Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Big Goal Barry — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)

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Said this in the Gameday setup earlier Saturday…

The Penguins need a win of any kind to get off of this skid that they are on. Look for the Penguins if they are to win tonight in Allentown, to do so in a dirty way. Shootout win or something crazy with a late goal is what I would classify as a dirty win.

They got one. A 4-3 overtime game winner from the unlikeliest of sources. Barry Goers, playing in his 300th professional game, scores his first goal in the AHL since April 18, 2015 and the Penguins four game losing streak is over.

Tristan Jarry went back in the net and opposed Alex Lyon.

Lines were…

Tom Sestito – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Jarrett Burton – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Patrick McGrath – Sahir Gill – Ryan Haggerty

Derrick Pouliot – Tim Erixon
Brett Stern – David Warsofsky
Stuart Percy – Barry Goers

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Ethan Prow is out with an upper body injury suffered yesterday in Utica. Interestingly, Head Coach Clark Donatelli told WBS media after the game that Prow is week to week with a lower body injury. So as with everything with hockey, give us your money and we won’t tell you anything when out comes to updates on players that you pay to see…Brett Stern took his place on the blue line. Patrick McGrath replaced Christian Hilbrich. Jarrett Burton moved to the second line replacing Hilbrich, Sestito moved back to the top line replacing Sahir Gill, who centered the fourth line.

First Period: Pens jumped out of the gate and nearly got a goal by Jarrett Burton but Alex Lyon made the save :08 in. Teams traded power plays with neither team doing anything memorable on them. Referee Jake Break gave Tim Sestito a 10:00 misconduct for either dissent or perhaps Brenk didn’t like the cut of Sestito’s jib.

T.J. Brennan tangled with J-S Dea behind Lyon’s net and Brennan was firing cross checks at Dea. Ref Brenk placed both players in the penalty box and while four on four, Kevin Porter found Tom Sestito and the Penguins had their first lead in 257:08 and their first even strength goal in 203:13….

Kostopoulos’ 20th point in 20 games and his sixth 20 goal season in the AHL. Also, Kostopoulos is the 10th player in AHL history to score 20 goals in a season at age 38 years of age or older.

Second Period: Greg Carey scored :25 into a power play that gave him his league leading 17th power play goal that also tied it at one for the Phantoms.

Derrick Pouliot did not have a good period. He hit two posts and inadvertently put this puck into the net that was credited to Danick Martel which made it 2-1 Phantoms….

Jarrett Burton got the goal back for the Penguins after a pass from Oskar Sundqvist hit his skate and redirected in. Brenk took a look at that to rule out a kick and his call of goal was confirmed and it was a 2-2 game.

Third Period: J-S Dea, the Phantoms killer, scored to put the Penguins ahead 3-2 early in the third…

Teddy Blueger won a race to a puck, slipped it along the wall to Dominik Simon who centered to Dea who put it past Lyon. His 18th point (11-7) in 25 games against the Phantoms, the most offense Dea has put up against any opponent.

Lehigh Valley responds on a power play when a big shot from the point rebounded past Barry Goers to Corban Knight and past Jarry for a tie game at 3.

Neither team found another regulation goal so it was off to…

Overtime: End to end action. Phantoms hit a post and Jarry was in the snow angel a few times. Then Barry Goers ended it with 1:15 left to give the Penguins the two points and broke the road losing streak…

Dominik Simon shot it, the puck was dropped out of the glove by Lyon and Goers swept in and scored it to win it.

Three Stars: 3) J-S Dea (goal, even) 2) Greg Carey (goal, assist, even) and 1) Barry Goers (overtime game winning goal, +3)

Around the Division: Providence sweeps Bridgeport this weekend with a 4-3 win tonight in Connecticut…Hershey battles back from 3-1 to beat Toronto 4-3…Springfield shuts out Hartford 2-0.

Standings: Penguins (.705 percentage points) — Providence (.664) — Lehigh Valley (.657) — Bridgeport (.642) — Hershey (.609) — Springfield (.491) — Hartford (.398)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost in overtime to the Toledo Walleye 4-3. Cody Wydo had a goal and an assist good for third star honors. The Nailers travel to Fort Wayne Sunday afternoon.

If the Phantoms or Penguin put a highlight package up I’ll run an edit and put it here.

