Postgame Report: WBS Penguins vs. Lowell Devils
By: Ali Myers
In Wilkes-Barre, AHL all star Dustin Jeffrey got the game winning goal with 2:07 left in regulation as the Baby Penguins picked up a 3-2 victory over the Lowell Devils. The Pens now improve to 20-16-1-1 with 42 points and remain in third in the division.
With Aaron Boogaard in the penalty box after a fight with Myles Stoesz, and Deryk Engelland sitting for slashing (all penalties were called at the 4:02 mark), Lowell took advantage of their power play at 4:27 when Ben Walter put a shot past John Curry. Assists went to Matt Taormina and Michael Swift.
Later, the Penguins would come back thanks to Konstantin Pushkarev finding an opening on Lowell goalie Jeff Frazee’s right side. It was the first time tonight the Penguins would tally a goal in the closing minutes of a period; as Pushkarev scored at the 17:55 mark.
End of first period: WBS 1-Lowell 1
Shots on Goal: Penguins 9-Lowell 4
The second period was well played by both teams. This was a scoreless period and although both teams had good chances, Frazee and Curry kept their respective opponents off the board. Jeffrey’s best chance came when he hit the post about 12:30 into the period. Lowell attempted a wraparound shot but Curry was prepared to make the save.
Both teams took four minutes in penalties apiece. Lowell’s Nick Palmieri went first at 4:31 on a hooking penalty, and Matt Cohen followed at 9:40 on a slashing minor. For the Penguins, Nate Guenin was called for delay of game for closing his hand on the puck at 12:45. Pushkarev sat for WBS with 2:05 to go, also for hooking. However, the Penguins penalty killing unit, which is ranked 10th in the AHL with an 85% success rate, prevented Lowell from taking a lead before the end of the period.
End of second period: WBS 1-Lowell 1
Shots on Goal: Penguins 7-Lowell 3
SOG totals through two periods: Penguins 16-Devils 7
Devils right wing Stephen Gionta opened the third period scoring at 7:33 with an assist from Kory Nagy. Things would not go their way for long though. With Chris Murray serving a four minute spearing penalty, rookie Eric Tangradi converted 1:50 into the Penguins’ extended power play for his ninth goal on the season. Fellow rookie Robert Bortuzzo and defenseman Ben Lovejoy assisted on the goal.
The teams played an even game after that with no penalties and Frazee and Curry continuing to make key saves to keep their teams in the game. Just as it looked like overtime was a possibility, Jeffrey found his way into the Penguins’ attack zone and ripped a shot behind Frazee at 17:53. Bortuzzo picked up his second assist of the night.
Lowell pulled Frazee shortly after, but the Pens withstood their efforts to tie the score and were able to rebound from Wednesday’s loss to Norfolk. Their longest homestand of the season concludes tomorrow with a 7:05 matchup against the Manchester Monarchs.
Final Score: WBS 3-Lowell 2
Shots on Goal: Pens 16-Lowell 8
Final SOG tally: WBS 32-Lowell 15
Three Stars of the Game:
3. Stephen Gionta (Lowell)-third period goal, +1
2. Eric Tangradi (WBS)-third period goal, +1
1. Dustin Jeffrey (WBS)-game winning goal
Lane Caffaro (defense)-healthy
Wade Brookbnak (left wing)-concussion like symptoms
Jesse Boulerice (right wing)-stiff back
Ryan Bayda (left wing)-knee injury
Keven Veilleux (center)-shoulder surgery; likely done for the season
- Former Hershey Bear and Penguins nemesis Louis Robitaille made his return to the Wachovia Arena. Though taunted by the fans most of the game, he was barely noticeable on the ice with no penalty minutes, no points, and no shots.
- In the third period, Devils forward Tim Sestito left the game with a towel to his face. He did not return to the game and no penalty was called on the play.
- Penguins defenseman Jon D’Aversa was assigned to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL; likely for a rehab stint as he recovers from shoulder surgery. He is the second WBS player assigned to Wheeling for a presumed rehab stint, as forward Zach Sill is also with the Nailers right now after suffering a broken finger.
The WBS penalty kill, which has been exceptional all season. Although Lowell went one for six on the power play, the Penguins did not let the AHL’s top ranked power play unit take over the game.
WBS goaltender John Curry. Although Curry is still a solid candidate to back up Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh, he has had some struggles as of late. Curry cannot continue to give up early goals which could possibly dictate the pace of the game. Hopefully a win tonight has boosted his confidence after being pulled against Norfolk on Wednesday.