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Penguins Edge Phantoms in Overtime

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
The Penguins and Phantoms met for the second time this season - the Pens' first visit to the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.
In a goaltender's duel between Rob Zepp and Matt Murray, it was the Penguins rookie netminder coming away with two points following a 2-1 overtime win over the Phantoms at the PPL Center tonight.

Murray stopped 42 of the 43 shots that came his way, including all seven in overtime, to help keep the Penguins in the game and ultimately picking up the win after a power play goal from Jean-Sebastien Dea with 2:02 left in the extra session.

Zack Stortini tied the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period off a nice feed from Nick Cousins, and Rob Zepp stopped 30 of 32 shots in the loss for the Phantoms.

The big event to take away from tonight's game could be the awkward fall Derrick Pouliot had in the third period. Pouliot fell behind his own net and appeared to hit the back of his head/neck area off the boards. He was slow to get up and looked a little out of sorts. Pouliot headed to the bench and then exited to the locker room with trainer Kyle Moore on the very next stoppage in play. There was no update on his condition after the game from Penguins head coach John Hynes.

The Penguins also lost defenseman Reid McNeill late in the second period after he blocked a Scott Laughton slap shot that appeared to catch him in the hand. He threw his glove off and went down in a heap before being helped off the ice with the medical trainer. There was also no update on his condition post-game.

The Penguins head to Norfolk for two games this weekend, while the Phantoms close out the week with another home game Saturday night against the Hartford Wolfpack.

The Week Ahead 10/28

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Andrew Ebbett fights for his own rebound and gives AHL Penguins a 3-2 win Sunday. Photo credit: @ItsJacki
Editor's note: Now that the season is in full-swing, I'll provide a weekly look at what lies ahead for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms as well as what games I'll be attending that week. Be sure to let me know what you think of a weekly update like this and what you would like to see more of below in the comments and on Facebook/Twitter.

The Penguins are back on the road this week, with a Wednesday night game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown. I'll be live from Allentown with full in-game and post-game coverage for the Pens' first ever visit to the PPL Center against their newest rival. Be sure to stay tuned here and follow @H_P_Hockey on Twitter for all of tomorrow night's action.

I'll also be in Allentown Saturday night when the Phantoms host the Hartford Wolfpack at 7:05 p.m. ET. I'll have live in-game coverage on Twitter @TonyAndrock_TCG as well as a post-game recap here at Highland Park Hockey.

Monday's Catch Up & Lunch Links 10/27

Monday, October 27, 2014

Plenty to catch up on after this weekend's games in the AHL, but the big story today is some unsettling news about Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta. Maatta has a tumor on his thyroid gland that is believed to be cancerous.

The team released a statement on Maatta this afternoon:
“Olli will have surgery to remove the tumor,” said Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins’ team physician. “Even if it is found to be cancerous, we do not expect that he will need radiation or chemotherapy, and we anticipate a complete recovery. In all likelihood, Olli will go on to live a healthy life and this should not affect his ability to play hockey long-term.”   
Maatta, 20, has been cleared to play until the time of the surgery.
Maatta has known about the tumor since training camp and few teammates even knew about it before today's release. The fact that he has played through this and plans to play the rest of this week before his surgery next week is a testament to his maturity and character. He also has been one of the Penguins' most steady defenseman this season. Maatta is expected to have a full recovery in about four weeks and have no ill-effects long term.

After the jump, updates on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms after their first three games in three nights sets of the season. The Penguins and Phantoms meet Wednesday night at the PPL Center.

Also, former Penguins forward Paul Bissonnette has found a new home, a preview of all 30 AHL teams and more.

Pouliot & The Penguins Finish Weekend With Win Over Binghamton

Sunday, October 26, 2014
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (4-4-0-0) finished off their first three-game weekend of the season with a 3-2 win over the Binghamton Senators (2-3-2-0) in another East Division battle. The Penguins took four out of a possible six points on the weekend, and with the win move back into the logjam of teams tied for second place in the East Division.

Derrick Pouliot scored his first pro goal and added an assist on Tom Kostopoulos' first period goal, while Andrew Ebbett tallied the eventual game-winner early in the third period. Eric Hartzell stopped 21 of 23 shots in first start of the season to pick up the win.

Andrew Hammond was impressive in net for the BSens, stopping 37 shots of the 40 that came his way, including 15 of 16 Penguins shots in the third period. It just simply wasn't enough for the BSens, after getting into penalty trouble in the 3rd period and only mustering five shots in the final 20 minutes.

The Penguins next game isn't until Wednesday night when they make their first ever visit to the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. for a 7:05 p.m. face-off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who beat the Penguins 5-2 back on opening night. The BSens return home for a Wednesday night match with the Utica Comets.

Laughton Preserves Phantoms Victory in Overtime

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Phantoms squander two-goal lead late, but prevail in overtime. Photo credit: Bob Howard - @PPPShow.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-1-0-0) showed resiliency and battle in a wild one at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena tonight against the Binghamton Senators.

The Phantoms saw themselves up 4-2 late in the third period, but with BSens goaltender Andrew Hammond off for the extra attacker in the final minute they rallied for two goals roughly nine seconds apart in the final 15 seconds to force overtime.

Luckily for the Phantoms, Scott Laughton finished the overtime with the game-winning goal with 1:20 left to give the Phantoms two points and a chance to sweep the weekend tomorrow evening in Hershey. Laughton was flying out there tonight and despite being on the ice at the end of the third period for both BSens goals, he was a difference maker tonight by all accounts. His ability to wheel the puck into the middle of the ice in the offensive zone and consistently create offense is impressive.