Chirps from Center Ice

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

Flashback Pens — Pens WIN 6-3


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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!

Stay safe.

GAMEDAY: vs. Hershey 4/25


Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 5:00 p.m.

Last Game / Last Meeting: Yesterday afternoon in Hershey the Penguins lost 3-1. Drew O’Connor scored for the Penguins, but Alex Alexeyev’s goal with 3:30 left to play stood up as the game winner. Zach Fucale for Hershey had 31 saves.

Record: For WBS: 7-11-3-2 (19 pts.) — For HER: 17-5-2-0 (36 pts.)

Referees: Tim Mayer / Conor O’Donnell

Linesmen: Bill Lyons / Tyler Loftus

Why You Should Care: Competitive affair yesterday afternoon with no result to show. Will this evening be different?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: vs. LV 4/28, @ BNG 4/30, vs. HER 5/1, vs. BNG 5/5, vs. BNG 5/8

Bear Battle – Pens LOSE 3-1


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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!

Stay safe.

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 4/24

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

When: 1:00 p.m.

Last Game: Last Saturday in Syracuse, the Pens lost 4-1. Tim Schaller scored. For Hershey, the Bears pasted a Lehigh Valley side coming off a COVID protocol in Allentown on Wednesday and won 6-1. Connor McMichael had two goals and an assist, Pheonix Copley stopped 25 shots.

Last Meeting: April 11 in Hershey, the Pens were jobbed out of at least a point when a Jordy Bellerive would be goal didn’t count, and Hershey won 2-0. Pheonix Copley had a 21 save shutout.

Record: For WBS: 7-10-3-2 (19 pts.) — For HER: 16-5-2-0 (34 pts.)

Referees: Mike Dietrich / Tim Mayer

Linesmen: Richard Jondo / Tom George

Why You Should Care: Pens have lost three straight in pretty weak fashion. They should come in this afternoon riled up over getting robbed out of at least a point in a spirited affair against Hershey the last time these two teams met. After a weeks worth or practice, expect a better effort.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: vs. HER 4/25, vs. LV 4/28, @ BNG 4/30, vs. HER 5/1, vs. BNG 5/5

Penguins 1 – Syracuse 4

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.

GAMEDAY: @ Syracuse 4/17

Who: Syracuse Crunch

Where: Upstate Medical University Arena

When: 7:00 p.m.

Last Game: Last night at home against Binghamton, the Pens lost 6-3. Tommy Nappier debuted in goal for the Penguins and look the loss. Josh Currie had a goal and an assist in the loss. For Syracuse, the Crunch were defeated by Utica 3-2 on Wednesday. Taylor Raddysh had a goal and an assist in the loss.

Last Meeting: March 24 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens were crushed 6-3. Josh Currie was the lone bright sport for the Pens with a goal and two assists. Syracuse scored all of their goals in the first, Gemel Smith had a hat trick and two assists.

Record: For WBS: 7-9-3-2 (19 pts.) — For SYR: 10-8-1-0 (21 pts.)

Referees: Mason Riley / Jason WIlliams

Linesmen: Tory Carissimo / Adam Tobias

Why You Should Care: Pens got smacked by Syracuse the last time these two teams met. Surely the Penguins will be coming with receipts tonight?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: @ HER 4/24, vs. HER 4/25, vs. LV 4/28, @ BNG 4/30, vs. HER 5/1

Slick Mitens — Pens LOSE 6-3

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.