WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Phantoms

Last Game Recap:

Five different players scored for the Penguins, and Wyatt Smith and Chris Conner both had three point nights, as the Penguins pulled out a 5-0 victory over the Hershey Bears. Smith, Dustin Jeffrey, and Conner scored in a span of 9:17 during the first period. Jeffrey’s goal came on a power play with Andrew Gordon in the box for hooking.

The second period was pretty quiet, but Jesse Boulerice put his second goal of the season behind Hershey goalie Braden Holtby with eight seconds remaining in the period. In the third, Joe Vitale set up Eric Tangradi for his 11th goal of the season; thereby making a Hershey comeback impossible. Brad Thiessen earned his first AHL shutout with 29 saves.

Smith had assists on Conner’s and Boulerice’s goals to wrap up his three point night; while Conner tallied helpers on Smith’s first period goal and teamed up with the Penguins captain on Boulerice’s goal in the final seconds of the middle frame.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Wyatt Smith (WBS): three points, +3
2. Chris Conner (WBS): three points, +3
1. Brad Thiessen (WBS): 29 saves, first career AHL shutout

WBS Scratches:
Jon D’Aversa
Alex Grant
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Ryan Bayda
Keven Veilleux

WBS Current Record: 25-26-1-1 (52 points; 4th place in East Division)

Next Matchup:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Adirondack Phantoms
When: Sunday February 14, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Glens Falls Civic Center (Glens Falls, NY)

Last Meeting Recap:
Despite Jason Ward forcing overtime with 2:48 left in regulation, WBS pulled away from the Phantoms with a 5-4 shootout win back on February 3rd. In the shootout, John Curry denied four out of five Phantoms shooters and goals from Mark Letestu and Wyatt Smith were enough for a Pens win.

WBS News and Notes:
John Curry was recalled to Pittsburgh prior to the game due to injury to backup goalie Brent Johnson. Adam Berkhoel was called up from Wheeling to backup Thiessen.

Before the game, Chris Conner was awarded the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Booster Club Player of the Month award.

Robert Bortuzzo returned to the lineup after missing four games with an arm injury.

Facts about last night's win:

With last night’s victory, the Penguins ended Hershey’s 11 game winning streak; giving the Bears their second loss in 2010 and their 10th loss all season.

This was also only the second time in the 2009-2010 season the Penguins have defeated the Bears. The first was a 6-4 home win on October 23.

This is the second time this year a Hershey/WBS matchup has ended in a 5-0 score. The first was a Bears win back on November 29 in Hershey.

About the Phantoms:

Since their last meeting with the Penguins, the Adirondack Phantoms are 2-2. Their last game was a 5-4 road loss to Portland last night. They are tied with the Penguins for 52 points in their division (the Penguins are in fourth by virtue of having one more win) with a .500 record of 24-24-2-2. Their power play still sits at last place in the AHL with a mere 11.8% success rate, while their penalty kill is more successful; an 83.4% rate for 11th in the AHL.

Phantoms to Watch:
Patrick Maroon has three points in his last two games. He is second on the Phantoms in scoring with 31 points on the season (8+23).

Mika Pyorala is in his first season in the AHL and already has five points in his first seven games with the Phantoms.

Ali’s Analysis:
Last night’s win was a great confidence booster. However, the Pens must get back to work since today’s game is just as important if they want to break a tie with the Phantoms and be alone in fourth place. Hopefully, the Penguins can combine their confidence from the Hershey game and their remaining energy from a late night bus ride to win three games in a row for the first time since December.

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