A game on Friday night then a game on Sunday evening for the Baby Pens. Some more transactions occurred from Wednesday. Simon heads up to Pittsburgh, with McKegg coming back down. Burton was also assigned to Wheeling. Archibald remains with WBS for a little bit longer. Kostopoulos remains injured.
Friday Night (12/8/2017)
Charlotte Checkers (Home) – 2-1 Loss
Spionzzi, McGrath, Thomas and Johnson get scratched alongside the still injured Kostopoulos. McKegg slides in between Sprong and Wilson and Zach Aston-Reese gets promoted into Simon’s spot, with Maguire getting the start in net. The Penguins ended the first period giving up 14 shots and only registering 4. At even strength, the play was pretty even, but the Penguins gave up 3 powerplay opportunites and had their own popwerplay opportunity that, unsurprisingly, resulted in very little. Stick tap to Maguire for keeping the game even. The 2nd period continued with much of the same, with Charlotte getting another 4 powerplay opportunities, one of which results in a powerplay goal for Poturlaski for the Checkers, who had also assisted on another Charlotte goal, ending the 2nd period 2-0 to Charlotte. To start the 3rd period, the Penguins finally added a goal on the powerplay after a hooking penality through Daniel Sprong ripping a one timer straight off the faceoff win from JS Dea.WBS carried most of the play for the 3rd period, and were building towards an equalizing goal. This was until an incredibly questionable charging call with 3:30 left on Ryan Haggerty who was chasing down a loose puck and collided with Jeremy Smith, the Checkers goalie who had come out past the hashmarks to try and collect the puck. Archibald and McKegg tried their best to generate shorthanded, getting a good rebound opportunity just chipped wide. Before they could pick up steam, another questionable call on Archibald for unsportsmanlike conduct put the Pens shorthanded once more and the game ends 2-1 to Charlotte.
Sunday Evening (12/10/2017)
Hershey Bears (Away) – 4-1 Win
Two roster transactions to discuss. Corrado comes back down as Czuczman goes up to Pittsburgh. Also, Ethan Prow is recalled to WBS, who gets in straight away in place of Bengtsson, with Spionzzi getting in ahead of Tinordi. Quinney and Haggerty are out from Friday, replaced by Thomas and McGrath. The Baby Penguins have been plagued by bad starts, but not in this game, as Hershey turned the puck over with little pressure on the forecheck, dribbling the puck into the slot and right to Christian Thomas who ripped it first time to put WBS up 1-0 7 minutes into the game. Hershey handed another opportunity to WBS by having captain Garret Wilson take an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty debating a slashing call to put the game at 5 on 3, in which Sprong converted with a one timer from Prow to make it 2-0 Wilkes-Barre. Not long after the expiration of 3 straight powerplays for WBS, Hershey once again handed the Penguins a great opportunity as Siegenthaler threw the puck over in front of his own net under pressure from Sestito and DiPauli chipped in the unintentional feed for a 3-0 lead. Hershey did manage to claw back a goal with 18 seconds left in the first period to send us to intermission tied 3-1. The 2nd period was mostly uneventful outside of a quick scrum where Sprong once again got himself into the middle of it. In the third, Hershey once again get themselves into penalty trouble, resulting in another 5 on 3 which this time Trotman slams home a one timer from the blueline and the center of the zone to make the score 4-1 WBS with 9 minutes left. This is how the game ended, with WBS doing a great job of limiting a normally potent Hershey offense to only 19 shots in the entire game.
1) Daniel Sprong continued to rebound from his healthy scratch, scoring 2 goals and 1 assist over the weekend and showing a more physical edge than previously seen, getting involved in a scrum that he started against Charlotte and one against Hershey where he came in and ripped Tyler Grovac’s helmet off. He also threw a number of big hits in these games, including a hip check against Charlotte where he flipped a Checkers forward trying to score on the empty net. This is the Sprong the NHL Penguins want to see, and if he keeps up this level of engagement, his call up won’t be too far away.
2) I’m somewhat of a pessimist when it comes to prospects, and that comes with being wrong a lot of the time. With Sean Maguire, it seems I’m very wrong. He appeared in all 3 games this week (including 1 in relief of Peters on Wednesday) and turned in a .937% and a 1.60 GAA including an absurd 4 save sequence against Charlotte:
Not one, not two, not three… but FOUR saves in a row for Sean Maguire. pic.twitter.com/EA81pp0FMN
— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) December 9, 2017
3) WBS turned in a great performance against Hershey with a strong first period and it’s just what the doctor ordered. After a great early season where they went 12-2-1, they hit a skid of 1-5-1 where they were plagued by awful starts, terrible discipline and inconsistent effort. The game against Hershey showed exactly what the Baby Penguins are capable of, being fast on the forecheck and causing nightmares for the Bears’ defenders trying to move the puck. This could be a huge result for them, as they try to remind themselves of what they’re capable of.