Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

This Tuesday in Texas — Pens WIN 3-2 (OT)


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There is a saying that, “everything is bigger in Texas.”

For Jordy Bellerive, it must be true, he’s scoring goals and the net must look twice the size for the Penguins rookie.

A 3-2 overtime win for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on Tuesday night with the goal scored by, who else, Jordy Bellerive that ended the game. Bellerive’s trip through San Antonio this past weekend saw him score two goals and the shootout game winner on Saturday and an overtime game winner Tuesday.

He may not want to board that flight to Charlotte Wednesday, but he will have to.

The Penguins draw to a point of idle and fifth place Springfield and three points back of fourth place Providence for the final playoff spot. A huge meeting with third place Charlotte, who the Penguins are just four points behind, looms this weekend.

Casey DeSmith opposed Ville Husso in a rematch from Saturday.


Lineup Notes: Joseph Blandisi was recalled Monday, so Christopher Brown slotted in for him at center, the forward lines were jumbled up, Jordy Bellerive found himself on the second line, up from the fourth, based off of his performance on Saturday.

Dustin Tokarski was injured in warmups Saturday with what Head Coach Mike Vellucci told Nick Hart was a hand injury. He’s still with the team, practiced Monday and took part of Morning skate. No timetable was given, but I’ll point out that if it were bad, he would have been sent back to Wilkes-Barre or Pittsburgh if it was.

On defense, the same pairings from Saturday. San Antonio didn’t post lines.

First Period: Largely uneventful period. Andreas Martinsen was the only Penguin forward with a shot on goal, Wilkes-Barre only managed five to the Rampage’s ten.

Klim Kostin deflected a Joey LaLeggia shot about halfway through that gave the Rampage a 1-0 lead.

Penguins killed the only penalty called in the period. Like I said, largely uneventful.

Second Period: Largely eventful period. The Penguins outshot the Rampage 16-4 in the period and got a goal when Jon Lizotte connected with Anthony Angello on this tie setup that tied the game at one.

Ville Husso was forced into some great saves, John Nyberg had one on a shot through traffic, Husso got help from his post when Chase Berger fizzed one past and Jordy Bellerive had a bid go off of the post early on in a two on one.

Third Period: Penguins navigated through back to back penalties easily, then Kevin Roy tipped in a John Nyberg shot that gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

I liked what I saw from John Nyberg tonight, doing all the little things right.

Good, subtle keep in by David Warsofky there at the start of the video that kept play onside. The scoring play doesn’t happen without it.

Wilkes-Barre had one more penalty to kill and did so, but just as Husso came off for an extra attacker, San Antonio indeed found the equalizer on this sequence with ex-Penguin Derrick Pouliot.

Tipped in by Nathan Walker that sent us to…

Overtime: They went back and forth s they often do with all that open ice. It was a sequence with Thomas DiPauli that led to the Bellerive goal. He was tangled up with Husso, got a puck at the neutral zone and put a shot on he didn’t get all of, followed his shot and caused enough interference (legal) on Husso that Bellerive was there for the goal and the finish.

Three Stars: 3) Anthony Angello (goal) Kevin Roy (goal) 1) Jordy Bellerive (overtime game winning goal)

The Good: Any time you get four points at an opponent, you take it and run. Don’t worry about the games finishing past regulation, giving points to a Western Conference opponent is meaningless for the Penguins.

The Bad: I still can’t figure out of it was Penguins good or San Antonio bad (they are last place in a competitive Central) but will likely have that answer this weekend when Mike Vellucci visits his old stomping grounds in Charlotte this weekend.

Turning Point: How can you not go with the Bellerive overtime game winner in this situation? These are big points that could be remembered as the Penguins are shaping up to be in a race with three, maybe four with Lehigh Valley’s sudden resurgence, teams for a playoff spot come April.

Around the Division: They all watched us. It’s a Tuesday, the Atlantic Division just doesn’t play on a Tuesday.

Standings: Hartford and Hershey 55 — Charlotte 51 — Providence 50 — Springfield 48 — Penguins 47 — Lehigh Valley 41 — Bridgeport 35

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off, it’s the ECHL All-Star break.

Video Highlights: Coal Street tweeted Saturday’s highlights Monday morning. I hope they don’t wait till Thursday for these. Anyway, if I see them and can work an edit in I will.

