3 games in 3 nights for the Baby Penguins and a lot of moves around to talk about. Josh Archibald was reassigned from the NHL Penguins on a conditioning assignment, which led to Freddie Tiffels going back down to Wheeling. The Penguins also recalled Casey DeSmith to play backup to Jarry, so WBS recalled Sean Maguire and signed Colin Stevens and Anthony Peters to PTOs. As for injuries, Sestito and Wilson both return from injury, with Kostopoulos, Josephs, Prow and Maguire all out.
Friday Night (12/1/2017)
Milwaukee Admirals (Home) – 5-4 OT Win
The 4 injured players are all out, as well as Spinozzi, Quinney, Burton and Summers. Daniel Sprong also takes a seat as a healthy scratch due to his ineffectual play over the last month. This is a pretty normal step for a lot of prospects, so let’s not read into things too much. Archibald’s return to WBS got off to a flying start with an assist to Wilson for an opening goal 2 and a half minutes into the game. Wilson kept up this performance, potting another 2 goals to complete a hattrick in the first period alone. This was an especially touching moment for Wilson who sadly lost his mother last week to breast cancer. With the game at 3-1 after the first, a less hectic 2nd ended 4-2 off the back of Josh Archibald short handed goal. However, WBS absorbed a lot of pressure in the 3rd, giving up 2 goals and forcing the game to overtime. As is now becoming a tradition, JS Dea ended overtime with an off wing snap shot over Saros’ glove to give the Penguins the 2 points.
Saturday Night (12/2/2017)
Rochester Americans (Home) – 5-2 Loss
Anthony Peters gets the nod in net for his first ever appearance for WBS and Summers jumps in for Bengtsson who gets the night off. Sprong also returns on the 4th line in place of Sestito. The Baby Penguins held their “Teddy Bear Toss” night and it couldn’t have been more fitting for Teddy Blueger to get the first goal of the game and trigger stuffed toys to rain from stands. However, this feel good moment was short lived as Rochester responded with 4 unanswered goals in the last 11 minutes of the 2nd period to take a 4-1 lead. While Blueger potted his 2nd goal late in the 3rd, it was too little too late as Rochester put in an empty netter to walk away as 5-2 winners.
Sunday Afternoon (12/3/2017)
Hershey Bears (Away) – 4-3 OT Loss
Summers drops back out for Bengtsson, while Simon picked up an injury blocking a shot so drops out, alongside Adam Johnson and Ryan Haggerty. This opens the door for Quinney, Burton and Sestito to come back in. Peters gets the nod for the 2nd night in a row. The Pens got off to a great start with Quinney potting a goal on an assist from Sprong and then Sprong scored from a Quinney feed to put WBS up by 2 and Sprong getting his first multi-point night since the 20th of October. Hershey pegged one back in the 2nd to enter the 3rd with the scored at 2-1 to WBS. Hershey then managed to put 2 past Peters in the Baby Penguins before Sestito added a goal from Archibald and forced the game into OT. While the Penguins lost in OT, they put up a solid effort to finish the weekend getting 3 of 6 available points with an inexperienced stable of goaltenders.
1) Daniel Sprong was the victim of a healthy scratch on Friday night, and rebounded on Sunday with a goal and an assist. One thing I will preach is not to be concerned with him taking a healthy scratch. The AHL is, fundamentally, a development league and roster depth is such that healthy scratches happen with a lot more regularity than they do in the NHL. Sprong taking a seat seems to have worked, and honestly, he deserved to sit for as ineffectual as he had been. He has always seemed to respond well to the Penguins direction for development despite his rumoured ‘attitudes issues’, so I suspect that he’ll be motivated to work on whatever the team suggested he need to improve.
2) Credit must be given to both Anthony Peters and Colin Stevens. Both guys came in and gave the Penguins an opportunity to win all 3 games on the weekend and put forth very solid performances. I suspect Maguire will be back sooner rather than later, and with Murray’s injury in Pittsburgh being a 2-4 week variety, DeSmith will be back before much damage is done, but Peters may earn himself a contract with the Penguins if he keeps up these performances.
3) I really don’t love Pedan as a prospect, nor as an every day AHL defender. He’s fine, but I’d love to see Bengtsson get away from him. Pedan takes a fair few penalties and doesn’t really have the puck skills to do a lot in the Penguins system. His lack of puck ability causes a lot of turnovers behind the WBS net and that’s never a good place to lose the puck. I suspect there was logic to Summers going out of the lineup over the weekend, but I just don’t think it should be so Pedan can stay in.