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Pens-Leafs Prospect Game Blog

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

0:00: Dustin Jeffrey's late goal gives the Penguins a 2-1 victory and raises their rookie tournament record to 2-0. Geoff Walker had a goal and an assist while Brad Thiessen made 23 saves. Pittsburgh concludes tournament play on Tuesday with a 2 p.m. tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Overtime was looming but Dustin Jeffrey had other ideas, scoring to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Geoff Walker's pass from the far corner off a two-on-two rush deflected off Jeffrey and a Leaf defender. Jeffrey stayed with the play and tossed a shot over Scrivens to give the Penguins the lead. Eric Tangradi picked up the second assist. Penguins 2, Maple Leafs. 1

After a chippy second period that featured a trio of fights, things have quieted down here in the third period and these two teams have played a very entertaining period of hockey. Pittsburgh has come close to taking the lead on more than a handful of occasions , but Ben Scrivens has really slammed the door in the Toronto crease.

Unfortunately for the Penguins the referee was right behind the net as a Bortuzzo shot from the slot was stopped by Scrivens, deflects up in the air and lands right on the goal line. The ref said the puck was cleared before it went the whole way across the line. At the opposite end, Thiessen goes post to post to make a left-pad stop on Sam Carrick, who sneaked behind the defense.

8:12: You had to figure it would come at some point - and it's no surprise it came following a great job by Sill to fill a void at the right point for a pinching Bortuzzo - but Toronto is actually called for a penalty. Jesse Blacker is called for hooking.

Toronto's Dave Cowan (75, right) played his college hockey at Robert Morris University.

It's amazing that the Penguins hold a 24-18 shots advantage here because they are now killing their sixth penalty of the game after a hooking call to Nick Peterson.

You have to love the reach and skating ability of Robert Bortuzzo. One of the Leafs just had the inside track on him and Bortuzzo simply sneaked his stick in and ended that scoring threat. Another nice piece the Penguins have in their system.

No surprise here, another penalty. This time it's Haddad going back into the box for hooking.

We have a good finish brewing here at the John Labatt Centre as the Penguins and Maple Leafs are tied at 1-1.


All the fights and penalties during the second period left things a bit crowded in both team's respective penalty boxes.

We are deadlocked, 1-1, after two periods in London Ontario. Pittsburgh's Geoff Walker had the only tally of the middle frame. Shots on goal are 23-18 in favor of the Penguins.

When you have killed off four power plays like the Penguins have tonight, guys usually have to pay a price and your goaltender has to makes some big saves. The Penguins got that on the last kill as Sill and Brian Strait each gave up their bodies to stand in front of shots while Thiessen make a good stop on a slap shot from the right point.

If there's one area the Penguins are getting a lot of work it's on the penalty kill. Robert Bortuzzo just picked up a boarding call, putting the Leafs on their fourth power play.


Andrew Crescenzi knocked the Penguins Tom Kuehnhackl into the Toronto net after the latter nearly wrapped the puck behind Scrivens. Eric Tangradi took exception, quickly jumping Crescenzi and challenging him to a fight. Good to see a veteran standing up for a young guy like that.

Casey Pierro-Zabotel takes a feed from Peters and draws a hooking penalty on Toronto's Marc-Andre Dorion as he moved in on Scrivens. This is the Penguins' first power play of the evening.

Geoff Walker and Reid McNeill continue to make names for themselves here in London. Walker just showed some nice hands as he deposited the rebound of McNeill's wrist shot from the left point behind Scrivens to knot the score. Taylor Peters picked up the second helper. Penguins 1, Maple Leafs 1.

Sill and Liambas also picked up minor penalties - Sill for boarding and Liambas for for instigating.

The Zach Sill legend continues to grow as he drops the gloves in a spirited fight with Toronto's Mike Liambas in front of the Pittsburgh bench. The fans here at the John Labatt Centre are liking this Old Time Hockey.

Brad Thiessen stones Brayden Irwin twice from point-blank range and the Penguins are able to kill off a 1:48 two-man advantage and the major penalty to Schnell. The Penguins have killed off nine of 10 opponent power play through two games.


This game is definitely turning a little chippy in a hurry. Geoff Walker crashed into Scrivens as he took the puck to the net, drawing an interference penalty in the process. Alex Jackson quickly jumps on top of Walker, with each getting roughing calls. The Leafs have a 1:48 two-man advantage.

