Peter Mannino is happy with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins split in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals on the road in St. John’s.
But he wants more.
“We’re driving for a championship. We looked at those first two games and we want to improve individually and as a team,” the Penguins goalie said.
The Penguins earned the split against an IceCaps team that had only lost once at home this postseason. The fact that there’s room for improvement on the Penguins squad isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to winger Harry Zolnierczyk.
“To say that we have more to prove is a positive,” he said. “It’s on us to make sure that we find that extra spark and come through.”
Earning at least a split on the road is something the Penguins have done through three rounds now. They split the first two games in Binghamton in the opening round and won two of three in Providence.
At the very least, winning at least one on the road prevents their opponent from having the advantage when the series shifts back to Wilkes-Barre.
Still, head coach John Hynes said whether it’s at home or on the road, the Penguins are looking for one thing.
“Just win every game we play,” he said. “Every game is equally important no matter where it is.”
But that’s not to say home ice isn’t without it’s advantages. The Penguins will now benefit from home ice for the next three games and, by earning the split in St. John’s, they can wrap up the series with three wins at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“It’s in the back of our minds, but we can’t be thinking about the game after the next,” said Jayson Megna. “If you look too far ahead you can find yourself down in the series. We’re just looking at Wednesday night.”
• The Penguins held a short practice at Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday. Brian Gibbons and Tom Kostopoulos didn’t participate but Hynes said they will be ready to go for tonight’s Game 3.
• On the injury front, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew and Reid McNeill are all day-to-day. Nick Drazenovic and Dominik Uher have been ruled out for Game 3, Hynes said. Uher could return at some point during the series. Hynes also said some of the players who didn’t play in the first two games could dress for tonight’s contest.