Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

The Battle of Five with Sticks, Four with Whistles — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

   WBS       @       button_15stj200

 2                                       3

The officiating in the American Hockey League has, in this writer’s opinion, gotten a lot better in the past five years.

How many times would you cringe in your seat when you learned that Nygel Pelletier was assigned to work the game you were watching that night? What about Harry Dumas?

You don’t see that anymore because the AHL finally got serious about who they put in charge of their on ice product. The officiating has improved and the awful referees are filtered away.

But you see, it’s still a work in process.

The officiating crew of Andrew Wilk, a referee who worked ECHL games on the West Coast and Troy Murray, who I never heard of before this season, doled out a cumulative total of 14 power plays for the St. John’s IceCaps this weekend and eight in this game alone. The AHL wants all games in 2019 to be manned by the four official process, but pairing two rookie referees together is a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what that was in this weekend’s games.

I don’t want to dedicate the entire lede to the horrific officiating, because this game with the IceCaps and Penguins, was very entertaining.

A 3-2 overtime loss for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. The Penguins battled back from 2-0 deficit to get a goal late in the second period and then tied it in the third with a relentless attack on St. John’s.

The Penguins take 3 of 4 points out of the weekend and will remain in first place in the Atlantic Division, and what will ultimately be lost in all of this is the play in goal by IceCaps goaltender Yann Danis. Danis, a backup to Charles Lindgren in St. John’s, is a former AHL Goaltender of the Year and single handedly kept his team in the game. Any other mortal goaltender sees six or seven slip by and the officials could have hit Tom Kostopoulos with a steel chair and I am not mentioning a word of that in the story because the Penguins win easy. But it didn’t work out like that.

Casey DeSmith opposed the aforementioned Yann Danis.

Lines were…

Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Danny Kristo – J-S Dea – Reid Gardiner
Ryan Haggerty – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Stuart Percy – Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow
David Warsofsky – Barry Goers

Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: There was a discussion earlier in the week about not having Danny Kristo play in back to back games to get his wind back, but Kristo played again Sunday. Barry Goers took the spot of Tim Erixon and Sahir Gill yielded to Patrick McGrath.

First Period: Clark Donatelli said postgame on Saturday that he wanted a stronger start by his team Sunday. He didn’t get it. The IceCaps out chanced the Penguins off the hop, then scored on a Chris Terry power play goal that gave them a 1-0 lead. Terry scored a one timer from the dot, much like he did the night before.

The Penguins offense started to come alive, but they couldn’t solve Danis with 20 shots on him through 20 minutes. Pens had a lot of chances, but Danis kept them out of his nets. Ten of those shots came from defenseman and out of those ten, five came from Chad Ruhwedel.

Second Period: Penguins battled more than just the St. John’s IceCaps this period, they battled the officials. Troy Murray and Andrew Wilk called seemingly everything they could against the Penguins. Some of these infractions looked harmless…

J-S Dea crosschecking at 11:24.

Patrick McGrath slashing at 12:23.

My Vine identifies it as a roughing penalty. Mike O’Brien called it that and I thought I saw one of those bozos in stripes signal for roughing.

Three other things happened in the period. First, while shorthanded, Garrett Wilson nearly scored on this play…

That’s referee Troy Murray with a look at it in real time, then he took a look at the video replay and the call on the ice of “no goal” was affirmed.

Second, while killing another penalty, Oskar Sundqvist was hooked from behind. No call by either of the referees on the ice.

