Friday, December 17, 2010

AHL Game 30: WBS 5, Abbotsford 2

Beast of the East.Being from the Vancouver area, it's not often that the Abbotsford Heat head east to play teams like the Pens, and the teams often don't remember much about each other afterwards. But they should have plenty of film to take home this time because the Pens put on a Friday night clinic en route to a 5-2 victory. The Pens, energized by the return of their star center Dustin Jeffrey, offensively and defensively dominated the Heat for essentially the entire game.

Eric Tangradi continued his recent streak of superb play and put the Pens up 1-0 on a 2 on 1 pass from Joe Vitale. As usual, this early goal gave the Pens control of the game and allowed them to extend their lead at their own tempo. Joe Vitale would be rewarded for his nice pass leading to the Tangradi marker, and would get an opportunity of his own to score. He converted, and the Pens took a 2-0 lead into intermission.

Dustin Jeffrey then scored his 1st goal since returning from Pittsburgh, and he did it on the penalty kill. Jeffrey's 3-0 SH goal was essential the deathblow to Abbotsford, and although they did score a few to briefly make in interesting in the 3rd, they could never catch up.

Tangradi got the games 4th and his 2nd of the night when he tipped in a Wagner shot that shot straight up into the goal off ET's stick. Brett Sterling got Pens goal #5 when he fired one right after a faceoff to take everybody by surprise. Brad Theissen was a solid 30 for 32.

The game really started to get chippy in the 3rd, but then escalated almost out of control at the end. Chris Collins had for some reason become a favorite target for Abbotsford's goons and they took every opportunity possible to slap him around. Collins finally said enough was enough and dropped the gloves with John Rheault with 3 seconds remaining. The Pens' enforcers lined up at the end of the game to avenge their 5'8'' comrade, and both teams engaged in a shoving and jawing match as the final horn sounded. The scrum was eventually broken up, and I wouldn't expect any further discipline. Kevin Veilleux, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Lerg, and Ryan Craig also engaged in fights during various parts of the game.

Pens head to Syracuse tomorrow for their last game before a well-deserved holiday break. It would make the holidays that much sweeter if they can finish with an extra 2 points.

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