|Bryan Lerg's goal midway through the 3rd period proved to be the game winner.|
Norfolk made the first half of the power play disappear but one Penguins forward found room for another big time goal. Andrew Hutchinson took a puck from goalie Brad Thiessen and set up Bryan Lerg with a quick snipe power play goal, giving the Penguins a 2-1 lead with 9:40 left in the game.
The Penguins and Admirals battled to the end. The Admirals pulled Dustin Tokarski in the final moments but were unable to tie the game and the Penguins get back in the series now down two games to one. Game 4 is tomorrow night with Game 5 now penciled in Friday night.
The Wilkes-Barre Penguins were the better team in the first period. They were getting chances and drawing penalties. John Harju took two slashing minors in the first half of the period but the Pens weren't able to capitalize. Brian Strait crushed Paul Szczechura into the boards after a high sticking infraction and was given a roughing minor. Szczechura needed to be helped off the ice. Norfolk was down to just nine healthy forwards at the 16:30 mark of the opening period. Both Szczechura and Chris Durno were banged up on big hits and did not return.
Brad Thiessen made some key saves on some Admirals chances in the first, stopping all 8 shots in the first 20 minutes. Keven Veilleux scored on the WBS Pens 10th shot of the game, after a big hit from Zach Sill left a loose puck at the top of the circle. Veilleux got a breakaway and fired a puck over Dustin Tokarski with 2:02 left in the first period. Shots were 10-8 in favor of the Pens after the 1st period.
Penalties became a problem in the 2nd period for the Penguins. Robert Bortuzzo took a penalty 37 seconds into the middle frame and with Chris Collins and Marc Antoine Pouliot serving matching minors, gave Norfolk an early 4-on-3 power play. The Pens would kill it off but be back in the box after a questionable Bryan Lerg holding minor at 8:40 of the second period. The real killer penalty came to an unnecessary roughing penalty by Jesse Boulerice. Stefano Giliati tied the game at 1 with 4:20 to go in the 2nd period on a rebound of a point shot. It was the first power play goal of the series for either team.
After the tying goal the Admirals got the crowd back into it and got some momentum heading into the final period. The Penguins had to show more discipline in the third period and find a way to get another goal to take game 3.
They did just that with Lerg's third period power play goal. The Admirals missed Szczechura and Durno in the final 40 minutes and were also without Ritola and Jones who were both called up to Tampa Bay for Steve Downie's suspension and Ryan Malone's possible injury.
For the Penguins, Wallace played tonight and looked rusty but he should stay in the lineup. Joe Vitale missed tonight's game but should be back for tomorrow night's game if all goes well with his first born child.
More thoughts tomorrow with updates and a preview on Game 4. The Penguins needed this win tonight but there's still a long way to go in this series.