Game Summaries:

On Friday, January 23rd the Penguins took the ice in the Giant Center, looking to pull out a big win against their biggest rivals – the Hershey Bears. The Bears would tally first on a 1st period goal by forward Chris Bourque. Only 48 seconds into the second period, Chris Minard tallied one himself, on the power play. Hershey would prove to score two more goals in that period, putting them up 3-1.

Then out of nowhere, Bourque took a 5-minute inteference penalty, breaking Bill Thomas’ nose. The incident wasn’t shown on the broadcast, but from what I’ve read it was an elbow and/or cheap shot. This extended powerplay seemed to energize the Penguins team. Twenty-six seconds later, Jon D’Aversa and Luca Caputi set up the red hot center Mark Letestu.

The Pens would set up their powerplay again, in the early stages of the third period. Jeff Taffe fed Minard with a pass, who unleashed a rocket of a slap shot into the top shelf of the net past goaltender Michal Neuvirth. This was Minard’s 28th goal of the campaign. The Pens would prevail, 4-3. John Curry recorded the win, stopping 33 of 36 shots.

Janne Pesonen and Nick Johnson were actually both involved in their first career AHL fights.

(Nick Johnson vs. Jay Beagle)

(Janne Pesonen vs. Keith Aucoin)

That penalty would prove to be costly on Hershey’s part, because it cost them the game. Here’s what Thomas had to say afterwards,

“Right in the nose. He saw me. He did it on purpose. That’s fine. He hurt his team. We won. That’s all that matters.”

On the following night, the Pens traveled to Hartford to take on the struggling Wolfpack. But the Pens looked out of it at times, and let the opposing team lead in time on attack. The only bright spot of the night, is when Letestu scored his 13th goal of the season on a first period powerplay, making that 5 straight games with a goal for him. Dustin Jeffrey had the lone assist.

The Pens would take the loss, by a final score of 4-1. Goaltender Adam Berkhoel played a decent game in net, but hasn’t had a win since late December. He stopped 31 of 34.

Tune in tomorrow for final updates on how Minard, Taffe, and Ben Lovejoy performed in the AHL Skills Competition, and AHL All-Star Classic game.

The AHL All-Star game will be broadcasted live tonight at 7pm, on FSN Pittsburgh, TSN, and AHLLive.com.