WILKES-BARRE TWP. – This wasn’t the way the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins wanted to finish the regular season.
And it’s certainly not the kind of streak they wanted to propel them into the playoffs.
With an offense that has suddenly become stagnant over the weekend, the Penguins dropped the final regular season game on Saturday 3-1 to the Manchester Monarchs, who scored three times in the third period.
The lone Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goal came on a Paul Thompson power play tally, and prior to that the Penguins were within two minutes of being shutout for the eighth time this season.
The loss follows Friday’s 4-2 defeat to Worcester, wrapping up a weekend in which the Penguins mustered only three goals after scoring 11 in the three previous contests. Instead of heading into the postseason on a winning note, the Penguins finish the regular season losing their last two contests.
But there is time for a turnaround.
“Every year at the end, you get into some situations where if you won the last two games you still have to refocus for the playoffs, smae if you lose the two games,” said head coach John Hynes. “It’s a new season starting now.”
With a Portland win on Saturday, the Penguins are one point ahead of the Pirates for fifth place in the conference. Portland wraps up its regular season today and can overtake the Penguins with a win. Hynes wasn’t worried about the possibility of dropping to the sixth seed.
“I think if you look at the top six teams they’re all fairly even post-lockout,” he said. “Whoever we face is going to be a difficult opponent and a tough series.”
Thompson’s goal came at 18:41 of the third period when he slammed home a rebound in front during the Penguins’ sixth power play of the night. The goal was Thompson’s 20th of the season – a career high, and cut Manchester’s lead in half.
After an uneventful two periods, Manchester struck quickly in the third when a cross-ice pass from Tyler Toffoli deflected off of Bobby Farnham’s skate to David Kolomatis, who placed a wrist shot past Brad Thiessen to give the Monarchs a 1-0 at the :31 mark.
At the midway point, with Jayson Megna in the box for hooking, Manchester connected during the power play chance with a shot in front by Andy Andreoff to make it 2-0.
The Penguins best chance of the night came during a third period power play when Alex Grant almost beat Manchester goaltender Martin Jones with a quick shot from the left faceoff circle.
Seconds after Thompson’s goal made it 2-1, Manchester scored with an empty net to ice the game, 3-1.
Brad Thiessen, who was making just his third start this month, stopped 17 of 19 shots on the night.
Not the finish - Every year at the end, you get into some sits if you won the two games you still have to refocus for the playoffs, asame if you lose the two games. It’s a new season starting now.
Seeding - Sixth - I think if you look at the top six teams their all fairly even post-lockout. Whoever we face is going to be a diff opponet, a tough series.
- Before the game the Penguins handed out the following season awards:
Media Award – Brad Thiessen
Star of the Year – Trevor Smith
Rookie of the Year – Beau Bennett
Community Service – Paul Thompson
Most valuable Defenseman – Dylan Reese
Most Improved Player – Philip Samuelsson
Herb Brooks Memorial Award – Warren Peters
Penguin Award – Joey Mormina
Fan Favorite – Joey Mormina
Leading Scorer – Chad Kolarik
MVP – Jeff Zatkoff
- G Scott Darling, D Peter Merth, C Chris Barton, D Reid McNeill, RW Christiaan Minella, LW Derek Nesbitt, LW Anton Zlobin, D Harrison Ruopp and RW Matia Marcantuori were scratched for the Penguins.
- Over the last four games the Penguins power play is 2-for-20.
Manchester 3 Penguins 1
Manchester 0 0 3 — 3
Penguins 0 0 x — 1
First Period: Scoring – None. Penalties – MCH, Kolomatis (holding) 5:54; WBS, Smith (boarding) 13:59.
Second Period: Scoring – None. Penalties – WBS, Grant (holding) 4:50; MCH, Weal (high-sticking) 5:55; MCH, LoVerde (roughing) 10:43; WBS, Thompson (roughing) 10:43; WBS, Thompson (cross-checking) 17:06; MCH, Kozun (unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:04.
Third Period: Scoring – 1. MCH, David Kolomatis 8 (Toffoli) :31. 2. MCH, Andy Andreoff 13 (Pearson, kolomatis) power play 9:53. 3. WBS, Paul Thompson 20 (Smith, Kolarik) power play 18:41. 4. MCH, Tanner Pearson unassisted, empty net 19:45. Penalties – MCH, Bodnarchuk (roughing) 1:17; WBS, Payerl (roughing) 1:17; WBS, Wild (cross-checking) 3:45; MCH, Meckler (hooking) 6:03; WBS, Megna (hooking) 9:10; MCH, Huxley (hooking) 12:35.
Shots on goal: Manchester – 10-5-5-20. Penguins – 10-11-16-37.
Power-play Opportunities: Manchester – 1 of 5. Penguins – 1 of 6.
Goaltenders: Manchester – Martin Jones 27-25-4 (36 saves – 37 shots)..Penguins – Brad Thiessen 16-12-2 (17-19).
Starters: Manchester – G Martin Jones, D Andrew Campbell, D David kolomatis, LW Tanner Pearson, C Linden Vey, RW Tyler Toffoli. Penguins – G Brad Thiessen, D Joey Mormina, D Philip Samuelsson, LW Bobby Farnham, C Zach Sill, RW Jayson Megna.
Three Stars: 1. MCH, David Kolomatis (goal, assist) 2. MCH, Martin Jones (36 saves) 3. WBS, Paul Thompson (power play goal)
Referee – Ryan Fraser, Jean Hebert. Linesmen – Kiel Murchison, Jud Ritter
Attendance – 8,151