Matt Murray Emerging As AHL Penguins #1 Goaltender

Sunday, February 8, 2015
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used another strong performance in net from Matt Murray and timely goal scoring from Jayson Megna, Carter Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos to push past the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Sunday afternoon.

Murray, now 13-8-2 on the season, came into today's game with the second best goals-against average in the entire American Hockey League at 1.90 and tied for first in the AHL with six shutouts. While he didn't earn what would have been his fourth shutout in his last 10 games - Bridgeport scored a 5-on-3 power play goal late in the 3rd period - Murray stopped 36 of the 37 saves he faced and is starting to take over as the team's starting goaltender. More on that tomorrow.

The Penguins goals today came from places they will need to score goals in in the future to prolong their season deep into May and even June: at the net front and capitalizing on the opponents' turnovers.

The Pens (26-18-2-3) close to within three points of East Division-leading Hershey, who is currently trailing Lehigh Valley 3-3 after 40 minutes from Giant Center. I'll be picking up the action there in the 3rd period on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock_TCG.

The Pens got off to a fast start in Bridgeport this afternoon, taking a 1-0 lead 1:10 into the contest. Rowney brought a puck out from behind Leggio's net and fed it to Megna atop the crease, who stuffed one past the Sound Tigers' netminder early in the first period. Reid McNeill also picked up an assist on the play.

They had a golden chance to extend their lead halfway through the first frame, with 67 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time, but were unsuccessful on the man advantage. Shortly after the power play, the WBS third line extended their lead to 2-0.

Megna's shot from between the face-off circles was blocked down & didn't get through, but it ended up on Rowney's stick for what ended up being an easy shot into an open net because of a pileup in Leggio's crease with Matt Lashoff and Tom Kuhnhackl. The netminder argued for interference but to no avail.

The Penguins took the 2-0 lead into the second period and while no goals were scored in the period, the Sound Tigers had the noticeable edge in play - evidenced by a 13-6 shot advantage in the middle frame. Murray continued to play strong in net, stopping everything he faced through 40 minutes.

The second period was a war of attrition, as the physical play picked up and several Penguin players were banged up.

Rowney missed a good chunk of the 2nd period after his head slammed into the glass following a hit from Scooter Vaughn. Rowney later returned. Scott Wilson was hit with an errant high stick. After Lashoff landed several big hits on Matia Marcantuoni, tempers flared and McNeill and Vaughn attempted a fight that was intervened by the linesmen before it materialized.

The Penguins held off the Sound Tigers again in a third period with no shortage of extra curricular activities, except for the 5-on-3 goal against with 5:48 left to play.


Matt Murray (36 saves - 37 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins this afternoon. Jeff Zatkoff, who got the start in Hershey last night, was the backup.

Harrison Ruopp made his return to the WBS lineup - his first AHL appearance since October 11th's opening night loss to Lehigh Valley. Alex Boak was a healthy scratch in his place.

One change up front as Dominik Uher slotted into the left wing spot on the fourth line for Adam Payerl.

Scratches: Alex Boak (healthy), Anton Zlobin (out for season), Adam Payerl (healthy) and Pierre-Luc Leblond (healthy)


Scott Wilson - Andrew Ebbett - Bryan Rust
Conor Sheary - Nick Drazenovic - Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Kuhnhackl - Carter Rowney - Jason Megna
Dominik Uher - Matia Marcantuoni - Bobby Farnham

Brian Dumoulin - Taylor Chorney
Reid McNeill - Barry Goers
Nick D'Agostino - Harrison Ruopp

Matt Murray - Jeff Zatkoff


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