Hartzell Blanks Utica, Pens Win 1-0

Saturday, December 14, 2013

In a scoreless tie in the third period, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins best period this season, the power play cashed in in a big way. After squandering two separate 5-on-3 power play opportunities midway through the third period, the special teams unit found a way to get the puck to the net.

Nick Drazenovic fed a pass to Anton Zlobin, who found rookie defenseman Nick D'Agostino on the point. D'Agostino's shot eluded Utica Comets goaltender Joe Cannata and gave the Pens all they would need as they win a 1-0 game tonight.

"I kind of saw a little opening and I just fired away," D'Agostino said. "Fortunate enough it went in. I just tried to get the puck to the net."

The goal was D'Agostino's first professional goal, and while he said he wished his first goal would have come sooner, I'm sure D'Agostino is fine with his first tally being a game-winning goal and the only goal in the game.

Eric Hartzell got his second start in as many nights this weekend and shut the door on the Comets early, as the Penguins were out shot 19-9 in the first two periods. The 22-save shutout was Hartzell's 2nd shutout with the AHL Penguins this season.

"The team made it easy on me tonight," a modest Hartzell said, crediting his defensemen and forwards on a total team effort. "We didn't generate a lot of chances in the first two periods, but we kept it tight defensively. The defense did a good job of getting rid of second and third chance opportunities and it made my night a lot easier."

The start of the game was delayed a half due to the playing conditions of the ice at Mohegan Sun Arena not being up to standards after apparently a hockey puck jammed in the zamboni dug a rut into the ice when they were cleaning the ice after the pregame warm up skate.

The first period showed some good chances for both teams, the Pens early in the first and the Comets in the second part of the period. The game was scoreless after 20 minutes, but a late too many men penalty on the Penguins gave the Comets a power play to start the 2nd period.

The second period showed much of the same. Chances for both teams, but limited and few and far between. The Penguins were held to just nine shots through 40 minutes. Eric Hartzell, making his second start in as many nights, saw 19 shots after two periods.

"It was a so-so game," Penguins head coach John Hynes said of tonight's action. "We didn't really play to the identity that we want to have and therefore we didn't get a lot done."

More Hynes:
"We were fortunate enough to get some significant power play time in the third to find a way to win the game, but overall it wasn't the type of effort and identity that we want to have on a regular basis."

Roster Notes

It was Eric Hartzell getting the start in net tonight for the Penguins, getting consecutive starts after playing in last night's 5-3 win over Hershey.

With Peter Merth and Reid McNeill out of the lineup on defense, Barry Goers made his WBS debut on the blue line paired alongside Philip Samuelsson.

C.J. Severyn was the 13th forward and healthy scratch again tonight. Injured list: Peter Merth, Reid McNeill (upper body), Dominik Uher (upper body) and Adam Payerl (upper body).


Zolnierczyk - Gibbons - Thompson
Zlobin - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos
Farnham - Carman - Leblond
Kuhnhackl - Manderson - Sylvester

Goers - Samuelsson
Mikkelson - Harrington
D'Agostino - Ruopp


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