I would expect, with Pittsburgh on bye for the next ten days, that you will see Joseph Blandisi and Andrew Agozzino get returned to Wilkes-Barre with Kevin Czuczman and possibly Sam Lafferty. EDIT: They didn’t wait long, check out this time stamp:

AHL Power Rankings will be here Thursday at 11 and then the Gameday setup for the two game set in Charlotte will be here Friday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

For Whom the Bellerive Tolls — Pens WIN 4-3 (SO)


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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins got a win Saturday night in Texas against the San Antonio Rampage 4-3 in a shootout. Jordy Bellerive had a pair of goals in regulation and scored one in a shootout as well to get the Penguins out of the little slide that they are on and to stay up with the leaders in the Atlantic Division.

Casey DeSmith opposed Ville Husso.


The Rampage didn’t post any lines.

Lineup Notes: They were the same up front and switched John Nyberg with David Warsofsky and Macoy Erkamps was back in the lineup for Michael Kim, paired with Niclas Almari.

Emil Larmi backed up. Initially Dustin Tokarski was listed as the backup and I had the AHLTV feed on early and saw warmups and saw Tokarski out on the warmup, so I don’t think it’s anything injury related.

Also from the broadcast, Zach Trotman was upgraded to day to day.

First Period: Both teams took penalties within minutes of one another. San Antonio’s power play is deadly. The Penguins needed a good start and got one when Joseph Blandisi deflected this shot from David Warsofsky that gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Shots were 12-10 for the Penguins.

Second Period: If the first period was boring to you then the second period was the exact opposite.

A short handed goal by the Rampage, then a goal by Jordy Bellerive highlighted a wild period.

First the Austin Poganski short handed goal, the third scored against Wilkes-Barre this season, that tied the game at one.

Nolan Stevens draws three Penguins at him then executes a perfect pass to a streaking Poganski for a goal.

Things continued to unravel for the Penguins, as Jake Walman keeps a clearing attempt onside, then cuts down the slot and backhands one past DeSmith to give the Rampage a 2-1 lead.

A minute or so later, Jordy Bellerive blows a shot past Husso that put the Penguins back on even terms with San Antonio.

Penguins power play wasn’t clicking at all, having given up a short handed goal, so Mike Vellucci put his fourth line out with :26 left in one late in the period.

Third Period: Jordy Bellerive scored his second of the night which gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead…

…but Jake Walman would score his second of the night to tie the game again. It was goals scored by Bellerive and Walman in a span of 1:11 in the second and here, it was a span of 1:20.

They went back and forth for a bit, no one got close to scoring a winner and it was off to…

Overtime: Joey LaLeggia got four minutes for high sticking, but after a Husso glove save in front of Anthony Angello, Angello shoved a guy in the face and was sent to the penalty box. They went back to three on three and then to the …

Shootout: Jordy Bellerive went out in the bottom of the first and scored, Casey DeSmith stopped Austin Poganski, MIke Vecchione and Joey LaLeggia. Chase Berger also had a chance in the second round but missed on his attempt.

Three Stars: 3) Austin Poganski (goal, assist) 2) Jake Walman (two goals) and 1) Jordy Bellerive (two goals and the shootout game winner)

The Good: You can argue that they were the better team tonight and not be wrong.

The Bad: You can make the same case if you were a Rampage fan. I don’t know what Tuesday will say about either team, hell it may even be another shootout.

Turning Point: Thought it was the double minor power play that the Penguins had in overtime, but Angello’s antics snuffed this out. On a night where he was the star, Jordy Bellerive’s goal in the bottom of the first round of the shootout got the Penguins the extra point they so desperately need at this point of the season.

Around the Division: Mason Marchment’s hat trick wasn’t enough for the Toronto Marlies who lose 4-3 in a shootout to the Charlotte Checkers….Hershey beats Hartford 5-4 in overtime in a wild one in Chocolatetown….Providence beats Bridgeport 3-1….Lehigh Valley wins their fifth in a row beating a game Rochester side 4-0. Springfield was off.

Standings: Hartford 55 — Hershey 53 — Charlotte and Providence 49 — Springfield 46 — Penguins 45 — Lehigh Valley 41 — Bridgeport 35

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 4-1 in Indy, Justin Almeida had the goal.

Video Highlights: I believe San Antonio does em on YouTube, if you want to head there to see them if you really want to. I will be busy in the morning shoveling snow before church.

