Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Bye Bye from Boyd — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

WBS        @       HER

2                                         3

Pay attention.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have made it to the playoffs for fourteen consecutive seasons.

No other team in the AHL can make that claim.

The Penguins, in those 14 seasons of postseason hockey, have made it to the second round 13 of those 14 seasons.

No other team comes close.

Wilkes-Barre has two newspapers covering the team from all angles.

Some teams don’t have a single newspaper running a daily or a beat writer covering the team.

Every Penguins game is on terrestrial radio.

Most teams aren’t.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have a stable relationship with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hell, half of the reason why the Pittsburgh Penguins are as far along in their postseason is because of guys like Matt Murray, Mike Sullivan, Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Derrick Pouliot. All started the season in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre.

You have the unthinkable occurring with the New England teams drying up. Portland? Gone. Springfield? Depends. Binghamton? Shaky ground.

Step back for a minute and drink all that in. What would you rather have? A Calder Cup or an AHL team that is the envy of the league and dare I say a premier destination for minor league hockey?

Ask anyone from Norfolk or Manchester. Both teams recently won the Calder Cup. Both had their teams ripped away from them. Now they are playing in the ECHL. Oklahoma City was a win away from the Calder Cup Finals last year and are now a barren wasteland for hockey. They don’t have a team or any prospects for one. Their fans have nothing to cheer for but for ECHL Wichita up north or some junior teams.

Perspective, is what I am saying. If you have read this blog for as long as I have been writing it, you know that I have said that the Penguins day will come. It isn’t this year. When it does, it becomes all the more sweeter.

And don’t let me hear you say that the Bears straight up beat the Penguins in Game 7 in overtime 3-2. It was close. The entire series was close. If this was a nine game series, it would have went 9. If it was 11, it would have went there, and on and on…

But here we find ourselves. With this series and this opponent with how the Penguins and Bears were matched up, there is nothing to hang your head on. The Bears and Penguins were two evenly matched teams. Someone had to win and someone had to lose. I had a feeling long ago that this would go seven and end in overtime of some kind. It did. The Penguins got caught on the losing end. It happens.

Full credit to the Hershey Bears on a hell of a series. It could have done either way. Run this series 100 times and you probably get a 50/50 split.

Thank you’s to come, but pop through the jump to read the game story first….

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They Couldn’t Get One More? — Pens WIN 6-2

HER        vs.        WBS

2                                         6

My headline tonight was spoiled because had the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins scored seven goals the headline tonight would have been, “Using Seven to Get to Seven.”

But alas, here we are.

A 6-2 pasting of the Hershey Bears tonight as the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins force a Game 7 in a series ticketed for such since the end of Game 2.

If anyone expected anything different, they are crazy.

The only thing that I can’t get a handle on is what happens in Game 7. I have no idea. The series has gone the distance, yet I have no idea what to expect in the final game of the series. The team that has scored first has gone on to win since the beginning of the season. Does that change? No idea. Expect the unexpected.

Casey DeSmith opposed Justin Peters.

Jump through if you didn’t link in direct, lots of eye candy for you in this one.

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Pens to the Brink — Pens LOSE 5-3

WBS        @       HER

3                                         5

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins need to win their next two games if they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against either the Albany Devils or Toronto Marlies. The Penguins, in a valiant effort, come from behind a 0-3 hole to tie the game only to lose 5-3 tonight in Hershey in Game 5.

Something to ponder as Game 5 got going between these two teams.

I don’t think that this matters at all in Game 6. While I initially had it going six with the Penguins advancing, you could see early on in Game 2 that this series was going to go seven games. These two teams are so evenly matched. It spells out that the series by default is going to go seven.

But here is the thing. I say this goes to seven, but have no blessed idea who wins that seventh game. What if they just kept playing and playing and playing?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Tristan Jarry opposed Justin Peters.

Lines were…

Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Daniel Sprong
Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Mattias Plachta – J-S Dea – Dominik Simon
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Josh Archibald

Will O’Neill – Steve Oleksy
Ryan Parent – Barry Goers
Tim Erixon – Harrison Ruopp

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Dominik Simon was back in the lineup since his injury in Game 1. Simon was in for Sahir Gill from last game. Also, Harrison Ruopp was in for Niclas Andersen.

