Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Low Points – Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)


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I guess it’s better than nothing.

A 3-2 Lehigh Valley overtime loss Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, where the Penguins had the lead coming into the third period, lost it and Lehigh Valley forces overtime. It didn’t take long as Adam Brooks ended it just :37 into the overtime frame.

7 points off of 6th and the final spot in the Atlantic for playoffs and 4 points off of 7th, held by Sunday’s opponent Hartford, who were shutout 4-0 in Springfield in the only game that matters for the Penguins. Bridgeport was off.

Here’s how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Tommy Nappier and Chris Ortiz were recalled earlier in the day. Nappier will be heading back as Dustin Tokarski was re-assigned by Pittsburgh this evening. Lukas Svejkovsky out, Nathan Legare back in.

First Period: Two big stops on two different shooters by Taylor Gauthier and then seconds later Drake Caggiula was in all alone on a breakaway and scored giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

But then Lehigh Valley answers right back with a goal from Garrett Wilson. Wilson was looking for someone in front and instead his pass goes off of a Penguin defender instead and in.

Bad team. Bad luck. Bad break. St. Ivany, I think in case you are wondering.

Second Period: Josh Maniscalco scores a power play goal in a similar way that Garrett Wilson scored in the first, off a defender.

I suppose they all count the same.

Third Period: One second left on a power play for the Phantoms and they score via Artem Anisimov goal to tie the game at two.

That goal breaks a streak of 25 straight penalty kills by Wilkes-Barre.

Ty Glover and Filip Hållander led a two on one and Hållander wasn’t able to finish.

I think at the end of the period Lehigh Valley wanted to preserve at least a point. The Penguins in flashes showed some push but were in the same boat.

Overtime: Face-off win by Artem Anisimov and then…

Three Stars: 3) Artem Anisimov (goal, assist) 2) Drake Caggiula (goal) 1) Adam Brooks (goal, assist)

The Good: There’s no consistency with this team. Explain how they can run into Allentown on the third game of a three in three and eat a rested Phantoms team alive like they did last Sunday then blow a third period lead (typical) then in overtime? I guess you can say there’s consistency in that they always bow the lead and find a way to lose.

The Bad: They let an extremely average and likely one and done in playoffs Phantoms team back in the game in the third period and let them take the extra point they were so desperately chasing.

Turning Point: Going to give it to Anisimov’s goal that tied the game back in the third. It was a feckless effort by the home team after that.

Bridgeport is off the rest of the weekend and have 68 points with 9 games left. Hartford, out of a playoff spot, have 65 points with 9 games left. The Penguins have 10 games left, a head to head with Hartford Sunday and 61 points.

Video Highlights: 

More Sunday night after Hartford.

Let’s Go Pens!

Five of Six, Done Five to Two — Pens WIN 5-2


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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!

More Grits, No Glory — Pens LOSE 4-3 (OT)


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They have certainly been better.

3 out of a possible 4 points out of tough North Division clubs they have not have any success against of recent, with Saturday’s result a 4-3 Penguins overtime loss to the Syracuse Crunch. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton sees a 2-1 lead flip to a 3-2 deficit in the span of 35 seconds in the third period. They could have packed it in, chased the game and lost 4-2 or 5-2, but Filip Hållander, returning from injury, scores to tie the game at 3 then nearly wins the game in overtime while the Penguins were killing a penalty.

Hållander was the best player on the ice for the visitors Saturday, bar none. Good to see him back out there.

Out of town, Hartford beat Bridgeport clean, so the deficit with the loser point for the Penguins is 6 now to the sixth and final spot in the Atlantic Division for the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Here’s how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Mitch Reinke, Jos Maniscalco and Raivis Ansons all out, Filip Hållander, Andrew Nielsen and Jack St,. Ivany all in. I didn’t hear Nick Hart pregame, but the Reinke, Maniscalco scratches were warranted in my opinion and Ansons as well.

Mark Friedman was recalled by Pittsburgh Saturday morning.

First Period: Justin Addamo continued his holy streak, getting a goal when a puck wasn’t completely controlled by Crunch goaltender Hugo Alnefelt off a Taylor Fedun shot and the Pens were on the board first.

Syracuse gets a weird goal when a Trevor Carrick shot goes off Lucas Edmonds and in for a 1-1 game a minute or so past halfway.

Penguins controlled the Crunch on the power play, killing both of their chances in the period.

Second Period: Scrappy period, moreso then usual. two fights, a 4:00 roughing, just an overall scrappy period. I don’t think there have been two fights in the last 10 games, let alone two fights in one game. It’s been a while and good to see actually.