They have a day off in San Antonio Sunday then practice Monday before the rematch Tuesday. I’ll have an update to my charts Sunday afternoon if you are looking for something to poke around on Sunday afternoon or Monday. But for anything else breaking, talk to you here again Tuesday at 4 for the Gameday setup against the Rampage again.

Let’s Go Pens!

Pick Yourself Up — Pens LOSE 4-3 (SO)


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Mike Vellucci hammered his team postgame Wednesday after they lost.

Needed more from his forwards, his defense and in goal. Hell, he traded one of his players to the opponent this afternoon. It was an unacceptable effort for a team who is slowly slipping away from a playoff berth here in January.

So when the WIlkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were down 2-0 just 5:41 into the game, who does Vellucci turn to?

Emil Larmi.

Wait, the same Emil Larmi who the Penguins last saw trying to fight the Texas Stars back in Wilkes-Barre? The same Emil Larmi who couldn’t stop a nose bleed the last time he played in the AHL?

Yep, Emil Larmi.

The Texas Stars would win the game Friday 4-3 in a shootout, but not before the Penguins picked themselves off of the mat twice, overcoming a two goal deficit and then scoring a goal in the third to force overtime.

Probably Larmi’s best game in North America, given the level. He’s had some success playing in Wheeling with the ECHL affiliate and had a shutout, but Larmi needed a game like this to regain his confidence which was shattered the last time he suited up for the Penguins. Under the circumstances, with the Penguins circling the drain, Larmi put a stop on that with excellent saves after excellent saves.

Dustin Tokarski got the initial start and he opposed Jake Oettinger.


Lineup Notes: Shuffled again up front, Jan Drozg was in for Christopher Brown. Debutante John Nyberg was paired with Nicolas Almari on the second defensive pairing. Michael Kim was also in for Matt Abt paired with David Warsofsky. Emil Larmi backed up on the assumption to give DeSmith a night off and the further speculation that he starts Saturday in San Antonio.

Initially the first graphic had Andreas Martinsen on the fourth line but five minutes before the game, the team tweeted the above graphic stating that Devane was in.

First Period: Didn’t go well for Dustin Tokarski. Just 5:41 into the game, the Penguins were down 2-0 on goals scored by Nicholas Caamano and Ben Gleason.

Mike Vellucci didn’t waste any time going to backup Emil Larmi. Vellucci criticized the goaltending he got Wednesday, and he certainly could not be happy here, Tokarski just stopping two of four shots faced.

Larmi entering made Vellucci look like a genius. The Penguins goaltender calmed things down and the Penguins got a goal back after hard work from Kevin Roy from behind the net that made its way to Chase Berger who then found Adam Johnson in front for a goal.

Texas outshot the Penguins 12-7, including one of these shots which will end upon Larmi’s highlight reel.

Probably his best in the AHL. If he doesn’t make that save (the Penguins hadn’t scored yet) the game could have spiraled out of hand. Instead, he kept it 2-0 and you could see the confidence in him and the team in front of him building.

Second Period: Penguins came out with their tails up and ready to get the game tied. Emil Larmi made another fantastic save,this time going post to post to deny Tanner Kero.

The Penguins wouldn’t score on the first power play awarded them in the period, but they scored almost immediately after the first penalty expired when Kevin Roy scored to tied the game at two. Check this setup out:

But the Penguins would lose the lead when Texas replicated the same thing that saw the Penguins score; that is miss on the first power play attempt but score on the second. Anthony Louis with this snipe here to give the Stars the lead again.

Nothing Larmi could do on that one, that is just a dart.

Pens chased a bit but Larmi kept it a one goal lead heading to the…

Third Period: The Stars gift wrapped the Penguins back to back five on three power plays and David Warsofsky cashed on this sequence here to put the Penguins back on level terms:

Tyler noted the following:

All hail Jim Rutherford.

The Penguins killed a late Stars penalty but played great period with some timely saves by Larmi that got the game to …

Overtime: Bonkers, with Larmi making ten bell saves on ten bell saves. He was dialed in and determined not to lose in overtime. Pens had a few chances with Adam Johnson.

Shootout: Jason Robertson scored in the top of the first, Jordy Bellerive in the bottom of the second, Jan Drozg had a shot in the bottom of the third to win it but Nicholas Caamano scored in the top of the fourth and Kevin Roy missed on his chance immediately thereafter.

