What you missed…
Countdown to Opening NightOctober 16, 2021
77 days to go.
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
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!
They looked the Pens of yore this afternoon in Wilkes-Barre, winning 6-3, rather convincingly mind you, against a Hershey side which as been the class of the division for pretty much the entirety of this shortened 2021 season.
Unflappable, physical and unrelenting. The Penguins of old, for sure.
Alex D’Orio opposed Pheonix Copley.
On D’Orio, he has earned the net in my opinion and has made the most of the opportunity afford him this season. Sign a vet in the offseason and let D’Orio eat next year.
Here’s how they lined up:
First Period: They came out throwing the body. Remember those Penguins who would physically wear down an opponent by just beating the crap out of them? That’s what they looked like today.
Philippe Maillet opened the scoring on a 4-on-3 that put the Bears on the board first.
But Chase Berger tied it on this ridiculous angle goal and then Josh Currie worked off a give and go that gave the Pens a lead heading into the second period.
Second Period: Remember yesterday when I said that the Penguins lacked a pure goal scorer? You want to know what a pure goal scorer looks like?
That’s a pure goal scorer. Matt Moulson will be in the AHL Hall of Fame some day.
Wilkes-Barre jumps ahead again when Jon Gruden’s intended pass for Kyle Olson turns into a shot for a goal on Pheonix Copley.
Axel-Jonsson Fjallby scored a short handed goal. Inopportune time for that to happen. All the momentum in the world, and you give up a short handed goal.
Josh Currie added a power play goal to give the Pens a 4-3 lead heading into the third.
Third Period: The Pens came out firing and got a goal from Jon Lizotte. No GIF on this one.
Pens took a couple of penalties and were able to navigate through fine. Anthony Angello added the put away goal with under five minutes to play to ice the game away.
Three Stars: 3) Kyle Olson (two assists) 2) Jon Gruden (goal, assist) 1) Josh Currie (two goals, assist)
Nick Hart with some tidbits:
Captain steps up, gets help from up and down the lineup from all facets and the rookie goaltender shoves aside an assault from the best team in the division. Great Sunday.
The Good: More of this please. Would like to see more. Did J.D. Forrest coach this out of this team or did they all just say enough is enough? Guess we will find out together this Wednesday at home against the Phantoms.
The Bad: Nitpicking in hindsight, but the penalties in the third are something you do not want when nursing a lead against the divisions best team.
Turning Point: Josh Currie’s power play goal gave the Pens a lead they wouldn’t relinquish and set back the Bears. Hershey was up to the challenge, but the Pens stayed firm and didn’t break.
More of this please against Lehigh Valley Wednesday.
Let’s Go Pens!
This is one of those games where I don’t mind the loss because the effort was there. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins battled the Hershey Bears to a scoreless draw early in the third period when the scoring action finally heated up. The two teams finally started taking things out on each other in a penalty filled second, but it was the Bears who scored first, followed by the Penguins on a power play and then Hershey added one with under five to play and then an empty net goal with .3 seconds left to win 3-1 at home Saturday afternoon.
The two teams rematch Sunday evening in Wilkes-Barre.
Tyler had a bit of a foreshadowing tweet.
And wouldn’t you know it the Bears would score on a fluky goal that opened the scoring. Off a skate and in.
Penguins would head to a power play with a gotta have it chance to tie the game and they score when Drew O’Connor connects for a goal that leveled it.
Soon after, Jon Gruden was hauled down and he was awarded a penalty shot. He missed.
(no video here, he skated down the right side, cut across and tried to go five hole on Bears starting goaltender Zach Fucale.)
Alex Alexeyev scored on a dart with 3:30 left to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
Brian Pinho would hit another empty net, his sixth I think this season, with .3 left to play to make it 3-1 Hershey.
Here is how they lined up. Sometimes I write these stories in reverse.