First Period: :02 in, this happened:

Sestito was given an extra 10 minutes for continuing the altercation and O’Brien tried to confront Sestito in the penalty box after the fight. Glad that was put out of the way early so the teams could focus on hockey.

Pens got a quick power play, spent the entire time in the Bears end but was unable to score one on Peters. Great kill by the Bears.

Carter Camper followed his shot after Harrison Ruopp failed to clear a puck…

Camper has been killing the Penguins in the series. 3-1-4 in four straight games so far against the Penguins.

Season history on first goal scored…

Penguins continued to pour on the pressure. Shots were 8-1 Pens at one point. Wilkes-Barre continued to cycle and press with Mattias Plachta and Dustin Jeffrey getting good looks but they were unable to score.

Then the Penguins found themselves in penalty trouble. They killed a Daniel Sprong trip then got caught on :54 of 5-on-3 where the Bears scored again with :06 to double their lead…

Sill had about a foot of space skating the wrong direction to backhand a pass to Vrana for the goal. Nothing Jarry could do.

Second Period: Had a feeling at the start of the period that the Penguins needed to play a perfect period and not allow the Bears to get another goal. Period started and it looked like the Bears were content to sit on the two goal lead but after a while you started noticing that they were constantly in the Penguins end and looking for a third. Finally Steve Oleksy got beat on an icing call and Sean Collins made it 3-0…

That goal chased Tristan Jarry and in came Casey DeSmith. Hard to fault Jarry on any of the three goals. He can’t clear pucks out of his crease (the first one, where Ruopp should have) and take penalties (the 5-on-3 late in the first) and beat out icing calls. So you were looking at the goalie switch hoping that it would be a kick in the pants to the Penguins.

Turns out, it was.

The next shift, Jake Guentzel marched towards the net and Tom Kostopoulos cleaned up the mess to answer for the Penguins and made it 3-1.

Josh Archibald backhanded on a ridiculous goal. 3-2 game now.

Video headline was wrong and misspelled. Sorry.

Pens found themselves on a power play but could not score. Tom Sestito took an unnecessary late elbowing penalty that bled into the…

Third Period: Pens killed the Sestito penalty. Then the aforementioned Sestito scored to tie the game.

No, you read that right. Tom Sestito scored a goal. On a two on one.

Sestito was tossed for his antics in the celebration. Apparently a player that isn’t known for his goal scoring prowess can’t celebrate in the slightest in front of fans that are known for spelling out a profane word whenever something borderline such as a Tom Sestito goal scoring celebration that ties the game at three after his side was down 0-3. Not like Sestito would have factored in on anything else in the game.

Penguins found themselves on a power play and had all of the momentum on their side.

Zach Sill scored shorthanded on a 2-on-0 breakaway.

(sorry I didn’t get a video of this thinking that the AHL would)

Backbreaking goal to be allowed by the Penguins. The fourth shorthanded goal allowed by Wilkes-Barre this offseason and second shorty scored by the Bears in this series against Wilkes-Barre.

There was a little over fourteen minutes left. Loads of time for the Penguins. But Barry Goers took a penalty. Chris Bourque rang a post, and the Penguins killed it.

Dustin Jeffrey, who has been snake bitten in this series (just two assists) was robbed by Peters with the glove with under five minutes to play.

With DeSmith out for an extra attacker, not only did the Penguins not find an equalizer, Ryan Bourque hit an empty net.

Three Stars: 3) Josh Archibald (goal, assist, +1) 2) Carter Camper (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Zach Sill (game winning goal, two assists, even)

Wheeling Update: Riley Brace scored in the first overtime to give the Nailers the win in Game 7. Wheeling advanced to the Eastern Conference Final with a 4-3 win over Reading.

Highlights, which include the Sill shorthanded goal, here…

I will see if I can update my postseason charts some time Thursday. If there are any news or notes on the off day, I will drop a blog update then.

