburgh being permanent first of all. I think they like Sam Lafferty as the 13th forward more so than Noesen. Now, you run the risk of Noesen being scooped up as a waiver claim, but I think he passes without incident if put on. If another NHL team wanted him, they would have signed him in October. Sure, he worked last week on the second line up there and scored a goal. But then they put him on the fourth line and while I didn’t watch any of the game in Detroit Saturday, reports were that the fourth line overall didn’t have an overly grand showing. Does it continue? I guess you can read those tea leaves this week when Pittsburgh plays Montreal, Columbus and the LA Kings. Where they and how they apply Noesen should foreshadow whether or not he remains in the lineup when Bryan Rust and Sidney Crosby return in a few weeks.

As far as playoffs? Bridgeport, Charlotte and one PA team which I think right now is Lehigh Valley isn’t going to make it. That leaves you in a battle with a team like Springfield. I like the Penguins chances now, but it is still too early to say even with my perditions they finish third in the question above, especially in this league.

Has a WBS Penguin ever looked as ineffective while scoring at a point per game pace as Agozzino has this season? He hasn’t brought anything to the ice aside from scoring, much of which seems to come on the power play anyway.
– Mike

You know, it’s a very interesting way to look at it. When Stefan Noesen signed his NHL contract last week with Pittsburgh, he accounted for a third of the goals scored for Wilkes-Barre at the time. The thing is, so did Agozzino. Andrew actually took over the point scoring lead from Noesen with his power play goal on Friday and now leads the team in scoring with 24 points. Agozzino has been on the ice for 14 goals on the power play, and 20 at even strength. However, and I think this is where you are going with this, 16 goals scored against have come with Agozzino and the top line on the ice. That isn’t something that you want just 25 games into the season over the course of an entire 76 game campaign. The same can also be said about Agozzino’s linemates in Noesen (12 goals against at even strength) and Miletic (12 also) so you may be onto something here which is definitely worth keeping an eye on going forward.

Why doesn’t Mike Vellucci like Anthony Angello? On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving he was benched for the 3rd period and he is getting hardly any power play/penalty kill time. Last year he was used whenever possible and got as much ice time as Lafferty. Is it an issue this year with effort? Or maybe attitude? He is a guy who is quick, has size, can hit, and can shoot. I don’t see a reason why he shouldn’t be playing whenever possible.
– Josh

Well, let’s examine the numbers again.

Angello has appeared in every contest (25 games through this past Sunday) this season. He’s got a 50% goals for differential 16 goals scored for and against while he was on the ice and 42.86% at even strength (12 for, 16 against) and has been applied on the second power play unit for the most part. Penalty minutes aren’t a problem, he only has 24 of them. He’s 23 years old in his second full professional year. He has the size, 6’5, 210 and has the body of an NHL-er but his skating is so-so and he lacks Adam Johnson-like speed. Should he be further along in his development as a viable NHL call-up? I believe Mike Vellucci thinks so. He should be scoring more. He has seven points as someone who has played in the top six for a vast majority of the 25 games on a team that dominated the month of November. I think it is a bit of tough love from the coaching staff that yes, you have all of the physical assets to contribute at the AHL level, but it’s the coaches job to graduate players to the NHL and not allow them to stagnate when they have the size to be in the NHL. They clearly want more from him.

When do you think Brandon Hawkins gets called up? Personally I think he’s been better than Drozg, and he just scored a hat trick.
– Emma

When there is room. Right now, you’re replacing him with who on the wing exactly? You can maybe argue one of the veterans in Ryan Haggerty or Andreas Martinsen, but you aren’t taking Sam Miletic, Thomas DiPauli or Anthony Angello out of the lineup unless one gets called up or injured, another veteran returns (Czuczman, but then you need to get creative) and if Stefan Noesen returns forget about it.

What I always tell folks in situations like this (one guy over another) is ask yourself who has the NHL contract. Right now, it’s Jan Drozg, not Hawkins. Since we are, at our base, a developmental league for the NHL, it’s those types of players that get the nod over someone else. It may not be fair, it’s just how it works.

