WILKES-BARRE TWP. ‚??The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins added another facet to their penalty kill during Friday‚??s game against the Manchester Monarchs.
‚??There‚??s always an opportunity on the ice,‚?Ě said Trevor Smith, who scored a shorthanded goal on the night. ‚??There‚??s always a break you can get, it‚??s just a matter of picking your spots and knowing when to jump.‚?Ě
Smith and Zach Sill each picked their spots well and scored shorthanded goals while Jeff Zatkoff stopped 21 of 22 shots to lead the Penguins to a 4-1 win over Manchester. The win improves the Penguins to 22-18-2-1 and puts them three points ahead of fourth place Hershey in the East Division.
Zatkoff, who spent the last three seasons with Manchester, blanked his former team 3-0 in the first meeting on Nov. 2. On Friday he came close to doing it again, keeping his former team off the board until late in the third period.
‚??They were very similar performances,‚?Ě coach John Hynes said. ‚??The first 10 minutes tonight Manchester came at us hard and he stood tall for us. That allowed us to get going.‚?Ě
While Zatkoff played like a wall in net, the Penguins penalty kill generated offense at the other end.
After Joe Morrow‚??s wrist shot at 9:06 of the second period gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead, the penalty kill made it 2-0 late in the period.
With Brian Gibbons in the box for tripping, Smith forced the puck deep in the Manchester end and forced a turnover on Monarch defenseman Nick Deslauriers behind the net. Smith skated out to the corner and flipped a backhander on Manchester goaltender Peter Mannino, who made the save. Smith picked up the rebound and quickly shot the puck behind Mannino before he could recover for the Penguins first shorthanded goal of the night and a 2-0 lead.
‚??I felt I was pretty close. I didn‚??t thing (Deslauriers) was going to wheel out and skate with it. I thought he was going to go back and I think he flubbed it a little bit,‚?Ě Smith said. ‚??I just stopped on it and was lucky no one was around me.‚?Ě
The goal was Smith‚??s 12th of the season and would turn out to be the game-winner.
Early in the third period, Sill followed Smith‚??s lead when he forced a turnover inside the blueline during a Manchester power play. Sill quickly raced into the offensive zone with two Monarchs trailing and ripped a wrister into the wide side for a 3-0 lead.
Riley Holzapfel made it 4-0 when he put home a rebound from an Adam Payerl shot. The goal was Holzapfel‚??s 14th, which is tied with Paul Thompson for second on the team.
En route to his 14th win on the season, Zatkoff‚??s only hiccup came with eight minutes left when he allowed a goal to Manchester‚??s Vincent LoVerde.
‚??Our goaltending has been good and we haven‚??t allowed a lot of scoring chances,‚?Ě Hynes said.
‚??The nice thing about tonight is (Zatkoff) really saw the puck well through traffic.‚?Ě
‚?Ę D Cody Wild, D Mark Eaton, LW Beau Bennett (injury), C Tom Kuhnhackl (injury), RW Paul Thompson (injury), C Phil Dupuis (injury) and LW Steve MacIntyre were scratched for the Penguins.
‚?Ę Wilkes-Barre/Scranton signed forward Chris Barton to a professional tryout agreement on Friday. It is the second PTO for Barton this season.
‚?Ę Brad Thiessen was named the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for January. In seven appearances during the month, Thiessen was 5-2-0 with a 1.36 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and three shutouts for the Penguins.
‚?Ę The Penguins have given up just 11 goals in their last eight games and are 7-1 during the span.
‚?Ę The Penguins host Adirondack at 7:05 p.m. today.
First period: Scoring ‚?? None. Penalties ‚?? MCH, Deslauriers (cross-checking) 1:27; WBS, Barton (interference) 4:30; WBS, Barton (holding) 15:11; MCH, Campbell (interference) 17:50.
Second Period: Scoring ‚?? 1. WBS, Joseph Morrow 2 (Reese, Payerl) 9:01. 2. WBS, Trevor Smith 12 unassisted shorthanded 18:43. Penalties ‚?? MCH, Kozun (holding) 6:59; WBS, Mormina (interference) 9:52; WBS, Gibbons (tripping) 17:41.
Third Period: Scoring ‚?? 3. WBS, Sill 2 unassisted shorthanded 1:32. 4. WBS, Riley Holzapfel 14 (Payerl, Kostopoulos) 11:29; 5. MCH, Vincent LoVerde 1 (Huxley, Clich√©) 12:04. Penalties ‚?? WBS, Holzapfel (tripping) 1:03; MCH, Czarnik (roughing) 9:06; WBS, Barton (goaltender interference) 9:06; MCH, Vey (tripping) 12:42
Shots on goal: Manchester ‚?? 5-6-11-22 Penguins ‚?? 4-8-9-21
Power-play Opportunities: Manchester ‚?? 0 of 4 Penguins ‚?? 0 of 4
Goaltenders: Manchester ‚?? Peter Mannino 11-15-2 (17 saves ‚?? 21 shots) Penguins ‚?? Jeff Zatkoff 14-12-0 (21-22)
Starters: Manchester ‚?? G Peter Mannino, D Vincent LoVerde, D Chris Huxley, LW Brandon Kozun, C Andrei Loktionov, RW Anthony Stewart Penguins ‚?? G Jeff Zatkoff, D Joey Mormina, D Alex Grant, LW Adam Payerl, C Zach Sill, RW Tom Kostopoulos
Three Stars: 1. WBS, Trevor Smith (game-winning goal, shorthanded) 2. WBS, Zach Sill (shorthanded goal) 3. WBS, Joseph Morrow (goal)
Referee ‚?? Jon McIsaac. Linesmen ‚?? Leo Boylan, Jud Ritter
Attendance ‚?? 4,824