Penguins get a goal when Filip Hållander forces a turnover and finds Tyler Sikura streaking down the ice and finds him for a goal that gives the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

Third Period: Life comes at you quick.

Penguins go from up 2-1 to down 3-2 in the span of :35. Ex-Penguin Felix Robert scores to tie the game, then Trevor Carrick follows suit to give the Crunch a 3-2 lead.

Gauthier gets some of, but not all of, that shot.

Could have packed it in. Could have come undone. But no.

Filip Hållander to the rescue.

Hållander was everywhere Saturday. After his goal he had a late breakaway which was denied by Alnefelt.

Overtime: I didn’t like some of the calls referees Jim Curtain and Ian McCambridge doled out Saturday, but that’s hockey. I particularly didn’t care for the call in overtime where Alex Barre-Boulet folds like a house of cards on a soft check by Jonathan Gruden. The Penguins navigate out of it with the aforementioned Hållander nearly scoring shorthanded to end it for the Penguins, but it’s Declan Carlile finding a loose puck in a pile that was not covered and putting it in to give Syracuse a much needed win in their fight for a spot in the North Division Playoffs.

Three Stars: 3) Filip Hållander (goal, assist) 2) Declan Carlile (OT goal) 1) Trevor Carrick (goal, assist)

The Good: Certainly better than last week, week before. Rochester and Syracuse are playoff teams. Pens played them tough. Now, empty the tank against a rested Lehigh Valley team Sunday in Allentown and keep pushing.

The Bad: I don’t think the better team won the game.

Turning Point: Usually OT goals get them here and in this case, I’m not overthinking things and just going with the Carlile winner here.

Around the Division: Bridgeport, as I m mentioned off the hop, loses to Hartford clean 3-2…Charlotte beats Toronto 4-1….Hershey beats Rochester 2-1….Providence beats Springfield 4-1.

Standings: Providence 82 – Hershey 81 – Charlotte 76 – Springfield 70 – Lehigh Valley 68 – Bridgeport 64 – || – Hartford 63 – Penguins 58

Wheeling Update: Nailers can’t complete a sweep down in Norfolk, lose 4-2.

Video Highlights: 

I still don’t think the team that won was the best team on the ice. I suppose that’s promising, but we will see what Sunday brings. Talk to you then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Like a Glover — Pens WIN 5-4


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They are going to drag this out to the bitter end.

Or maybe it’s just the luck of the Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day.

After going down 3-0 in the first period, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins pull themselves up from their bootstraps and comeback to win 5-4 in a shootout over visiting Rochester.

Full credit to them. They could have packed it in and said the hell with it. But a Jonathan Gruden goal off a deflection of a Mitch Reinke shot got them on the board late in the first period. After playing better in the second period they use the power play to get to within one on a Drake Caggiula slam dunk then ride a :19 span where Peter DiLiberatore and Justin Addamo score to tie and then take the lead, respectively.

But then Jeremy Davies scores a couple minutes later to re-tie the game to force overtime, which solves nothing. In the shootout, Ty Glover scores in the top of the second and starting goaltender Dustin Tokarski turns away all three Rochester shooters to win the game for the Penguins.

Character win if there ever was one. Bridgeport beat Saturday’s opponent Syracuse to maintain their seven point lead over the Penguins for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic, however, but a loss tonight would essentially end all hopes of playoffs. Seven is a lot of ground to make up, but is still (hypothetically) doable.

Let’s run through the lineup, the goals then get out of here.

Rochester didn’t post lines. I don’t know what’s up with Mark Friedman. Pittsburgh is carrying like 100 defensemen, so if it’s a recall we won’t find out till Saturday.

Pens came out flying in the first but it’s Jiri Kulich who sneaks behind the defense and scores on Rochester’s fourth shot of the game.

Mitch Reinke coasting there.

Then Mason Jobst scores one he receives a cross ice pass to make it 2-0.

That’s Reinke again and his defense partner Josh Maniscalco pretending it’s Halloween and dressing up like traffic cones as the competition just races past them.

I don’t know what Taylor Fedun is doing here. He leaves his spot to help out, which opens up space in transition which sets up Malone for the goal.

Pens on the board.

Mitch Reinke had a mercurial game, that’s for sure.

Second period. Here, I’ll let my tweets set it up.

:13 later, Drake Caggiula, with stick in hand, scores.

Now, late in the third period with Wilkes-Barre still pressuring Peter DiLiberatore, who actually has been a bit of a bright spot for the Penguins since the trade, scores to tie the game at three each.

:19 later, Justin Addamo.

I mean you can’t give a guy that big a path to the net that easy.

But then Jeremy Davies scores to re-tie the game because we just can’t win the game in regulation.