Three Stars: 3) Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (goal) 2) Alex Alexeyev (goal, assist) 1) Zach Fucale (31 saves)
The Good: It was a competitive game. A young, inexperienced team took one of the better teams in the AHL in Hershey to the edge and nearly won.
The Bad: I have a feelingI am going to be typing up “competitive” a lot here these next few seasons. The Penguins lack a true scorer, and one would have definitely come in handy today.
Turning Point: You can either go the save by Fucale on Gruden which kept it 1-1 or Alexeyev’s go ahead goal with minutes to spare.
They rematch Sunday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre. Different result or more of the same?
Let’s Go Pens!
This tweet from Pens play by play man Nick Hart summed up tonight’s affair between Wilkes-Barre and Syracuse perfectly:
One step forward and two steps back tonight for the Penguins, who haven;t scored first in a dozen plus games. When you are constantly playing from behind and are a young group at the core, it makes for a long season.
Box here. Alex D’Orio got the start, played well, but there is only so much to do when the team in front of you is so porous.
Someone needs to put an APB out on Pierre Olivier-Joseph. Two penalties tonight, hasn’t really done much since his reassignment from Pittsburgh. The NHL hangover is still lingering with him.
That may be too harsh, they’ve all been poor, collectively.
Back at it next Saturday against Hershey.
A pair of goaltenders made their debuts tonight in Wilkes-Barre. Tommy Nappier from The Ohio State University for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Marek Mitens for tonight’s opponent, the Binghamton Devils.
Mitens would guide his team to victory tonight with 33 saves, only getting scored on twice by the opposition on the power play twice and once short handed.
Josh Currie (1-1-2) Drew O’Connor (2 assists) and P-O Joseph were bright spots for the Penguins in the loss.
Box here. If tonight’s recap feels mailed into you it was, my niece turned three today so we had a get together. I got her one of those toy cars that you sit in and drive. I never was to have one as a child. I was always too big (too tall) for anything like that. She enjoys it. More of the same tomorrow too, the “big party” is tomorrow.
Anyway, that’s it. One of my better pun headlines wasted for a bit of a mail in job but can you do?
Pens back in action Saturday in Syracuse.
In a season which really is meaningless, the rule book is also affected.
There was a sequence where the Penguins thought that they scored on a power play. They celebrated Jordy Bellerive’s would be goal, but referees Terry Koharski and Jordan Deckard never awarded the goal.
No penalties were given at the end of the sequence.
No announcement made as to WHY the goal wasn’t allowed.
The rule book DOES have video review.
Just not year.
COVID, and all.
So they half ass a rule book in a half ass attempt at a joke of a season with three teams not even playing, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are shafted out of a goal and what likely would have been at least a point.
Eh, that’s meaningless too, there’s no playoff this year either.
Pens lose 2-0.Pens lose 2-0.
Here is how they lined up:
Lineup Changes: Zach Trotman was injured last night so Billy Sweezy went back in. Jan Drozg and Kyle Olson swapped things up front.
Also, the lineup above was not correct, Will Reilly was in for P-O Jospeh who was a healthy scratch.
First Period: Almost seemed at times that the Penguins sleptwalked through the first period, going over six minutes without a shot and Aliaksei Protos scored his first goal of his AHL career to give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the only scoring of the period.
Teams traded power plays but had no success.
Second Period: There was no scoring in the period and it seemed like a lazy, Sunday afternoon second period. Then this happened:
Second fight of the season for WBS and first of Kyle Olson’s pro career.
Kessey acting like he KO’d Dennis Bonnie or something.
Look, I get that the types of players like Kale Kessy are the last of a dying breed, but don’t go acting like you are Hercules pummeling a guy in his first pro fight (Olson had some scraps in the WHL) when you know that there isn’t anyone else in white that has the wherewithal to go with you properly.
Pens got a power play out of the whole thing but got sloppy and loose and found themselves on a two man disadvantage they navigated through perfectly.
