The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins began their week undefeated. They finished it 4-2 with the kind of loss you want to burn the tape after on Saturday night at home. After roaring out to a 2-0 lead over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms the wheels fell off in a game that ended 6-3 for the Visitors.
Anthony Peters’ early-season dominance has come to an end and in a game that saw the team come completely unglued in the second, it wasn’t even all his fault. Starting line-up looked like this:
One thing to note as we move on in the season is injuries. For all, we talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins getting injured a lot so do their AHL counterparts. Currently, Anthony Angello is day to day with a lower-body injury. Angello, who was a stand-out at both the team’s prospect tournament and NHL camp, is a blow to the team. Ryan Haggerty also hasn’t played recently. Both players are key members of the offense of the WBS Penguins so their losses would be tougher and tougher the longer they’re out.
Last Wednesday, Tristan Jarry played his first games since being injured in Pittsburgh’s camp. On Wednesday early his rebound control was noticeably off but he was also getting back into the groove. He settled in the longer the game went on. Honestly, the Wilkes-Barre team could have won on Wednesday if Hershey’s goalie Vaněček hadn’t stood on his head stopping 40 of 42 shots.
On Friday, it was Jarry again. The score seesawed back and forth before WBS ultimately pulled ahead for good, 5-4 with just 64 seconds left in regulation. However, that had more to do with the Penguins playing undisciplined and taking six penalties in the second and early part of the third period alone. Jarry faced Flyers goaltender of the future (again) Carter Hart. Both stopped 28 shots. Jarry saw 32 total and Hart saw 35.
Then Saturday at home, Wilkes-Barre came out strong. Sam Miletic scored twice early, becoming the first player this season to score multiple goals in a game, but then it was all Phantoms. As the game went along it felt like the Pens just came unglued. They were undisciplined and weren’t getting back. Perhaps it was the strain of their first set of three in four nights of the year. Who knows but the second half of that game they did not look like themselves.
This weekend they will play a home and home with the Hershey Bears opening up Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Expect Jarry Friday, it is his net after all. With the performance of Peters last Saturday I wonder if they may give third goalie Muse a shot on Saturday but I think they may also send Peters back out and give him a chance to have a rebound performance.
Zach Aston-Reese, Sam Miletic, and Sam Lafferty were together this past weekend and were really impressive. Lafferty and Miletic are two of the three (Angello being the third) players sitting just behind ZAR on the depth chart. Teddy Blueger also had a strong showing last Friday so they all are players to look for against Hershey this weekend. Finally, a veteran coach like Donatelli had to have used last weekend as a teaching moment. He had to have a talk with his players about the penalties. They took far too many last weekend and undisciplined play almost cost them their only win of the week. This team has shown early it is talented as long as it can keep itself together.
Standings after the week. It’s still so early the spread of games played is pretty wide.