Third, with four seconds left, Oskar Sundqvist scored on a rebound of a David Warsofsky shot that cut the deficit to one heading into the third period…

Third Period: The Penguins limited the IceCaps to just five shots on goal in the period and were all over the IceCaps in the period. Finally, despite more questionable calls by the officiating crew, David Warsofsky or J-S Dea tied the game with this goal…

Josh Archibald nearly made it a 3-2 game for the Penguins but Yann Danis made the stop with his stick. DeSmith later made a nice stop off of a Penguins turnover pun front. Despite battling five guys with sticks and four men with whistles after 60 minutes, it was off to…

Overtime: Wilkes-Barre had many chances. Kevin Porter fed Chad Ruhwedel cutting in the slot but Danis made the save, Josh Archibald fired a puck high. Pens cam win two on one, Danis made the save, and forwarded a pass up to an IceCap skater and St. John’s was off on a three on one. DeSmith made the save, then Ruhwedel turned the puck over and Chris Terry ended the madness on this snipe…

End to end action, which is exactly what three on three overtime is supposed to be.

The Pens have recorded a point in all seven of Casey DeSmith’s starts this season.

Three Stars: 3) Chad Ruhwedel (goal, nine shots, +1) 2) Sven Andrighetto (goal, assist, even) and 1) Yann Danis (50 saves on 52 shots)

Around the Division: Hershey beats a road weary Syracuse team 4-2 at home.  Over 20,000 teddy bears were tossed on the ice after Garrett Mitchell’s first period goal…Lehigh Valley final solves the Bridgeport Sound Tigers puzzle with a 3-2 win in Connecticut….Providence beats Springfield 2-1 in overtime. The Bruins have points in their last nine games…Hartford is unable to sweep the Marlies in Toronto dropping a 5-3 contest to their Canadian foes.

Standings: Three way tie in points at the top, but the league doesn’t rank them by points anymore, they do it by percentage points. So it’s as follows: Penguins (.738 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.705) — Hershey (.705) — Bridgeport (.682) — Providence (.568) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.405)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off. They are back in action this Friday in Brampton, Ontario, Canada when they take on the Beast, who are the ECHL affiliate of the St. John’s IceCaps. The weekly Wheeling Wrap will recap the week that was for the Nailers Tuesday at noon.

Here are the video highlights of the game…

The Week 8 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

In St. John’s, You Must Have a Porter — Pens WIN 6-2

   WBS       @       button_15stj200

 6                                       2

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have a roster in a bit of flux right now. So in times of need, you need to rely on the veteran players that remain.

Those players today were Kevin Porter and Tom Kostopoulos.

A goal and two assists by Porter and three assists for Kostopoulos, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win this game 6-2 up on The Rock this afternoon / evening.

Tristan Jarry opposed Charles Lindgren.

News of the day before the game started was the re-assignment of Tom Sestito to Wilkes-Barre and the announcement that Thomas DiPauli had back surgery and is out for the next 10-12 weeks.

Couple things on that news. First, props to Coal Street for disclosing the injury details and the length of time that DiPauli will be out for. Assuming he had the surgery this week, DiPauli’s timetable will be the end of March, barring a setback. Second, it looks like with Chris Kunitz coming off of injured reserve that Jake Guentzel, despite being a scratch in the last Pittsburgh game, will be up for longer than we thought.

Lines were…

Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Danny Kristo – J-S Dea – Reid Gardiner
Sahir Gill – Jarrett Burton – Ryan Haggerty

Stuart Percy – Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow
David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Danny Kristo and Sahir Gill jumped back into the lineup for the injured Thomas DiPauli and the healthy Patrick McGrath. Stuart Percy and Tim Erixon were in on the blue line for Barry Goers and Lukas Bengtsson.

First Period: St. John’s dominated the period with a lot of zone time and a bevy of shots, but Tristan Jarry turned them all aside. A bit of puck luck for Jarry as two separate IceCaps players fanned on wide open nets. But then the Penguins got a late power play and it was Danny Kristo scoring his first goal of the season and first with the Penguins on this nice screen by Oskar Sundqvist parked in front…

On that play, Chad Ruhwedel picked up his 100th AHL point.

Second Period: Wilkes-Barre would extend the lead by two with a pair of power play, yes, you read power play, goals.