I’ll have the Third Quarter Grades up sometime Sunday with the AHL Power Rankings Monday at 4 and the Wheeling Wrap Tuesday ta noon blog wise. Check them out then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Road Slip — Pens LOSE 2-1

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This is not a good road trip for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

In the four games now on the road for Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins have not led at all and are 0-4 after tonight’s 2-1 setback in Utica.

I still haven’t put my finger on what it is that’s been crippling the Penguins. Remember that the loss in Albany that set off this losing streak was a game that the Devils blocked a ton of shots. The Penguins ran into Reto Berra in Springfield who always plays the Penguins good and played run and gun in the third game in less than three days in Providence Sunday.

If you have a solution, please, leave me a comment here on this blog piece.

Tristan Jarry opposed Thatcher Demko.

Lines were…

Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Christan Hilbrich – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Tom Sestito – Jarrett Burton – Ryan Haggerty

Derrick Pouliot – Barry Goers
Stuart Percy – David Warsofsky
Tim Erixon – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Brett Stern and Patrick McGrath were the scratches. Obie listed Lukas Bengtsson as ill, with Garrett Wilson and Thomas DiPauli among the injury scratches.

First Period: Jarry and this counterpart Demko traded some big saves to open. Pens controlled offensive zone time in bursts but were unable to solve Demko for the period. Utica chipped the puck out, transitioned and found Jordan Subban who ripped one past Jarry to make it 1-0 Comets…

Pens had two cracks at the power play which came and went.

Second Period: The Utica Comets came into the game with the worst goal differential in the second period and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins came into the game boasting the best goal differential in the second period.

That’s a stat that didn’t matter at all in this period.

Shots at the end of the second were 15-13 favoring the Utica Comets, but if you watched this game you would have sworn that it was more like 28-0 Comets with the way that the Comets dominated the offensive zone percentage this period, moreso than the Penguins in the first period.

Ryan Haggerty got a step on a guy and couldn’t score on an excellent Demko save. Referee Furman South reviewed the call on replay and confirmed his initial call on the ice of no goal.

Utica had the Penguins on their heels. Nick Hart described on color commentary that the Comets were playing the Penguins with a playoff like intensity.

Darren Archibald works Stuart Percy to put the Comets yup a pair…

Ethan Prow, who had his left arm injured in the first period, finally exited to the locker room right after the Archibald goal.

Penguins just couldn’t get anything going in the period.

Third Period: Prow did not rejoin the team for the third period.

Tom Kostopoulos scored on a power play that put the Penguins on the board. I don’t have a GIF of this, sorry. Dominik Simon assisted on that Kostopoulos goal and has three goals and two assists over his last six games and I would argue that he was the lone bright spot for the Penguins of late.

Penguins get a late power play and pull Jarry for an extra attacker in the games final minutes but were unable to score at all in a theme that I am picking tip here in this four game losing streak.

Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even) 2) Thatcher Demko (27 saves on 28 shots) and 1) Darren Archibald (goal, +1)

Around the Division: Springfield pays the Penguins a favor beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at home 5-3. The Phantoms will now bus back to Allentown for Saturday’s matchup against the Penguins….Providence ends the Bridgeport Sound Tigers winning streak by beating them 2-1 in regulation and Hershey thumps last place Hartford 6-1.

Standings: Penguins (.700 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.660) — Providence (.657) — Bridgeport (.654) — Hershey (.602) — Springfield (.481) — Hartford (.406)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers are currently trailing the Toledo Walleye 6-0. Box here.

If the Comets put up YouTube video of highlights of tonight’s game that I see I will run the edit here.

Pens will bus back to Wilkes-Barre, stay over night then catch a bus to Lehigh Valley Saturday afternoon for tomorrow night’s big matchup against the Phantoms at 7. Gameday drops here on the blog Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Mid-Winter Sweeps — Pens LOSE 3-2

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Well, let’s just forget about that weekend.

Three games. Three losses. Zero leads. A 3-2 loss in Providence this afternoon.

Trust the process. The Penguins are in the midst of a losing streak for the first time of the season. It’s the middle of February.  March starts next Wednesday. Head Coach Clark Donatelli and company will use this week of practice and the Penguins will come back back and better than ever this Friday in Utica.

Just trust the process.

