Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Better Effort — Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)


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Much better effort the last time these teams met this past Sunday in a scrappy, tight affair.

Phantoms get a goal in the third to force overtime, but Kasper Bjorkqvist’s goal in overtime wins it for the Penguins in the second to last game of the season. Pens win 2-1 in overtime. They play in Hershey Sunday afternoon.

Here’s how they lined up.

First Period: Jon Gruden on the back door past the half way point of the first on a nice feed by Nick Schilkey.

Pens outshot the Phantoms 13-6 in the period.

Second Period: No scoring, but there was this kick ass save by D’Orio in the dying embers of the period.

Third Period: Phantoms really poured it on, outshot the Pens 12-3 and Ryan Fitzgerald finished this one off to tie it at one.

Alex D’Orio has emerged as the goalie of the future for the Penguins. Remember Emil Larmi? Yeah, me either. Shane Starrett started hurt, played in a few games, got shelled and was never heard from again. Yes, Larmi, Starrett and D’Orio all played in front of this tinpot defense, but D’Orio made the best of a bad situation and has him set up as the #1 goalie come the Fall.

Overtime: About half way through, Bjorkqvist puts away the rebound of a Jordy Bellerive attempt. Ballgame.

Three Stars: 3) Alex D’Orio (23 saves) 2) Ryan Fitzgerald (goal) 1) Kasper Bjorkqvist (goal)

The Good: I think they have a good base of what will work and what won’t come the Fall.

The Bad: Have paid zero attention to the League this year, but the Penguins have not shutout a team yet this season. Almost had one tonight.

Turning Point: Overtime game winning goals are the easy obvious choice to Bjorkqvist’s goal gets it here.

Season finale Sunday afternoon in Hershey.

Let’s Go Pens!

Six Game Streak Stopped in Allentown – Pens LOSE 6-2

Brennan Saulnier’s natural hat trick in the first period game the Lehigh Valley Phantoms all the momentum they needed as the Phantoms rolled past the Penguins 6-2 in Allentown Sunday.

Was out with my mother for a Mothers Day meal so didn’t catch any of the game. Doesn’t seem like the Penguins were competitive at all from the drop of the puck in this one. It happens. The season will be over in a week, with no playoffs really nothing to it.

The Hershey Bears could have won the division if the Penguins won today. They didn’t so the Bears have to wait.

Felix Robert and Josh Currie scored for the Penguins. Tommy Nappier stopped 20. His counterpart and thorn in the Penguins side Zane McIntyre stopped 29.

Penguins outshot the Phantoms 11-2 in the third. The Pens gave it away in the first and tried to get it back in the third. It didn’t work out that way with a good team like the Phantoms.

Back at it again in Allentown this Saturday before closing the books on 2021 in Hershey next Sunday.

Let’s Go Pens! Happy Mother’s Day!

Schilkey Mitts — Pens WIN 4-1


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I’d like to thank Brad for the headline suggestion. Very creative.

Pens win their final home game of the 2021 season with a 4-1 win over Binghamton Saturday afternoon in the last ever game between the two cities. Seems like a no brainer win for the Pens, who were in control for a large part of the entire game.

Here is how they lined up:

First Period: They traded ten chances each. Devils had two power plays and the Penguins had one. Pens power play looked better than the Devils, for what it is worth.

Second Period: Pens break through when Nick Schilley comes screaming out of the penalty box at the net. Jon Gruden with the setup and it’s 1-0 Penguins about halfway through. 

Tommy Nappier looked a lot more confident in net from last game as well, making some difficult saves look easy. 

Third Period: With the issue still in a little bit of doubt, Nick Schilkey slotted home his second of the game with a power play goal that made it 2-0. This seemingly put things out of reach for Binghamton, who weren’t going to come back after that.

In case there was any doubt, Anthony Angello turned on the jets and scored on a great individual effort that made it 3-0.

Napier’s would be shutout bid was broken up when Graeme Clarke came in on a three on one and beat the rookie from The Ohio State University to get the Devils on the board.

Binghamton immediately turned their goalie and Jon Gruden scored on the empty net to make it 4-1. A Gordie Howe hat trick for Gruden with a fight earlier as well as an assist.

