Pens Drop Season Opener 3-2

Saturday, October 8, 2011
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins opened their 13th season tonight against the Hershey Bears, but were unable to come away with the victory, falling 3-2 to the Bears.

Brad Thiessen looked good tonight, stopping 23 of 25 shots he faced. Brian Gibbons continues to impress me. He used his blazing speed to split the defense and bury a shorthanded goal in the first period. Unfortunately, the Penguins gave up a goal on the next shift just 20 seconds later.

Colin McDonald fed a great cross-ice pass to Niko Dimitrakos early in the second period for the Penguins only other goal, a power play tally with just two ticks left on Christian Hanson's slashing penalty.

What hurt the Penguins tonight was not capitalizing on the two power plays they were given midway through the third period.  I liked how the Pens were able to move the puck around and create chances. I think the power play unit just needs some more game play to click. Don't forget that Dimitrakos was just added to the team this week.

Two things surprised me tonight. First, I was surprised with who the Penguins went with as their sixth defenseman - Philip Samuelsson. Nothing against Ulf's kid, but I thought both Cody Wild and Alex Grant looked better in the preseason. I guess the coaching staff sees something I don't. He didn't play terrible tonight, but he had his share of rookie miscues. With another game tomorrow night I think there will be a few lineup changes.

The other surprise was that there wasn't a single fight in tonight's game. These two teams don't like each other and while there were a lot of pushing and shoving matches, nothing evolved into two guys dropping the gloves.

The Penguins are back in action tomorrow night against the Connecticut Whale at 5:05 p.m. EST. The game preview of tomorrow's contest and game thread will be up tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately I cannot attend tomorrow's game, but will have updates periodically on the Twitter feed.


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