They both came on a five on three :19 apart. First, Kevin Porter…

Porter dug the puck out of his skates, patiently waited for the players to fall like dominoes, and roof it over all of the humanity.

Then on the same power play, now five on four, Dominik Simon scored this nice backhanded goal as Lindgren just let a puck sit out in prime real estate…

The tweet that you just read from the Penguins was true, the Penguins were 3-for-4 on the power play today. This after going 1-for-28 coming in.

But there was a lot of time left to play in the period and referees Troy Murray and Andrew Will put the IceCaps on a five on three power play and Chris Terry hammered one in far post on a one timer to put the IceCaps on the board.

Wilkes-Barre / Scranton would re-establish the three goal lead on a nice deflection goal by Jean-Sebastien Dea in the final minute of the period…

Team leading seventh goal by Dea there and a great pass by Dominik Simon to set it all up. Jarry’s shutout streak ends at 95:28.

Third Period: Tim Erixon made it a four goal lead for the Penguins with his first goal of the season…

Dan Audette scored for the IceCaps that made it 5-2 when the Penguins blew a defensive assignment. Audette was parked right in front of the net and swept the puck past Jarry. After a referee review on account of a possible kick, the goal stood.

Josh Archibald scored a pretty goal as he flipped the puck over Lindgren that made it 6-2 Wilkes-Barre. Coal Street didn’t put a GIF out on that one, so just use your imagination.

Three Stars: 3) Sven Andrighetto (two assists, -1) 2) Kevin Porter (goal, two assists, even) and 1) Tristan Jarry (31 saves on 33 shots)

Notes: Oskar Sundqvist’s six game road point streak comes to an end as he was unable to find the scoresheet today.

Video highlights…

Around the Division: Every team in the Atlantic picked up at least a point tonight. Starting in Hershey, the Bears lose in overtime 3-2 to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Bears took three out of a possible four points out of the miniseries with the Phantoms this weekend…Bridgeport stays hot with a 4-0 shutout win over the sorry Binghamton Senators. It’s the first shutout of the season for the Sound Tigers….Springfield beats Providence 3-2 in overtime. The Thunderbirds came back from a 2-1 deficit to win…The Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Toronto Marlies in the 6ix 3-2 this afternoon.

Standings: Penguins (.750 percentage points) — Bridgeport (.714) — Lehigh Valley (.690) — Hershey (.690) — Providence (.548) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.425)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers sweep the Utah Grizzlies with a 4-1 win Saturday. Doug Carr stopped 27 of 28. I’ll have more on the Nailers week that was Tuesday in the Wheeling Wrap.

Penguins and IceCaps rematch again Sunday from St. John’s again at 2:30 Wilkes-Barre time. Gameday setup will hit the blog Sunday morning at 10:30.

Let’s Go Pens!

Dirty Dea’s — Pens WIN 1-0

BRI         vs.         WBS

0                                              1

J-S Dea was a healthy scratch in Friday’s game in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers. It was the first time in a while that Dea had been a scratch. The usually reliable Dea is a staple in every Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins game. But not last night.

Normally coaches do this to send a message to a player that isn’t performing.

J-S Dea got the message, loud and clear.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, one of the stingiest defensive teams in the AHL, finally get their first shutout of the season and end the Bridgeport Sound Tigers four game win streak with a 1-0 win. Tristan Jarry started the game and stopped all 24 shots faced.

A frustrating game from the Penguins perspective through two periods. They were doing everything right, getting power plays and such but were not able to solve starting goaltender Stephon Williams at all and the power play was not clicking, up to an 0-for-28 stretch.

Williams came into the night with an 0-2 record against the Penguins with a .809 SV% and a 5.47 GAA. Just awful numbers against a team not known to fill up the net on a night by night basis. He nearly won the game for his team, but it was the Penguins, using tried and true system of defense, coupled with strong play in net by Jarry that was the decider in this game.

