Pivotal Game For WBS Penguins: Shootout Win Moves Pens to Top of the East Division

Sunday, March 9, 2014
Andrew Ebbett set up Pens' game-tying goal with 12.9 seconds left and netted the game-clinching shootout goal to give the WBS Pens a 4-3 win over the Toronto Marlies.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins found themselves in a battle with the Toronto Marlies at the tail end of a three game weekend road trip that saw them play three games in three different road cities. It was the end of the road trip and the proverbial gas tank was running on fumes.

After carrying the edge in play for most of the game and failing on their 8th straight power play opportunity, the Penguins put themselves shorthanded and Marlies forward Spencer Abbott tied the game at 2-2 with 9:04 left in regulation.

The Penguins 30-19 advantage in shots and edge in puck possession in the first 50 minutes of the game had dwindled away, as the Penguins were out shot 13-5 in the 3rd period. Former WBS forward and current Marlies captain Trevor Smith haunted his former team and gave the Marlies their first lead of the hockey game, at 4-3 with 4:01 left.

At that point, it seemed the writing was on the wall for the Penguins. They had played well through the first 50 minutes of the game but simply 'ran out of gas' after a long road trip (Utica to Hamilton to Toronto in less than a 48 hour span).

The Penguins dug deep and with the goaltender pulled, worked a puck to get Nick Drazenovic open in the slot. The pass from Andrew Ebbett was on target and Drazenovic scored a Sidney Crosby-type goal from one knee on a one-timer with 12.9 seconds left to tie the game at 3-3, sending it to overtime.

After going 0-for-5 in a shootout loss Friday night, the Penguins scored on three straight attempts and got three saves from Jeff Deslauriers, including two well-timed poke checks, to give the Penguins a 4-3 win in the shootout.

Five out of six points for the Penguins on the three game road trip, which was a homecoming of sorts for several WBS players born in Ontario - Kostopoulos, Manderson, Payerl, D'Agostino, McNeill and Harrington - to get a chance to play in front of some family and friends back home.

Easily the goal of the season so far for Drazenovic and the AHL Penguins, who with the shootout win and regulation loss to Binghamton, have moved into a first place tie in the East Division with Norfolk. Remember this game, which could easily be a pivotal game in the 2013-14 season for the Penguins.

Entering their third game of the weekend, the Penguins played how you would expect in the first part of the opening period - a little sluggish, with some stick fouls as the result.

Luckily for the Pens, they killed off two penalties and got some good goaltending from Deslauriers, who made 15 saves in the first period to keep the game a low scoring affair through the first twenty minutes.

The Pens were outshot 12-4 at one point in the first period, but turned things around in the final minutes and took a 1-0 lead on a weird play from Scott Harrington, who scored an unassisted goal with 2:01 left. Harrington's shot appeared to have hit the crossbar and popped back into play, but the goal light came on and the referee signaled a good goal.

The Penguins carried their momentum into the 2nd period and dominated play, outshooting the Marlies 19-4, but the Marlies tied things up 3:16 into the middle frame after a shorthanded goal from Kenny Ryan evened the score at 1-1.

The Penguins continued to pressure Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre and despite his efforts to keep WBS off the scoreboard, the Pens managed a greasy goal off a goal mouth scramble with 1:37 left in the 2nd period to re-gain the lead at 2-1. If not for MacIntyre's efforts in the 2nd period - 18 saves on 19 2nd period shots from WBS - this game could have gotten out of hand.


Jeff Deslauriers got the start in net this afternoon, after Peter Mannino started Friday and Saturday night's games for the Penguins. Deslauriers stopped 31 of 34 in the game and three of four shootout attempts to pick up his team-leading 19th win of the season.

Barry Goers replaced Brian Dumoulin on defense, although I wouldn't look into that move too much as Dumoulin played in his first two games this weekend after an over a month absence with a reported ankle injury.

Mike Carman, who I didn't see much from in the third period (if at all), did not skate today and was replaced by Anton Zlobin.


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

Samuelsson - McNeill
Harrington - Mikkelson
D'Agostino - Goers


Post a Comment