Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Shoot Your Shot — Pens WIN 3-2 (SO)

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This was a fun game to watch Saturday night.

An offensive explosion in the first period by both teams quickly turned into a defensive and special teams battle. Overtime doesn’t solve anything and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins score in all three rounds of the shootout and defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-2 in a shootout.

Casey DeSmith opposed Christopher Gibson.

Lines were…

Lineup: Matt Abt for Michael Kim. I saw a tweet from the Pens practice the other day that didn’t show Thomas DiPauli in a red no contact and Tyler reported after the game Wednesday that DiPauli is not seriously injured and they don’t want to rush him back. Better safe than sorry, I suppose, but it’s Beau Bennett redux, the guy just cannot stay healthy.

First Period: Felt like a slow rock fight. Pens jumped to a 2-1 after falling into a 1-0 hole, but the pair of goals that bookended the start and finish of the period saw the sides skate to the locker room at 2-2. Each team scored a power play goal in the period also.

The Sound Tigers jumped to a 1-0 lead when Ryan Bourque tipped in a Ryan MacKinnon shot that gave Bridgeport a 1-0 lead.

The Penguins responded quickly, in bang bang fashion in a span of :57 when Andrew Agozzino scored his first Penguin goal when Jake Lucchini came screaming down the far wall and intended pass for Kevin Czuczman that nutmegged the Pens defender but the trailing Agozzino was there to bring the Penguins even.

(no GIFs of the Bridgeport goals tonight if you were wondering)

With Travis St. Denis in the box for a high stick, :16 later Sam Miletic scored to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead on the power play.

Joseph Cramarossa had a shorthanded breakaway but was denied by Gibson. Late, an Andrew Agozzino sucker punch to Arnaud Durandeau saw the Sound Tigers on a late power play. A Sebastian Aho shot hit the post, died in the crease and was swept in by Nick Schilkey to even the score at two. It’s the sixth straight games where the Penguins allowed two goals in the first period.

Second Period: Less of a rock fight in comparison from the first, teams traded a couple of power plays, but DeSmith and Gibson kept the second period scoreless.

Third Period: Penguins had a 1:50ish of two man advantage and were not able to score. Less so of a lack of offense as there were a lot of shots and more so a hell of a job by Christopher Gibson in goal, blocking all the shots and making the saves necessary to keep his team level with the Penguins.

Overtime: Periscoped here for you.

Highlights:

– Matt Lorito and Kieffer Bellows had a rush up ice, made contact with DeSmith and the puck went in but the referee (I didn’t catch who as I was Periscoping) washed out the goal immediately for contact with DeSmith.

– Joseph Cramarossa led P-O Joseph and fed him a pass that Joseph sailed wide. Why that combination was out there on a three-on-three overtime baffles me, but then I’m reminded that DiPauli is hurt and a trio of players are in Pittsburgh.

Shootout: It’s in the Periscope above. Noesen, Cramarossa and Haggerty all scored. Matt Lorito scored in the bottom of the first and DeSmith stopped Keiffer Bellows in the bottom of the second. Here’s all three Penguins goals…

The Good: Looks like we have a good shootout lineup.

The Bad: The two man advantage power play unit needs work, but credit Gibson for standing tall.

Turning Point: That :57 sequence in the first was good to get the Penguins the goals needed to get it to the shootout round, where all three players scored quite easily on Gibson, who looked like an impenetrable wall in regulation.

Three Stars: 3) Joseph Cramarossa (game winning shootout goal) 2) Casey DeSmith (23 saves on 25 shots) 1) Andrew Agozzino (goal, assist)

Around the Division: Charlotte, who I think is this seasons Lehigh Valley with how inconsistent they are from night to night, throttle the Syracuse Crunch 7-3….Springfield beats Lehigh Valley in an eight round shootout 4-3…Providence scores a touchdown in Belleville 7-4….Hershey doubles up Laval 4-2 and Hartford stays unbeaten in regulation with a 4-3 overtime win in Binghamton.

