Scranton Times Coverage:
Pens tame Tigers in overtime
By STEVE SEMBRAT
WILKES-BARRE TWP. - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's 2-1 overtime victory over
Bridgeport on Tuesday in front of a crowd of 8,355 at Wachovia Arena
The circumstances surrounding Kris Beech's game-winning goal 14
seconds into the five-minute, sudden-death extra period made the
triumph even sweeter.
What was sweetest about it all, though, was the effort the Penguins
put together coming off a disappointing weekend.
"What a team effort we got tonight," Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach
Michel Therrien said. "Everybody did their jobs. We took space away
from them. We deserved the win."
Bridgeport (22-5-5-2, 51 points) still owns the best record in the
American Hockey League. The Sound Tigers have lost just three times
in the past 27 games, with two of those losses coming against the
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (14-12-4-3, 35 points) snapped a two-game
winless streak in what has been an inconsistent season. The Penguins
have looked outstanding at times, mediocre at others, prompting a
players-only meeting the day after Sunday's lackluster 3-2 loss at
"We need to get ourselves in a position where we're not struggling to
get into the playoffs at the end of the season," Beech said. "We need
to put a string together. We need to look to play this way every
Beech scored the winning goal on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's first
offensive rush following the faceoff to start overtime. Beech skated
down the right wing board, into the circle and fired a shot at
Bridgeport goalie Rick DiPietro at the faceoff dot. DiPietro said the
puck deflected off the goalpost, hit his body and then trickled in.
Matt Murley and Ross Lupaschuk got assists on the winning goal.
"I shot because I saw Matt going to the net," Beech said.
Beech and DiPietro were involved in a controversial play with 4:06
left in regulation that gave Bridgeport its fourth and final power
play of the contest. DiPietro went behind the net to play the puck
and after he played it along the boards, Beech slightly bumped him.
Referee Gord Dwyer whistled Beech for goaltender interference, giving
the Sound Tigers the man advantage for two minutes.
"The penalty was unfortunate," Beech said. "I don't think it was
warranted. I was trying to get to the puck and he turned his back on
me. I wasn't trying to bump him."
Bridgeport, which had just 18 shots in the game, got just one on the
power play as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had little trouble in killing it
"I thought he was just trying to get the puck," Therrien said of the
penalty to Beech. "He didn't try to hit the goalie.
"(Beech) had to pray the guys on the penalty kill did their jobs, and
they did. We have been doing a lot better with the penalty kill
Bridgeport, though, had two great chances to win it in the final
seconds of regulation. Eric Manlow shoved a shot toward goal that
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Andy Chiodo stopped. The puck wound up
on the stick of Ryan Kraft, who was wide open in front, but Kraft
shot just wide just before the horn sounded to end regulation.
That forced overtime, where Beech had the last laugh on DiPietro,
playing his first game for Bridgeport after being assigned there by
the team's parent club, the New York Islanders.
"They are a tough team to play against," Therrien said of the Sound
Tigers, whose defense has played a total of 3,183 professional games,
including 555 in the National Hockey League. "They have one of the
best defense in the league. We knew we had to play tight defense and
work for our chances. We had to battle."
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton gave up just four shots on goal in the first
period, but one followed a defensive lapse as Bridgeport grabbed a 1-
0 lead. Sound Tigers forward Jeff Hamilton threw a pass out of the
right corner toward the front of the net, and the puck wound up on
the stick of Manlow, who was cruising unchecked toward the net.
Manlow fired a short shot past Chiodo at 5:34 of the first.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied the score on Shane Endicott's goal.
Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi flipped the puck out ahead to
Endicott, who fired a 30-foot wrist shot that DiPietro misplayed at
11:30 of the first period.
"I got a little tied up with myself," said DiPietro, who had played
just one game since Dec. 6 with the Islanders before asking to be
sent to Bridgeport to get some playing time. "I made a bad move."
After that, both goalies were sharp.
"Chiodo played well. DiPietro played well," Therrien said. "It was a
good Italian matchup."
Life's a Beech
By: Jonathan Bombulie , Citizens' Voice Sports Writer 12/31/2003
Angry about a penalty that was called against him late in regulation,
Kris Beech gained revenge the best way he knew how Tuesday night.