Now, if Hawkins continues to impress in Wheeling, the Penguins will have no choice but to make room for him in the lineup.

It seems as though WBS is keeping more players available/around than in previous years. Is this the case?
– John

When you trade away all the draft picks and the kitchen sink for winning two Stanley Cups in the span of three seasons, faces on the farm are going to look familiar, no matter how good or how bad the team is. All of the better players (Teddy Blueger, Jake Guentzel, Chad Ruhwedel, Zach Aston-Reese) move up and then you are left with the ‘AAAA’ players that sometimes go up but often return (Blandisi, Trotman, etc.)

Thank you to all who asked questions this time around. I like the once a month concept I think and this will definitely be back in a few weeks.

Mailbag Monday 12/9

So, after a 0-2-1 weekend for the Penguins and the first bit of adversity facing the team with Stefan Noesen up with Pittsburgh and dropping all three games, time to dust off the mailbag.

Send in anything on your mind related to the team below. If there are a lot questions, we will have a post Wednesday morning in advance of that night’s game in Rochester against the Americans. If you don’t then I have nothing to answer and the concept of a mailbag goes away for good. I decided to bring it off the shelf here after a weekend of bad results for the Penguins.

Send questions below:

Mailbag is closed. Answers here. Thanks for all the questions this time, we will do this again in a month or so.

Coughing Up Chocolate — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

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They spoiled a dazzling display in goal by Casey DeSmith.

After going up 2-0 in the first period, DeSmith shut down the Bears in the second period, which I felt at the time was Hershey’s best attempt to get back in the game, after the physical war the Bears were in all weekend with Lehigh Valley on Friday and Saturday. No way that the Bears, in the final period of a weekend three in three, mount a comeback against that Penguins defense.

Wrong! Bears get two to tie in the third, force overtime and Joe Snively’s goal in overtime give Hershey a 3-2 overtime win against the Penguins Sunday.

I found out in the third that the Penguins were missing one of their better defensemen in Zach Trotman who left the game and didn’t return. That may have had a part in it.

DeSmith opposed Pheonix Copley.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Joseph Blandisi was reassigned by Pittsburgh Sunday morning. Jordy Bellerive went out of the lineup to make room, Jan Drozg went to the top line where he ended up Saturday night. Defense pairings were intact.

First Period: Hot start for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton, who went up two goals in a span of about two minutes just before half way.

Sam Miletic scored on a ridiculous feed by Andreas Martinsen that put the Pens on the board.

Then Anthony Angello scored from the slot which doubled the visitors lead.

Miletic nearly had a second goal on this sequence but Copley was lucky enough to not let it beat him.

Casey DeSmith, not to be outdone, had this ten bell save on Joe Snively in the final knockings of the period.

Second Period: Eighteen shots by Hershey but no goals to show. Casey DeSmith stood on his head, had the Bears hit two posts, but no one scored. Penguins had :31 of two man advantage but weren’t able to score.

Third Period: Hershey finally breaks through on a power play goal scored by Matt Mouslon. A shot by Bobby Nardella was saved by DeSmith but not covered up and Mouslon who was screening in front swept it across the line.

The Bears power play is 30th out of 31 teams in the AHL but somehow always scores against the Penguins. It was the fourth (of ten successes) power play goals scored against the Penguins this season.

Christian Djoos had a low, seeing eye shot beat DeSmith which tied the game at two.

Then a super soft call by Mitch Dunning and Michael Markovic. We had these two referees Saturday at home and I thought they did a fine job. They did a fine job Sunday too but for the following sequence.

That’s 6’5 Anthony Angello decleating 5’11 Shane Gersich who was skating with his head down with a clean body hit. Nothing at the head, nothing dirty, a clean hit delivered. Referees call roughing. Thankfully, Hershey didn’t score on the ensuing power play.

Dunning and Markovic repaid the Penguins with a soft hooking call against the Bears but the Penguins didn’t score there.