Let’s Go Pens!

All Even – Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)

HER        vs.        WBS

1                                         2

Sunday morning. Tom Sestito had just been assigned to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins from Pittsburgh. I saw the news and tweeted this at the time.

Sestito didn’t have a hat trick or anything, but the Bears ran around on the Penguins Saturday in Game 3 in a blowout win for Hershey without Sestito’s presence. Tonight, was a bit of a different story.

Pens win in overtime 2-1 that ties this best of seven at 2-2 with Game 5 Wednesday in Hershey and Game 6 back here in Wilkes-Barre. Tom Sestito did not score the game winning goal, but did pick up the primary assist on the game winner.

Tristan Jarry started Game 4 and opposed Justin Peters.

Lines were…

Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Daniel Sprong
Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Mattias Plachta – J-S Dea – Sahir Gill
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Josh Archibald

Niclas Andersen – Steve Oleksy
Ryan Parent – Barry Goers
Will O’Neill – Tim Erixon

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Warmups: A little hey how you doing…

Started by, who else, Tom Sestito. More on that with more pictures from our friends at Chocolate Hockey here.

First Period: Lively start by both sides but no scoring. Both goalies made spectacular saves, Peters with the glove on Rowney and Jarry with the stick on a Bears chance. Interestingly enough, both saves led to penalties from the other team. Neither team scored.

Second Period: Tom Kostopoulos collected a power play goal off of this redirect of a Will O’Neill shot and the Pens were on the board…

Bears got it right back when Carter Camper cashed on a rebound on a long power play by the Bears that started as a 5-on-3. Pens could never clear it and a tired corps could never clear the puck away from Jarry’s crease.

Pens were giving away the farm taking needless, silly penalties. A referee may let a borderline interference call go or a hard hit into the boards in playoffs, but not a high sticking call, holding the stick call or an elbow across the head of an opponent call five feet in front of him. You had all of these taken by the Penguins in the period.

Third Period: Penguins dominated the period 14-2 with shots, had three kicks at a power play can, but could not cash. They got close, but this is hockey, not horseshoes. Off to…

Overtime: Officiating being what it was, the Penguins found themselves on a power play when Jake Guentzel’s stick was held by Madison Bowey. Kael Mouillierat cashed in on this that tied the series at two a piece…

Three Stars: 3) Tristan Jarry (22 saves on 23 shots) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even) and 1) Kael Mouillierat (game winning overtime goal, even)

Penguins were without the services of Niclas Andersen for much of the second half of the game, he was apparently injured. Also, Daniel Sprong was used sparingly also.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers force a Game 7 with a 8-3 blowout win over the Reading Royals. Brian Foster stopped 32 of 35 shots to pick up the win. The decisive Game 7 is Wednesday night in Wheeling.

Video highlights…

Overnight Fallout: From this tweet by Russ Hryvnak…

…set off a tweetstorm between Liam O’Brien and Sestito. I’m linking off because of profanity involved, so it’s neatly covered here by Chocolate Hockey and then again by Russian Machine Never Breaks. 

I will probably have an update to my charts sometime Tuesday.

Let’s Go Pens!

Atlantic Division Final Game 4: Hershey Bears (HER leads 2-1)

vs.     her14_200

Atlantic Division Final — Game 4

AHL Game: I4

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Series: Series tied 1-1 (Best of Seven)

Media Kit

Last Game: Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins lost to Hershey in Game 3 by a score of 5-2. Jake Guentzel continued his torrid pace for the Pens in the postseason with a power play goal. Casey DeSmith was pulled after allowing the Bears fifth goal. Chris Bourque finally caught fire, scoring twice.

What to watch for: First goalie on the ice for warmups for Wilkes-Barre. That’s either Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith. With the Penguins in a virtual must win game, this is going to be an important piece to the puzzle as to how Game 4 goes.