He scored the game-winner 14 seconds into overtime as the Wilkes-
Barre/Scranton Penguins defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-1 at
With four minutes left in the third period, Beech was called for
goalie interference after colliding with Rick DiPietro as the
Bridgeport goalie was playing the puck in the right-wing corner.
DiPietro, perhaps the most aggressive puck-handling goalie in all of
hockey, had been roaming all over the Bridgeport zone all night.
"He comes out of his net every time. I don't know what I'm supposed
to do in that situation," Beech said. "I'm trying to get to the puck
and he turns his back on me. I think it was unfortunate that it got a
penalty. I just wanted to bear down and get the winner."
The Penguins successfully killed the penalty, and Beech got the
winner just after the opening faceoff in overtime. He took a pass
from Ross Lupaschuk on the right wing and snapped a shot that banked
off the post, off DiPietro's skate and into the net.
"I just wanted to shoot it low. Maybe it goes in, maybe a rebound,"
Beech said. "It went in, so it turned out well."
Coupled with a 3-2 victory in Bridgeport on Dec. 17, the Penguins (14-
12-4-3) now own back-to-back wins over the Sound Tigers, who own the
American Hockey League's best record (22-5-5-2).
"What a team effort we got tonight," coach Michel Therrien
said. "Everybody did their job. We were tough to play against. We
took the space away. It was a great effort from everyone."
The Penguins fell behind early when Eric Manlow picked up the rebound
of a Jeff Hamilton shot from the right-wing corner and fired it past
Penguins goalie Andy Chiodo about five minutes into the game.
Falling behind against Bridgeport can be fatal - the Sound Tigers are
16-2-2-1 this season when scoring first - which is why Shane
Endicott's goal that tied the score 1-1 about six minutes later was
Rob Scuderi threw a long lob pass that Endicott hauled in near the
blue line. Endicott skated around defenseman Alan Letang and snapped
a shot between DiPietro's pads.
Goals, and even good scoring chances, were hard to come by after that.
"Their defense is probably one of the best in the league and they
have an NHL goalie out there," Therrien said. "We knew before the
game that we couldn't expect to score four or five goals. We knew we
had to play really tight defensively and work hard for our chances."
DiPietro, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft who was sent down
by New York Islanders on Monday for a two-game conditioning stint,
made 24 saves in his first AHL appearance of the year.
DiPietro has spent all but one game since Dec. 6 as Garth Snow's
backup with the Islanders and asked general manager Mike Milbury for
the demotion so he could stay sharp.
Chiodo, however, matched him every step of the way, turning back 17-
of-18 shots in the game.
"Both goalies played well," Therrien said. "DiPietro played well and
Chiodo played well. I guess it was a good Italian matchup."
Overtime bounce goes against Sound Tigers, DiPietro
By MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Rick DiPietro wanted work. The goalpost worked against him in
Kris Beech scored from a bad angle, banking a shot off the near post
and off DiPietro, to give the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a 2-1
win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Tuesday night at Wachovia Arena.
DiPietro, who asked the New York Islanders to send him to Bridgeport
Monday to keep him sharp, made 24 saves, including all 12 shots he
faced in a busy second period.
"I had a good pre-game skate (Tuesday). I felt pretty comfortable out
there," said DiPietro, the top pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, who
is also expected to play tonight at Binghamton, N.Y., against the
The Sound Tigers got the first goal but failed to generate much
offense, particularly on the power play.
DiPietro's trademark puckhandling skills, meanwhile, annoyed many of
the 8,355 fans, the Penguins 115th consecutive announced sellout. He
also drew a goalie interference penalty on Beech late in regulation,
coming out to play the puck behind the goal line.
"He was good. I thought he kept us in that second (period), where
they had some flurries," Bridgeport coach Greg Cronin said. "I'm sure
he'd like to have both goals back."
Shane Endicott scored the first goal from the left circle, moving
around Alan Letang on his forehand and snapping a shot that sneaked
through the goalie.
"The first one, I got a little tied up with myself. I made a bad
move," DiPietro said. "The second one, it just took a weird bounce
off the side of the post."
Beech's goal came just 14 seconds into overtime on a quick rush up
the right wing.
DiPietro, back in his familiar uniform No. 29, requested the brief
stay with the Sound Tigers after playing just one game
just 27 minutes of it, actually
since Dec. 6.