Tristan Jarry vs. Zane McIntyre

Lines were…

Danny Kristo – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Jarrett Burton – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Tom Sestito – Ryan Haggerty – Patrick McGrath

Derrick Pouliot – Barry Goers
Brett Stern – David Warsofsky
Tim Erixon – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Three changes for the Penguins. Brett Stern was in for Stuart Percy on defense, Sahir Gill and Christian Hilbrich were out for Ryan Haggerty and Danny Kristo. Kristo was placed on the top line.

First Period: Tommy Cross avenged the Kevin Porter hit on Rob O’Gara the last time these two teams met just :16 into the game with a fight with Porter.

Danton Heinen opened the scoring for the Bruins at 12:21 on a shot from Ben Marshall that put the Bruins on the board first…

The tweet says Marshall’s goal, but that was later changed. You can’t edit tweets.

Penguins would head to a power play and Dominik Simon would snipe one home to tie the game at one for Wilkes-Barre….

Nice find by Ethan Prow to hit Dominik Simon high in the slot. Simon did the rest.

Bruins started to push back on the Penguins to conclude the period and caught up and then passed Wilkes-Barre on the shot board. The Bruins weren’t able to score on a 4:00 double minor power play caused by a Derrick Pouliot high stick.

Second Period: Penguins were still held to one shot for a while to begin the middle frame. Then David Warsofsky’s stick breaks on a breakout that sent the Bruins up ice. Sean Kuraly then scored to make it 2-1 for the Bruins….

At the end of the period the physical play picked up. Tyler Randall and Patrick McGrath fought…

First time in a while I have seen McGrath get beat like that. He really couldn’t leverage and was a passenger.

Penguins would find themselves on a power play to conclude the period and then Sundqvist was slashed at the whistle which would give the Penguins over a minute of two man advantage leading into the…

Third Period: Derrick Pouliot would score on not the first two man advantage to open the period, but another penalty called by referees Mike Campbell and Jarrod Ragusin on this snipe of a shot that made it 2-2…

Relentless pressure by the Penguins looking for the third goal but the Bruins defense and Zane McIntrye kept the Penguins off the board.

Both McIntyre and his counterpart Tristan Jarry traded some ten bell saves. First was Jarry making a ridiculous stop on Anton Blidh after a linesman inadvertently took out David Warsofsky, and later was McIntyre with the two pad stack on a shot by Jarrett Burton off of a nice feed by Josh Archibald.

Jordan Szwarz one timed a Wayne Simpson pass past Jarry  to give the P-Bruins the lead with 4:04 left to play…

The Penguins with Jarry vacated and on another 6 on 4 power play, late were never able to find the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Dominik Simon (goal, -1) 2) Danton Heinen (goal, assist, +2) and 1) Jordan Szwarz (game winning goal, +1)

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley crushes Utica 7-4. T.J. Brennan had a hat trick in that one…Bridgeport continues to roll, 5-1 over Hershey. The Bears playoff chances are fading quickly…Springfield sweeps the weekend, beating Hartford 4-2. Future AHL Hall of Famer Mike McKenna picked up his 200th AHL win.

Standings: Penguins (.713 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.673) — Bridgeport (.667) — Providence (.651) — Hershey (.594) — Springfield (.471) — Hartford (.413)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off. They host the Brampton Beast Monday afternoon at 2.

If Providence puts out a highlight package I will run the edit in this spot.

The Week 19 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at special President’s Day time at noon and the Wheeling Wrap will follow Tuesday at noon as well.

Trust the process.

Let’s Go Pens!

Not a Berra Good Time — Pens LOSE 2-1

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This was a game that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins had to win for a number of reasons.

  1. Quell the, “here we go again” crowd who love to bitch and moan when Pittsburgh recalls players because their own are injured as has been the case for the last few seasons.
  2. Springfield Thunderbirds haven’t won 20 games yet coming into tonight with just 18. Wilkes-Barre should have run circles around and won by four or more goals.
  3. When #2 didn’t come to fruition and it became a close game, almost with a playoff like intensity with the Penguins having been shutout the night before in Albany and the Thunderbirds getting up against the best team in the AHL, that’s where you start looking at where the breakdowns started.

Here are the reasons, at least in my view, why the Penguins lost tonight. Feel free to add your own or disagree.

