Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: @ Binghamton 3/31

Who: Binghamton Devils

Where: RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, NJ

When: 7:00 p.m.

Last Game: This past Sunday in Hershey, the Pens lost 3-1. Tim Schaller scored the only goal for the Penguins. For the Devils, they last played Saturday in Allentown and lost 6-3. Ben Thomson had a pair of goals for Binghamton in the loss.

Last Meeting: March 6 in Binghamton Newark, the Penguins went down 3-0 and stormed back to win 6-3. Cam Lee had three assists. Jon Gruden had a goal and an assist.

Record: For WBS: 5-7-3-1 (14 pts.) — For BNG: 3-7-3-1 (10 pts.)

Referees: Brandon Blandina / Peter Schlittenhardt

Linesmen: Patrick Dapuzzo / Ryan Knapp

Why You Should Care: The last great success the Penguins had came here, the last time these two teams played. It’s been bad since. Can the Pens find some magic and get out of Newark with two points?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: @ LV 4/3, vs. BNG 4/10, @ HER 4/11, vs. LV 4/16, @ SYR 4/17

Ice Cold Moulson’s — Pens LOSE 3-1

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Heh. The HTML copy from the last time the Penguins were in Hershey is exactly the same from Sunday’s result, another narrow loss to Hershey. Last time it was Connor McMichael which torched the Penguins at Giant Center. This time, as was the case Friday back in Wilkes-Barre, it was Matt Moulson. Pens lose 3-1 and the streak is now at seven for the Pens since they last won a game in regulation.

Just :18 into the game Sunday, it was Brian Pinho who opened the scoring with a shot that somehow beat Penguins staring goaltender Max Lagace.

Penguins clamped down a bit and started to pushback but couldn’t get anything to go at all in the period offensively. With how tight things were and how much of a rivalry game it was, there were no penalties to speak of in the first period.

The power play woes continued for the Penguins as Wilkes-barre was unable to score on consecutive power play attempts.

Finally Tim Scahller broke through for his 100th AHL point to tie  the game at one.

Really nice play by Nick Schilkey there, setting the whole thing up.

Third period saw tensions mount as some big hits were being thrown out there…

But Matt Moulson would get the Penguins again on a power play when he scored here…

The Penguins have every right to be upset at the officiating this weekend. A clearing attempt on Friday was inadvertently blocked by a referee which led to Moulson scoring then and then again today, when a play maybe should have been blown dead, the Hershey Bears cash, yet again.

When it rains, it pours.

Bears add a Shane Gersich empty netter for good measure.

Here were the three stars…

Pretty straightforward.

And the highlights…

Lineups: 

The Good: In it till seemingly the end, progress I suppose from Wednesday.

The Bad: You have got to find a way to capitalize on your opportunities. Going 0-for-7 on Friday didn’t help and it cost them. Failing to score on consecutive power plays in the third, then seeing Hershey, with the help of the refs or not, score on their chance isn’t going to win you many games when the game is as razor thin as this one was Sunday afternoon.

Turning Point: I don’t drink anymore but if I did, I would probably reach for a few Molson’s (I know, I know, it isn’t spelled the same, whatever)

Back at it Wednesday in Newark against the Binghamton Devils.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 3/28

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

When: 1:00 p.m.

Last Game / Last Meeting: These two teams played Friday in Wilkes-Barre and the Bears won 3-1. Alex D’Orio performed admirably in his AHL season debut, stopping 23 shots. Matt Moulson’s power play goal in the third gave the Bears the lead for good.

Record: For WBS: 5-6-3-1 (14 pts.) — For HER: 10-4-2-0 (22 pts.)

Referees: Mitch Dunning / Beau Halkidis

Linesmen: Colin Gates / Richard Jondo

Why You Should Care: Pens showed promise Friday. Can they get over the hump this afternoon in Hershey?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: @ BNG 3/31, @ LV 4/3, vs. BNG 4/10, @ HER 4/11, vs. LV 4/16

Power Failure – Pens LOSE 3-1

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Going 0-for-7 on the power play isn’t going to win you many hockey games.

That’s what the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins did on the man advantage tonight in a 3-1 loss to Hershey Friday.

Game seemed much more competitive as compared to Wednesday’s disaster with Syracuse, boring almost button a good way, such as the second period in tonight’s contest.

Bears caught the Pens with their pants down during a line change in the first, scored a power play in the third and then an empty netter to seal it.

Here is how they lined up:

Lineup NotesEmil Larmi went up to the taxi squad, Max Lagace and Justin Almeida were sent down on Friday. Thursday, Sam Miletic was sent down. Felix Robert moved to center, Will Reilly replaced Billy Sweezey.

Lagace backed up D’Orio.

First Period: But for this gaffe, a fire drill line change, seemed like a decent period for Wilkes-Barre. Anything really would have been an upgrade from the disaster start Wednesday against Syracuse.

Shots were 10-7 Hershey.

Second Period: Not much, if anything, occurred in this period but for two Hershey power plays and a Penguin one. Pens seemed to have their biggest push here, but Zach Fucale was strong.

