HARTFORD, CT – Sports are strange. Some nights, you just don’t have it, and lose. Other nights, you blow the doors off the other team and you can’t catch a break. The latter was the case for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday evening.
Breakaways, power plays, shots from every conceivable angle. Nothing worked. Alexandar Georgiev made 43 saves for his first North American professional shutout, and Vince Pedrie scored the game-winner as the Wolf Pack earned an improbable 1-0 shutout at XL Center.
The Penguins came out flying in the first, and Hartford had their skates stuck in concrete. The Penguins entered the zone at will, putting 21 shots on Georgiev in the first 20 minutes. Hartford managed just three.
The Penguins spent large chunks of time in the Wolf Pack end, only to be turned away time and time again. Hartford, meanwhile, was happy enough to get the puck out of the zone long enough to get a change in personnel. Christian Thomas took a feed from Greg McKegg and unleashed a one-timer early in the period and Georgiev stopped it, and that ended up being an indicator of things to come.
The Penguins other great chance came with about eight minutes left when Adam Johnson came flying down the left wing and clanked Iron from the left circle.
Hartford tightened up the in the second, and it was a period that could have gone either way. McKegg was stopped on a wraparound just over five minutes and in, and Ryan Haggerty, the Penguins active leading scorer, was stopped on a breakaway one minute later.
Hartford’s Adam Chapie was stopped on a three on two minutes later, and the teams went to the locker room still scoreless.
If the Penguins’ dominated the first frame, and the second was equal, then Hartford owned the third. Although the shots were equal (seven apiece), The Wolf Pack did to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton exactly what they had done to them in the first. Taking up residence in the offensive zone, and controlling the puck for large chunks of the clock.
The Wolf Pack nearly took the lead two minutes into the period, but Anthony Peters was able to stop Brandon Crawley and Dawson Leedahl on a jam play at the front of the net.
With about three minutes left in regulation, Georgiev stopped Haggerty on the backhand as he came cutting through the slot. The game would go to overtime, and it became the Filip Chytil show.
Chytil was seemingly on the ice for the entire two and a half minutes, and after setting up a play in the neutral zone, Chytil drove the net and passed to Cole Schneider, who found Pedrie all alone in the left circle, and the puck dribbled through Peters’ pads and into the net.
Notes: For the weekend, Peters stopped 63 of 65 shots faced, a save percentage of .969 for two games. This was the second time this season the Penguins had 43 shots, the other game coming in October against Hartford, featuring a strong performance from Georgiev in what was a 3-2 shootout victory for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Three Stars: 3) WBS-Anthony Peters (21 Saves)
2) HFD-Alexandar Georgiev (43 Save Shutout)
1) HFD-Vince Pedrie (Overtime Game Winner)
Up Next: The Penguins travel to Hershey to face off with the Bears at 7:05 P.M.