Standings: Hartford 11 – Providence and Hershey 9 – Penguins 7 – Lehigh Valley, Springfield and Charlotte 6 – Bridgeport 4

Wheeling Update: Alec Butcher scores twice, Jordan Ruby stops 26 shots and the Nailers take down the Indy Fuel 4-3. Blake Siebenhaler scored with 23.7 seconds left in regulation.

Video Highlights: If Bridgeport puts a package together, I’ll work in an edit.

Pens will bus home and get ready for their Wednesday road game in Binghamton. I’ll have the first look at the expanded stats charts for you Monday. Look for that then.

Let’s Go Pens!

See a Devil, Say Noesen – Pens WIN 5-3

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You can’t win a game in the first period but you can give it away.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were outshot 20-10 in the first period and were down 2-1 and at one point went down 3-1 but then rattled off four straight and win 5-3 behind a solid effort in goal by Emil Larmi and a late game winner by Stefan Noesen. Noesen ended with two goals (an empty netter at the end of the game) he also leads the AHL in goals scored.

Binghamton was a quick team in the first and came at Wilkes-Barre from all angles and the Penguins looked shellshocked. Credit to Mike Vellucci for righting the ship as the Penguins locked it down from there. I wonder what the message was in the room.

Emil Larmi opposed Evan Cormier.

Lineup: Essentially Michael Kim for Matt Abt and Justin Almeida for Thomas DiPauli.

And for Binghamton…

First Period: Binghamton connected on a tic tac toe power play goal started by all ex-Penguin players consisting of Joe Morrow, Ben Street and Chris Conner. Conner connected off a nice tic tac toe play that gave the Devils a very early lead.

Conner’s 200th AHL goal.

32 seconds later, Jake Lucchini walked through a defenseman like grass through a goose and scored this pretty goal that brought the sides level at one.

The Devils would continue to bombard the Penguins with speed and shots, twenty in total in the first period and took a lead with 1:38 to play when Ben Street came in hot off the bench on a delayed Penguins penalty and connected for a goal through a screened Larmi which made it 2-1.

Second Period: The Pens outshot the Devils 16-4 in the middle frame but made a terrible mistake when Michael Kim misplayed a puck by Larmi’s net that ended up inside of it for a 3-1 Devils lead.

Yikes.

The Penguins did manage to break through for a goal when Justin Almeida sniped home his first pro goal with this effort in the final minute of the period that got the Penguins to within one.

That was confidence boost / builder for Almeida, playing in just his second game of the season.

Third Period: Jake Lucchini had a hell of a game. He had a chance early in the third but was denied. Later, Kasper Bjorkqvist scores his first pro goal that tied to game at three.

Wilkes-Barre kept coming and coming and finally broke through with 2:14 left in regulation.

Devils called time out and eventually pulled Cormier, but Noesen scored from about Public Square to ice the game away and give the Penguins the win.

The Good: The smothering defense from Wilkes-Barre after the first period and the no nonsense goaltending from Emil Larmi to lock down the Devils and deny any more goals.

The Bad: That Michael Kim giveaway was bad, bad, bad. If you’re in between him and Matt Abt, you’ve got a problem. It’s just one game though.

Turning Point: This happened in the second period with the Penguins down 3-1:

Around the Division: Providence was in Laval and came back from four goals only to lose in a shootout 5-4…. Hershey was in Toronto and lost 4-3.

Standings: Hartford and Providence with 7, Hershey and Wilkes-Barre with 5, Charlotte and Springfield with 4, Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport with 3.

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. They are in Fort Wayne on Friday.