Lines were…

Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Thomas Di Pauli – J-S Dea – Reid Gardiner
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Patrick McGrath – Jarrett Burton – Ryan Haggerty

Derrick Pouliot – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Barry Goers
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Carter Rowney took warmups but was a surprise scratch. He is day to day with an upper body injury as told to the WBS media by Clark Donatelli postgame. Dea and Haggerty were in for Danny Kristo and what was to be Patrick McGrath. Kristo, highly touted in the trade for Reid McNeill, was a heathy scratch in just his third game as Penguin. Barry Goers was in for Lukas Bengtsson on the blue line. Derrick Pouliot was in for his final game of his conditioning stint. He is expected to be recalled back to Pittsburgh either Sunday or Monday.

First Period: About as even as you could get for the Penguins and Sound Tigers. Just eight shots a piece. The Penguins hit a post on a power play but that was all for excitement from the Penguins perspective.

Second Period: Williams was dialing in. The Penguins couldn’t get anything past him. They were getting a lot of shots and limiting Bridgeport to just one about half way through the period. Pens would continue to have power plays handed to them but were not able to cash. Story to this point was the Penguins inability to crack on the power play, Williams’ stellar play in net and the Penguins defense with Jarry bending but not breaking against a Bridgeport attack that, if you give them a lead, they are hard to beat.

Third Period: Williams continued his stellar play, robbing Dominik Simon with the glove early on. The Penguins were getting another power play though, and this time they cashed when J-S Dea knocked in a puck legally with his stick under the bar on Williams in a big pileup. Williams then delivered a cross body block on Dea, which caused a melee.

Dea’s goal, originally credited to Kostopoulos, came with :01 left on the power play.

Seth with tweet of the night….

Later, Dea got his pound of flesh when he can opened Williams who came out to play a puck. He flipped the Bridgeport net minder on his can, then had to fight Kyle Burroughs. Burroughs received an instigating penalty to go along with a misconduct and a fighting major. Dea only got five for fighting and two for goaltending interference. This is important because Dea’s fight does not count against the, “10 fights gets you suspended” rule.

Not to say that Dea will ever get suspended for fighting ten times in the AHL, but we strive to educate and inform here at Chirps from Center Ice.

Pens had to kill a Chad Ruhwedel trip with about six minutes left to play, did, then weren’t able to score on an empty Bridgeport net but it mattered little.

Three Stars: 3) J-S Dea (goal, even) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (assist, even) 1) Tristan Jarry (24 save shutout)

Tom Kostopoulos was announced as the goal scorer at the time of the goal announcement, it wasn’t until after the game that they flipped it to Dea, so I wonder if you can flip three stars. My guess is no.

Around the Division: Providence loses to St,. John’s 4-3 in a shootout. The Bruins came back from three goals down to force extra time….Hershey sweeps Springfield 4-3. The Big Bear Machine is warming up….Hartford beats Lehigh Valley 3-1.

Standings: Penguins (.737 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.694) — Hershey (.684) — Bridgeport (.667) — Providence (.526) — Springfield (.500) — Hartford (.395)

Wheeling Update: Greenville beats the Nailers 3-2 in overtime. The two teams rematch tomorrow.

Neat little tidbit from Nick Hart…

Video highlights…

The Week 7 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog at 4 p.m. Monday and the weekly Wheeling Wrap will be here Tuesday at noon. Anything newsworthy will be sprinkled in during the week.

Let’s Go Pens!

Two on One – Two for One — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

   button_adk200       @       BRI

  2                                         3

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are drawing opponents on the up and up right now.

The Hershey Bears are the defending Eastern Conference Champs and whitewashed the Pens 4-0 on Wednesday, this after coughing up a two goal lead to these very Penguins in the third period last Saturday.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are a pesky team that, the last time these two teams met, would not go away seemingly and came into the contest Friday night winners of three straight.

Make it four.