Nothing doing in overtime so it’s off to the shootout.

Just noticed something…

They didn’t skate on green ice tonight but from the color from this picture it would look like they did.

Justin Addamo (goal), Drake Caggiula (goal, assist) and Ty Glover (game winning shootout goal) were your three stars in that order.

Bridgeport beats Syracuse 5-2 in really the only game that matters for the Penguins at this point in the season. Wilkes-Barre is in Syracuse Saturday night. More then. Highlights will be edited in later if I get back around to a computer any time soon.

Let’s Go Pens!

Sewerballs — Pens LOSE 4-1


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I’m not going to give this a lot of time nor a lot of effort tonight because the team I paid money which I earned to watch play hockey didn’t return the favor.

The team’s Instagram constantly posts the players playing sewer ball before every game. It’s a game played with a soccer ball and the players all gather around a circle and pop the ball off their bodies and if the ball hits the ground the last guy to touch it is out, is what I gather.

They are more competitive in those silly sewerball games than they are on the ice. That’s sad.

Another loss, this time 4-1 to the Utica Comets on Saturday. It was a 1-1 game entering the third period, but then Brian Halonen scored with about six minutes to play and then the bottom fell out.

It’s like when they are in tight games, they don’t play to win, they play not to lose.

Then Sam Houde gives the puck away to Graeme Clarke who buries it to put the game out of reach and send about half of the the 6876 in attendance Saturday to the exits. The goal will live in the history books as unassisted, but Sam Houde gifted that goal to the visiting team.

Captain Taylor Fedun did something positive for a change, scoring the only goal for the Penguins in the first period minutes after Utica opened the scoring on a Simon Nemec shot.

Feckless effort. Embarrassing loss. They should all be ashamed.

Body language being what it is, I watched them all leave the ice (while I was loudly booing and telling them how questionable or inadequate I felt they were) and it looked like they were all spent. Not spent like playing 60 minutes of a hockey game spent, but spent like no matter what they try, no matter what they do, it doesn’t work.

The head coach sounded the same way.

In his postgame media availability, Patrick Williams of lobbed questions at the Penguins head coach and he sounded totally dejected. Without giving away the line of work I do professionally, I listen to a lot of people talk. I can normally hear, in the inflection of their voice, whether they are mad, sad, happy, lying, telling the truth, clueless, etc. J.D. Forrest sounded totally dejected, totally lost for a good answer and completely defeated. Like someone just shot his dog right in front of him.

I don’t think the out of town scoreboard matters anymore, because Bridgeport wins in a shootout over Charlotte and Hartford loses in overtime to Toronto. It’s seven points back to Bridgeport at the six and final playoff seed, may as well be eight because the Islanders own the tie breaker over the Penguins, as do the Wolf Pack.

Maybe they turn it around. Teams go on runs fairly quickly in this league, but a rejected headline for tonight was “One and Done.” Can’t win many games scoring just one goal, like the Penguins have done now in their each of their last three games.

Say Goodnight, Gracie, it won’t be long now.

We Didn’t 1-4 This To Happen…


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I don’t think it matters here because it’s still a regulation loss, but the Phantoms added two empty net goals which inflated the final score here.

A 4-1 setback Friday to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Help from out of town with Hartford and Bridgeport going down, but there’s only 15 games left in the season, it will be 14 after Saturday and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are five points out.

Here’ how they lined up…

Lineup Notes: Roster stability, I guess because there were no changes from Wednesday. Alex Nylander was recalled to Pittsburgh before the game.

First Period: Phantoms score on their first shot of the game via a Ronnie Attard snipe.

Great start! 🙄

It was a feckless, toothless, inert effort by the home team in the first period. Have the players checked out?

Second Period: Sam Houde on a power play, ties the game.

The Penguins power play is lethal. Sad, really, that the team as a whole sucks and probably won’t make playoffs, but the power play is firing on all cylinders and it’s good to see them get goals on the man advantage.

Penguins get out of a 90 second five on three against, with a lot of blocks from Mark Friedman and even a glove save through traffic from Dustin Tokarski. Here’s where I thought success here would propel the Penguins to a goal, for something positive.

I was wrong.

I’m sorry, but what the hell is this? There is NO ONE to the goaltenders right. Cooper Marody runs right over, gets the puck and gets a shot through. He has a lot more ground to cover then the goaltender. Tokarski either misreads the play entirely or is point shaving, or is too old and too slow to play goal at this level any longer.

Third Period: Penguins aren’t able to cash on a power play, Drake Caggiula was snakebit and wasn’t able to figure out Sam Ersson all period. Caggiula was easily the Penguins best player in that period, if not all game.

