Pens Third Period Comeback Falls Short to Falcons

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins battled back in the third period again tonight, scoring twice and erasing a two-goal third period deficit. Unfortunately for the home team, some untimely penalties proved costly for the Pens as the Springfield Falcons skate away with the 3-2 win tonight.

The third period has been the Penguins period this season, and Harry Zolnierczyk made it a 2-1 game 2:58 into the final frame after a shorthanded penalty shot goal. Zolnierczyk was tripped on a breakaway and went hard into the end boards behind the Falcons net. He got up quickly when he saw the referee had motioned to center ice for the penalty shot. Harry Z's team-leading 10th of the season brought the Penguins within a goal.

Paul Thompson had a heck of a game tonight, and you can tell he's trying to get off of the cold streak he's started the 2013-14 season. He tied the game at 2-2 with some hard work and a bounce to finally go his way. The goal was Thompson's first of the season in his 17th game on the year. Not what last year's 20-goal scorer had in mind for the first two months of the season.

Just as the Penguins started to get the Falcons on their heels, a penalty to Tom Kostopoulos for goaltender interference shifted the momentum. The Falcons quickly scored on the power play to regain the lead at 3-2.

From there, the Penguins got some chances late on Falcons netminder Jeremy Smith but were unable to find the equalizer.

The Penguins are in the midst of a giant home stand where 10 of the next 12 games are on home ice. They get back in action Friday night when rival Hershey comes to town.

The Falcons took a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period on a nice cross ice feed to Patrick McNeill.

The Falcons extended their lead in the waning moments of the second period. Cody Sylvester and Jonathan Marchessault collided after an offsides whistle with 18.8 seconds left, and after a pushing and shoving match, Sylvester headed to the box with a lone roughing minor.

The Falcons wasted no time, winning the faceoff and getting another point shot from McNeill to elude Deslarueires. The power play goal came with 11.6 seconds left in the second period.

Rookie forward Anton Zlobin saw extended looks on the top line in the third period, playing alongside Brian Gibbons and Harry Zolnierczyk. It's clear to see Zobin is still adjusting to the pro game, but the fact that he's getting looks on the top line shows what kind of prospect Zlobin is to Pittsburgh.

Penguins Roster Notes

Nick Drazenoic returned to the WBS lineup tonight against his former team. Drazenovic (lower body) missed most of the month, returning for two games 11/15 against Syracuse and 11/16 vs Hershey, before he shut it down. Drazenovic had been out since then until he skated in yesterday's practice. With ten points (2G 8A) in 12 games, Drazenovic's presence in the top-six  gives the offense a guy who can score.

Harry Zolnierczyk is back from Pittsburgh and slotted back in on the top line alongside Brian Gibbons.

Updated injury list:
Peter Merth (lower body, day-to-day)
Dominik Uher (upper body - out since 11/27, two weeks)
Adam Payerl (upper body - out since 11/30, 3-4 months


Zolnierczyk - Gibbons - Zlobin
Thompson - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos
Sylvester - Carman - Kuhnhackl
Farnham - Severyn - Sylvester

Harrington - Samuelsson
McNeill - Mikkelson
D'Agostino - Ruopp

Expected Scratches: Peter Merth, Dominik Uher, Adam Payerl and Denver Manderson


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