Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 3/19

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Who: Hershey Bears

 Where: Giant Center

When: 7:00 p.m.

Last Game: Sunday at home against Toronto, the Penguins lost 4-2. Jimmy Hayes and Jarrett Burton scored goals for the Pens in the loss. For Hershey, the Bears defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday 5-1. Mike Sgarbossa had a goal and three assists, Riley Barber had a pair of goals and an assist. Ilya Samsonov stopped 18 of 19 shots.

Last Meeting: February 22 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins lost 4-2. The Bears scored three third period goals.

Record: For WBS: 30-24-6-3 (69 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For HER: 35-22-3-4 (77 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Furman South / Jordan Deckard

Linesmen: Tom George / Tom DellaFranco

Why You Should Care: Gotta make this game in hand on Providence and Lehigh Valley count. This past Sunday was a let down, losing 4-2. The Penguins have to win this game if they want to be considered a contender for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. A tough task against a Hershey team that has had the Pens number lies ahead.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Other Game to Watch: Charlotte hosts Syracuse in what very well may be an Eastern Conference Finals matchup.

Next Five Games: vs. LV 3/22, @ LV 3/23, vs. SPR 3/24, vs. PRO 3/27, vs. SPR 3/30

Out Manned by a Marlie — Pens LOSE 4-2

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Tyler had a tweet right after a 4-2 Penguins loss to the Toronto Marlies on Sunday afternoon which summed up the game perfectly I thought.

Now, it was a bit of a different game in stark comparison to a few weeks ago against Syracuse. The Crunch were tops in the AHL in just about every category, but the Penguins bottled up the Crunch (after an awful first period) and were able to beat the Crunch. Use the boiling a frog technique.

But Sunday against Toronto, it was an avalanche that the Penguins got buried in and never dug out of.

Toronto scored at the expiry of a five on three power play when Chris Mueller finally banged home a back door pass in the first period that gave the Marlies a 1-0 lead.

But then Adam Brooks cleaned up a rebound of a Jeremy Bracco shot that gave the Marlies a 2-0 lead in the second period.

Jimmy Hayes finished off a loooooong pass by Tristan Jarry that made it a 2-1 game. The Penguins had the Marlies right where they wanted them, a goal away and a new period to play in the third.

Only Toronto scored two goals in :19 in the periods final minute to extend the lead to 4-1. A Jarrett Burton shot off of a long rebound left by Marlies starter Michael Hutchinson made it 4-2, but the Penguins would get no closer.

That’s basically it. There weren’t any GIFs of the Penguins goals and while Toronto did GIF theirs, I doubt there are many Marlies fans living in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Tristan Jarry opposed the aforementioned Hutchinson. Jarry started his tenth straight. I don’t think he was the reason the Pens lost the game today. It’s his job to stop the puck yes, but when your team takes a two man disadvantage and then falls asleep in the final minute of the second period, no goaltender, I don’t care if he is as fresh as a daisy, is going to be successful.

Wasted opportunity for the Penguins who burn a game in hand on the Bruins and stay five off of the fourth place and idle Bruins. They will burn off that game in hand on Providence Tuesday when they head to Hershey.

Gameday setup hits the blog for that matchup against the Bears, last of the regular season, Tuesday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP – Pens LOSE 4-2

Two power play goals by Toronto and two quick goals in the final minute of the second bury the Penguins today as they lose 4-2.

Tristan Jarry started his tenth consecutive game, but I don’t think you can credit the loss to that.

Pens stay fifth, five off Providence for fourth, and burn a game in hand on the Bruins and Phantoms. I think the other gets burned off Tuesday in Hershey.

More in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Toronto 3/17

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Who: Toronto Marlies

 Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 3:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night against the Providence Bruins, the Pens won 2-1 in overtime. Jake Lucchini scored his first professional goal and Adam Johnson scored in overtime to win it. For Toronto, they were beaten last night in Allentown with 0.5 seconds left on a Chris Conner goal 4-3. Chris Mueller scored a pair of goals for the Marlies in the loss.

Last Meeting: December 1 in Toronto, the Pens lost 7-4. Four different Penguins scored goals and ex-Penguin J-S Dea assisted on two of them.

Record: For WBS: 30-23-6-3 (69 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For TOR: 33-21-6-4 (76 pts., 3th place North Division)

Referees: Tim Mayer / Ben O’Quinn

Linesmen: Tyler Loftus / J.P. Waleski

Why You Should Care: This is one of two games in hand that the Penguins will be burning off on Hershey, Providence and Lehigh Valley who are all off today. The Penguins can draw to three points of the Bruins for fourth in the Atlantic. Standing in their way is the defending champion Toronto Marlies. Should be a good test for the Penguins in another important game.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Promotion(s): KIDS FREE SUNDAY — Fans ages 14 and younger can get into the game for FREE when accompanied by a paying adult (one free kids ticket per paid adult ticket).  Bring along your skates for our postgame skating session on the arena ice.*

Other Game to Watch: Colorado, winners of nine straight, take on the San Jose Barracuda out in California later.