Video Highlights: 

Pens are off Friday, the only Friday off all season (that mid-December meeting with Cleveland got bumped from that Sunday to Friday) so enjoy the night off. I know I will. Power Rankings will be here Thursday morning at 11. Gameday setup for Bridgeport will be here Saturday afternoon at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Boy Oh Boyd — Pens LOSE 5-1

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The Penguins looked tired and non-competitive in a Sunday afternoon start in Hershey and lost 5-1. Travis Boyd had a big day, scoring two goals and assisting on another. The Penguins are 1-2-1 after four games and went 0-2-1 on the weekend, with a pair of losses to in-state rivals.

You can write it off to call-ups. Adam Johnson, Sam Lafferty and Joseph Blandisi are in Pittsburgh. That’s a good chunk of offensive bite missing from the lineup early on.

Friday, they took a bunch of shots from the perimeter that Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon ate up easily.

Saturday, they failed to close out the resilient Utica Comets, got a point but lost in OT.

Sunday, feeling the strain of a third game in three nights, they were obliterated in Hershey against a Bears team that only traveled to Allentown Saturday and had off Friday.

Callups happen all the time to all 31 teams in the AHL. Would some offense have helped this weekend? Sure, but you have to play the hand you’re dealt.

Casey DeSmith opposed Pheonix Copley.

Lines were…

And for the Bears…

Lineup: No changes up front for the Penguins at all. Lines were the same as they were Saturday in Utica. Matt Abt was with Jon Lizotte and Niclas Almari was with Kevin Czuczman. Joseph and Warsofsky stayed paired with one another.

First Period: Pens looked flat to start, Hershey hit two posts, but the Penguins got their legs under them but then ran into penalty troubles and found themselves down 2-0 after the Bears scored two power play goals.

Travis Boyd on the first power play…

…and then Matt Moulson scored on a goal assisted by Boyd when Stefan Noesen picked up an extra instigator after a fight with Erik Burgdoerfer after Burgdoerfer had a big hit on the wall on Jake Lucchini.

Here’s the hit that led to the second Hershey power play.

I mean, I don’t know what they expect to do anymore with these instigators they are handing out like candy at Halloween. Burgdoerfer runs over a guy and has to answer with a fight. Punches were thrown, yet Noesen picks up the instigator? Get out of here with this, just outlaw fighting altogether if you are going to call garbage like this.

Second Period: The hits continued for the Penguins, who saw Hershey score two more goals on them in the middle frame.

Travis Boyd again on the wraparound. Shades of Game 7 in overtime from a few years ago dancing around my head…

So much wrong with this play. First DeSmith pulled way out of his net, then Boyd’s attempt was going to go wide but it went off of Abt’s skates and into the net for a 3-0 Hershey lead.

The Penguins then went on a power play only to see Martin Fehervary beat Casey DeSmith on a two on one shorthanded to make it 4-0 Bears.

😬 😬 😬 😬

Third Period: Penguins couldn’t get anything going offensively. Mike Sgarbossa scored to extend the Hershey lead to 5-0.

Niclas Almari scored on a late power play goal to break up the Copley would be shutout bid that made it 5-1. Great setup by Chase Berger from behind the net.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Moulson (goal, assist) 2) Martin Fehervary (goal) and 1) Travis Boyd (two goals, assist)

The Good: Hard to come up with one. They looked flat, sometimes overmatched and let their goaltender get shelled. Kasper Bjorkqvist had a good game I thought, he was hooked on a breakaway which led to a Penguins power play chance late in the third.

The Bad: Where to start? Special teams seems to be a work in progress. Hershey seemed a step quicker which I think you can write off to Wilkes-Barre playing Friday with Hershey off.

Turning Point: Stefan Noesen getting sent off for 17 minutes of play time took out a large offensive piece for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Around the Division: Rochester beats Hartford 3-2 in overtime….Springfield picks up a big win in Providence beating the Bruins 5-2.