Three Stars: Jake Oettinger (27 saves 2) Anthony Louis (goal and 1) Nicholas Caamano (goal and shootout game winner)

The Good: The responseafter Larmi replaced Tokarski was a sight to behold. I thought personally the game was over at that point but Emil Larmi made a believer out of me this evening.

The Bad: What kind of message didn’t they get when the coach hammered every facet of the effort that they displayed Wednesday? To come out like they did and go behind like that doesn’t spell a good feeling that they can turn it around and make a playoff push.

Turning Point: In a game full of them, David Warsofsky’s power play goal in the third period guaranteed at least a point for Wilkes-Barre.

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley ends Binghamton’s eight game win streak with a 4-1 win in Allentown. That’s the Phantoms fourth win in a row…Bridgeport beats Providence 2-1….Utica beats Hartford 6-3. Justin Bailey for the Comets bags a hat trick in back to back games, the first player to do so since Mark Mancari in 2011….Springfield beats Syracuse 4-1….Charlotte and Hershey were off.

Standings: Hartford 54 — Hershey 51 — Charlotte and Providence 47 — Springfield 46 — Penguins 43 — Lehigh Valley 39 — Bridgeport 35

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lose 5-4 in Kalamazoo. Cam Brown and Justin Almeida each had a goal and an assist in the loss.

Texas didn’t run any video highlights Wednesday so I doubt they will tonight. I’ll look anyway and if there are any, will run em in a later edit.

Pens travel to San Antonio for a date with the Rampage at 8 Saturday. Gameday setup is here Saturday afternoon at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

Kero the Hero — Pens LOSE 5-2


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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins played a solid forty minutes in their first trip to Texas in over ten years. They got good goaltending and were tied heading into the third period.

Usually in these situations it’s the team that wants it more that wins the game in the third period. In a game where it was all Texas, it was the Stars who win 5-2 Wednesday night to end the Penguins short little winning streak. Texas outshot Wilkes-Barre 37-20.

Casey DeSmith opposed Jake Oettinger.


Lineup Notes: Was essentially Joseph Blandisi, back from Pittsburgh as of Tuesday, for Jamie Devane up front and Jon Lizotte for Michael Kim on defense. Lizotte only missed one game after his scare last Friday against the Hershey Bears.

Also of note, Wilkes-Barre recalled Emil Larmi for the long road trip. It’s my belief that this was a planned move.

Texas didn’t post any lines.

First Period: The Penguins were steamrolled from the drop of the puck, outshot 7-0 at one point when the Stars took a penalty. Just :12 into the power play, Kevin Roy struck to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

First shot of the game for WIlkes-Barre.

Texas would get it right back, on a power play of their own, when Tanner Kero walked through the Penguins defense and scored :20 into the power play.

Penguins were outshot 15-5 and Casey DeSmith was sharp, only getting beat five hole on the Kero power play goal. He tracked the puck well in the period.

Second Period: Texas took back to back penalties and while the Penguins looked good slinging the puck around on the power play, were not able to beat Oettinger.

Then, a strange sequence.

Reece Scarlett elbowed Joseph Blandisi in the face. But referee Beau Halkidis thought that the Penguins forward oversold the call and gave Blandisi an embellishing call. This upset Blandisi who took a second to pick himself off of the ice and get attention from the trainer on the bench to ensure that all of his teeth were firmly in place. When he finally got into the penalty box, the following happened.

He taps on the glass to advise the referee he is unhappy with his ruling. Some referees give you leeway on this and others don’t. I see it happen all the time and nothing happens. But Halkidis must have given Blandisi enough rope prior to the sequence and gave him a misconduct.

What happened after was inexcusable, you can’t shove an off ice official and you most certainly may not put your hands on any on ice official. The box had the penalties on Blandisi read 2+10. No game misconduct and Blandisi returned in the third, but the AHL may look at that anyway. I don’t know if anything comes of it, but you can lose your cool and slam your stick and call the referee all the four letter words you can think of, you can not under any circumstances get physical with on or off ice officials no matter how minor the contact may have been.

Back on the ice, Adam Johnson scored from a tight angle to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead at four on four.

Very nice pass by Roy there to set it up.

But a Casey DeSmith own goal would tie the game at two again.

Anthony Louis puts a shot on, Brad McClure in the area looking for a rebound but the puck gets by DeSmith. DeSmith dropped it, but instead of dropping it in front of him he drops it between his legs and it bounces into the net behind him. Hardly ideal.

