The Penguins dressing room was uncharacteristically quiet after the win, as the team didn’t have its usual hip hop or EDM songs emanating throughout the lower-concourse corridors. But, that doesn’t mean the 4-1 victory over Hershey was any less important.
HCCD said he expected a little bit of rust post all-star break, and it showed early on when the Bears were controlling the puck more, active defensively with their sticks and took the lead.
But WBS rebounded and pulled away in third period as it has so often done. Andrey Pedan was definitely excited about his two-goal game, actually throwing his stick into the crowd in addition to a T-shirt following his star selection.
He even got a chance to brag about his fight off the opening draw afterward, but basically shrugged it off and said it was what it was. It’s a good all-business mentality the team seems to have going.
Two points for Daniel Sprong as well after his stop in Utica and 25 saves and a solid performance for Tristan Jarry.
It feels way too early to completely disregard Hershey from the playoff picture, but I think we’re very much nearing that point.
For as much jump as the Bears had to start, they pretty much tailed off after the first 10 minutes. There weren’t any prolonged scoring threats to note, and even Riley Barber’s goal had a fluky look to it despite the 2-on-1 rush.
The bears simply can’t score, and their best offensive weapon is about to head to South Korea. Copley and Vitek Vanecek have been good, but not great in net. I don’t see them recovering from their hole in last place and making a run at this point.
Are the Penguins now a little more banged up than they’d like to be? Probably so — but it’s not time to panic yet.
Ryan Haggerty left the game, but Donatelli didn’t make it sound too serious. Jarred Tinordi got a scratch because of illness, so he should be good to go soon. Tom Kostopoulos’ scratch was a surprise, but Donatelli also downplayed the severity there.
Zach Trotman’s injury sounds more long-term, however, and that’s a significant loss on the blue line. His slap shot is always a big threat on the power play, and he does bring a physical element to the game when he can.
But all it really means is guys like Ethan Prow and Kevin Spinozzi will likely get more ice time, and they’ve shown they can be serviceable at worst. Prow’s offensively ability is an added boost.
So is it ideal going into a game against Lehigh Valley? No, but it feels like the Pens have gotten through worse.
I won’t be at Saturday’s game, so follow fellow staff writer Matt Bufano for updates. Keep an eye out for this weekend’s Weekly page amid the Super Bowl onslaught as well.