Overtime: Sam Miletic had a chance to end it in OT but Copley flicked out the pad.

Snively put home a rebound of a Mike Sgarbossa shot.

 

Here’s another look:

Game. Set. Match. A perfect 3-0 weekend for Hershey. Only one point for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Three stars: 3) Matt Moulson (goal) 2) Christian Djoos (goal, assist) 1) Joe Snively (overtime game winning goal)

The Good: The hot start by the Penguins.

The Bad: Losing Trotman to injury had to play into the Bears relentless comeback in the third.

Turning Point: :31 of two man advantage reared no goals for the Penguins. A three, possibly four goal lead at the time would have been way too much for a tired Bears team to overcome no matter who was missing from the Penguins lineup.

Around the Division: One other game, the Hartford Wolf Pack complete a perfect 3-0 weekend with a 4-1 win over the Atlantic Division leader Providence Bruins in Providence.

Standings: Hartford 35 — Providence 35 — Penguins 30 — Hershey 29 — Springfield 28 — Lehigh Valley 25 — Charlotte 23 — Bridgeport 22

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: 

The Pens are in Rochester taking on old buddy J-S Dea and the Americans Wednesday. Blue Cross Arena has been a house of horrors for the Penguins of late.

The stat board has been updated. You can click over to that at the top of the blog, or just click here.

Mailbag Monday is back, send in questions or I will shelve the feature entirely.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 12/8

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Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

When: 5:00 p.m.

Last Game: Last night at home against the Texas Stars, the Penguins lost 5-3. Wilkes-Barre connected on a pair of back to back power play goals but could not hold on. Sam Miletic had a goal and an assist in the loss. For Hershey, the Bears were in a weekend home and home against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and won 1-0 at home Saturday. Mike Sgarbossa scored, Vitek Vanecek stopped 32 shots.

Last Meeting: Wednesday, November 13 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins and Bears played 65 minutes of scoreless hockey and with was Wilkes-Barre that won in a shootout 1-0. Stefan Noesen scored the only goal in the shootout in the first round.

Record: For WBS: 13-8-2-1 (29 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division) // For HER: 11-9-2-3 (27 pts, 5th place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Mitch Dunning / Michael Markovic

Linesmen: Bob Goodman / Tyler Loftus

Why You Should Care: Hard fought weekend comes to a close for both teams today in Hershey. The Bears are coming off of a contentious home and home series with Lehigh Valley which included a lot of penalty minutes. They may not have anything left emotionally for a Penguins team who got knocked around by a Texas Stars team who had just one road win all season coming into Friday’s contest. It should be another good one between these two rivals.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Other Game to Watch: Three games in the AHL this afternoon. Us, a game out west and Hartford visiting Providence in a pivotal game for the Wolf Pack who can tie the Bruins in points at the top of the division with a win.

Next Five Games: @ ROC 12/11, @ CLE 12/13, @ CLE 12/14, vs. PRO 12/18, vs. PRO 12/20

* – promo information credit to http://www.wbspenguins.com/promo-schedule/

Put a Bow On It — Pens LOSE 5-3

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I am not going to bury the turning point in this game recap, I’ll give it to you here.

After the Penguins third goal of the game and of the second period, Texas Stars head coach Derek Laxdal called his time out to settle his group. His side, still at the bottom of the Central Division and only winners of two road games all season, were seeing a decent start to the game slip away after the Penguins scored back to back power play goals.

It worked. The Penguins didn’t score another goal, Texas would tie the game later in the period then score just :15 into the third period to go on to win 5-3 Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre.

The game will be remembered for some fighting at the end, including Emil Larmi’s halfhearted attempt to fight Stars starting goaltender Landon Bow. They didn’t and, at 10:45 p.m. on this Saturday night where I am typing these words, the game sheet still is not final on the AHL’s website.

Second loss in a row for the Penguins. Consider the opponent. Texas was in for the first time ever as an opponent from the Western Conference which we rarely see. Are they two games that you’d like to win? Sure, Texas was awful coming in and in last in the Central. But in the bigger picture you’d rather lose to out of division teams vs. teams like Hershey or Providence.

