Penguins Hold On For Game One Victory Over St. John's

Saturday, May 24, 2014
The Penguins celebrate their Game One victory over the IceCaps. Photo credit: @dwancherry.
In Newfoundland, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins use a strong second period and hold off the St. John's IceCaps in a 3-2 Game One victory to kick off the Eastern Conference Finals.

Conor Sheary continued his strong play, with his 2nd period goal extending his points-scoring streak to seven games (6G-3A). Team-captain Tom Kostopoulos' goal late in the middle frame proved to be the game-winner, but not without 31 saves on 33 shots from Peter Mannino, who stopped 13 of 14 in the 3rd to preserve to Penguins win.

The series continues tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. ET with Game Two from the Mile One Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland before the series shifts to Wilkes-Barre for three straight games next week.

The IceCaps looked very much like a team that hadn't played in awhile, and the Penguins took advantage and jumped out to a 1-0 lead 7:02 into the game. Brian Gibbons took a pass from Scott Harrington and flew down the left wing, sending a pass across the top of the crease to Chuck Kobasew. Kobasew found a way to slam home a puck past Michael Hutchinson to give the Pens the early lead.

From there, the IceCaps found their legs and evened the score at 1-1 about six and a half minutes after the Penguins took the lead. A miscue between two Penguins defenseman behind the WBS net led to Kyle MacKinnon pouncing on a loose puck and feeding an open Andrew Gordon below the left face-off circle. Gordon made no mistake, roofing a puck over Peter Mannino's shoulder for his 7th of the playoffs.

The IceCaps continued to carry the edge in play in the second half of the period, out shooting the Penguins 14-12 through 20 minutes, but not without allowing some quality chances along the way. Most notably, a Kobasew fanned one-timer on an empty net and an Adam Payerl mini-breakaway after Payerl created a center ice turnover come to mind.

The Penguins came out and dominated the 2nd period, outshooting the IceCaps 14-5 in the middle frame and extending their lead to 3-1 on goals by Conor "Showtime" Sheary and team-captain Tom Kostopoulos.

First, it was Sheary extending his points scoring streak to seven games 2:32 into the period. Sheary's initial shot was stopped by Hutchinson but he followed up his own shot and whacked a rebound past the IceCaps netminder to put the Pens in front 2-1.

Later in the period, after two successful penalty kills by the Pens, it was Kostopoulos sneaking back door on a 3-on-2 rush. The Penguins captain accepted a beautiful cross-ice feed from former IceCaps forward Spencer Machacek and fired a shot to the top right corner to put the Penguins ahead 3-1. Simon Despres added a secondary assist on the goal with 5:24 left in the period.

The IceCaps wouldn't go away without a fight, drawing within one on Andrew Gordon's 2nd goal of the night off an offensive zone draw similar to Pittsburgh's patented "James Neal play". Gordon's goal with 14:29 left in regulation gave the IceCaps plenty of time to search for the equalizer, but it never came thanks to some stellar saves by Peter Mannino and some key defensive zone face-off wins.


Peter Mannino made his 12th start of the postseason, backed up in net by Matt Murray.

With Reid McNeill, Andrew Ebbett and Nick Drazenovic all out for this weekend's games with upper body injuries, there was one lineup change for Game One of this series. Mike Carman took Drazenovic's roster spot, centering the fourth line. Zach Sill moved up to center the third line.

No changes on defense for the Penguins.

Scratches: Eric Hartzell, Jeff Deslauriers, Reid McNeill, Nick D'Agostino, Harrison Ruopp, Nick Drazenovic, Andrew Ebbett, Bobby Farnham, Carter Rowney, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Josh Archibald, Scott Wilson and Bryan Rust.


Zolnierczyk - Gibbons - Kobasew
Sheary - Megna - Zlobin
Machacek - Sill - Kostopoulos
Uher - Carman - Payerl

Samuelsson - Despres
Dumoulin - Mikkelson
Harrington - Goers

Mannino - Murray


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