Penguins Walk and Skate Pass the Whale

Penguins Walk and Skate Pass the Whale

31 Mar 2012 | By Gerry Cantlon

HARTFORD,CT-The Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins scored three times in a two minutes and twelve second span in the first period to easily defeat the Connecticut Whale 3-0.

The Whale loss combined with Bridgeport's 6-2 thrashing of Springfield put the Sound Tigers ahead by two points (79 to 77) and two more wins for the Atlantic Division lead.

The Penguins went over over-under-sideways-down on the CT Whale building up a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game meeting little resistance from a shockingly passive and disorganized Whale team.

The first goal came on the powerplay as former Whale Jason Williams moved in backdoor all alone on the right wing taking a cross ice pass from Wethersfield native Colin MacDonald along the left wing boards at 6:49. It was Williams 11th of the season.

"We discussed it before the game, how they like to go right wing back door on the powerplay and we had a breakdown," remarked head coach Ken Gernander.

Then 24 seconds later the Penguins Nick Petersen outworked and stripped the puck from rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and then the Penguins Ben Street came off the right wing boards to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot that sailed over the glove of Whales starting goalie Chad Johnson for his 26th of the season at 7:23.

Then Penguins winger Brian Gibbons raced from the Penguins own zone after Kelsey Tessier had a near chance bounce over his stick.The went past two players and Gibbons crisscrossed from the right wing to the left wing in the Whale zone without being checked and made a short drop pass to defenseman Cody Wild who fired a snapshot past Johnson at 9:01 for his first goal of the season.

Exit Chad Johnson from net after 13 shots and three goals and in came Cam Talbot for just the third time in the last month.

"You expect on a play like that a player would be pressured in the neutral zone or at least be challenged coming into the zone, " said a clearly vexed Germander.

The Whale seemed highly disorganized barely able to put two passes together, unable to win one on one battles, retrieve loose pucks or provide adequate protection for their starting goalie.

"It wasn't a very good period. We were certaintly rested, we kept things light this week because its another three and three weekend," remarked Gernander.

To add insult they suffered an injury to rookie Andrew Yogan who got pasted on a clean hard hit by the Penguins Robert Bortuzzo in the Whale defensive zone that left the 6'4 rookie Yogan literally crawling to the bench with an apparent left knee injury and did not return to the game.

The ensuing faceoff former Wolf Pack Steve MacIntyre clipped defenseman Brendan Bell with a high stick getting a double minor that would allow the Whale a chance to get back in the game. The Whale managed no shots and a Tim Erixon holding penalty negated a portion of the powerplay.

The teams lack of discipline was evident when Andre Deveaux took a penalty behind the Penguins with the puck at center ice during a powerplay in the second period short circuiting a chance for the Whale to get back in the game.

Penguins goalie Scott Munroe did his best to stop the Whale efforts and allowed no rebounds or his defenseman cleared the puck away so no second or third opportunities could be had. Munroe stopped Andreas Thuresson off a right wing bid at 7:47 of the second period then Tim Erixon off the draw at 7:50 on his left point drive.Then at 13:57 stopped Ryan Bourque 20 foot wrist shot off a good pass from Jordan Owens to keep the Whale off the scoreboard.

Robert Bortuzzo was a physical force all game not only taking out Yogan, he nailed Marchessault in the first period and in the second sent winger Casey Wellman flying and losing his helmet on the left wing side in the Penguins defensive zone.

Cam Talbot did an admirable job in relief to keep the Penguins off the board stopping Philip Samuelsson rush in off the left point with a right pad save at 13:32 of the second period.

Samuelsson is the son of former Hartford Whaler defenseman and one time Hartford Wolf Pack assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson.

Notes: Whale winger Tommy Grant missed the game because of an illness and his status for tomorrow is unknown for tomorrow's game which could prompt a look to Greenville (ECHL) for a recall who lost 3-2 in South Carolina in the next to last regular season game before their playoffs begin…Whale defenseman Brendan Bell had 5 shots on goal and 15 in 2 games and no goals to show for it…. Yogan was seen after the game with a knee to ankle full leg brace Germander mentioned prior to his being seen that it was doubtful he would be able to play against Adirondack tomorrow night at 7pm at the XL Center.
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