WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Coming off a three-game road trip and two consecutive losses, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were looking forward to renewing their rivalry against the Philadelphia Phantoms in the friendly confines of the Wachovia Arena.
When the game ended, the Penguins looked forward to getting back on the road.
The Phantoms scored two shorthanded goals on Wednesday night to beat the Penguins, 5-1, extending their losing streak to three games.
Head coach Dan Bylsma said he was looking forward to tonight’s game in Norfolk not so much for the trip to Virginia as much as a chance for the team to put Wednesday’s loss behind them.
“I’d like another chance to play tomorrow night,” Bylsma said. “That would be the quickest remedy. Playing hockey is the best chance for redemption.”
In the meantime, the Penguins had to stew over the loss while they practiced on Thanksgiving.
Philadelphia got on the board first when Jared Ross scored a shorthanded goal late in the first period.
That hurt. But the goal four minutes into the second period hurt even worse.
With his team on a power play, Penguins goaltender Adam Berkhoel skated behind his net to play the puck. When he left the crease, the puck took an odd bounce off the boards and shot out in front of the empty net where Darroll Powe slammed it home for the Phantoms second shorthanded goal.
“That strange bounce on the second shorthanded goal really deflated us,” Bylsma said. “We got off the page and never recovered.”
Philadelphia added another goal later in the period and two more in the third, including an empty net score, to keep the Penguins at bay.
Luca Caputi scored the only goal for the Penguins when we shot a Dustin Jeffrey pass through Scott Munroe’s legs 1:30 into the third period.
Although the two shorthanded goals actually put the game away, Bylsma said there were other factors that contributed to the loss.
“They (Philadelphia) had other opportunities, like second and third chances in our crease,” he said. “Right now we’re waiting to be a good team instead of playing hard-nose, gritty hockey. We need to bring a lunch pail mentality to the rink.”
That will have to come on the road, as the Penguins play a weekend series in Norfolk and then travel to Worcester for a game on Wednesday.
It will be the team’s third road trip of three games or more this season. Last weekend they finished a three-game trip through Minnesota, Toronto and Lake Erie.
“Coming off a long road trip we looked at this (Philadelphia) as a big game, and it was our worst game of the year,” said Penguins captain Dave Gove. “We didn’t execute our game plan at all. They showed up to play tonight and we laid an egg.”
Pittsburgh Penguins announced Thursday the team has recalled forward Janne Pesonen from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Pesonen, 26, made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh on Nov. 1 in a 6-3 victory over St. Louis. He has played 19 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, leading the team in assists (16) and ranking third with 21 points (five goals, 16 assists).
In the preseason with Pittsburgh, Pesonen scored two points in three appearances. The 5-11, 180-pound forward led the Finnish Elite League last season, recording 78 points (34 goals, 44 assists) in 56 games with the Oulu Karpat. He contributed 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) during the postseason, helping lead Karpat to its fifth league championship.
The native of Suomussalmi, Finland, was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the ninth round (269th overall) of the 2004 NHL draft. Pesonen signed with the Penguins as a free agent on July 7.
Penguins at Norfolk
7:15 p.m. today
Norfolk Scope Arena
Radio: WDMT 102.3 FM