Checkers Steal Game 1, Beat Pens 3-2

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Andrew Hutchinson got on the scoresheet tonight, but the Penguins need more from him.
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins are not a good playoff team in the early goings of a series. They are now 5-7 in Game 1's at home after tonight's loss and trail the Checkers 1-0 in the best of seven series. The Penguins didn't lose tonight because they played badly. They just couldn't finish some of their chances and Charlotte did.

Recap after the jump.

The Checkers opened the scoring in the first period after a blind pass from Keven Veilleux was intercepted in the neutral zone. Zac Dalpe got his 4th of the playoffs, sniping one to the top corner of Brad Thiessen's net. The Checkers took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, despite being out shot 10-4.

After the first period Ben Street didn't play and wasn't on the bench to start the 2nd frame. I didn't see him get hurt at all in the first period. I will post on his condition as soon as I hear an update from the team.

Veilleux made up for his bad pass in the first period when he fed a great pass from the left wing to Geoff Walker, who beat Mike Murphy and tied the game at 1. Less than three minutes later and on a 5-on-3 power play, Jon Matsumoto would get open by the side of the net and bury a quick shot into a basically open net on a great cross ice feed from the point. The Penguins were down 2-1 heading into the third.

Matsumoto would add another power play goal in the third period to make it 3-1. The Penguins responded with a power play tally of their own, with Brett Sterling finding the back of the net after a good play by Tim Wallace to get the puck back to Andrew Hutchinson to set up that goal.

The Pens were down 3-2, but had plenty of time to tie this game up. They outworked and out shot the Checkers in the third period 13-6, but were unable to get a third goal past Murphy. The Pens would pull the goalie with a power play in the final minute and get some great chances on the doorstep but couldn't lift the puck over Murphy. Charlotte takes game 1, 3-2, and takes a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 is in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night.

In other playoff news, the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) have been eliminated. Time will tell if Pens forward prospect Tom Kuhnhackl will be assigned to the AHL. Kuhnhackl was a force in the OHL this year. In 63 regular season games, he scored 39 goals and added 29 assists. In the playoffs he was no slouch either, leading the league in playoff scoring with 11 goals and 12 assists in 18 games. Would be nice to get him in Wilkes-Barre to see if he can continue scoring at the AHL level.