As I write this, both the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and the Charlotte Checkers are preparing to travel for game six, which has a scheduled puck drop of 7:05 pm tomorrow (today? I guess it is after midnight…). The teams are flying to Pennsylvania, and one team is celebrating a win, but still on the brink of elimination, and the other team regrouping after a disappointing loss.
I think I lost more than a few brain cells during the game thanks to the cowbells, and I know I probably lost some hearing. I believe Mike McKenzie said it best on twitter with the following statement, “As a player these are the games you don’t wasn’t to be scratched for: Cow bell giveaway night.” I swear, my head is still fuzzy and the game ended hours ago!
Is there a ringing in my ears? What did you say? I can’t hear anything… My ears are ringing.
The fans were amazing for the most part. Over 6800 turned out tonight, including more than 1000 who bought their tickets TODAY. They were so loud (even without the cowbells!). I must put a negative shout out to those who abused their cowbells, and the mom in my section who thrust her rather unnaturally perky rack against the glass for the last two periods while banging on it non stop, especially at inappropriate moments. I HATE GLASS BANGERS! I was going to take a picture of her, but I’m here to lift up the team and it’s fans, not to break them down.
Wait… What is that ringing sound?
I’m not sure where to begin when actually talking about the game. I guess I should start by mentioning the fact that the Checkers missed about a million empty net chances, and until the third period, were unable to control the puck enough to keep it in the offensive end.
I’m sorry, did you say something? I can’t hear you… all I can hear is cowbell… what? Type louder? OK, I’ll try… right… actual game content!
- Mike Murphy was phenomenal in net once again, stopping all but one of the 33 shots that were sent his way.
- The Penguins have figured out the only way to score is to crash the net time and time again, nearly slicing Murphy’s hands off with their skates and sticks, and eventually, a puck will go in (as it did tonight, finally).
- The Checkers have GOT to figure out how to keep the Penguins out of our crease, and away from our goaltender. I swear, I feared for Murph’s safety on a few plays, especially the one that left him helmet-less, sprawled out and protecting the goal.
- For all three of our home games, the Checkers had the same pair of linesmen, MikeSheehan and Alex Stagnone . I question this decision by the AHL schedulers. Calls were made from opposite ends of the ice, which to me is ALWAYS questionable, because if you are on the opposite blue line, how can you blow the whistle for a play going on behind the net, with two officials only a few feet away from the action? This happened more than once, and it’s frustrating. I also think that there can be a tendency for officials to have a hard time separating one game from the next, and it proves to be an unequal playing field when we have the same guys for three games straight making the calls.
We only had six in the first, and THREE shots on goal in the second period. THREE. Some of this, I credit to Wilkes-Barre’s amazing ability to block shots (something we clearly lack) but I also blame the fact that we were unable to control the play, and spend ANY time in the offensive zone.
- Why couldn’t the Checkers play in the first two periods the way they did in the last ten minutes of the game???? I was SO WORRIED about false confidence, and I think that was a huge thing tonight.
- Nicolas Blanchard impressed me a great deal tonight with his speed and aggressiveness!
- After the Penguins finally got a goal in the third period, the game changed. The Checkers became frantic, and FINALLY found a way to equal the shots on goal. But nothing was good enough. We missed a lot of nearly empty net opportunities and rebounds, and hit the post a number of times (though honestly, that noise reminds me of cowbells, and it was hard to differentiate…).
- Mike Murphy was pulled with a little more than a minute to go in the third to allow for an extra attacker. Unfortunately, the Checkers really had no chance to take advantage of a sixth attacker, because they had to become goaltenders and guard the empty net since the Penguins kept trying to make breakaways.
- Michal Jordan continues to be my favorite defensively responsible defenseman. While I know he was a -1 tonight, he is consistently one of our best guys out there, and I don’t get so nervous when he’s on the ice.