Eventful period, to say the least.

Third Period: :38 in and Joel L’Esperance’s seemingly harmless shot hits DeSmith’s pad and blocker and goes into the net for a 3-2 Stars lead.

Strange play, but that kind of night.

Thomas DiPauli hit a post with a deflection attempt, that was about as close as Wilkes-Barre got to scoring in the third and that didn’t even count as a shot because it hit the post.

Tanner Kero scored his second of the night when he picked off a Jon Lizotte chip play off of the wall and scored to make it 4-2. It was like Texas had the playbook on the Penguins.

Penguins had a 6-on-4 power play with DeSmith vacated but didn’t have any luck scoring.

Kero would complete his hat trick with an empty net goal, the first hat trick against the Penguins this season.

Penguins head coach Mike Vellucci shortened his bench and Sam Miletic and Joseph Blandisi didn’t see much of, if any ice at all. Blandisi was benched for the third period.

Three Stars: 3) Joel L’Esperance (goal) 2) Anthony Louis (goal, assist) and 1) Tanner Kero (hat trick)

The Good: Casey DeSmith kept the Penguins in the game going into the third.

The Bad: The Penguins weren’t able to adjust from the first into the second period and surely from the second into the third period.

Turning Point: L’Esperance’s goal :38 into the third period gave the Stars the lead they desperately sought and they played with more panache from there and got a second goal from Kero before his third to complete his hat trick.

Around the Division: Hershey is swept in Charlotte and lose 5-4….Hartford overcomes a huge deficit in Utica to force overtime but lose there 6-5…Lehigh Valley beats Syracuse 5-4.

Standings: Hartford 54 — Hershey 51 — Charlotte and Providence 47 — Springfield 44 — Penguins 42 — Lehigh Valley 37 — Bridgeport 33

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: I will check to see if Texas has them in a morning update and if they do will add in the edit here.

They get a day to regroup for Friday which should be interesting. How to they respond? Expect Tokarski in net. You can’t allow 35+ shots and expect to beat this Stars team.

But for anything breaking between here and there, Gameday setup for Friday’s rematch hits the blog Friday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

First Win of 2020 — Pens WIN 3-0


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You saw it Friday if you watched them lose 2-1 to the Hershey Bears in a shootout. They only allowed one regulation goal and but for the goofy rules of, “no ties” these days, lost in a shootout.

I said then that if they played the same way that the wins would come.

Well, we didn’t have to wait long. Just the next night, actually.

A 25 save shutout by Casey DeSmith, his third of the season  and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win 3-0 over the first place Hartford Wolf Pack. DeSmith’s first win since November and the teams first win in 2020.

DeSmith opposed Tom McCollum.

Lineup: They didn’t post them, neither side did. Macoy Erkamps for Jon Lizotte on defense. Mike told Tyler postgame the following:

Good sign, going on the long road trip.

First Period: Zipped by. One power play chance for the Penguins and a 9-8 shot advantage. McCollum had a hell of a save to deny Anthony Angello with a pad and then again in the same play Matt Abt fired wide from behind center ice with McCollum out of the net.

Second Period: Same as the first, only Hartford went on the power play and didn’t score.

Then, Kevin Roy scored his first in a Penguin sweater capitalizing on this turnover by the Wolf Pack.

Third Period: Pens thought they scored again when Anthony Angello’s shot was smothered but not covered by Tom McCollum. McCollum went into the snow angel to cover but never fully contacted the puck to the ice and it came loose. Referee Ted Anstett comes out of the corner, loses sight of the puck because of the mass of bodies in the pile, has intent to blow his whistle all while Angello finds the puck and flips it into the net with McCollum prone. No goal on account of intent to blow the whistle.

In the final ten minutes, that’s when Casey DeSmith shined. He flicked out the pad on a quick Hartford shot off the rush, then stopped a puck in a pile of bodies to preserve the lead. To this point, Hartford was never a threat to score.

Finally with time dwindling, Wolf Pack Head Coach Kris Knoblauch pulls McCollum and David Warsofsky and Anthony Angello both hit empty net goals.

Don’t normally post empty netters, but it’s been so long since I have been able to do this too, please forgive me.