Three Stars: 3) Tommy Nappier (22 saves) 2) Jon Gruden (goal, assist) 1) Nick Schilkey (two goals)

The Good: Binghamton is bad, but that was a good win.

The Bad: Nitpicking, but it would have been nice if they parked the bus late and tried to preserve a shutout for Nappier which would have been the first of the season.

They are back at it Sunday in Allentown against the Phantoms.

Let’s Go Pens! Stay safe.

Half of Six is Three, .500 — Pens WIN 6-3


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They are .500 after a 6-3 win over the Binghamton Devils. Nice resurgence, but even if there were playoffs (there aren’t) they wouldn’t be in a position to qualify with the amount of games left.

They are coming together. Hope that there is some carryover come the Fall. I’m ready for this to be over already.

Here’s how they lined up:

Kasper Bjorkqvist made his season debut.

First Period: Bingo got on the board first, but then the Pens rattle off two straight. Here they are in GIF form. Note that the Robert goal was switched to Jordy Bellerive, who is having a nice season with his tenth goal.

Again, Bellerive’s goal. Robert never touched it.

The Devils are a mess, but nice to see a short handed goal.

Second Period: I am sure the instructions Anthony Angello was sent back with from Pittsburgh was to fill up the score sheet at every opportunity.

Exhibit A:

Bingo was hanging around though and drew back to within one with this busted tic tag toe play.

Josh Currie with his second on a nifty redirect and the Pens re-establish their two goal lead:

Third Period: Penguins get a power play to go early in the third when Tim Schaller connects here.

Ever resilient, Tyce Thompson gets the Devils within two with this goal here.

The Devils pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and the Penguins spent the remainder of the game trying to shoot and score from their own zone. They missed, constantly. It was quite hilarious. Finally Anthony Angello beats out an icing call (they weren’t coming anywhere close to the net) and got one to go for the 6-3 score that held.

Three Stars: 3) Jordy Bellerive (goal, assist) 2) Anthony Angello (two goals, assist) 1) Josh Currie (two goals, assist)

The Good: The leadership group in Currie and Angello had good nights and the rest of the team followed. Just like they drew it up.

The Bad: Binghamton is bad, and yet there was a sense until you looked up at the clock an realized there wasn’t a lot of time left that they probably weren’t going to make the comeback. But the thought always stayed with you.

Turning Point: Schaller’s power play blast to open the third period scoring gave the Penguins the insurance they needed.

They are back in action Saturday against Binghamton for the final time ever. The Devils are moving out of Binghamton and up to Utica and the Canucks are moving their affiliate out of Utica and to Abbotsford. There’s Board of Governor’s meeting Thursday which will most likely formalize all of this. My guess is you will get something on divisional alignments as well so maybe I will be here then to talk about that. No promises, though.

Let’s Go Pens and all that.

Stay safe.

Close, But No Carrot — Pens LOSE 4-3 (OT)


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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were denied their attempt at their fourth straight win Saturday evening at home against the Hershey Bears.

A tight contest throughout, one where a pure goal scorer would have come in handy here, Hershey gets a goal from an unusual source and get it to overtime and Connor McMichael wins it overtime to give the Bears a 4-3 overtime win.

First Period: They went seventeen games where they saw the opponent score a goal. They scored first last night and again today. Sam Miletic plays a puck off the wall and goes back door for a quick 1-0 Pens lead.

Hockey is a funny, frustrating sport.

But the Bears quickly responded when Cam Schilling scored on a laser for a tie game. 

They went back and forth the remainder of the period without scoring.

Second Period: Felix Robert scored about five minutes in to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. 

Alexei Alexyev scored when Lagace made a stop on a Kessy bid, was on his butt and the Bears sniper went upstairs for the goal that tied it at two.

Sense a trend?

Bears had 1:01 of two man advantage for and called timeout but nothing materialized.

Third Period: Will Reilly scored on a dart from the slot that gave the Pens a lead again.

Sense a trend?

Kale Kessy (of all people) comes up the ice and scores on a bit of a breakaway.

Sense a…OK, OK, you get it by now.