Standings: Hartford 7, Providence 6, Hershey 5, Charlotte and Springfield 4, Lehigh Valley, Bridgeport and the Penguins 3.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: 

This Week: Mailbag Monday morning for you. I suspect there will be a lot to talk about….Pens are back in action Wednesday at home against Binghamton….Power Rankings this Thursday. I haven’t decided when or where I am going to run the chart this week with all the stuff going on the blog this week. I may just delay them to next week with the Penguins having only played four games thus far and only one game this weekend in Bridgeport. I may just do that instead.

Keep the faith. Let’s Go Pens!

Lack of a Finnish (and a team full of them) — Pens LOSE 4-3 (OT)

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have four Finns on the team this year, it was a trivia question during one of the stoppages in play.

With all that Finn on the team, the Penguins lack finish right now in this very early season.

They fell into a 2-0 hole in the first.

They battled back on the efforts of two power play goals and tied it in the second.

They edged ahead in the third, only to see the Comets score with under three minutes left to force overtime.

Six shots for the Penguins in the overtire period, one fro Utica. That one counted. Utica wins 4-3 in overtime.

Four Finns. No finish, though.

To be clear, none of the Penguins Finnish players cost the Penguins anything tonight. I thought the team as a whole played great, battling back from a two goal deficit to level it then when things started getting heavy in the third, they stayed step fro step with Utica, throwing the body. This team will be fine in the long run with the leadership group and coaches in place.

Emil Larmi opposed Zane McIntyre.

Lines were…

And for Utica…

Lineup Notes: Essentially Andrew Agozzino for Justin Almeida, which was inevitable with Agozzino’s demotion Friday. Shake ups here and there with the lines, but otherwise no changes.

First Period: A much better start in comparison to Friday in Allentown. Larmi made a lot of good saves in traffic tonight. He was beat twice late in the period by Reid Boucher who collected a puck on a face off win, took a step and wired one past Larmi for a 1-0 Utica lead.

Again, on a power play.

Second Period: Stefan Noesen continues his white hot start, scoring on a power play to cut the deficit to one.

Thomas DiPauli and Davis Warsofsky had a two on none and failed to connect for a goal. Later, Utica was caught with too many men and David Warsofsky, the captain, connected on a power play goal from the point for a tie game.

The game was opening up for the Penguins with Agozzino getting a chance on a breakaway but his shot sailed wide. It was fun and gun and great to see. Message received and message delivered in the second period coming out of the first intermission for the Penguins.

Emil Larmi stopped a Jonah Gadjovich penalty shot to preserve the tie.

Third Period: Game remained deadlocked and it started to get chippy. Anthony Angello wanted to engage Kole Lind but Lind wanted nothing to do with him. Jon Lizotte, who I thought was exposed in a bad way Friday in Allentown, had a huge reclamation game and found Angello coming hot out of the box and Angello streaked in on McIntyre and scored to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.

With 2:19 left, Carter Bancks whacked at a puck thrown in the crease and it went in for a tie game again.

What a response by Utica. They were getting run over, run around and could have tucked tail and ran. Instead they kept their nose down and kept scrapping.

Overtime: Man, these three on three overtime sessions are fun, aren’t they? Penguins had six shots in overtime, but that’s Zane McIntyre in net for the Comets and not easy to score on. Plus I think he has the keys to the Mohegan Sun Arena in his bag, he owns this place.

Lukas Jasek scores on the only shot of the overtime period for the Comets and wins it for Utica.

Three Stars: 2) Reid Boucher (two goals) 2) David Warsofsky (goal, assist) 1) Lukas Jasek (overtime game winner)

The Good: The response in the second was great to see, especially getting back into the game with two power play goals.

The Bad: They seemed to let off in spurts and one of those sequences caught them where Bancks scored to force overtime.

Turning Point: In a game full of them, Jasek’s goal that brought the game to the end wins out.

Around the Division: Hershey wins in overtime with one second remaining as Travis Boyd does the honors there and wins 4-3….Providence is 3-0 after a 3-2 win at home against Rochester….Hartford is also 3-0 after a 3-1 win against Springfield….Charlotte earns a split with Bridgeport, winning 4-1.