(If you don’t follow me on Twitter, it’s a thing I do after every home win. The etiology of the term, “Bang Biscuit” can be found here. I do love me some Danny Patrick)

Three Stars: 

The Good: Nice way to shutout the Atlantic’s top team in Hartford. The Wolf Pack have now lost their ninth game of the season in regulation. I think the Penguins may have exposed some flaws tonight as well because the Wolf Pack looked flat and very pedestrian.

The Bad: Nitpicking a 3-0 shutout win, but the power play went 0-for-2 and on a night where a lot of things went right, the power play needs work because they never looked like a threat tonight or on Friday.

Turning Point: Going to throw in a few of those DeSmith saves in the third here. They get by him and obviously it’s a different result.

Around the Division: Providence beats Springfield 5-2….Lehigh Valley shuts out Laval 2-0….Hershey doubles up Cleveland 4-2….Charlotte thumps Bridgeport 5-2.

Standings: Hartford 53 — Hershey 51 — Providence 45 — Springfield 44 — Charlotte 43 — Penguins 42 — Lehigh Valley 33 — Bridgeport 31

Wheeling Update: Nothing went right for the Nailers tonight, losing 6-1 to Fort Wayne. Yushi Hirano had the only goal for the Nailers in the loss and Alex D’Orio stopped 28 of 34. Fort Wayne scored twice on the power play.

Video Highlights: 

They are off Sunday, then hit the road for a while and spend a week in Austin, Texas for Wednesday and Friday’s games against the Texas Stars. But for anything breaking between now and then, talk to you Wednesday for the 8 p.m. start for the Penguins / Stars game. Gameday setup hits the blog Wednesday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

I Dislike Shootouts — Pens LOSE 2-1 (SO)


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They deserved a better fate tonight.

In what can best be described as their best game in weeks, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lose 2-1 in a shootout Friday night to the Hershey Bears. Both teams played high energy, tightly contested hockey and it was a joy to watch at times. Shane Gersich’s goal in the bottom of the sixth round of the shootout was the only goal scored in the shootout round.

A team that is battling right now needed a result like this and got one, they just came up empty on the winning end of it. If they continue to play like this, then the wins will eventually come around.

Dustin Tokarski opposed Pheonix Copley.


Lineup Notes: The Penguins recalled Christopher Brown from Wheeling Friday, seemingly to end the disaster that is the Oula Palve experiment for the moment. Jamie Devane slotted back in the lineup for Jan Drozg. Michael Kim was in for Macoy Erkamps on defense.

First Period: Strong start for the Penguins. Matt Abt had a shot hit both posts that stayed out.  After a long review by referees Terry Koharski and Dan Kelly, Koharski’s initial call on the ice of no goal was confirmed.

They played a good period, limiting the Bears to just six shots in the period and giving up one power play.

Second Period: Sleepy open as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby sneaks past the defense off of a nice feed by Liam O’Brien and beat Tokarski for a 1-0 Hershey lead.

Jon Lizotte was injured on and did not return on this hit by Beck Malenstyn.

They teach you at a young age to keep an eye on the puck. Both players did there, and because they are built like professional athletes, had an accident where they ran into one another and Lizotte was the recipient of a hit that may cost him some time.

Penguins Head Coach Mike Vellucci told Tyler postgame that it’s a head injury and they will know more Saturday. Assume concussion protocol and all that. Will be interesting to see if Lizotte accompanies the team on the road trip next week.

Jamie Devane finished off an excellent feed from Niclas Almari to tie the game at one.

Penguins had two golden opportunities to go ahead when Hershey were called on back to back minors, but Wilkes-Barre failed to cash.

Third Period: Zipped by without many whistles and they just played. Hershey had a long stretch where they just had two shots in the entire period. The Penguins were peppering Copley but couldn’t score.

Overtime: Tokarski stopped a Jonsson-Fjallby breakaway and Copley stopped a DiPauli one. The Penguins had a power play they didn’t score on.

Shootout: No scoring for either team until the bottom of the sixth, where Shane Gersich goes five hole and wins it for the Bears.

Three Stars: 

Yo, Coal Street, that graphic is awesome and the tweet explaining is better too. Please keep it up!

The Good: They played an almost perfect game. They only took one penalty and only allowed one goal in regulation.

The Bad: Can’t go 0-for-5 on the power play.

Turning Point: The obvious answer here is the Gersich goal that ended the game.

