The Penguins battled back in a whacky Friday night game in Rochester, but eventually won 5-4 and moved to 9-0 on the season, tying their team record for most consecutive wins to start a season. They have a chance to tie the AHL record held by the Rochester Americans at 11 straight wins if they win tomorrow night at home against Syracuse and come back to Rochester and beat the Amerks again on Sunday night. We shall see after the weekend is over. More after the jump.
Brett Sterling - Dustin Jeffrey - Tim Wallace
Chris Conner - Ryan Craig - Nick Johnson
Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Chris Collins
Geoff Walker - Zach Sill - Jesse Boulerice
Steve Wagner - Andrew Hutchinson
Brian Strait - Robert Bortuzzo
Carl Sneep - Joey Mormina
Lineup Notes, & Stats
- The best news for the WBS Pens is that Brett Sterling played his first game since suffering an injury in the team's first road trip of the year to Charlotte back in October. He looked great tonight scored a goal and had 4 shots.
- Thiessen got start in goal tonight. Should see Curry tomorrow at home against Syracuse.
- Corey Potter did not play tonight and was scratched. He apparently tweaked something in the morning skate and could not play. Mormina took his place in the lineup on defense.
- Tonight is Carl Sneep's birthday. He didn't get on the score sheet but played solid defense and ended up a plus two.
- The Pens started their second line tonight who has been on fire lately Conner - Craig - Johnson with Wagner - Hutchinson on defense.
- Bryan Lerg, Ryan Schnell and Keven Veilleux were the forward scratches so I was almost right on with the lineups tonight.
After a strong offensive zone shift the Pens were a little tired and gave up a quick outlet 2 on 1 chance. Rochester's Ryan Del Monte buried one past Thiessen at the 5:37 mark of the first period. Thiessen had made a couple of good saves earlier in the period but the Pens were caught after a long shift.
That's when it seemed all hell broke loose. Chris Collins took two penalties almost back to back and Brett Sterling was whistled for two minutes in the middle of Collins penalties. The Americans made no mistake about it and buried two power play goals to take a 3-0 lead less than halfway through the first period. The Blue Cross Arena and its 5,000 plus fans were loud and proud of their team after the quick start
But Collins would later make up for his miscues and get the Pens on the board on a nice pass from Tangradi. On E.T's next shift he let out a clean hard hit and was forced into a fight after Michael Duco took exception to the hit Tangradi put on his teammate.
The Pens got a power play out of that scrum and Brett Sterling got his second goal of the season in his first game back since the team's road trip to Charlotte.
The first period was very inconsistent for both teams, with Rochester dominating play early and the Pens finishing the period strong.
After the first period it was easy to see that these two teams are building a dislike for each other due to the fact that Rochester holds the AHL record for most wins to start a season. The Americans definitely recognized that and both teams played physical hockey.
Things got real ugly early in the second period at the 3:50 mark. It was highlighted by Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante, who left his crease to trip up Penguin tough guy Jesse Boulerice. Plante was given seven minutes in penalties and a power play was awarded to the Pens.
Conner's great individual effort tied the game at three midway through the second period. Conner split he defense with a toe drag and went five-hole on the goaltender Plante. There was a delay after the game tying goal in the second period due to a Rochester player slamming and breaking the glass in frustration after the goal.
The Pens were rejuvenated after two periods, getting back into the game after being down 3-0. The Pens just took over right where they left off in the third period. Jeffrey stole a puck shorthanded and walked in all alone and scored to give the Pens a 4-3 lead. That was early in the final frame. About 12 minutes later Tim Wallace would add an insurance goal and give the Pens a 5-3 lead.
Rochester would make it interesting with less than three minutes left to play, but could never get back to tie it after having a 3-0 lead on the Pens early in the first.
So there you have it. The Pens tied their team record for best start to a season at 9-0. They travel back home by bus tonight to play Syracuse tomorrow night before getting back on the bus for another meeting in Rochester Sunday evening.