Next Five Games: @ HER 3/19, vs. LV 3/22, @ LV 3/23, vs. SPR 3/24, vs. PRO 3/27

* – promotional information courtesy of wbspenguins.com/promo-schedule

Pre-Playoff Season — Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)

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I don’t know if this game tonight, a 2-1 Penguins overtime win over the Providence Bruins, classifies as an instant classic, but if it didn’t it would awfully be close.

Playoff like intensity on the ice with neither team giving the other an inch and the Penguins scrap and claw two points away from the Bruins who get the loser point. Wilkes-Barre stays five back of the Bruins with two games in hand on Providence. They don’t control their own destiny yet, but if they keep on this winning way, they will soon.

Tristan Jarry opposed Zane McIntyre.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Ryan Scarfo returned from injury and replaced Anthony Angello on the second line, who bumped to the fourth line. Trevor Yates took warmups but was the scratch. No changes on defense.

First Period: Penguins and Bruins played a careful period of hockey I thought. Both teams traded power play chances but neither team scored.

Second Period: Jimmy Hayes picked off a Bruin at center ice, skated in and put a shot on McIntyre which was stopped but Jake Lucchini was there to put the rebound in for his first goal as a professional.

Penguins outshot the Bruins 14-5 in the second period.

Third Period: The Bruins would flip the script on the Penguins, outshooting Wilkes-Barre 21-7. Tristan Jarry stopped 20 of t hem, getting beat on this shot for a goal by Ryan Fitzgerald. Karson Kuhlman put the shot on initially, Fitzgerald was there to sweep in the wreckage.

Tristan Jarry made some goo saves, none better than this windmill save…

Penguins killed two Providence power plays rather easily, but were on their heels the entire period and weren’t able to muster much in the way of offense.

So it was off to…

Overtime: Had the feeling that if the Bruins didn’t score another goal in the third, they weren’t scoring one in overtime. Adam Johnson saw to it that it didn’t happen.

Nice backhander in a tight area for the goal.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Hershey throttled Bridgeport 5-1…Lehigh Valley gets a Chris Conner goal with 0.5 seconds left in regulation to stun Toronto 4-3….Charlotte sweeps Rochester with a 3-1 win in North Carolina…Hartford beats Utica 5-3. Springfield was off.

Standings: Charlotte 89 — Bridgeport 79 — Hershey 77 — Providence 74 — Penguins 69 — Lehigh Valley 68 — Springfield 66 — Hartford 65

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost to Toledo 3-2. Renars Krastenbergs scored for Wheeling.

Setting up Sunday: Pens will burn off one of their two games in hand on Providence, Hershey and Lehigh Valley who are all off Sunday. Expect a pissed off Marlies club here Sunday at 3.

Video Highlights: 

Gameday setup vs. Toronto hits the blog here Sunday at 11 am.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP – Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)

Bruins threw the kitchen sink at Tristan Jarry and it still wasn’t enough to beat the suddenly resurgent Penguins, who beat the Bruins 2-1 in overtime off a Adam Johnson backhand goal.

Point deficit to the fourth place Bruins is five. Two games in hand for the Pens over the Bruins who still don’t control their own destiny.

Oh Jake Lucchini scored his first goal of his pro career. He’s been dynamite with Jimmy Hayes and Joe Cramarossa.

Full blog recap to follow.

GAMEDAY: vs. Providence 3/16

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Who: Providence Bruins

 Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Wednesday in Allentown, the Pens won 4-1. Jimmy Hayes had a hat trick, Tristan Jarry made 38 saves. For Providence, the Bruins were in Allentown last night and won 5-3. Lee Stempniak scored a pair of goals and Dan Vladar stopped just 19 of 22 shots.

Last Meeting: March 1 in Providence the Penguins won 2-1 in a shootout. Ethan Prow and Chris Breen scored third period goals and Joseph Cramarossa and Ben Sexton scored on their shootout attempts.

Record: For WBS: 28-23-6-3 (67 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For PRO: 32-22-7-2 (73 pts., 4th place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Mike Dietrich / Beau Halkidis

Linesmen: Jud Ritter / Patrick Hanrahan

Why You Should Care: Penguins need to approach this game tonight with playoff like intensity as Providence sits in the spot that the Penguins want to get to and advance to the postseason.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Promotion(s): ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATION — It’s our annual celebration of all things Irish. We’ll be wearing special shamrock sweaters, which will be auctioned off during the game.  Plus enjoy live Irish entertainment throughout the game.*

Other Game to Watch: Tomorrow’s opponent, the Toronto Marlies, are in Allentown taking on the Phantoms.

Next Five Games: vs. TOR 3/17, @ HER 3/19, vs. LV 3/22, @ LV 3/23, vs. SPR 3/24

* – promotional information courtesy of wbspenguins.com/promo-schedule