  1. Reto Berra is a 6-4, 200 pound goaltender who is a lot better than his record would indicate. He plays very well against the Penguins, shutting them out this past October 1-0.
  2. Wilkes-Barre took six penalties in the game, three in the first and two in the second with one in the third.
  3. The Penguins celebrated like they won a playoff series when they finally scored on Berra in the third period. This had to have drawn the ire of the Thunderbirds as they would score about three minutes later.
  4. WordPress isn’t letting be do a 3a., so consider this that. You don’t celebrate like you won something when you score a goal against a sixth place team that has been a doormat for other teams in the AHL. It makes you look petty and a bigger fool when the opposing team scores on you three minutes later.

A 2-1 Thunderbirds win tonight. Second loss for the weekend for the Penguins who head to Providence to take on Zane McIntyre most likely Sunday afternoon. The P-Bruins, who were shut out by Hershey tonight, will be chomping at the bit to get back out there and out there with their magic bullet in McIntyre against the League’s best team.

Can’t have it both ways, guys. You want the best team and you have them with the Penguins. But you have to expect the other teams best when playing the best team.

Casey DeSmith opposed the aforementioned Reto Berra.

Lines were…

Tom Sestito – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Christian Hilbrich – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Derrick Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Jarrett Burton – Sahir Gill – Patrick McGrath

Derrick Pouliot – Barry Goers
Stuart Percy – David Warsofsky
Tim Erixon – Ethan Prow

Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Pittsburgh re-assigned Josh Archibald to Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day and Coal Street signed Brett Stern to another PTO. Healthy scratches were Danny Kristo, Ryan Haggerty and the aforementioned Brett Stern. Christian Hilbrich got another game. Swap McGrath for Haggerty and Archibald for Kristo. When a guy from Wheeling was getting to play over you, that may be a message or it may be nothing.

First Period: Wilkes-Barre / Scranton only had 24 shots in last nights game against Albany. Well, in the first period alone in Springfield, the Penguins put up 14 on Reto Berra. Berra was singlehandedly the reason why the game wasn’t out of hand 10 minutes in. Springfield comes alive in the final five minutes in the period, a shot by Jayce Hawryluk on the power play hit the top of the bar behind DeSmith. Both myself at home watching on AHL Live and Nick and Obie on radio thought it was a goal. Play continued a good three minutes before referees Mike Campbell and Tim Mayer took a look and confirmed the no goal call that Mayer, the low referee, made.

So the Falcons dodge a Penguin bullet with Reto Berra for fifteen minutes and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins dodge a Springfield bullet via the crossbar behind Casey DeSmith.

Second Period: Penguins take ther third penalty in a row and Springfield finally cashes on it as Jared McCann gets a puck, baits Casey DeSmith out of his own net and puts the puck in it. Tim Erixon was a passenger on the play as he was caught in no mans land on the play not knowing whether he should go behind the net to get the puck or take the man. He should have took the man, but hindsight is 20-20.

Here is the goal. You be the judge…

Wilkes-Barre got close on their only power play in the period but could not crack Reto Berra. Springfield didn’t exactly play better than the Penguins as much as Wilkes-Barre taking a penalty every five minutes. Eventually a team at the AHL level will score on the man advantage via trial and error.

Third Period: David Warsofsky finally breaks the ice for the Penguins with this low shot on Berra :05 into a power play for the Penguins…

A little over three minutes later, the Thunderbirds reestablish their lead over Wilkes-Barre when Penguin killer Mackenzie Weegar puts a shot on DeSmith who makes the save but Juho Lammikko was right there for the rebound to put past DeSmith.

Penguins got a power play with a minute to play and with DeSmith vacated the Thunderbirds never touched the puck once but Wilkes-Barre never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Jared McCann (goal, +1) 2) Reto Berra (34 saves on 35 shots) and 1) Juho Lammikko (game winning goal, +1)

Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Albany 3-2 in the afternoon game. That’s six in a row and 14 of 15 for the Sound Tigers. Lehigh Valley exacts revenge on Hartford and beats the Wolf Pack 6-4 and so does Hershey against Providence I mentioned in the open. Final score there was 4-0 Bears.

Standings: Penguins (.726 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.667) — Bridgeport (.660) — Providence (.644) — Hershey (.606) — Springfield (.461) — Hartford (.422)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers beat the Kalamazoo Wings 5-4. Nick Sorkin had a pair of goals. Garrett Meurs had a goal and two assists.