Standings: Hartford and Providence 6, Charlotte 4, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre and Bridgeport 3, Springfield 2

Wheeling Update:

Box here.

Video Highlights: Are here.

Pens close out the three in three weekend with a 5 o’clock meeting in Hershey. Gameday setup here Sunday afternoon at 1.

Let’s Go Pens!

It’s Game Two — Pens LOSE 4-1

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As you will see as you dive into this recap of a 4-1 Penguins loss Friday night in Allentown, the Wilkes-Barre defense was unchanged from last Saturday in Hershey.

I would expect that to change for the home opener Saturday night against Utica.

The Penguins get trucked in shots 16-2 in the first, go down 2-0 and then Lehigh Valley runs away with it in the second and sits on it in the third and pick up their first win of the season, subsequently handing the Penguins their first loss of this very early 2019-20 campaign.

Casey DeSmith opposed Alex Lyon.

Lines were…

And for the Phantoms…

Lineup Notes: Well Adam Johnson was recalled Thursday and Friday afternoon as I was heading home from work I saw that Pittsburgh returned Andrew Agozzino and called up Joseph Blandisi. Agozzino wasn’t in the lineup Friday presumably because they didn’t want him playing four games in four straight games.

For the players still on the farm in contrast to last Saturday’s lineup in Hershey…

No changes to the defense pairings at all from last Saturday.

First Period: Phantoms with the jump off the hop bombarded the Penguins for sixteen shots in the period and led 2-0 at intermission.

The Penguins had just two shots all period and none on a power play about halfway through.

So it was just a matter of time before the dam broke and Lehigh Valley scored.

Jon Lizotte held a puck too long in his own end, lost it and it was academic from there.

Lehigh Valley would connect again on a power play off a very nice pass from Cal O’Reilly to Mikhail Vorobyev for a tap in goal that made it 2-0.

Thanks again to Taylor for the GIFs and allowing me to run her work again on these.

Second Period: Stefan Noesen, who has been an early godsend especially with all the injuries right now in Pittsburgh, pulled the Penguins to within one in the opening minute on a power play with this effort.

Penguins came out and stayed buzzing, until Joel Farabee walked P-O Joesph and then got a step on Casey DeSmith and scored to reestablish the two goal Phantoms lead.

1:09 later, Chris Bigras wound up, fired and scored and beat Casey DeSmith for a goal that made it 4-1 and started to put the game out of reach for Wilkes-Barre.

Things pretty much evened out from there, but I started to notice something that the Penguins were doing with their shots.

Pretty academic saves by Lyon in the period. He only had to make two in the first, got beat with the first shot he saw in the second, then his defenders in front of him limited the Penguins to shots from the blue line.

Third Period: Phantoms parked the bus and only had five shots on goal all period. The Penguins had this for a shot board in the third.

That is with the benefit of two power plays in the period for Wilkes-Barre as well.

Three Stars: 3) German Rubtsov (two assists) 2) Kurtis Gabriel (goal) and 1) Joel Farabee (goal)

The Good: Stefan Noesen did pretty much all he could to put the team on his back tonight offensively. Casey DeSmith was OK too, left out to dry by his inexperienced defense.

The Bad: Defense looked out to lunch, but it’s just game two and time to work things out.

Turning Point: Lehigh Valley’s response after the Noesen goal, reestablishing the two goal then eventually the three goal lead buried the Penguins and their chance of a comeback this evening.

Around the Division: Bridgeport spoils Charlotte’s banner raising and beat the Checkers 4-2…Springfield loses 2-1 at home against Rochester. The Americans put up 40 shots. Everyone else was off.

Standings: Providence and Hartford 4, Bridgeport 3, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre, Charlotte and Springfield 2, Hershey 1.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers open their season Saturday in Cincinnati against the Cyclones.