"I'm just trying to stay sharp," DiPietro said. "Snowy (Garth Snow)
has been really hot right now, and we're winning. That's great for
the team, and it's great for me. I just want to be ready in case I do
get the opportunity to go in."
He didn't face a lot of shots early Tuesday, just eight in the first
period. When Bridgeport's play improved in the third period, he faced
just five shots.
"You look at our team, look at our defense, we've got a good team,
good defense," DiPietro said. "They kept a lot of shots to the
outside. I was able to get comfortable."
Bridgeport dressed a six-man defense that has played 3,183
professional games combined. Except for exemptions, all six would
qualify as veterans under the AHL's roster rule.
Another veteran, Eric Manlow, scored his third goal in as many games
to open the scoring, popping in the rebound of a Jeff Hamilton shot
at 5:34 of the first period.
An abysmal 0-for-4 night on the power play killed the Sound Tigers'
offense. Bridgeport had few memorable chances, though a Rob Collins
shot hit the post.
"The power play was a joke, a disgrace," Cronin said. "It was a waste
of eight minutes. ... It lost the game for us."
With Kevin Colley sitting out with the virus that is going through
the team, Cole Jarrett and Jody Robinson both played fourth-line
Sound Tigers 3 STARS
KRIS BEECH, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON
Scored the game-winner from a bad angle.
ERIC MANLOW, BRIDGEPORT
Double-shifted all game and scored the Sound Tigers' goal.
SHANE ENDICOTT, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON
Tied it in the first period.
Jody Robinson had some good shifts on left wing in his first game at
forward since high school.
"I thought the third period was our best period (since Christmas). I
don't think they really generated much. ... After the second period,
I didn't think we deserved to be in a 1-1 game."
Bridgeport coach Greg Cronin
Tonight at Binghamton, 6:05 p.m.
PENGUINS 2 SOUND TIGERS 1
Bridgeport1 0 0 0
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton1 0 0 1
1, Bridgeport, Manlow 6 (Hamilton, Kraft), 5:34. 2, Wilkes-
Barre/Scranton, Endicott 9 (Scuderi, Ouellet), 11:30. Penalties
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench, served Sivek (too many men), 2:03;
Armstrong, WBS (hooking), 12:49.
No scoring. Penalties
Smith, Bpt (holding), :39; Beech, WBS (roughing), 5:02; Guite, Bpt
No scoring. Penalties
Hamilton, Bpt (hooking), 8:45; Butenschon, Bpt (roughing), 11:17;
Armstrong, WBS (roughing), 11:17; Beech, WBS (goaltender
3, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Beech 10 (Lupaschuk, Murley), :14. Penalties
Shots on goal
Bridgeport 4-7-7-0-18. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8-12-5-1
Power play opportunities
Bridgeport 0 of 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 0 of 3.
Bridgeport, DiPietro 0-1-0 (26 shots-24 saves). Wilkes-
Barre/Scranton, Chiodo 8-5-1 (18-17).
SOUND TIGERS GAME DAY
Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Binghamton Senators
Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, N.Y.
ON THE AIR
RECORDS THROUGH MONDAY
Bridgeport 22-5-5-1; Binghamton 14-13-3-2
Bridgeport leads 3-2.
The Senators won 2-0 at Binghamton Friday.
ABOUT THE SOUND TIGERS
Bridgeport played at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Tuesday night, its only
non-holiday Tuesday game of the season. ... The Sound Tigers lost 4-2
at Manitoba last New Year's Eve. ... Bridgeport and Binghamton,
division rivals, do not meet again until March. ... G Rick DiPietro,
down from the New York Islanders, was scheduled to make his
Bridgeport season debut Tuesday night and play tonight. ... RW Jeff
Hamilton led the league at 25-16-41, and he had a league-leading 25
goals, 13 power-play goals and nine game-winning goals.
ABOUT THE SENATORS
Binghamton had Tuesday off, a second day of rest after a 379-penalty-
minute brawlfest Sunday at Philadelphia. ... Parent Ottawa traded D
Wade Brookbank to Florida Monday. Brookbank has been property of four
organizations since October, with two stints with Ottawa. ... RW Josh
Langfeld and LW Denis Hamel are both 12-13-25 to lead the team. ... G
Ray Emery is 10-8-2 with a 2.18 GAA. Out of 17 teammates with more
games played, only seven have as many as or more than his 36 penalty
Saturday vs. Norfolk, 7:05 p.m.