Ollie Lycksell was awarded a penalty shot. I have no idea how he was awarded a penalty shot because he wasn’t, in my mind at least, unabated to the goaltender and got what IU thought was a shot off, but referee Mike Zyla awarded one anyway.

Indeed, since it kept it a 2-1 game.

Penguins use their time out with 2:18 left and pull Tokarski. I don’t think J.D. Forrest’s plans included a cross up at the blue line which leads to Cooper Marody scoring his second, but that’s what happened. Then a few minutes later Max Willman hit the empty net again which made it 4-1.

Three Stars: 3) Sam Houde (goal) 2) Sam Ersson (25 saves) 1) Cooper Marody (two goals, assist)

The Good: Power play slaps.

The Bad: Sadly I don’t think the officials will allow you to play on said power play all night.

Turning Point: The Marody first goal was the backbreaker. It’s like when you play blocks with a child. You build up the blocks (in this case the big kill on the 5-on-3) and then the kid runs in the room and knocks down all the blocks, laughs and runs off. You feel like a dope for a sec. Well the Pens were the dope but the Phantoms weren’t playing around.

Around the Division: Charlotte 7-1 over Bridgeport…Rochester beats Hartford 8-4…Springfield doubles up Providence 6-3.

Standings: Hershey 75 – Providence 74 – Charlotte 71 – Springfield 68 – Lehigh Valley 64 – Bridgeport 60 – || – Hartford 58 – Penguins 55

Wheeling Update: Nailers are out in Fort Wayne as this blog goes up, box here.

Video Highlights:

Let’s Go Pens!

What Did I Tell You? — Pens LOSE 3-1


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From this morning’s Weekend Preview…

Realistically, what do you think happens…

They find a way to lose against the Marlies, beat Lehigh Valley clean and take a point from Utica. Out of town, they inch to within two points of the six seed, and we are probably doing this same exercise some time next week.

Competitive game throughout, but a 3-1 setback to the Toronto Marlies. A third period goal by ex-Penguin Joseph Blandisi late sinks the home team. Is this finding a way to lose? When you play good, but get scored on late, like the Pens did Wednesday, I think it is.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: Filip Hallander was out. He took a puck off the face Sunday in Cleveland, returned with a bubble, ala Ty Smith about three weeks ago. I didn’t listen to Nick Hart’s very detailed look at the Penguins injuries, so I am only speculating. If you did, go ahead and drop a comment.

Edit: Taylor was listening…

First Period: Both teams went 0/2 on the power play, Pens had the better of the jump, once outshooting the Marlies 7-1 at one point. Pace was good. Energy was good. All that.

Second Period: The vaunted Penguins power play strikes again when Lukas Svejkovsky deflects a Mitch Reinke shot for a goal that gives the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

But almost immediately, Jordie Benn scores on a rocket of a shot which was briefly discussed for goalie interference.

No one knows what goaltender interference is, so let’s not try and start now. Fix the problem by allowing video review. You have it in all 32 AHL buildings, why not?

Svejkovsky finds time and space and is stoned by Woll.

Joseph Woll was 14-1 coming into this game. He’s good. That save showed why.

I still liked the pace. I still liked the energy.

Third Period: Pace, energy was good. They went back and forth, as you know the struggle consumes us all.

With time winding down, it started to become a game of who would make the first mistake.

It was the Penguins, sadly.

Puck deflects off Mark Friedman to Joseph Blandisi for a goal.

It happens.

Later, Woll stops Valtteri Puustinen in close.

Kyle Clifford, who took three penalties on the night, hit an empty net from about 180′ away to tie the game away for the first place Marlies.

Three Stars: 3) Lukas Svejkovsky (goal) 2) Joseph Blandisi (game winning goal) 1) Joseph Woll (31 saves)

The Good: I mean they stayed in it till about the end.

The Bad: Hockey is a 60 minute affair.

Turning Point: Blandisi’s goal gets it here.

Around the Division: Direct implications here. Springfield shuts out Hartford 4-0. That is good, but Bridgeport beats Charlotte 3-2. That is bad. This is why…

Standings: Hershey 75 – Providence 74 – Charlotte 69 – Springfield 64 – Lehigh Valley 62 – Bridgeport 60 – || – Hartford 58 – Penguins 55

Pens are five out of a playoff spot. 16 games left. Everyone’s magic number drops.

Wheeling Update: Toledo thumps Wheeling 4-1 in a school day game out in Ohio. Brooklyn Kalmikov with the goal, Tommy Nappier with the loss in goal.

Video Highlights: 

Massively important game Friday against Lehigh Valley.

Let’s Go Pens!