If Springfield puts forth a highlight package, I will run an edit here.

Pens will bus to Providence overnight for the 3:05 start against the Bruins Sunday afternoon. Look for the Gameday setup to hit the blog Sunday morning at 11 a.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

Deviled Eggs — Pens LOSE 4-0

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I am going to give you the optimistic and pessimistic view as to why the Penguins lost this game to the Albany Devils 4-0.

Pessimistic: Pittsburgh recalled all our damn players!

Optimistic: Albany scored :58 into the game, blocked a ton of shots the remainder of the game, the Penguins didn’t eclipse the 20 shot total till two minutes left to play in the game and the three goals scored in the third period were meaningless. The Penguins weren’t going to score because the Devils were really good at blocking shot lanes. Chasing the game late, they make a few mistakes that the Devils capitalize on.

Sorry, but Carter Rowney and Steve Oleksy are probably having their shots blocked in this game too. I choose the optimistic approach here.

First shutout for the Devils this season and the first professional clean sheet for Mackenzie Blackwood for Albany. Fifth time that the Penguins were shutout this season and they now have been shutout on back to back Friday’s.

Tristan Jarry opposed Mackenzie Blackwood.

Lines were…

Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – Oskar Sundqvist – Danny Kristo
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Christan Hilbrich – Jarrett Burton – Ryan Haggerty

Stuart Percy – David Warsofsky
Derrick Pouliot – Barry Goers
Tim Erixon – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: No immediate recall from Wheeling for a defenseman. Wilkes-Barre is OK right now with the six that they have. Garrett Wilson is week to week with an upper body injury and is 4-6 weeks away from a return. Thomas DiPauli is still week to week but is with the team. Remember that Head Coach Clark DOnatelli indicated that DiPauli should be back in the lineup at the end of February.

First Period: It was a sleepy start for the Penguins. :58 in, ex-Penguin Brian Gibbons picks the pocket of Tristan Jarry and Blake Coleman scored to give the Devils a 1-0 lead…

Albany had the only power play in the period and Oskar Sundqvist led a two-on-one with Teddy Blueger. Sundqvist had literally all day, waited out a guy and passed over to Blueger who swung and missed on the shorthanded bid.

Wilkes-Barre continued to sleepwalk and were getting throttled on the shot board 9-0 at one point. Jarry, after his initial gaffe with the puck was sharp the remainder of the period. Shots to conclude the first were every bit of 16-7 Albany heading into the….

Second Period: Mike and Nick mentioned it on the broadcast that it seemed like the Penguins had more shots than the Devils and while that may appear true to the naked eye, Albany outshot Wilkes-Barre 12-8 in the period. The Devils simply blocked a ton of shots in the period.

No scoring in the period. Tristan Jarry was excellent in net for the Penguins, stopping a Ben Sexton rebound attempt with his arm diving over to make a save:

Third Period: Penguins think that they score after J-S Dea makes a power move toward the net and in the pile of bodies Teddy Blueger kicks a puck in. Referee Tom Chmielewski washes the goal out on the kick, he and Chris Brown review the video and confirm their call on a kick. Both I and Mike and Nick on the broadcast agreed with the call. For what it’s worth, Chmielewski and Brown were outstanding tonight, allowing two good teams to play. There were only four power plays in this game.

That goal that didn’t go for the Penguins will be my turning point in this game as Ben Sexton pounces on a turnover by the Penguins and blasts one past Jarry to make it 2-0.

Soon, the Penguins turn over the puck again and Max Novack comes in on a three on one and scores to make it 3-0.

Nick Lappin added an empty netter that just added the sprinkles (or jimmies, depending on what end of the state you are from) on the icing on the cake on this one.

Three Stars: 3) Yohann Auvitu (two assists, +2) 2) Max Novack (goal, +1) and 1) Mackenzie Blackwood (24 save shutout)

Around the Division: Bad night to be a team from Pennsylvania. Lehigh Valley loses at home to last place Hartford 3-2 and Hershey loses in Providence 4-3. Bridgeport continues their tear and win 5-2 in Rochester. The Sound Tigers visit Albany tomorrow. Springfield, who host the Penguins Saturday, beat Utica 5-2.