Schnell has been given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his hit on Cowan. Schnell also received a five-minute fighting major for squaring off against a Maple Leaf who isn't on the roster they past out here tonight. The Leafs were given an instigator for the fight, so we are skating four-on-four. Taylor Peters is serving the Pittsburgh major.

I was just going to write about the presence of former Robert Morris Colonials defender Dave Cowan in the lineup for Toronto when the 6-foot-4 defender was hit hard by the Penguins Ryan Schnell and taken off the ice by the Maple Leafs training staff. My timing certainly wasn't good in choosing when to mention Cowan, but we do hope he is OK and can make a quick recovery.

Pittsburgh dodges a bullet early in the period as a Toronto centering pass from the far corner deflects off the skate of Robert Bortuzzo and almost sneaks into the net. Luckily the left pad of Thiessen got in the way.

The Penguins begin the period having to kill off 25 seconds on the Haddad penalty.


Thanks to the presence of the Maple Leafs, who have a lot of supporters in London, and the popularity of the Penguins, the low bowl is pretty filled for this game, as you can see from this picture.

The clock reads triple zeroes and the Toronto Maple Leafs hold a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Pittsburgh held a 12-7 shots advantage. The Penguins will have 25 seconds to kill on Haddad's penalty to begin the second period.

Joey Haddad is in the sin bin after taking a tripping penalty. The Penguins killed six of seven Ottawa power-play chances on Saturday.

You never want to rave too much about a player this early in camp, but Sill is making it hard not too. He just picked up three consecutive shots right around the crease despite three Leafs trying to stop him. Not only that, following the third save by Scrivens, Sill won a battle for the rebound and helped establish a cycling game.

Another player standing out thus far tonight is Tyler Brown, who is in camp on an amateur tryout. Brown has created three scoring chances for himself and looks to have an above average shot. He has also done well in the cycling game down low.

They don't really track stats up here in London, and this is by no means official, but by my count Zach Sill has three hits through his first three shifts. Camps like this are a chance for players to get an edge heading into main camp at the end of this week, and Sill looks poised to such.

Although the Penguins find themselves down, 1-0, they are shooting the Leafs, 5-3, midway through the first period.


Pittsburgh gives up the opening tally for the second straight night. Brayden Irwin takes a pass from Mikhail Stefanovich, walks in from the right-wing boards and lifts a shot upstairs over the glove of Thiessen. Maple Leafs 1, Penguins 0.

When you talk about young players making the jump to the NHL, coaches love when young players can make the simple plays that go a long way towards picking up victories. With that in mind, it's been nice to see Dustn Jeffrey focusing on gaining the blue line and getting his shot on goal - hoping for a "Pass of the Pads" opportunity - something Dan Bylsma loves.

A couple of icing calls against the Leafs is all we have to write home about so far. Geoff Walker did make a nice play on the opening shift, diving to the ice to block a Toronto scoring opportunity.

As a reward for their strong play on Saturday, Zach Sill, Geoff Walker and Ryan Schnell will get the start at forward for the Penguins. Robert Bortuzzo and Reid McNeill get the nod on D.

The rest of the Pittsburgh lineup:

Eric Tangradi-Dustin Jeffrey-Tom Kuehnhackl
Tyler Brown-Casey Pierro-Zabotel-Joey Haddad
Tayler Peters-Alex Smigelski-Nick Peterson

Simon Despres-Carl Sneep
Brian Strait-Joe Rogalski


7:00 PM:
It's a prime time matchup tonight at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario as the Penguins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of a nice-sized crowd. This is Game Two of the rookie tournament for the Penguins following a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

Here are a couple of game notes as we get set to bring you the action:

> Brad Thiessen will make his second straight start in goal for the Penguins. Thiessen stopped 23 of 26 shots against Ottawa on Saturday. He will be opposed by Ben Scrivens for Toronto.

> Dustin Jeffrey remains one of the three Penguins who will sport a captain's "A" against Toronto. He will be joined in that role by defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and forward Zach Sill. Sill and Jeffrey each scored twice against Ottawa on Saturday.

Robert Boruzzo (left) and Zach Sill (right).

> Pittsburgh's scratches tonight include forward Keven Veilleux, defenseman Alex Grant and goaltender Mattias Modig. Patrick Killeen will serve as the Penguins' No. 2 goaltender.

> Grant will miss the remainder of the tournament with a broken arm and whiplash. Click here to read an update on his status.
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