By Jae (@TheDeathmaster)
Before I get down to business, I first have to apologize for not posting a Game Preview for tonight’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs Syracuse Crunch match up. Yesterday morning I had a small incident with a slicer, and ended up losing a little bit of one of my fingers. Typing yesterday would have been a little difficult, but now I am ready to go. So, let’s get down to business!
The Lead Up
As we all know by now, some serious transactions happened yesterday concerning the Goaltending Situation in Pittsburgh. It was reported that G Brent Johnson “tweaked” something in his upper body that is now preventing him from participating in practices and games. @Shawn_Rine first broke the news that G Patrick Killeen was making his way from Wheeling to Wilkes-Barre and, from the sounds of things, Killeen wasn’t going to come back to Wheeling for awhile. This immediately started the rumor mill since nothing had been officially released yet from the HQ of Ray Shero. It was later reported by both Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Pittsburgh that G Brad Thiessen was recalled from WBS and would be playing backup to G Marc-Andre Fluery in today’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
AHL in the NHL: Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay
G Brad Thiessen played backup goalie like a boss and he made it look awesome! He rocked that empty spot on the bench like a champ! That is all.
I’m not sure when it occurred today (pre or post game), but it was reported that Johnson’s injury has been something the team has been dealing with for sometime now and it isn’t new news, per Dan Bylsma. It sounds like they plan to try and play Thiessen as much as possible to prepare him for a longer stay in the NHL. They also planned to give him the start during tomorrow’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Never assume I have more information than everyone else, this is just the way that it appears to me.
Penguins vs Crunch
Antero Niittymaki stole the show tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena for a 2-1 Syracuse victory making 35 of 36 saves. The game was relatively quiet until the Second Period when Penguins goaltender Scott Munroe made a lunging save and injured himself in the process. Munroe went to the locker room leaving recent ECHL Wheeling Nailers call-up, Patrick Killeen, to man the helm. The scoring began with Dan Sexton (Smaby) in which Killeen had no chance of stopping. Many felt that there isn’t a goalie in the entire AHL that could have stopped that shot. Wilkes-Barre’s own Ryan Craig then collected his 7th goal of the season and tied the game. Not to have their thunder silenced, Patrick Maroon snipped a rocket from the right circle with only 7.5 seconds to push Syracuse past the Pens 2-1 at the end of the Second Period. The 3rd Period was very reminiscent of the 1st and resulted in the Pens being thwarted in the scoring department. Penguins announcer Tom Grace commented on a lot of missed penalty calls by referee Ryan Fraser, but no matter, the Pens failed to cash in and left Killeen out to dry.
3.) SYR – D. Sexton 2.) WBS – R. Craig .1 )SYR – A. Niittymaki
Tonight’s final thought is this is brought to us by @nafsnep: Perhaps WBS signs an ECHL goalie from Trenton, Elmira, Reading or Cincy tomorrow to a PTO (Professional Tryout Contract). There aren’t any nearby CHL teams to offer an emergency Goaltender to Wilkes-Barre if Scott Munroe isn’t available to play tomorrow against Norfolk. PTO contracts usually consist of a 1-10 game trial period in which the player tries to earn his place among the team. If the player is to play more than 10 Games, the team has to offer that player a major contract or send them back to their original team. The perfect example of this is Pittsburgh’s’ prospect Joe Marrow. He wasn’t offered a major contract after the Pre-Season, so was sent back to the Portland Winterhawks. I guess we will find out tomorrow what happens.
WBS vs NOR ( Sunday, 3:05PM @ Mohegan Sun Arena)
The only real thing you need to know about this game is that Norfolk is in 1st Place of the Eastern Division by 2 Points. Wilke-Barre needs to come back with a solid victory to tie Norfolk back up for 1st Place of the Division.
I unfortunately will be at work tomorrow during the game, follow me on Twitter for game updates!
Thanks for reading!