Standings: Penguins (.740 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.660) — Providence (.657) — Bridgeport (.653) — Hershey (.598) — Springfield (.450) — Hartford (.430)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 6-3 in the rematch with Brampton tonight. Garrett Meurs had a Gordie Howe hat trick. Wheeling hosts Kalamazoo Saturday.

Video highlights…

Pens bus to Springfield overnight for a 7:05 start with the Thunderbirds. Gameday will hit the blog Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Sundqvissed Twice on Valentine’s Day — Pens WIN 5-1

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins conclude their six game home stand with a 5-1 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Tuesday night. The lead for the Penguins now is 11 on the second place Phantoms team.

Oskar Sundqvist had gone cold for a bit then caught one and missed practice yesterday. He came to the rink ready to roll and scored twice tonight as the Penguins easily beat a Lehigh Valley team that never really were able to get going Tuesday night.

Taking the veteran option on the lines tonight because, if you didn’t know already, I do not like work night home games. A 72 game schedule would be aces for this blogger. Anyway, here’s tonight’s lines…

Lineup Notes: Tim Erixon was the vet scratch, Patrick McGrath took warmups only and Barry Goers were the scratches.

First Period: Garrett Wilson exits the game early on a high, dirty hit by Sam Morin 4:31 in.

Here is video of the hit courtesy of Elmer Talmadge:

The Penguins would score on the power play afterward on this goal by Derrick Pouliot:

Teams trade power plays after then later Sahir Gill throws a hit to make a play. Players spill into the boards, J-S Dea comes over to collect the puck and finds Dominik Simon cutting to the net unabated and Simon scores to make it 2-0:

Shots were 15-7 Penguins after the first in a period that they were ready for. Lehigh Valley didn’t register a shot on goal till 7:59 and were making bad passes all over the place.

Second Period: Pens had to kill a carry over penalty to begin, Oskar Sundqvist scored shorthanded on this move…

Phantoms appeared to have scored right back but the puck popped up over Jarry and onto the net where it was re-directed in via Colin McDonald high stick.

Tristan Jarry was really on point in the period making some excellent post to post stops on the Phantoms. He made two stellar saves on a penalty kill.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel finally solves Jarry following up his own shot post to post from behind the net that broke up the goose egg on the board for the Phantoms.

J-S Dea had a spectacular goal. Here it is set up via color man Nick Hart:

After brief review, it stood as a goal.

Phantoms played a good majority of that period as the better team but the Penguins manage two goals in the period anyway to maintain a three goal lead heading into the…

Third Period: Sundqvist made it 5-1 on this impossible goal from the corner you need to see to believe:

Pretty blah period with the Penguins protecting a lead against a Lehigh Valley team that is dynamite in the third period and continued to press for more goals at the same time. It’s a beautiful balancing act when executed properly and Wilkes-Barre pulled it off nicely. Penguins nearly doubled up the Phantoms in shots in the period.

Three Stars:  3) Tristan Jarry 2) Dominik Simon (goal, assist) 1) Oskar Sundqvist (two goals)

Around the Division: They all watched us.

Standings: Penguins (.755 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.673) — Providence (.650) — Bridgeport (.646) — Hershey (.610) — Springfield (.439) — Hartford (.418)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers host the Brampton Beast tomorrow.

Postgame, Penguins Head Coach Clark Donatelli advised Tom and Seth and other WBS media that Garrett Wilson is week to week with an upper body injury and is having x-rays tomorrow. He also stated that he and his coaches are reviewing the hint to see if they will send it to the League for review and Supplemental Discipline.

I wanted to look up the Phantoms third period goal differential. Against the rest of the AHL teams except that Penguins it’s +34. Against Wilkes-Barre it’s +1. That’s remarkable and a testament to the coaching staff on game preparation.

Video highlights…

Pens are off on the road now until a March 8 home date with these Phantoms beginning this weekend in Albany on Friday. But for breaking stuff, look for the next blog update to come then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Genius Clark! Sahir Scores Two — Pens WIN 4-2

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Tom Sestito went down Friday night against Hershey with injury. He was playing every bit like a top line player and his absence going forward is a huge hole to fill from a Penguin offensive perspective.

Sahir Gill has been for the most part an often forgotten about player on the Penguins when they had the services of Jake Guentzel and Carter Rowney in town. Most weekends you’d never see him, other weekends you’d forget about him.

