March of the Penguins - Mannino/Payerl Lead Penguins Past Syracuse

Friday, March 21, 2014
In a physical East Division battle on a Friday night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used a pair of first period goals and continued pressure to shut out the Syracuse Crunch.

Since a 4-0 shutout loss back on February 28th to these same Syracuse Crunch, the Penguins have been on a roll in the month of March. They are now 6-0-0-1 this month, including five straight wins and back-to-back shutouts by Peter Mannino (16 saves tonight), who is now 5-0-1 since re-joining the Pens.

The player of the game was definitely Adam Payerl, who continues to be a net-front presence for WBS. He was flying out there tonight, scoring his third of the season on a beautiful backhand to forehand move on the power play to put the Penguins in front 2-0 in the first period in what would be the game's final goal.

When Spencer Machacek went down early in the second period (more on Machacek after the jump), Payerl moved up to the top line in Machacek's spot and played arguably one of his best games at the pro level, with a game-high and career-high nine shots on goal tonight.

Elsewhere in the East Division, Binghamton defeated Norfolk 5-2 and jumped over the Admirals and Penguins for first place in the division. The Penguins return home for a match up with the Utica Comets Saturday night.

The Penguins came out ready to play tonight, outshooting the Crunch 12-4 and dominating the puck possession battle in the first 20 minutes.

Spencer Machacek opened up the scoring 7:38 into the first period after miscommunication between Crunch goaltender Kirsters Gudlevskis and one of his defenseman. Gudlevskis reached to the side of his net to leave an Andrew Ebbett clear into the zone in a safe spot for the Crunch defenseman behind the net.

Instead, Machacek snuck in and picked the goaltender's pocket, stealing the puck off his stick and tapping one home low to the stick side on an unsuspecting Gudlevskis. Machacek later left the ice in the second period and did not return. If he isn't 100% tomorrow, Machacek will likely be the AHL Pens veteran scratch.

Denver Manderson found an open Adam Payerl late in the period to extend the WBS lead to 2-0. At the tail end of the game's first power play,  Manderson found Payerl open on a back door play and Payerl made no mistake about it, going backhand to forehand to extend the lead with a power play goal late in the first period. Anton Zlobin added a second assist on Payerl's third of the season.

There weren't any goals scored in the 2nd period, but it seemed any time someone touched the puck they were either drilled with a big hit or play was stopped to dish out some penalties. Several big-hits drew the ire from the receiving team's bench. After just one power play was handed out in the first period, the referees whistled nine infractions in the first 6:10 of a penalty-filled middle frame.

The Pens continued to roll four lines and maintain the majority of the puck possession in the third period, limiting the Crunch to just 16 shots tonight. The Pens out-worked the Crunch in the final frame, drawing three third period power plays and really taking it to the Crunch despite the 2-0 lead.


Peter Mannino got the start in net tonight, stopping all 16 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.

Brendan Mikkelson returned to the WBS lineup on the blue line, as Chuck Kobasew sat out as the team's veteran scratch. Nick D'Agostino was the healthy scratch on defense to make room for Mikkelson.

Harry Zolnierczyk (upper body) practiced in a red, no-contact jersey this week in practice and missed tonight's game. Recently re-assigned forward Jayson Megna took Zolnierczyk's place in the lineup.


Machacek - Ebbett - Megna
Payerl - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos
Uher - Manderson - Zlobin
Farnham - Carman - Leblond

Sameulsson - McNeill
Harrington - Mikkelson
Dumoulin - Goers

Scratches: Harry Zolnierczyk (upper body), Zach Sill (upper body), Chuck Kobasew (healthy/veteran scratch), Nick D'Agostino (healthy), Conor Sheary (healthy ATO)


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