Video Highlights: If the Phantoms get around to them, which I believe they will, I’ll toss up the package here. Check back in the morning if you really want to see them.

Wilkes-Barre holds its home opener Saturday night at 7:05 against the Utica Comets, who make their only stop in this season Saturday night. Gameday setup hits the blog Saturday afternoon at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Noesen For The Net — Pens WIN 4-3

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins made a move Friday morning and brought that piece with them to Hershey for their 2019-20 regular season opener.

Stefan Noesen was signed to an AHL contract Friday, is a big time offensive threat, almost a wolf in sheep clothing playing at this level with the way that he dominated and dictated play Saturday night in Hershey as the Penguins beat the Bears 4-3.

First win for new GM and Head Coach Mike Vellucci. The Penguins were prepared, unfettered after getting scored on in the first minute of the game and slowly took over and smothered the Bears.

Another mention was the play of Casey DeSmith. Shuffled out of Pittsburgh because of salary cap constraints, an argument could be made that DeSmith was the best player on the ice with the amount of saves that he made and the way that he made them. Noesen and the offense got the Penguins to the lead, DeSmith preserved it.

DeSmith opposed Vitek Vanecek.

Lines were…

And for the Bears…

Lineup: That new name there on the second line is Stefan Noesen, a big time late addition made by Mike Vellucci and the Penguins on Friday. Provided Noesen, who has battled recent injuries, stays healthy, that is a hell of a lot of offense injected into this Wilkes-Barre lineup that is already paying dividends.

First Period: Didn’t take long for the Bears to score, needing all of 62 seconds to find the back of the net when Wilkes-Barre misses change to clear and Alex Alexeyev pinches and scores to make it 1-0 Bears early on.

Penguins would answer back with a rebound goal by Jake Lucchini on a Ryan Haggerty shot from the slot. Lucchini was left unmarked in front and cleaned up the rebound.

Game started to run into a track meet, with odd man rushes a plenty. Andrew Agozzino busted up a Joe Snively would be breakaway chance.

Newcomer Stefan Noesen would score on this nice setup by Adam Johnson who went cross ice, found a seam and Noesen for the goal that made it 2-1 WIlkes-Barre.

Hershey would even it late when the Penguins looked scrambly in their own end and Christan Djoos made them pay.

Second Period: Wilkes-Barre would edge back ahead with another goal by Stefan Noesen which came off of an Oula Palve face-off win. Palve would take it himself where Noesen would cash in on the rebound.

The Penguins would withstand a 15 shot effort from Hershey but Casey DeSmith would be cool in net and stop them all.

Third Period: Penguins would take a too many men on the ice call and killed it with DeSmith making saves, then Niclas Almari found a streaking Anthony Angello out of the penalty box for this goal that made it 4-2.

DeSmith continued to dazzle in net for the Penguins, with this save added to the highlight reel night he had in the crease.

Matt Moulson would finally figure out DeSmith with a near side goal that brought the Bears back within one with 1:19 left to play.

(No GIF of this one, sorry.)

With Vanecek vacated for the extra skater, the Bears never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Alex Alexeyev (goal, even) 2) Casey DeSmith (36 saves on 39 shots) and 1) Stefan Noesen (two goals, +2)

The Good: Couple things. Bears retooled this season and are set to be dangerous. Penguins going down early started smelling of trouble but DeSmith and Noesen made sure that the stench of the bad start wouldn’t remain….Noesen was quite the find, wasn’t he? Cut from Dallas’ camp, Mike Vellucci, who knows Noesen and coached him prior, rings him up, signs him to an AHL deal and he has an immediate impact. That’s something, despite my allegiance to all that Clark Donatelli did last year for this team, wouldn’t be able to do.

The Bad: Goals that came when they came for Hershey was when the Penguins defense was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. No, it’s not game just one and time to figure things out, the Atlantic is a bees nest this season and every point is crucial. I get that you’re not going to shutout every opponent, but there was a pattern tonight that didn’t look good.