Teams traded a couple of good chances in the dying embers of regulation but it was off to…

Overtime: Connor McMichael sure loves his game winners. He scores on a breakaway and the Bears get the win and take the lead for the first time, for good.

Three Stars: 3) Sam MIletic (goal, assist) 2) Kale Kessy (goal, assist) 1) Connor McMichael (overtime game winning goal)

The Good: Win some, lose some. They looked good this afternoon and stayed step for step with Hershey.

The Bad: You will hear me harp on this for as long as necessary. They lack a true goal scorer and in yet another tight game, one would have come in handy.

Turning Point: Kale Kessy’s goal that tied it put the Pens on their heels a bit, gets the Bears a point and then McMichael’s heroics are just the icing on the cake.

They are back at it Wednesday against Binghamton on Cinco de Mayo.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.

Success in Newark — Pens WIN 3-1


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Penguins go undefeated in Newark this season winning in all three trips after a 3-1 win Friday night.

You were wondering if there was going to be a let down after beating two of the better teams in Hershey and Lehigh Valley earlier in the week against a Binghamton team who dressed just four natural defensemen and have lost six straight coming in.

There’s a methodical approach to this win streak. I think it’s simply just one shift at a time. But for an offensive output Sunday with the Bears, its been a structured approach for this three game win streak for the Penguins.

Here’s how they lined up:

First Period: Jordy Bellerive scored his ninth of the season followed up by Jon Gruden capitalizing on a gaffe by the goaltender that made it 2-0.

GIF by the Pens says Miletic but the goal was awarded to Gruden.

Second Period: No scoring. Pens had the only power play of the period but didn’t capitalize.

Third Period: Binghamton got one back on a redirect that made it interesting and the score was cut to one. Colton White on a redirect.

No GIF here.

Penguins scored their first empty net goal off the season when Drew O’Connor picked off a clearing attempt that made it 3-1 with three seconds to play.

Three Stars: 3) Alex D’Ohio (23 saves) 2) Colton White (goal) 1) Jon Gruden

The Good: Three game win streak is good. They are getting a solid performance from Alex D’Orio in goal and playing out that way from defense all the way up to forward.

The Bad: Again, nitpicking a one goal by the opponent performance by Wilkes-Barre is a futile effort.

Turning Point: Seemed like the win was never in doubt, after going up 2-0 in the first and leaving it that way at the end of the second. Bingo got one back, but nothing more.

5 o’clock start Saturday at home against Hershey.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.

D’Orio Show — Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)


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Penguins goaltender Alex D’Orio had a birthday today.

His gift? A 41 save performance and a, “I have arrived” moment as the goaltender of the future for the Penguins. Wilkes-Barre beats Lehigh Valley 2-1 in overtime Wednesday night.

It goes without saying that D’Orio has kept his team in the game tonight as well as Sunday against Hershey. He singlehandedly stood down the barrel of two of the better teams in the division and navigated his team to a positive result.

Imagine if this team had a goal scorer.

Here’s how they lined up:

First Period: Not much to write home about. Linus Sandin scored on a 2-on-1 after a failed Penguin clear to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead. There was a fight, with Will Reilly and Brennan Saulnier getting after it.

Second Period: No scoring, teams traded power plays. Goalies were stealing the show.

Third Period: Penguins still down one and time was becoming the enemy, Pens find themselves on ~1:45 of two man advantage and Anthony Angello cashes for a power play goal.

But that kid I mentioned at the open was starting to steal the show. It’s his birthday, after all.

Post to post to keep it level.

Overtime: About 90 seconds in, Josh Currie found Tim Schaller for the game winner.

Three Stars: 3) Felix Sandstrom (32 saves) 2) Tim Schaller (overtime game winning goal) 1) Alex D’Orio (41 saves)

The Good: Consider the corner turned. The Penguins are no longer that pushover team you saw a few weeks ago. They have jelled, you can buy the coachspeak and captain talk, and they have a hell of a goaltender budding into a star.

The Bad: Hard to nitpick when you have a rookie goalie stop 41, only give up one and win in overtime.

Turning Point: Has to go to Angello’s power play goal in a gotta have it moment for the Penguins on the power play there in the third.

They are back at it Friday in Newark.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.