Lines were…

Texas didn’t post lines and there are no GIFs of any goals. I’ll do my best in describing them for you, use your imagination.

Lineup Notes: Jan Drozg was recalled from Wheeling Saturday afternoon. He replaced Adam Johnson who picked up a knock last night on Jon Lizotte’s clearing attempt. For what it’s worth they listed Johnson on the injury report. Andreas Martinsen was slotted on the top line but didn’t stay there, as he was replaced by Drozg.

First Period: Better start for the Penguins, but it was Jason Robertson scoring twice in the period from two on one goals which beat Larmi. The second came with just .8 seconds left to play in the period.

Second Period: David Warsofsky’s shot at goal was deflected by Sam Miletic which triggered the annual teddy bear toss. After a brief delay, play resumed and the Penguins found themselves on a five on three for 1:41.

Warsofsky’s shot this time went in without anyone touching it and it was a tie game. There was still time left over from the Dillon Heatherington double minor of a high stick on Andrew Agozzino, and the Penguins connected on that to take the lead at 3-2. Zach Trotman scored on a hell of a shot.

Here is where that time out by Laxdal came in. There was still more than half of the game yet to be played. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. This time it did.

Joel L’Esperance scored on a power play goal late in the period which tied the game at three. I believe Larmi was screened.

Third Period: Weird play to open the period. Heatherington’s shot at goal kicked off of Niclas Almari’s skates and died in the slot. Joel Kiviranta was in the right place at the right time, put a move on Larmi to get him out of position and scored to give the Stars the lead again.

Penguins had more than a few good looks at Bow and the Stars net but were unable to find the equalizer.

An empty net goal by Nicholas Caamano set off a melee of penalties. David Warsofsky slashed Caamano and received a 5:00 penalty for it and a game misconduct.

Jamie Devane picked up a roughing and fighting major as did Rhett Gardner.

After that was sorted out, Macoy Erkamps didn’t like Riley Tufte’s attempt at scoring a goal on Larmi at the end of the game, so they picked up roughing and misconduct penalties.

Emil Larmi got a penalty for traveling beyond the center red line (it is actually a penalty) and a misconduct for attempting to fight Landon Bow.

Bow, for a second, thought about it but smiled and skated away.

Three Stars: 3) Sam Miletic (goal, assist) 2) Jason Robertson (two goals) 1) Joel Kiviranta (game winning goal)

The Good: The power play came to life when it needed to and picked the Penguins off the mat and back into the game.

The Bad: They couldn’t hold a lead against a team which had only won twice coming in. But I think it’s a different Stars team. You could see it if you watched the games this weekend. They are a good team which are buried under bad luck. When the two teams meet again in January, it probably won’t be with Texas in last in the Central Division.

Turning Point: Go back to the top and read the lede again.

Around the Division: It’s always fun to watch the Penguins two biggest rivals, Hershey and Lehigh Valley, beat the hell out of each other. It happened this weekend in a war between the two teams. Hershey wins 1-0 at home. They will probably be missing a few guys Sunday when the Penguins come calling and may be, just may be, emotionally spent and ripe for the picking.

Elsewhere, Syracuse beats Bridgeport 5-2, Providence beats Utica in a shootout 3-2, Charlotte ends Rochester’s long point streak 3-1, Laval had a nice comeback and beats Springfield 4-3 and Hartford beats up Binghamton 5-2.

Standings: Providence 35 — Hartford 33 — Penguins 29 — Springfield 28 — Hershey 27 — Lehigh Valley 25 — Charlotte 23 — Bridgeport 22

Wheeling Update: Nailers lost 4-1 at home in a rematch with Kalamazoo. Yushi Hirano had the only goal for the Nailers Saturday.

Video Highlights: 

Pens close out the weekend three in three with a game in Hershey Sunday at 5. Gameday setup hits the blog Sunday at 1.

Let’s Go Pens!