A 3-2 overtime win for the Sound Tigers tonight where all three goals were scored on two on one rushes. The Penguins could not solve goaltender Eamon McAdam all night it seemed but manufacture a point anyway. Good teams do this.

The Pens had come into tonight’s game against Bridgeport 4-0 and outscoring their opponents by a 16-6 score coming off of a loss the prior game. The winner in net for every single one of them? Casey DeSmith. DeSmith started tonight for the Penguins and took the overtime loss.

Lines were…

Dominik Simon – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Thomas DiPauli – Kevin Porter – Danny Kristo
Patrick McGrath – Jarrett Burton – Reid Gardiner

Derrick Pouliot – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Lineup Notes: Oskar Sundqvist and Domink Simon returned from injury. Simon missed about a week, Sundqvist missed just one game…J-S Dea was a healthy scratch. Lukas Bengtsson was scheduled to start the game but was a late scratch in favor of Tim Erixon. Others were Sahir Gill, Ryan Haggerty and Barry Goers. Stuart Percy is still listed as an injury scratch.

First Period: Steve Bernier’s goal at exactly one minute of the first period was all the scoring in the period. It was a quick two on one that Bernier had and took the shot that beat DeSmith just one minute into the period.

Pens ended up 2-for-2 on the penalty kill for the first period. Bridgeport’s first power play was bad, registering just one shot on goal and their second one was better, registering four. Wilkes-Barre had one power play and couldn’t get anything past goaltender McAdam.

Second Period: Penguins did everything right this period. They started the period coming out strong with pucks at McAdam, got an early power play, then Jarrett Burton scored his first of the season off of a perfect pass by Dominik Simon…

Fourth line came though for the Penguins. Great shot by Burton.

Penguins looked like they were going to turn the tide in their favor. Immediately after that goal by the Penguins, the Sound Tigers took a penalty. Wilkes-Barre did everything but score. Goaltender McAdam lost a stick, as did another Bridgeport player. They forced the Sound Tigers into an icing after the power play expired.

So what happened after that?

Bridgeport scores to go ahead 2-1. Tanner Fritz setup Ross Johnson on a two on one to reestablish the lead for the Sound Tigers.

A team that the Penguins couldn’t put away the last time these two teams met had not trailed this game going into the…

Third Period: Penguins are in a 0-for-24 slump on the power play. Gotta think that one or two of them would have helped them in this game. They could not score one the only penalty awarded by the officials in the period.

Eamon McAdam continued to make saves he had no business making, three shots quick in on him in close that he turned away.

Josh Archibald scored from a low angle that finally beat McAdam to put the Penguins even with the Sound Tigers at 2-2. Wilkes-Barre managed to manufacture a point out of essentially nothing, as McAdam wasn’t giving them anything.

Overtime: Connor Jones scored the third two on one goal for the Sound Tigers in overtime. Danny Kristo inadvertently took out Casey DeSmith in the areas allowing Jones to score the game winner. After a brief review by referees Geno Binda and Terry Koharski, the goal stood.

Here is the goal. Sorry for not cutting up every goal tonight. My brother was in and wanted to watch the game with me streamed to the TV vs. me in a corner with a cat on the computer…

Three Stars: 3) Devon Toews (two assists, +2) 2) Josh Archibald (goal, +1) and 1) Connor Jones (game winning goal, +1)

Around the Division: Providence gets over .500 for the first time in a while and beats St. John’s up in Newfoundland by a score of 2-1…Hershey beats Springfield 5-2 in Massachusetts. These two teams rematch tomorrow night in Hershey…Lehigh Valley puts away Binghamton 4-3. The Senators had come back each time on the Phantoms but weren’t able able to put Lehigh Valley away…Albany beats Hartford 4-3 in overtime.

Standings: Lehigh Valley (.735 percentage points) — Penguins (.722) — Bridgeport (.706) — Hershey (.667) — Springfield (.529) — Providence (.528) — Hartford (.361)

Wheeling Update: Wheeling was off. They play Greenville for a pair starting Saturday.