Third Period: Pens connect out of the gate with a goal by Jordy Bellerive:

Prior to this, Alex D’Orio made a BIG save at the expiration of a Hershey power play.

Bears later connect on a power play when Matt Moulson scores to put the Bears back out in front.

Time was dwindling and Wilkes-Barre called time out, pulled D’Orio but Kody Clark hit an empty net.

Scary moment when Josh Currie took a puck to the face on the Penguins bench. Currie left with the trainer immediately with a towel.

Three Stars: 3) Alex D’Orio (23 saves) 2) Zach Fucale (30 saves) 1) Matt Moulson (game winning goal)

The Good: Good ol’ fashioned goalie duel tonight. Good to see D’Orio step right up and take the reins against Hershey and all that fire power. Pens are struggling to score goals and their goaltender kept them in the game to the end. That is all you really can ask.

The Bad: Heading back to the open, you just can’t go 0-for-7 on the power play and expect to have any real result that can be construed as positive.

Turning Point: It has to be the power play goal scored by Mouslon.

These teams rematch Sunday afternoon in Hershey. 1 p.m. start, so don’t be late. Gameday setup will be up Sunday morning at 9 a.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.

GAMEDAY: vs. Hershey 3/26

vs. 

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:00 p.m.

Last Game: Wednesday at home against Syracuse, the Pens went down 6-0 in the first fourteen minutes, never recovered and lost 6-3. Tim Schaller and Josh Currie both had a goal and a pair of assists. For Hershey, the Bears were in Allentown on Wednesday and won 6-2. Brian Pinho had a pair of goals and an assist. Somehow the Bears only has 17 shots on goal.

Last Meeting: February 24 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens won 4-2. Radim Zohorna (currently with Pittsburgh) had a pair of goals and an assist.

Record: For WBS: 5-5-3-1 (14 pts.) — For HER: 9-4-2-0 (20 pts.)

Referees: Mitch Dunning / Rob Hennessey

Linesmen: Tyler Loftus / John Rey

Why You Should Care: Well, last game was a total disaster. Can it get better? Will it get worse? Can the Penguins find a way to get a regulation win, something they haven’t done in the last five games, against Hershey?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: @ HER 3/28, @ BNG 3/31, @ LV 4/3, vs. BNG 4/10, @ HER 4/11

Crunched and Crushed — Pens LOSE 6-3

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I don’t think, and I have been watching this team for a lot more years than I have been blogging about them, I have ever seen a more unprepared team top to bottom than the first ten minutes of this game.

A 6-3 throttling by the Crunch on the Penguins which played out like this in the first period.

Two goals :19 apart when Gemel Smith and Boris Katchouk score to make it 2-0.

Smith, 1:10 later on a power play and it’s 3-0.

A little later, mind you this is still in the first period and within the games first 10 minutes, Gemel Smith completes his hat trick. I don’t know what the record is for hat tricks is for the Syracuse Crunch, but if Smith didn’t get the record for doing so, he was robbed.

Oh yeah, Emil Larmi, the Penguins starter, was pulled for the recalled today Alex D’Orio. Larmi made one (1) save.

D’Orio didn’t fare any better as Devante Stephens and Jimmy Huntington scored on him quickly. It was 6-0 Crunch.

There was still six minutes left to play in the first period.

The first period.

Tim Schaller scored in the first, Josh Currie in the second and Nick Schilkey in the third.

I don’t know if I could stick this all on Larmi. A few  examples:

Too easy. Just embarrassing. They look like a shell of a team who are as disinterested in being there as I am as doing this, not being there.

Somehow Tim Schaller and Josh Currie factored in on every goal; each had a goal and two assists.

Gemel Smith had a hat trick and two assists. He figured into the first five goals for the Crunch.

Here is how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: Jan Drozg returned after missing last game with injury.

The Good: I turned my computer back on after watching them go down 5-0 to put together this post mortem.

The Bad: Embarrassing effort tonight. Fans risked catching a novel virus for that performance in the first period? Puh-leeze.

Turning Point: Pick one of the first five goals. I’m putting wrestling back on.

Hope they are more prepared Friday at home against Hershey. Maybe it’s coaching, who knows.

Stay safe and Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Syracuse 3/24

vs. 

Who: Syracuse Crunch

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:00 p.m.

Last Game: Sunday in Allentown, the Pens came back from a 3-1 deficit to take a lead but ultimately saw the Phantoms tie it and later win it in overtime 5-4. Jordy Bellerive had a goal and an assist for the Pens in the loss. For Syracuse, the Crunch played in the Penguins….

Last Meeting: Which was this past Friday. The Crunch won 5-2. Chris Gibson made 39 saves. Tim Schaller for the Pens had a goal and an assist.

Record: For WBS: 5-4-2-1 (13 pts.) — For SYR: 5-5-1-0 (11 pts.)

Referees: Mike Dietrich / Patrick Hanrahan

Linesmen: Ryan Knapp / Bill Lyons

Why You Should Care: The Penguins seem like they have an overtime problem and a Syracuse problem. How can the Pens solve the Crunch once and for all? Find out tonight!

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: vs. HER 3/26, @ HER 3/28, @ BNG 3/31, @ LV 4/3, vs. BNG 4/10