Home Ice Advantage - Penguins Take Game Three

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Justin Auger found himself bumped up from the 4th line to the 2nd line after Adrian Kempe was a late scratch for Manchester tonight.
As the series shifted to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, the Penguins found themselves down two games to none in the best-of-seven series. They had not taken a lead during any part of the two games in Manchester and were likely hoping that a change of scenery would do the trick and turn the tides.

That's exactly what happened tonight in Game Three.

It was the Penguins jumping out to an early lead in the first period. In his first game of this postseason run, Bryan Rust picked a corner on a cross-ice feed from Conor Sheary to give the Pens their first lead of the series.

The Pens added to their lead in the second period in the midst of five straight power plays awarded to the home team. Tom Kostopoulos beat Jean-Francois Berube with a bad angle shot after his pass to Andrew Ebbett was blocked right back to the Penguins captain.

The 2-0 lead almost wasn't enough as the Monarchs came on strong in the third period, making it a one-goal game late but never able to get the equalizer despite several dangerous chances in the final minute with their goaltender pulled for the extra attacker.

The Pens held on for the 2-1 win in Game Three and now trail the Monarchs 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game Four is Monday night and with the Pens' win tonight, Game Five will be played on Tuesday.


The Penguins and Monarchs battled to a pretty even first 20 minutes, but it was obvious after the first few shifts that the Pens were playing with more of a sense of urgency than in the start of the two previous games in Manchester.

W-B/Scranton went to the game's first power play about three minutes in and despite not scoring on the man advantage, pressured the Monarchs' penalty killers for basically the full two minutes - giving the Penguins some momentum.

The Pens took their first lead of the series 6:22 into the contest on a perfectly executed 3-on-2 rush. Jayson Megna got a puck to the left-wing to Conor Sheary and drove through the middle to push the defensemen back just enough for Sheary to pull up and feed a cross-ice past to Bryan Rust who made no mistake and buried one high-glove on J-F Berube to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.

Monarchs defenseman Colin Miller knocked Derrick Pouliot off his feet in the neutral zone with less than four minutes to play in the period, springing a small scrum where Pouliot's defense partner Reid McNeill chased down Miller and challenged him to a fight. Miller politely declined and it was McNeill instead who ended up in the box for roughing.

The Monarchs were unable to generate much on that power play, shortened by a holding penalty drawn by Megna moments later.

The Pens failed to convert on their second power play of the night, but again held the puck in the offensive zone for much of the man advantage and generated plenty of shots and pressure in on Berube before heading to the first intermission with the 1-0 lead.

The Penguins went right back to the power play in the opening minute of the 2nd period, but were unable to generate much offense after a strong kill by the Monarchs. From there, the Monarchs got to their game and started to pressure Murray.

Murray had to be particularly sharp early in the middle frame, denying Michael Mersch on a point blank one-timer from the slot and moments later getting enough of a Brian O'Neill shot from the left-wing face-off circle to keep the Penguins ahead 1-0.

Manchester was starting to build momentum - out shooting WBS 6-3 at one point midway through the 2nd period - but a pair of back-to-back penalties on the Monarchs gave the Penguins a chance to extend their lead.

The Pens let the first of those two power plays waste away without much pressure but they cashed in on the second one - putting the Pens up 2-0 with 6:33 left before the 2nd intermission.

Tom Kostopoulos was trying to thread the needle into the slot to Andrew Ebbett, but his pass was blocked down. Luckily for Kostopoulos and the Penguins, the blocked pass came right back to the Penguins captain and he fired a bad angle shot past Berube 21 seconds into the man advantage to make it a two-goal lead.

The Penguins took the two-goal lead into the third, but it was David Van Der Gulik sneaking behind the Pens' defense and scoring a breakaway goal with 6:59 to play to make things interesting.

The Monarchs had several chances and rebound attempts on Murray but the Penguins netminder stood tall and helped his team to victory.


Matt Murray (29 saves - 30 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins tonight in Game Three, with veteran Jeff Zatkoff serving as the team's backup.

No changes on defense for the Penguins again tonight, but there were three changes at the forward position.

Nick Drazenovic returned to the lineup and centered the third line - his first game back with WBS since February 11th.

Bryan Rust also returned to the lineup up front for his first postseason action this spring.

Kasperi Kapanen was back in the WBS lineup after sitting out Game Two. Matia Marcantuoni was also in on the fourth line.

To make room, Scott Wilson, Josh Archibald, Oskar Sundqvist and Jean-Sebastien Dea were scratched.

WBS Scratches: Eric Hartzell, Tristan Jarry, Harrison Ruopp, Sean Escobedo, Alex Boak, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Josh Archibald, Danny Syvret, Nick D’Agostino, Ryan Parent, Scott Wilson, Adam Payerl, Piere-Luc Leblond, Sahir Gill, Clark Seymour and Oskar Sundqvist.


Tom Kostopoulos - Andrew Ebbett - Carter Rowney
Conor Sheary - Jayson Megna - Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl - Nick Drazenovic - Kasperi Kapanen
Dominik Uher - Matia Marcantuoni - Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney - Brian Dumoulin
Scott Harrington - Barry Goers
Reid McNeill - Derrick Pouliot

Matt Murray - Jeff Zatkoff


Jean-Francois Berube (18 shots - 20 saves) got the start in net for the Monarchs in Game One, with rookie Patrik Bartosak serving as the team's backup.

Only one lineup change for the Monarchs from Game One as Josh Gratton returned to the lineup up front on the 4th line and Adrian Kempe was a late scratch after taking the warmup skate.

MCH Scratches: Stephen Mastalerz, Adrian Kempe, Jonny Brodzinski, Paul Bissonnette, Nick Ebert, Scott Sabourin, Kevin Raine and Alex Lintuniemi


Michael Mersch - Jordan Weal - Brian O'Neill
Justin Auger - Nick Shore - Sean Backman
David Van Der Gulik - Nic Dowd - Zach O'Brien
Ryan Horvat - Andrew Crescenzi - Josh Gratton

Vincent LoVerde - Andrew Bodnarchuk
Colin Miller - Jeff Schultz
Derek Forbort - Kevin Gravel

Jean-Francois Berube - Patrik Bartosak


1st Period

2:47: MCH - (PP) Auger, minor (interference)
6:22: WBS - Rust (1) - Sheary, Megna
8:33: WBS - (PP) Sheary, minor (slashing)
16:07: WBS - (PP) McNeill, minor (roughing)
17:42: MCH - (PP) LoVerde, minor (holding)

2nd Period

0:40: MCH - (PP) Schultz, minor (tripping)
10:22: MCH - (PP) LoVerde, minor (holding)
13:06: MCH - (PP) minor (high-sticking)
13:27: WBS - PPG Kostopoulos (2) - Ebbett, Sheary

3rd Period

5:04: MCH - (PP) Forbort, minor (high-sticking)
8:35: WBS - (PP) Marcantuoni, minor (tripping)
13:01: MCH - Van Der Gulik (1) - Dowd


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