So of course this combination of the top line forward in Tom Sestito going down and Sahir Gill filling his spot on the Penguins top line was going to be a home run.

Gill scores two goals tonight and the Penguins roll to a 4-2 win over the Binghamton Senators.

Save the “fire Donatelli” complaints. The man is a genius and has proven, time and again this season, that he knows how to coach at the AHL level. Seth had a tweet postgame that I’d like to add to…

The Pens are the first team in the AHL to a lot of things. 10 wins. 20 wins, 30 wins, 75 points and now 20 wins on home ice. No other team will go higher than 18 home wins in the League tonight.

All because of one man. Clark Donatelli. No matter what you throw at the guy, he and his cadre of available players are going to make it work.

Now Donatelli is not going to be pleased tonight at his teams discipline. Up 4-0 in the second period, Binghamton chips away and makes it a 4-2 game by the end of the second period. The Penguins continue to shoot themselves in the foot and take silly penalties in the third, but Casey DeSmith and the Penguins defense batten down the hatches and hold on to win the game.

DeSmith was opposed by Matt O’Connor.

Lines were…

Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Danny Kristo
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Ryan Haggerty – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Derrick Pouliot – Steve Oleksy
David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Jarrett Burton was recalled from Wheeling and flew cross country overnight from Boise, Idaho where the Nailers are this weekend and made it in time for the game. Tom Sestito was not listed as an injury scratch and Donatelli told WBS media after the game that he should be fine for Tuesday against Lehigh Valley.

First Period: Pens made it 2-0 before Binghamton even knew what hit them. David Warsofsky’s slap shot from the blue line made it 1-0…

And Sahir Gill’s first of two on the night made it 2-0…

Jarrett Burton, fresh from Idaho, with the primary assist on the Warsofsky goal. That’s Burton’s first ever AHL assist.

Wilkes-Barre was all over the Senators to start, up 4-0 in shots and 2-0 in goals. O’Connor was replaced at the first media timeout by Chris Driedger.

Binghamton thinks that they score on a power play…

…but referees Stephen Thomson and Alex Garon convene and rule no goal. The light never came on nor did the back ref Thomson signal goal.

Wilkes-Barre took two penalties in each period which squelched their momentum built up by their early goals.

Second Period: Much like the first, Wilkes-Barre scores two goals in quick succession. Sahir Gill on the rebound for his second that made it 3-0…

Then Dominik Simon :34 later that made it 4-0….

Binghamton would call timeout to collect themselves and it worked. Normally the time out just delays the inevitable, but this time it worked. They started chipping away and finally solved DeSmith on a knee drop one timer by Casey Bailey just as a power play expired for the visitors which made it 4-1…

Sahir Gill turned the puck over at his own blueline and Kyle Flanagan walked in and scored on a naked 2-on-0 that made it a two goal game…

The best thing that could have happened to the Penguins was the whistle that ended the period because the Senators were firing on all cylinders and the Penguins weren’t able to respond.

Third Period: No one scored. The Penguins are built from the goal out and try as they might, Binghamton was never able to get the third or fourth goals because in large part of the play of Casey DeSmith and the Penguins defense. You need to play a perfect game as an opponent to beat a great team like the Penguins and the Binghamton Senators did play this game perfectly in spurts but were down 4-0 before they knew what hit them.

With an open net and seeking his first AHL goal, local product Patrick McGrath put it off of a Binghamton stick and the puck deflected into the crowd.

Three Stars: 3) Dominik Simon (goal, +1) 2) David Warsofsky (goal, even) 1) Sahir Gill (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: St. John’s beats Lehigh Valley 4-3 in regulation…Hershey beats Hartford 4-2…Bridgeport takes down Providence 5-4 in a shootout and Utica beats Springfield 2-1.

Standings: Penguins (.750 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.688) — Providence (.643) — Bridgeport (.638) — Hershey (.622) — Springfield (.448) — Hartford (.418)

Wheeling Update: Nailers are in Idaho for the last time this weekend. Here is the box.

Video highlights….

But for breaking news Sunday, here’s how the week sets up here on the blog….Power Rankings are here Monday at 4. Wheeling Wrap at noon Tuesday followed by the Gameday setup for the Valentine’s Day game against Lehigh Valley at 3 followed by the recap here on the blog after.

Let’s Go Pens!