Teams will bus overnight to Wilkes-Barre and rematch at Mohegan Sun Arena at 7:05. Gameday setup for that will be up at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Bear Bites Back — Pens LOSE 4-0

WBS        @       HER

0                                         4

The unreasonable Penguins fan will be mad with this result.

That’s because the unreasonable Penguins fan expects their team to win 85-0 every game.

Don’t be an unreasonable Penguins fan.

Here’s what I wrote in my Gameday setup this afternoon…

Bears cannot be happy with the way Saturday went. Expect a relentless attack from Hershey tonight. Pens can’t be thinking about the turkey dinner yet or they’ll get embarrassed tonight.

Final result was a 4-0 Penguins loss. I wouldn’t call it an embarrassing loss, but whenever you get shutout of a game or lose by multiple goals, it’s not the first topic of conversation.

It’s also unreasonable to expect the Penguins to sweep the Bears all 12 games in this season series. The Bears are a good team and well coached. They were legitimately embarrassed by coughing up a two goal lead in the third period last Saturday against this very Penguins team. To think that this did not stick with Hershey and wasn’t a focus point in practice this week is unreasonable.

I mean if you disagree, this is an open forum and the comment section is always available. If no one comments I assume I am correct in my analysis, but I am not mad at this loss at all.

Now, if the trend continues and the Pens are swept by Bridgeport, themselves a very dangerous team, then the unreasonable fan may be onto something…

Tristan Jarry opposed Vitek Vanecek.

Lines were…

Tom Kostopoulos – Carter Rowney – Danny Kristo
Sahir Gill – Kevin Porter – Ryan Haggerty
Garrett Wilson – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Thomas DiPauli – Jarrett Burton – Reid Gardiner

Derrick Pouliot – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Lukas Bengtsson
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

Lineup Notes: Derrick Pouliot is down for his conditioning stint, playing his first game for Wilkes-Barre since January 16 at Syracuse. Oskar Sundqvist was a surprise injury scratch. Obie said on radio that he picked up a minor lower body injury in practice Tuesday. It isn’t expected to be long term. With Jake Guentzel currently on recall to Pittsburgh, Danny Kristo took his spot on the first line, making his debut in a Penguins sweater.

First Period: Better start by the Penguins to start in contrast to Saturday. Wilkes-Barre had six shots on the board before the Bears registered their first. Both goalies made saves on breakaways. Vanecek on Josh Archibald and then later Jarry on Ryan Bourque when the Penguins were on a power play.

Second Period: Game was settling into a defensive battle, with just five shots by the teams nineteen minutes into the second period. Then, with 20.5 seconds left, Zach Sill scored his first goal of the season on this shot that broke the 0-0 deadlock…

Bears had started to setup and control the offensive zone time before breaking though on the goal by Sill.

Third Period: Pens weren’t going to win this game tonight after Josh Archibald was stopped for the second time on the breakaway by Vanecek. Hershey comes right back down the other way and scores this goal that made it 2-0 for the Bears…

Referee Evgenii Romasko appeared to be out of position slightly to not be able to initially blow the play dead on the initial stop by Jarry. I guess in hindsight he was in perfect position because he allowed play to continue and Christian Thomas to score the goal. After an officials review, the goal stood.

That goal wasn’t the reason why the Penguins lost this game. Something seemed off here by Wilkes-Barre. They seemed to be chasing the game since around the half way point and the score line showed.

Christian Djoos scored to make it 3-0…

Djoos’ first goal since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Marlies in last years Calder Cup Playoffs.

Pens had a late power play but just were not able to set anything that looked close to a chance up.

