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Bolts Get Back in the Win Column
By: Jake Ricker
The Bolts offense finally got their offense rolling, and it paid off. Vasilevskiy continued to shine as well making stop after stop. As for the Pens, they kept catching the Bolts but could never hold them long enough to take the lead. It was a very chippy game as both teams played physical making it fun to watch. The Bolts would finally get the win at the end of regulation so let’s take a look at how we got here period by period.
The Bolts got off to a good start as they got some excellent pressure in the offensive zone early on. The Bolts continued to get pucks towards the net as they racked up 6 shots within the first 4 minutes. The Pens would then finally get some offensive zone time The Pens then started to get some scoring chances of their own as Rust tapped one towards an open net, but Vasy made a stretching save to keep the Pens off the board. The Pens would continue to climb back into the game, but Vasy and the Bolts defense shut them down. The Pens would capitalize first as they broke out on a 2 on 1 and Wilson made no mistake putting it by Vasy. The Bolts responded well as they quickly got more shots in on net, but the Pens continued to keep them off the board. The Bolts did not like being behind again, and they would finally get one through. The Bolts broke out an odd-man rush of their own, as Point and Gourde went in. Point then made a quick pass to Gourde who put it into the back of the net to tie this game at 1! The Bolts offense didn’t stop there as just a few min latter Cernak ripped one from the point that went right passed DeSmith for a 2-1 Lighting lead. Time would then soon expire as the Bolts would take a one-goal lead into the second.
Goals: 2-1 Tampa Bay
Shots: 19-13 Tampa Bay
This period got off to a little slower start, but the Bolts still got some shots off early in the period. Hedman even rung one off the post nearly making it 3-1. The Pens then responded with a chance of their own, but Vasy was ready to go and turned the Pens away. Both teams continued to battle it out back and forth as they each picked up a few shots. Both teams played a disciplined game as we had still not seen a penalty called in the game. but soon after Palat would get called for tripping and the Bolts would head to the penalty kill for the first time tonight. Believe it or not, the Bolts were the ones to take advantage as Cirelli bursted down the ice and put a move on DeSmith and put the puck into the back of the net for a shorthanded goal! Bjugstad would then get sent to the box for high-sticking making it 4 on 4 hockey. The Pens would make sure their power play did not go to waste though as McCann fired one past Vasy on the 4 on 4 to make it 3-2. The 4 on 4 would then come to an end, and the Bolts would have a short power play. With little time the Bolts would not be able to capitalize, and the power play would come to a close. The Bolts then got some extended offensive zone time but could not get the puck into the back of the net. Erne then dropped the gloves with Blueger and got a few good punches in. Things didn’t sell down anytime soon as Crosby and Johnson started going at it, Crosby couldn’t fight though as he pulled the jersey over Johnson’s head and both would get 2 for roughing. The 4 on 4 would then come to a close as neither team could take advantage of the extra ice. The pens kept on fighting as Rust then found a rebound and quickly put it home to tie this game at three. Things continued to stay hot as Killorn then dropped the gloves with Jack Johnson after Johnson gave Killorn a quick cross-check. Time would then wind down, and we would head into the final 20 tied at 3.
Neither side calmed down in the intermission as players started going at it right away. With both teams playing an aggressive game no one could get some consistent zone time. The Bolts would the enter the zone, and after a few passes, Johnson rocketed one into the back of the net to take back the lead! The Pens then had a golden opportunity to tie this game, but Crosby would send it wide. With the Bolts now up tensions began to fall…. not really, both teams continued to go at it throwing pushes and punches all period long. The Bolts continued to play aggressively as they looked for that extra goal. It almost cost them though as the pens took advantage and burned the Bolts D, but Vasy was there to make the save. The Bolts were not afraid to stay aggressive though and then it was JT Miller who snapped one from the right circle and gave the Bolts a two-goal lead. The Pens made sure they weren’t out of it yet though as Crosby then forced a turnover and Pearson fired one home to pull the Pens within one. With under 2 min to go the Pens would pull their goalie for one last shot. It would be too little too late though as time winded down, and the Bolts would get back in the win collum!
Goals: 5-3 Tampa Bay
Shots: 34-32 Tampa Bay
- Anthony Cirelli (1G, 1A)
- Tyler Johnson (1G)
- Bryan Rust (1G, 1A)
Up Next and Final Strike
The Bolts offense finally got going, and it was much needed. The Bolts capitalized on their shots and made sure they kept pace physically. Vasy continued to show why he is the best having another great night. While we did not see much of the special teams the 5 on 5 was great. The only issue for the Bolts was they kept giving up odd-man rushes, however getting back in the win collum was huge, and it was a much-deserved win!
The Bolts will look to get back on a winning streak as they take on the Florida Panthers Sunday, February 10th, at 6:00 Pm.