Around the Division: Utica beats Lehigh Valley 5-2….Springield shuts out Bridgeport 4-0….Hartford doubles up Charlotte 6-3….Providence was off.

Standings: Hartford 53 — Hershey 49 — Springfield 44 — Providence 43 — Charlotte 41 — Penguins 40 — Lehigh Valley 31 — Bridgeport 31

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 5-2 in Reading. Graham Knott had a goal, Ryan Scarfo had two assists.

Video Highlights: 

Hartford is in Saturday for what should be a good measuring stick game. Wolf Pack have been the class of the division and the Penguins haven’t seen them yet this season. Gameday setup is here Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Six, Again — Pens LOSE 6-3


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Wednesday night games mean hurried recaps. Mind any spelling errors. If you’re an email customer, head to the blog at some point for a the refined piece in the morning or whenever. The idea is to get this right on the first attempt. Here goes.

Here’s your box for this one. The Checkers win 6-3, their sixth win in row. The Penguins are struggling. Leading scorer in Pittsburgh, a game opponent on a good run of form and a defense that looks worse and worse by the day. You just have to fight out of it.

That’s three straight games where they have given up six goals against. Defense can’t stop a nose bleed.

Casey DeSmith opposed Alex Nedeljkovic.


Lineup Notes: Everything was shuffled from Saturday. Cole Cassels was the first line center with Andrew Agozzino on recall with Pittsburgh. Thomas DiPauli was back down and was on the third line. David Warsofsky returned from injury and was paired with Matt Abt. Michael Kim was out.

First Period: Charlotte wasted no time. First shift of the game, David Gust snaked in and scored at :40 to give the Checkers the lead.

The Penguins got it together and got a goal when Jordy Bellerive led a rush and centered to PO Joseph who dished off to Cole Cassels who tapped in an easy goal for his first as a Penguin that tied the game at one.

Good response by the Penguins there who got slapped cold at the open and got it back level. It could have got bad but didn’t.

Second Period: Charlotte found themselves on the wrong end of a four on three against after getting called for too many penalties at the open. Someone on the bench voiced their displeasure at referee Tim Mayer and Mayer issued a misconduct. It didn’t matter to Charlotte who scored a breakaway 3 vs. 4 goal against the Penguins when Clark Bishop scored to make it 2-1.

Anthony Angello, at least I think it was Anthony Angello, scored on a deflection of a David Warsofsky shot on the tail end of the two man advantage to tie the game yet again.

Anthony Angello forced a turnover and found Adam Johnson who scored to give the Pens a lead.

It was a lead that the Penguins could not protect, Charlotte would score twice to take a 4-3 lead into the second intermission.

Steven Lorentz on a most ridiculous backhander with a scramble in front tied the game again.

Then PO Joseph tangled up with Casey DeSmith taking out his goaltender and Charlotte capatilized with a power play goal that gave them the lead again.

I mean our goaltenter was taken out on the play, but you do you, Checkers social media guy or girl.

Game had a track meet feel. Set up for an interesting third.

Third Period: Hardly the same story of the first two periods offense wise in the third. Julien Gauthier found himself alone in front, made a move and stuck it past DeSmith to give the Checkers a two goal lead.

Penguins tried for an extra attacker with DeSmith off but Joseph bobbled a puck in the neutral zone, and the Checkers scored on the empty net to ice the game away. Steven Lorentz with his second. Ballgame.

Three Stars: 3) David Gust 2) Julien Gauthier 1) Steven Lorentz

The Good: They stayed step for step with a game Checkers team for 40 minutes. But…

The Bad: They waited for something to develop in the third and got developed. Leading scorer in Pittsburgh, down one in the third and a team on a positive run of form gets a goal from their all-star and wins the game.

Turning Point: Gauthier’s goal in the third was pretty much it. WBS wasn’t coming back, that goal made sure of it.

Around the Division: The only other game on this Wednesday night was Hershey and Hartford. That box is here. Hartford gets a goal with under a minute to play in the third and win 2-1.

Standings: Hartford 51 — Hershey 47 — Providence 43 — Springfield 42 — Charlotte 41 — Penguins 39 — Lehigh Valley 31 — Bridgeport 31

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off and don’t play until Friday.

Video Highlights: I will look later and work them in as a morning update likely.

Mid-January AHL Power Rankings here Thursday at 11. Check them out then.

Pens are back in action again Friday at 7 against Hershey.

Let’s Go Pens!