After the easy Bears kill, Paul Carey put the cherry on top of the sundae, or to use a more date-appropriate term, the gravy on top of the stuffing…

Three Stars: Vitek Vanecek (24 save shutout) 2) Christian Thomas (goal, even) and 1) Zach Sill (game winning goal, +1)

Observations: Derrick Pouliot had a good game, drawing three tripping penalties. Noticed Danny Kristo a lot in the first half of the game, but not so much in the second half. Shots ended up 24-18 favoring the Penguins.

Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Hartford 4-2. One of their goals was scored in this manner…

Not only is Hartford a bad team (in last place in the Atlantic) but there have ZERO puck luck.

Other finals included a Lehigh Valley 1-0 win in Binghamton in a game that was similar to the Pens / Bears game somewhat in a defensive battle. Rookie Alex Lyon picked up his first AHL shutout with 28 saves….Providence beat Rochester 6-4. The Amerks have lost four in a row.

Standings: Penguins (.735 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.719) — Bridgeport (.688) — Hershey (.647) — Springfield (.563) — Providence (.500) — Hartford (.353)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers are off until Saturday when they host Greenville.

Video highlights…if you want to call them that if you are a Penguins fan…

Pens travel to Bridgeport for the first of a home and home Friday. Gameday setup hits the blog Friday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Battling Back the Bear — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)

WBS        @       HER

4                                         3

When the Hershey Bears get a multiple goal lead on an opponent at Giant Center, it’s lights out for the opponent.

You can’t stop a Chris Bourque train.

Zach Sill will hit you into next week if you try to take liberties and look like you want to come back.

It’s hard to think when a sellout crowd of 10,000+ is yelling and screaming for their home team en route to another win for the storied Hershey franchise.

Yeah, well none of that fazed the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who, were down for most of this game and down two goals in the third period when the come back happened.

A Garrett Wilson single to center, through the pads of Joe Cannata and in for a 3-2 Bears lead.

Watching the game on AHL Live, on my computer in my cats basement, even I could feel the tension of the Bears faithful. The Bears weren’t going to blow this lead, against this team, were they?

Were they?

Tom Kostopoulos, the captain and living legend of Wilkes-Barre teams past and present, scored on his own rebound with 64 seconds left and poof, the lead was gone.

Penguins possessed for much of the overtime that followed and Carter Rowney swept in a puck using the stick blade as almost and extension of his arm, harmlessly past a sprawled out Cannata who never sealed off the post.

There would be no Chris Bourque train.

No Zach Sill booming hit.

A crowd of 10,355 left the Giant Center with their mouths agape, stunned as to what happened.

A 4-3 Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins overtime win.

Tristan Jarry opposed the aforementioned Joe Cannata.

Skip through the jump  if you didn’t link in direct to see all the videos I cut top for this one.

Read more of this post

Tiger Tested — Pens WIN 4-3

BRI         vs.         WBS

3                                              4

It wasn’t pretty, but it was enough to get the job done.

A 4-3 Penguins win at home tonight over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers who stuck around all game and almost and rightfully maybe, should have won.

Bridgeport did not have a single power play tonight. After a dominating, scoreless first by the Sound Tigers, the Penguins strike twice in the second period to go up 2-0, then see Bridgeport cut the deficit to one three times. The Pens had gone up 3-1 (Bridgeport scored to make it 3-2) then 4-2 and then your 4-3 final.

Call it a test passed by the Penguins. Bridgeport is a very good hockey team that is missing a big break to put them over. Are they elite? No. But I have stressed that in this AHL, there are a few great teams, a handful of good teams and a boat load of bad teams. The Penguins right now are a great team. Bridgeport right now is a good team.

The thing that plays in the favor of the Sound Tigers is that they get two more cracks at the Penguins. Next Friday in Bridgeport then Saturday back at Wilkes-Barre. They are well coached and have good leadership and a crop of promising players.

Casey DeSmith opposed Stephon Williams.