Third Period: Gave it to ya in the lede. Pens had another power play after the one where they thought Bellerive scored. Then a miscommunication in between Lagace and the bench led to a too many men on the ice call. With Lagace legally pulled for a home run shot at a goal at 5-on-5, Brian Pinho scored an empty net goal.
Three Stars: 3) Max Lagace (20 saves) 2) Pheonix Copley (21 save shutout) 1) Aliakei Protas (goal)
The Good: Absent the on and off ice shenanigans and the meaningless empty netter, they held their opponent to one goal.
The Bad: 0-4 on the power play.
Turning Point: Could have been the Olson / Kessy fight, but the Bellerive no goal completely changed things. It should have been a goal. It could have been reviewed, under normal circumstances.
I’d add a later edit on the explanations given ex post facto, but if the AHL is going to half ass a season through, so am I.
Pens are back in action Friday with Lehigh Valley.
Let’s Go Pens!
They found a way to win tonight with half of the offense on recall to Pittsburgh.
Josh Currie, Radim Zohorna, Anthony Angello, Drew O’Connor, Freddy Gaudreau are just some of the names on recall. Yet they managed to come from behind and beat the Binghamton Devils 5-4 on overtimebeat the Binghamton Devils 5-4 in overtime on Saturday evening. A gritty, come from behind way to do it but successful overall.
Here is how they lined up:
Lineup Notes: A ton. Justin Almeida was back from Pittsburgh and was on the top line. D’Orio backed up Lagace, who was back down from Pittsburgh this week as well.
First Period: Seemed like the Pens dominated play in spurts, had a bunch of power play opportunities to show for it but trailed at the end of the period on a kind of lucky-ish shot that beat Lagace for the lead at intermission.
Every team that scored first in the series between these two teams has gone on to lose the game.
Second Period: Devils extend their lead by two. Turnover in the neutral zone led to this.
Justin Almeida gets the Penguins on the board with a nifty play.
Unfettered, Binghamton would get another goal to go when Nate Schnarr did this.
Yeah thats a hide a puck, spin, shoot high and snipe in a goal for a 3-1 lead.
Wilkes-Barre seemed to be letting the game slip away. The scales were tipping in the improved Devils favor, and it was getting the Penguins mad.
They also lost the services of Zach Trotman as well, who wasn’t on the bench in the second period.
The Penguins started throwing the body and you could hear that teapot whistling. There wasn’t a fight, but the intensity was ratcheting up.
Then Felix Robert scored this highlight reel goal that brought the Penguins to within one.
Falling over, steals the puck, gathers himself and flips a backhander past Senn for a possible goal of the season candidate.
Big response goal as well. Pens boiling, big mad and Robert responds with a highlight reel goal to bring Wilkes-Barre within one heading into the…
Third Period: Cam Lee has five assists against Binghamton this season and no goals to show for it. He loves playing the Devils but hasn’t scored a goal in the AHL yet, so you think that he would have to get one agains the Devils in a big spot, right?
Nifty snipe there for his first professional tuck.
It had a sense that they were just going to accept the result as it was on the scoreboard and just skate to overtime.
Big goal at an in opportune time. What an effort by Jon Gruden setting it all up, too.
Just hold on and win, right?
Senn vacated for an extra attacker and Binghamton immediately scores to tie the game at four. Ryan Schmelzer.
Overtime: Pens killed a Jan Drozg trip behind a yeoman PK effort by Jon Lizotte and Jordy Bellerive wins it again.
Three Stars: 3) Felix Robert (goal, assist) 2) Nate Schnarr (two goals) 1) Jordy Bellerive (game winning, OT goal)
The Good: Half of the reliable offense is all up with Pittsburgh. The AHL Penguins found a way to win without them.
The Bad: Would like to see them do this against a better team like Hershey or Lehigh Valley. They fell in a hole against a last place Binghamton team and dragged themselves out.
Turning Point: Much like last week, Bellerive’s goal in overtime is the obvious choice.
They are in action Sunday afternoon at 1 against Hershey. More then.
Let’s Go Pens!