As American Hockey League (AHL) teams approach the conclusion of the first quarter, or 19 out of 76 games played, both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (WBS) and Adirondack Phantoms are right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference.
The WBS Penguins have stormed out of the gate, winning their first six games of the season, and are currently 2nd place in the conference and 1st place in the East Division with a record of 10-3-0-2. The Phantoms got off to a slow start in 2013-14, but a 6-3-0-1 run in their last ten games has them just two points out of a playoff spot in the East.
Over the weekend, the Penguins got back to their winning ways, posting back-to-back victories over division rivals Syracuse Crunch and the Hershey Bears. The Pens jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period Friday night in Syracuse en route to a 5-3 victory. Crunch defenseman J.P. Cote acknowledged the slow start haunted the home team.
“Some of us weren’t really mentally prepared,” Cote said of his team following Friday night’s loss. “It’s not Crunch hockey. It’s not how we define ourselves. Everyone has to be ready.”
The Crunch battled back in the second and third periods but it was too little too late. While the chances between the teams were even, Cote was quick to point out quality over quantity was the case in Friday night’s game.
“The shots we gave them were way more dangerous than the chances we had,” Cote added.
The Penguins continued to press on Saturday night at home, and while they allowed the first goal of the contest, it was the only one they would allow all night. The Pens tallied three unanswered goals in a 3-1 win that gives them confidence moving forward into this week’s games.
The Phantoms, meanwhile, have been a streaky team in the 2013-14 season thus far. After an opening night win over Hershey, the Phantoms dropped six straight games before going on a six game win streak of their own.
Two losses this past weekend has the Phantoms trending down, but they have a chance for redemption this weekend when they rematch the Binghamton Senators, the team who handed them a 4-2 loss in their most recent game last Friday.
The Phantoms and Penguins will meet for the second of four times this season next Wednesday (11/27/13) on Thanksgiving Eve up in Glens Falls, New York.