Turning Point: Angello’s third period goal out of the box gave the Penguins that two goal cushion they were desperately seeking.

Video Highlights: 

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley and all that offense they signed in the offseason get shutout in the Phantoms home opener 3-0 to the Big Bad Providence Bruins….Springfield trucks a good Bridgeport team 5-1….Hartford takes down the defending champion Charlotte Checkers 5-3.

Standings: Way early for this but we’ll do it anyway. Providence, Springfield, Hartford and Wilkes-Barre all on two, Hershey, Charlotte, Bridgeport and Lehigh Valley all on zero.

Wheeling Update: Nailers are still in preseason and don’t get going until next week for real.

Pens are off till next Friday when they are in Allentown taking on the Phantoms. News and notes as they come. I’m not going to put up the Pens expanded stats yet until after next week and no Power Rankings this week either, those will debut the week after. But for any news and notes before then, have a great week and we’ll talk to you next Friday.

Let’s Go Pens!

Preseason Game #4 – Phantoms 3, Pens 1

There are too many preseason games.

That out of the way, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins played their final preseason contest Sunday afternoon in Allentown against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and lost a special teams duel 3-1.

Lines were:

And for the Phantoms,

So no preseason for Penguins goaltender Dustin Tokarski. It could be something, or it could be nothing. You don’t really need to run the risk of a guy who you know will be on your opening night roster vs. evaluating two goalies in Emil Larmi and Alex D’Orio who are competing for the backup job, barring any roster jockeying with Jim Rutherford and Company up top in Pittsburgh.

In the first, it seemed like there were way too many penalties; three aside for each team. The Phantoms cashed on a late one when Andy Andreoff tip din a Greg Carey shot for a goal at 19:26 for a 1-0 Phantoms lead.

In the second, there were just three penalties, with two for the Penguins but no goals. There were chances both ways.

Nick Aube-Kubel scored 56 seconds into the third period that gave the Phantoms a 2-0 lead.

With just under seven minutes to play, David Warsofsky takes a shot which is deflected off the end wall, corralled by Ryan Haggerty and put in to put the Penguins on the board.

But the Phantoms would strike back in the same minute on the power play when Mikhail Vorobyev would score on a power play which reestablished the Phantoms two goal lead.

Penguins went with an empty net in the final 90 or so seconds of the game, but didn’t get any closer.

Impressions: Seemed like a game which was largely decided on special teams and with an offensively explosive team built like Lehigh Valley, not a game you want to start playing if you are the opponent of the Phantoms. With the two teams playing twelve times this season, it is something that they may need to key in on if they want to have any success against the Phantoms.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Penguins re-assigned Adam Johnson back to Wilkes-Barre Sunday afternoon. Wilkes-Barre also made a round of cuts Sunday which were sent to Wheeling who one their training camp this week. They are Forwards Christopher Brown, Jan Drozg, Brandon Hawkins, Yushiroh Hirano, Renārs Krastenbergs and Myles Powell and defensemen Macoy Erkamps, Blake Siebenaler, Craig Skudalski and Aaron Titcomb. Sum total of 10. No real surprises.

So that concludes the preseason. It counts for real this Saturday in Hershey. The Penguins play just one game on opening weekend, then are back in Lehigh Valley next Friday, home for the opener against Utica on October 12 then in Hershey Sunday afternoon.

This week, I’ll have a new feature here Monday that requires participation from you, a mailbag! Look for that around 9:15 Monday morning. Then, news and notes as it comes during the week, a look at the Penguins opponents this Friday. I opted against a full 31 team division by division preview because I found the exercise pointless because the Penguins don’t play every team. One shot of all the teams and outlooks the Pens play. Look for that Friday.

Back here Monday morning with the stamps for you to send me stuff for the mailbag.