Penguins Stunned by Utica in a Shootout

Friday, March 7, 2014
A storybook ending in a St. Patrick's themed night in Utica as the Comets stun the Penguins with a game tying goal in the final seconds of regulation and an eventual shootout winning goal from former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Cal O'Reilly.

Peter Mannino stopped 20 of 21 and stopped four of five shooters in the shootout, but was out dueled by Joacim Eriksson who stopped 32 of 33 in regulation and overtime and all five WBS shooters in the shootout.

Ex WBS forward Brandon DeFazio tied the game at 1-1 with 7.2 seconds left in regulation on a goal mouth scrum with the extra attacker on the ice, sending the sold out crowd at the Utica Memorial Auditorium into a frenzy. After an 0-7-1-1 start to the season for the first year AHL franchise, the Comets have turned things around and have moved within striking distance on a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Tough loss for the Penguins on the first of a three-cities-in-three-nights weekend, but they do pick up a point in the shootout loss and remain ahead of the Hershey Bears by one point for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Oddly enough, the Pens are also just two points out of first place in the East Division which would ensure them a top three said. The playoff race is heating up.

The Penguins are back at it tomorrow night in Hamilton against the Bulldogs at 7:00 p.m. ET.

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins got on the board early in the second and carried a noticeable edge in play, outshooting the Comets 12-5 in the middle frame.

Andrew Ebbett worked a puck down low to Jayson Megna, who found Spencer Machcek by the net for a tap-in goal to put the Pens up 1-0 with 1:12 gone in the middle frame. The goal was Machacek's 16th of the season and his 7th in just 10 games with the Penguins.

The physical play from the first period carried over and picked up in the middle frame with a pair of fights featuring Pierre-Luc Leblond and Bobby Farnham from the Pens, in addition to several big hits handed out by both teams. Much like the last meeting between the two teams in Wilkes-Barre (a 1-0 WBS win), another low scoring game between the Penguins and Comets through 40 minutes of play.


Peter Mannino made his second straight start in net for the Penguins, who stopped 20 of 21 shots and 4/5 in the shootout.

Brian Dumoulin returned to the WBS lineup on defense, returning from an over one month absence with a lower body injury.

Up front, Chuck Kobasew did not take the warmup skate and did not play tonight. Anton Zlobin returned to the WBS lineup, replacing Adam Payerl.

Tom Kuhnhackl and Harrison Ruopp were re-assigned to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) earlier today.


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

Samuelsson - McNeill
Harrington - Mikkelson
Dumoulin - Goers


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