Four Score & One More For Penguins After Game Two Win

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Penguins' power play puts Syracuse on the brink of elimination.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used three power play goals in the opening period to pull away from the Syracuse Crunch and went back to old reliable - stifling defense and stellar goaltending - in the final 40 minutes of regulation to send the series back to Syracuse with a 2 games to none lead in the best-of-five Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.

The Pens' man advantage struck early and often, starting 2:32 into the contest on Jayson Megna's first tally of the playoffs and continued late in the period with back-to-back power play goals by Carter Rowney and team-captain Tom Kostopoulos - the 2nd of which came with one second left before the intermission and putting a 3-0 stranglehold on the Crunch that they were never able to recover from.

Kasperi Kapanen tallied the final blow with 3:50 left in regulation to seal the deal on a 4-0 win for the Penguins. Kapanen's third of the postseason came just one night after two goals in his AHL playoff debut. His speed and ability in open ice is fun to watch and certainly bodes well for his future.

The Crunch and Penguins were even in terms of play in the second and third periods while 5-on-5, but Matt Murray stopped all 27 shots he faced for his first career AHL postseason shutout in his 2nd start of the playoffs.

They always say the final win of a series to eliminate a team is the hardest to win and that will be no different come Wednesday night in Syracuse at The OnCenter when the Crunch will be fighting for their playoff lives in Game Three.


Jean-Phillippe Cote on the Crunch's proverbial backs to the wall.
The good thing is we're going home and if you look back at Game Two what killed us was our penalty kill. We have to be smarter. We knew what was coming and we didn't provide.
Cote on any positives heading into Wednesday's Game Three:
We have to keep in mind that 5-on-5, I want to say we are the better team out there. We know it. They know it. We have to come out hard in Game Three.
Mike Angelidis' thoughts on the difference through two games:
They've been coming at us hard and we've been taking penalties and they are capitalizing on all their opportunities. We've got to be better, bottom line. We have to generate more offensively and be smarter defensively.
Angelidis on mindset for Game Three:
We have a do or die situation. They took care of home ice. We have to take care of home ice. In my book, the series isn't over until we lose the last game. They have to win one more, we have to win three. At the end of the day, we are worried about Wednesday.

The Penguins came out and took it to the Crunch from just after the opening few shifts. They drew their first power play of the night 1:41 into the contest and after Matt Murray stoned Yanni Gourde on a shorthanded breakaway, the Pens came right down the ice and took the early lead.

Conor Sheary fed Andrew Ebbett for a quick shot, but the shot went wide and caused Ebbett to scurry to the loose puck behind the net. Ebbett won the loose puck race and shoveled a puck into the slot to Jayson Megna who stuffed one past Kirsters Gudlevskis to give the Pens a 1-0 lead 2:32 into play.

The play between the two teams seemed to even out from there until a boarding minor on Jonathan Marchessault gave the Pens another power play chance. Carter Rowney tallied his 2nd of the postseason - the Pens' 2nd power play tally of the period - on a re-direction of a point shot from Josh Archibald. Scott Harrington added a secondary assist on the goal that gave the Pens a 2-0 lead with 3:28 left before the first intermission.

The Pens' power play wasn't done there either, adding a third goal with one second left in the opening period after a Tom Kostopoulos pass unintentionally banked off the skate of a Crunch defender. Kostopoulos' first of the postseason came unassisted and was a huge momentum swing for the Penguins up 3-0 heading to the 2nd period.

The Crunch came out for the middle frame much as you would expect a team trailing by three would. Syracuse drew two power plays of their own in the 2nd period and though they out shot the Pens 11-4 in the period, it was Murray with some timely saves and the Pens' defense sticking to their systems and forcing the Crunch to come 200 feet up the ice.

The Penguins continued to frustrate the Crunch's offensive attack in the final frame, adding a late goal by Kasperi Kapanen to cap the scoring at 4-0. Kapanen's goal was his third of the postseason and came a night after tallying two goals in his AHL playoff debut.

