Shootout Success - Pens Sweep Weekend

Sunday, February 24, 2013
Tight, low scoring games decided by one goal has been a recurring theme for the Penguins this weekend. They battled back to win Friday in Philadelphia. Then came an overtime game winner from Joe Morrow last night. 

Today, the Penguins found themselves in another 1-0 hole in the first period after Aaron Ness roofed a puck to the top shelf for the Sound Tigers. But like the two nights before, the Penguins were down but not out.

"It's nice when you can play these types of games because they really help your team and individuals grow," head coach John Hynes said. "Every play matters. Every puck decision matters."

Morrow was at it again, firing a puck through traffic 4:13 into the 2nd period. His shot was tipped home by Tom Kostopoulos, who tallied his first goal of the season and first in a Penguins uniform in over nine years. Speaking with him postgame, he said he was starting to get frustrated and was glad to get one today.

The teams played a scoreless third period and a five minute overtime wasn't enough to break the tie, so on to the shootout it went. Chad Kolarik and Riley Holzapfel scored for the Penguins in the shootout and Brad Thiessen stopped four of five Bridgeport shooters to preserve the win and the weekend sweep.

Earlier this week in practice I asked Trevor Smith about the importance of this weekend and he told me the team needed at least two out of three.  I caught up with him after the game tonight to talk about playing in these tight games and the confidence winning these types of games gives a team.

"Pulling out these games out right now is huge for our team, to get comebacks in third periods and to get that momentum to know we can win heading into the third," Smith said.

I asked goaltender Brad Thiessen the same question. 

"It was nice for us to pull out the wins and find ways to get points," Thiessen said of this weekend's games. "Anytime you get into situations like this and you're fighting for that extra goal it'll help when points are at a premium."


Brad Thiessen got the start in net. Reid McNeill made his AHL debut on defense. Hynes said it was a late decision to put McNeill in the lineup but that he fit in just fine. Philip Samuelsson was the late scratch but no injury worries as Hynes said Samuelsson is fine. 

Kolarik - Smith - Holzapfel
Gibbons - Megna - Kostopoulos 
Payerl - Peters - Uher
Farnham - Sill - Minella

Reese - Dumoulin
Mormina - Morrow
Wild - McNeill


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