Monday, March 8: Lehigh Valley 4 @ WBS 3 (OT)
The WBS Penguins were hoping to ride the wave of their six-goal comeback against Binghamton into what could be their final home game of the season in front of an empty arena Monday against Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms had other thoughts, as Brennan Saulnier scored his first of the season at 12:27 of the first. Former WBS captain Garrett Wilson, now with the Phantoms, made it 2-0 at 2:46 of the second, a goal which seemed to finally spark the Penguins to life.
Just 1:02 after Wilson’s goal, Tim Schaller scored his second of the season. WBS captain Josh Currie, finding himself back with WBS for this game following the seemingly infinite roster transactions of the Penguins, scored his third of the season at 10:48 of the second to tie the game.
The teams traded goals in the third, with Pascal Laberge’s second of the year at 13:07 matched by Schaller’s second of the game and third of the year at 15:47 of the third. The final shot went to the Phantoms in overtime, though, as Ryan Fitzgerald recorded his fourth of the year at 3:18 of the extra session to give the Phantoms the extra point.
The incessant roster shuffle left Shane Starrett in net for the Penguins, and he stopped 28 of 32 shots in the losing effort. Zane McIntyre stopped 32 of 35 for the win. Josh Currie added an assist, and Drew O’Connor got two assists, but it wasn’t enough for both points.
Tim Schaller tallied a pair of goals, and Josh Currie picked up a goal and an assist, but the Penguins dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Monday night.— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) March 9, 2021
Postgame highlights presented by @PALottery#PALottery #PennsylvaniaLottery pic.twitter.com/4t6Nveqh3j
Saturday, March 13; WBS 0 @ Syracuse 3
The Penguins’ only other game of the week took them back to the Upstate Medical University Arena in Syracuse for their third of six meetings with the Crunch. Despite outshooting the Crunch 37-22 over the course of the game, including 16-6 in the third period, WBS hit a wall named Samuel Montembeault. Montembeault stopped every single shot he faced for his first shutout of the season, and Syracuse got three goals within six minutes of the second period to take the 3-0 victory and stop WBS’s point streak at seven games. Daniel Walcott, Otto Somppi, and Ben Thomas recorded the goals.
For the Penguins, Emil Larmi returned to the net for his first start for WBS in a month, and he stopped 19 of 22 shots in the losing effort.
WBS finishes the week with 11 games played, roughly a third of their 32-game season complete. Through its opening 11, WBS has 5 wins, 3 losses, 2 overtime losses, and one shootout loss. That’s 13 points, tied with Utica and Rochester for third in the North Division by points. By tiebreakers, though, WBS’s points percentage of .591 lands them fifth. Lehigh Valley leads the way with 16 points in 11 games for .727, followed by Utica at .722, Hershey’s 16 points in 12 games for .667, and Rochester at .650.
WBS’s scoring leader at week’s end is Radim Zohorna, with 3 goals and 6 assists through 11 games. Nick Schilkey slots in second, with 2 and 6 in 11 games, followed by Jon Lizotte with 2 and 5. Jordy Bellerive still leads with 4 goals in a relatively slow scoring week, as 18 different players have scored goals for WBS this season. Defender Cam Lee also has six assists to tie for the team lead.
The WBS power play dropped back under 20% this week, converting 1 of 2 opportunities against Lehigh Valley but putting up a blank against Syracuse in six chances. The running tally for the power play is 9 conversions in 47 opportunities for 19.1%, good for 11th in the AHL. The penalty kill, meanwhile, enjoyed a perfect week by stopping a combined five chances against over two games. The kill percentage is up to 82.9%, conceding 7 in 41 chances for the 12th best kill in the league.
Coming up next for WBS is a very busy back half of March, with six games over the final 13 days starting Friday, March 19. Friday night, March 19, marks the return of paying customers to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for its anchor tenant, as WBS plays host to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Game time is set for 7:00 pm EDT. WBS will close its weekend with a Sunday afternoon return visit to Lehigh Valley, start time 3:05 pm EDT.
WBS will be prioritizing its season ticket holders for March’s three remaining home games, but individual tickets go on sale to the public Tuesday, March 16 at 10 am.