Referee(s): Jake Brenk / Jon McIsaac

Linesmen: Francois Dussureault / Brandon Gawryletz

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @TheHersheyBears

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /TheHersheyBears

Instagram: wbspenguins / thehersheybears

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TLTomVenesky

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / HER: Scott Stuccio @ScottStuccio

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @ChocHockey

Radio: For WBS: WILK News Radio / For Hershey: 1460 The Ticket 

Television: AHL Live

When is Game 5?: Wednesday in Hershey at 7 p.m.

Bearied — Pens LOSE 5-2

HER        vs.        WBS

5                                         2

So far in this series, there has been one turning point. That was when Liam O’Brien charged Dominik Simon in Game 1 earning O’Brien a game suspension and concussing Simon to a point to where he has yet to play in a game since.

The Penguins offense has not been the same. Shutout in a close Game 2 Friday then blown away Saturday night in Game 3 by a score of 5-2.

There could be another turning point. The luster of Casey DeSmith got smudged up a bit in this game and he was pulled in favor of Tristan Jarry in the third period after the Bears had just scored their fifth goal. I tweeted this at the time…

It remains to be seen who comes out of the tunnel first for the Penguin in Game 4, but you’d be hard pressed if you are Clark Donatelli to turn back to Casey DeSmith when you are trailing in a series down by a game when the opposition has all the momentum with the next game in their house where you haven’t performed well in the postseason. Jarry got this ship to the playoffs, DeSmith got the Penguins this far but Jarry is rested and ready to go. You have to go with Tristan Jarry as your Game 4 starter.

The only lineup changes for the Penguins tonight were Tyler Biggs for Sahir Gill and Niclas Anderson for Ryan Parent.

First Period: Penguins got out of the gate hot, but didn’t score. Pens controlled much of the penalty filled period, but it was the Bears going on the board first when the Penguins couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone. Dustin Gazley scored on the backhand and it was 1-0 Bears.

Seth with a different perspective on my, “turning point of the series” angle so far.

Second Period: Turning point of this game was a power play that the Penguins had where the puck never cleared the zone and Wilkes-Barre spent the whole 2:00 in with Garrett Mitchell skating without a stick. Bears killed it all.

Then the Pens took a penalty. A face-off win back to the wrong man, Chris Bourque, and it was 2-0 Bears.

1:36 later, Jakub Varna scored to make it 3-0 Bears. Easy tap in for a goal. Wilkes-Barre got careless after the Bourque goal and it cost them big.

Said this at the time…

Some intermission points and analysis. If you have the answer, leave it in the comments.

Third Period: Chris Bourque fired a changeup at DeSmith on a rush and it went in for a 4-0 Bears lead. Then Nic Andersen finally broke the curse of another team not being able to score in the same game in this series and the Pens were on the board…

But the air that was slowly filling in the Penguins balloon was quickly charged out by Liam O’Brien who scored that made it 5-1. Soft goal to allow by DeSmith and that was all for him. Enter Tristan Jarry who didn’t allow another Bears goal. Jake Guentzel scored this goal on a five-on-three power play that made it 5-2 but the Penguins didn’t get closer…

Had friend of mine tweet me on Twitter and comment that perhaps Justin Peters’ NHL experience is starting to wear through. Hard to disagree with him. But for the last half of this game, the Penguins have played like the better team in the series but just have been snuffed out by Peters in big moments.

Remainder of the game devolved into a fight fest. If you want to see who got into what, look at the boxscore. I was too in awe at the time of the news of this…

Three Stars: 3) Jake Guentzel (goal, assist, -1) 2) Chandler Stephenson (three assists, +2) and 1) Chris Bourque (two goals, +1)

So the Penguins are down 2-1 in the best of seven series with Game 4 going Monday. It’s an understatement in saying that the Penguins need to win that game to get it to a Game 6 Friday back in Wilkes-Barre. One team was due for a game like this in a series where the teams are so evenly matched and are bitter rivals in the process. The first team that got caught on the bad end was the Penguins. Whether it happens to the Bears remains to be seen, if it even gets to that point. With each game meaning more, it probably won’t, so who knows.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were pushed to the brink of elimination in Game 5 of the Kelly Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 3-1 loss in Reading to the Royals. Clark Seymour scored the only goal for the Nailers in the loss as the series shifts back to West Virginia for Game 6 on Monday.