Lines were…

Garrett Wilson – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Kevin Porter – Jake Guentzel – J-S Dea
Thomas DiPauli – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Reid Gardiner – Sahir Gill – Ryan Haggerty

Reid McNeill – Chad Ruhwedel
David Warsofsky – Lukas Bengtsson
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Dominik Simon is day to day with a lower body injury as told to the WBS media postgame by Head Coach Clark Donatelli. Sahir Gill and Ryan Haggerty were in for the injured Simon and Patrick McGrath. Ethan Prow, who should play every game in my opinion, was in for Stuart Percy, who should also play in my opinion. Percy is nursing an injury, so maybe this is good that he and Prow swap games.

First Period: Casey DeSmith made 13 saves in the period and every single one of them were challenging. A deflection stopped with the pad. A denial in close. More saves on deflection. Pens didn’t register a shot on goal until the nine minute mark and were getting dominated. Wilkes-Barre was lucky to not be down a goal or more heading into the…

Second Period: Penguins scored what appeared to be a good goal five seconds into a power play but referee Guillaume Labonte waved it off immediately on account of an Oskar Sundqvist high stick. The arena showed the replay (I don’t think they are supposed to) and what I saw was a 50/50 call that could have gone either way. Labonte, then gave the Penguins :41 of 5-on-3 but Wilkes-Barre was not able to score.

It was the Sound Tigers that didn’t have a shot on goal for a long stretch of the period. Oskar Sundqvist finally scored a goal that counted when he punched one through the pads of Williams. Sundqvist is now tied for the team lead in goals (6) with Jake Guentzel.

Pens doubled their lead on a nice keep in by Lukas Bengtsson who chipped it back to Garrett Wilson who found Kevin Porter in front who was denied initially but collected his own rebound and scored. Bengtsson collected the secondary assist on the goal, his first North American point.

Bridgeport responded. They started with a naked two on one, then scored when Bracken Kearns scored to cut it to one. DeSmith made one acrobatic save but could not make a second an the Sound Tigers were on the board.

Two minutes and ten seconds later, J-S Dea scored on a deflection in front that re-established the two goal lead for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

But the Sound Tigers would score with 26.5 seconds left when Andrew Rowe sweeps in a puck that popped over DeSmith and cut it back to one.

Bridgeport coasted for 13 minutes, got scored on twice and came back and scored two.

Third Period: Garrett Wilson pushed Pat Cullity into Stephon Williams as Williams came out to play a puck cycling around his net. Williams fell down. Tom Kostopoulos scored the easiest goal in his life that made it 4-2 Penguins.

Penguins outshot the Sound Tigers 10-7 in the period and were looking like they were going to cruise to a win. Not so fast, my friend. Josh Winquist scores a tap in back door goal at 14:55 that made it a one goal game again.

But with Williams off with time dwindling his team was never able to find the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Jon Landry (two assists, +2) 2) J-S Dea (goal, +1) and 1) Carter Rowney (goal, assist, +1)

It’s the first time all season that an opponent scores more than one goal on Casey DeSmith.

Around the Division: Hershey beats Syracuse 5-1. Bears may be a bit understaffed tomorrow against the Penguins. They may end up seeing players get called up to Washington and may be dealing with a rash of injuries. Utica beats Springfield 5-4 in overtime. Strange game here. Darren Archibald scored in overtime on a goal which was not initially rewarded….Lehigh Valley scores two in the third period to tie it then one in overtime to win it against the Providence Bruins. 4-3 the final there and the Phantoms have won eight straight. Hartford was off.

Standings: Penguins (.767 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.750) — Hershey (.633) — Bridgeport (.615) — Springfield (.567) — Providence (.429) — Hartford (.357)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were smoked by the Indy Fuel 6-1. Christian Hilbrich scored the only goal for the Nailers. Doug Carr took the loss, stopping 24 of 30.

Video highlights….

Pens travel to Hershey for a 7:00 date with the Bears. Gameday setup for the blog will be here at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!