Bitter Sweet 16: Pens Lose 4-1

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The Penguins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead but the Norfolk Admirals tallied four unanswered goals en route to their 16th straight victory. 

The Penguins now trail the Admirals by 10 points for first place in the division and it's looking more and more like the Pens will be battling for the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

The AHL Penguins are off until Saturday at home against the Worcester Sharks at 7:05 p.m EST.

I will be pulling a hockey doubleheader this weekend as I will be live tweeting the NHL Penguins game at the Prudential Center in New Jersey at 1 p.m. then driving back to Wilkes-Barre to live tweet the AHL Penguins game at 7 p.m. All Penguins fans should be following Highland Park Hockey on Twitter for daily updates on the AHL Penguins!

The story of the first period (and the game) was penalties. The Penguins took four minors in the first frame and although it didn't seem costly at first, playing 5-on-4 caught up to them.

Bryan Lerg gave the Pens a 1-0 lead as a penalty expired, shooting a puck high past an unsuspecting Janus. O'Reilly and DeFazio got the assists.

But the Admirals struck back, scoring two goals 31 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead. The penalties continued right to the end of the period as Jason Williams was called for slashing with 5.4 left in the first period. WBS was out shot 11-4 in the first frame.

Norfolk's Tyler Johnson, a small quick forward, turned on the jets at the start of the second period, blowing by the WBS defense and giving the Admirals another power play goal and a 3-1 lead just 10 seconds into the middle frame.

The Penguins started to get to their game and were getting pucks deep and being physical on the forecheck through the middle part of the 2nd period. But this momentum was again interrupted by the Penguins penalty parade. 

Cory Conacher drew two penalties in 12 seconds, the second of the two very questionable as Gibbons was hooked on a shorthanded chance and his stick grazed Conacher, leading the Admirals forward to flop on the ice. 

Scott Munroe made some huge saves on the PK, and the Pens were able to kill off the 1:48 of 5x3 before the second period expired.
The Penguins couldn't muster many chances in the third period. They were credited with two shots on goal for the period and just 13 for the game. Credit to the Admirals for clogging up the Penguins' offensive zone. The Penguins couldn't create quality chances regularly, though I'm sure the eight power plays handed to the Admirals didn't help.

Roster Notes
It was Scott Munroe vs. Jaroslav Janus in net. Bryan Lerg, Brian Strait and Simon Despres returned to the WBS lineup. Philip Samuelsson was sent to Wheeling. Joey Mormina (day-to-day) and Cody Wild (healthy) were scratched on defense. Steve MacIntyre (suspension) and Matt Rust (healthy) were scratched up front.

The line combinations looked like this:
Ryan Craig - Cal O'Reilly - Jason Williams
Brian Gibbons - Bryan Lerg - Colin McDonald
Geoff Walker - Ben Street - Nick Petersen
Brandon DeFazio - Zach Sill - Paul Thompson

Robert Bortuzzo - Brian Strait
ALexandre Picard - Simon Despres
Carl Sneep - Alex Grant


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