Penguins Score Early And Often Against Monsters

February 2, 2019
Penguins Score Early And Often Against Monsters

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — If there were any doubts the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins offense would be fine without Teddy Blueger, they were quickly quelled on Friday night.

Within the first period, in fact.

Joseph Blandisi, Ethan Prow and Jean-Sebastien Dea all scored in a dominant opening frame for the Penguins, who rode the early big lead to an emphatic 7-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Mohegan Sun Arena. Sam Miletic had a four-point game, and six different players scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

“(Blandisi) buried that first one; he seems to bury one at the beginning of every game right now,” Miletic said. “Just get him the puck and he’ll put it in.”

The win completed a four-game sweep for the Penguins in the season series. Cleveland mustered only three goals over those contests.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was in control from the start, getting plenty of good looks against goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. Blandisi scored the first goal, settling the puck in front of the net and shooting over the shoulder of Kivlenieks at 7:00.

Shortly after, Prow sniped a shot from the high slot on the power play to double the lead. Dea scored the first of his two goals off a nice pass from Adam Johnson behind the net.

Dea also scored in the third with the Penguins on the man-advantage, moving him into a tie with Toby Petersen for fifth in team history with 72 career goals.

Blandisi’s goal was his third in as many games with the team, and Ryan Haggerty scored for the third straight game.

Miletic said it was an emphasis for the team to play well on home ice and also be on top of its game out of the all-star break.

“We want to make this place a hard place to play for other teams,” Miletic said. “I think it was a really great win tonight. Everyone contributed top to bottom, so it was a great team win.”

Cleveland’s only real push came to begin the second period, as Dan DeSalvo scored midway through the frame on the power play. Otherwise, Tristan Jarry made some key stops and finished with 33 saves for his 15th win.

The Penguins played the final period without defenseman Kevin Czuczman, who left after being hit following a whistle in the first period. Donatelli said he is probably day to day with a lower-body injury.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton may also be without Dea for tonight’s game against Bridgeport, as he received a game misconduct for leaving the bench during a testy exchange in the closing minutes and could be given a suspension. Jarrett Burton and Paul Bittner ended up fighting near center ice, and everyone else gathered between the two benches for plenty of shoves and jawing.

“It is what it is,” Dea said. “It was an emotional game. He just tripped Jarry behind the net, and sometimes you don’t think. You’re just too much in the game. Hopefully, I can play.”

Moments earlier, Joseph Cramarossa and Nathan Gerbe grappled behind the Cleveland net to end their nights.

Head coach Clark Donatelli said he would have liked the Penguins to stay away from those post-whistle shenanigans late but, overall, he liked the team’s effort and ability to simplify and get pucks on Kivlenieks.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also took a lot of minors throughout the game, but managed to kill six of seven Monsters power plays.

“We’ve got to be more disciplined,” Donatelli said. “We took a lot of lazy penalties, some sticking penalties in the O-zone. It didn’t hurt us tonight, but we can’t be playing like that going forward.”

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