If the Pens run a video package I’ll edit those highlights in.

I’ll have an update to my charts sometime Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day to any moms that read the blog, including my own, from her basement.

Let’s Go Pens!

Whitewashed — Pens LOSE 2-0

WBS        @       HER

0                                         2

So the theme of this series so far is, “first team to score, wins.”

Penguins won Game 1 4-0, the Bears win tonight in Game 2 by a score of 2-0. Justin Peters had a 27 save shutout.

Bears did all of their scoring in the second period on easily correctable plays. They got scored on shorthanded (just be better or more conservative) and then Carter Camper scored on a low angle shot that Casey DeSmith didn’t’ seal completely off on.

A goalie makes a mistake at the minor league level. It happens. If DeSmith makes that save, it’s still a 1-0 game and win for the Bears I think. I guess what I am saying is that this series has seven written all over it. These teams are so evenly matched.

Lines were…

Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Daniel Sprong
Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Mattias Plachta – J-S Dea – Adam Krause
Sahir Gill – Teddy Blueger – Josh Archibald

Ryan Parent – Barry Goers
Tim Erixon – Harrison Ruopp
Will O’Neill – Steve Oleksy

Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Sahir Gill was in for the injured Dominik Simon, making his return from injury since February 23. Adam Krause took Simon’s place on the third line and Gill played on the fourth…Niclas Anderson had a baby boy (his wife did all the work) so he was out of the lineup and Steve Oleksy, back from assignment from Pittsburgh, took his place.

First Period: Pens played the Bears to an even first ten minutes then saw the Bears score twice on back to back shots.

Daniel Sprong turned a puck over in his own end on a power play, Dustin Gazley, in for the suspended Liam O’Brien, raced a puck up the ice on a two on one and passed to Sean Collins who danced around DeSmith and scored to make it 1-0 Bears…

DeSmith’s shutout streak ends at 104:34. He had stopped 58 straight shots. The Penguins have now given up three shorthanded goals in the postseason, tops amongst all teams.

Carter Camper doubled the Bears lead on a far side low angle shot that DeSmith didn’t seal completely off on. A goal that DeSmith wanted back, but it counted nonetheless.

Hershey would find its way onto the power play, but the Penguins killed it, with Tom Kostopoulos playing without a stick for much of the kill.

Shots were 10-5 Bears heading into the…

Second Period: Pens killed an early penalty then Dustin Jeffrey was stopped on a breakaway by Justin Peters…

Clerk Donatelli was shuffling the lines this period and even at the start of the game, with Gill moving up to the third line and the lines shuffling at every stoppage.

Pens had a power play but did little with it.

Then the Penguins started to come to life at even strength forcing Hershey into an icing call and Troy Mann to use his time out.

But the game can turn on an instant, ad after a too many men on the ice call against Wilkes-Barre, :05 later Steve Oleksy hooked Travis Boyd.

But the Penguins were able to kill off the entire five on three only allowing Hershey just two shots on the long two man advantage. Hershey was looking for the perfect shot and making too many passes.

Ryan Parent went to the room with an apparent lower body injury. The Penguins had a power play that carried over into the…

Third Period: Parent tested out the lower body injury before the teams started the third period but didn’t record a shift. Pens couldn’t score on the carry over power play and did not register a shot on goal. The Bears didn’t register a shot on goal util around the eight minute mark of the period but it was clear that they were content with sitting on the lead and not giving the penguins any chances.

Dustin Jeffrey was snakebitten tonight. He hit a post. But Peters was seeing everything tonight and was stopping deflected pucks, pucks shot through traffic and pucks in a pile of bodies.

Penguins inexperience was starting to show through as Jake Guentzel passed a shot at the top of the offensive zone that was nearly picked off by Sean Collins.

The Penguins, with DeSmith pulled. were never able to find the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Sean Collins (goal, +1) 2) Carter Camper (goal, +1) 1) Justin Peters (27 save shutout)

Video highlights…

Game 3 goes off Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre. Gameday setup here on the blog at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!