An Inside Look at Why the WBS Penguins Are 0-2

Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Penguins need to be more physical against the Admirals in Game 3.
With two days off between games I figured I would give my insights on why this weekend might have seemed to be a disaster by fans, players and everyone involved with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins organization. I'm going to list a few things I noticed while at both Game 1 and 2 that could help explain why they lost the first two games. I'm also going to talk about a few things that the Pens were able to do and what they can try to do to improve their chances to win.

WBS Power play: 0 for 11 in the series
The power play has been unsuccessful for the most part in even getting shots and any serious scoring chances. Dustin Tokarski has played well in net for the Admirals, but the WBS Penguins could challenge a lot more on the power play and get traffic in front of Tokarski.

The offense in general hasn't produced much with only one goal in the series. You aren't going to win many games if you can't score more than one goal. Sure Thiessen could probably steal a 1-0 game but the WBS Penguins haven't had that chance since they haven't held a lead at all through the first two games. The Penguins need to score first in Game 3 and put some pressure on the Admirals in the series.

Goals given up off of turnovers: 3 of the 4 scored against WBS in the series
Two turnovers from Robert Bortuzzo in Game 1 led to Norfolk's goals in the second period. On Saturday night, Brett Sterling's pass out of the zone was intercepted by Norfolk and was the tiebreaker in the waning seconds of the 2nd period in Game 2. The Admirals only other goal in the series was an empty net goal for a 2-0 win in Game 2. 

The defense has been pretty decent and Brad Thiessen is certainly not to blame. Thiessen's stats this series: 1.53 GAA, & 938 SV%, 0-2 record. Looks really good up until you see the record. Thiessen has made some big saves and I honestly can blame Thiessen for any of the three goals he has allowed.

What can the WBS Penguins change or correct for Game 3
I think the Penguins defense is playing pretty good.  There are turnovers and mistakes that happen and the Pens might have turned the puck over more than they should but the Penguins offense is also getting turnovers and getting some chances but not finishing.  The Admirals have played well and I'm not trying to take any credit away from them. They won the first two games because they put forth a better effort for 60 minutes each night. The Penguins need to limit the costly turnovers in their own zone.

As for changes to the lineup, you won't see the Pens making a switch in goal. Thiessen is the number one goalie. John Curry hasn't been the back up for a while and Patrick Killeen is from the ECHL with no playoff experience.

I think you could see Carl Sneep in the lineup soon. Joey Mormina has taken some unnecessary penalties and hasn't been overly impressive in either of the first two games.  I don't think Sneep will replace anyone but Mormina or maybe Steve Wagner. The other four guys aren't going to sit.

You may also see Paul Thompson enter the lineup in Norfolk.  The series hasn't been overly physical with zero fights in the first two games, so maybe the Pens will sit enforcer Jesse Boulerice. David Marshall could also be the odd man out if coach Hynes is looking change things up. If Tim Wallace can return to the lineup then two of the following three will sit: Boulerice, Marshall and Thompson.

Coming Up Next...
The WBS Penguins are down 2 games to none in the best of seven series and play three straight in Norfolk, starting with Game 3 Tuesday night. Game 4 will be Wednesday night with an if necessary Game 5 on Friday night.

Highland Park Hockey will follow the Penguins in Norfolk and for every game of these Calder Cup Playoffs. This blog aims to bring you all the Penguins news as soon as it happens to keep you up to date with the team we all follow so closely: The Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL). You can follow the blog in many ways, including on FaceBook and now on Twitter @H_P_Hockey.


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