The Crunch tried to get Murray off his game late in the third by crashing the net and getting traffic but like he has for most of the season, the Penguins' netminder stood tall and earned his first AHL playoff shutout - his 13th total in rookie season in a total of 42 appearances.


Matt Murray (27 saves - 27 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins in Game Two, with Jeff Zatkoff serving as the team's backup goaltender.

No changes on defense for the Pens. Brian Dumoulin, Taylor Chorney and Derrick Pouliot are expected to returned to the AHL Penguins in time for Game Three on Wednesday.

Up front, one change for the Pens as Jean-Sebastien Dea replaced Matia Marcantuoni as the team's 4th line center.

WBS Scratches:

Injured - Nick Drazenovic, Bryan Rust and Anton Zlobin
Healthy - Tristan Jarry, Sean Escobedo, Alex Boak, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Adam  Payerl, Clark Seymour and Steven Shamanski


Conor Sheary - Andrew Ebbett - Tom Kostopoulos
Josh Archibald - Jayson Megna - Kasperi Kapanen
Dominik Uher - Carter Rowney - Tom Kuhnhackl
Bobby Farnham - Jean-Sebastien Dea - Pierre-Luc Leblond

Scott Harrington - Barry Goers
Nick D'Agostino - Reid McNeill
Danny Syvret - Ryan Parent

Matt Murray - Jeff Zatkoff


Kristers Gudlevskis (25 saves - 29 shots) got the start in net after being pulled halfway through Game One. Adam Wilcox served as the team's back up goaltender for the second straight night.

Plenty of lineup changes for the Crunch, with forwards Tanner Richard and Cody Kunyk and defenseman Jared Nightingale all out of the lineup. Forwards David Broll, Kevin Lynch and rookie Brayden Point all made their 2015 playoff debuts, with Point appearing his first career AHL postseason contest after playing the final nine games of the season with Syracuse after a succuessful WHL season (38G-49A) with Moose Jaw.

SYR Scratches: Dan Milan, Justin Courtnall, Cody Kunyk, Mike Blunden, Cameron Darcy, Eric Neilson, Jared Nightingale, Charlie Dodero, Phillippe Paradis and Tanner Richard.


Brayden Point - Ryan Martindale - Jonathan Marchessault
Yanni Gourde - Matthew Peca - Carter Ashton
Joel Vermin - Mike Angelidis - Henri Ikonen
Dalton Smith - Kevin Lynch - David Broll

Luke Witkowski - Slater Koekkoek
J-P Cote - Dylan Blujus
Jake Dotchin - Joey Mormina

Kristers Gudlevskis - Adam Wilcox


1st Period

1:41: SYR - (PP) Ashton, minor (slashing)
2:32: WBS - PPG Megna (1) - Ebbett, Sheary
5:24: WBS - (PP) Syvret, minor (hooking)
9:21: WBS - (PP) Kostopoulos, minor (tripping)
12:53: WBS - Megna, minor (roughing)
12:53: SYR - Angelidis, minor (roughing)
12:53: SYR - (PP) Angelidis, minor (cross-checking)
16:02: SYR - (PP) Blujus, minor (boarding)
16:32: WBS - PPG Rowney (2) - Archibald, Harrington
19:30: SYR - (PP) Koekkoek, minor (interference)
19:59: WBS - PPG Kostopoulos (1) - unassisted

2nd Period

6:12: WBS - (PP) McNeil, minor (interference)
16:56: WBS - (PP) Goers, minor (slashing)

3rd Period

9:47: WBS - Rowney, minor (roughing)
9:47: SYR - Smith, minor (roughing)
11:57: SYR - (PP) Blujus, minor (tripping)
16:10: WBS - Kapanen (3) - Syvret
16:40: SYR - (PP) Smith, minor (goaltender interference)
16:44: SYR - (PP) Witkowski, minor (delay of game)


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