Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Playing the Admirals Gives Me the Yips — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

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I really won’t know what to diagnose of this game, a 3-2 Penguins overtime loss to the Norfolk Admirals, until I see the two teams rematch tomorrow night.

The Admirals have been playing really poor hockey as of late. They went on a trip through New England last weekend and lost all three games played and were shutout twice. Not exactly a team that’s lighting the league on fire at current.

The Penguins meanwhile, jumped out to 1-0 and 2-1 leads and let them slip away, but earn the overtime loser point.

They do it over again at 7:15 in Virginia.

Matt Murray vs. Jason LaBarbera

Lines were…

Scott Wilson – Andrew Ebbett – Anton Zlobin
Tom Kuhnhackl – JS Dea – Bryan Rust
Dom Uher – Zack Torquato – Tom Kostopoulos
Pierre Leblond – Adam Payerl – Bobby Farnham

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Scott Harrington – Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill – Barry Goers

Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell

Yes, that’s Reid McNeill’s name, on the third D pairing with Barry Goers. We all thought following the Lehigh Valley game Wednesday that McNeill for sure broke his hand blocking a shot. We were all wrong.

Derrick Pouliot is day to day with an upper body injury and did not make the trip. Obie said on radio that Pouliot could be ready to go next week….Alex Boak took warmups…..Conor Sheary took the morning skate but is still day to day. Sheary is apparently closer to a return than Josh Archibald who is skating but still listed as day to day. Archibald is closer than Nick Drazenovic, who is still week to week.

First Period: Pens get two tries on the power play but don’t score. Bryan Rust takes this hard hit from Bryan Allen for some Bryan on Bryan violence but was fine. No penalty was called on the play.

Later, Barry Goers scored this goal, his first in 10 months to put the Penguins on the board. Edit: The goal was changed to Dominik Uher.

Norfolk responded with their first real threat of the game with some shots towards Murray, but nothing came of it.

Later, Nathan McIver issued this hit on Anton Zlobin in the corner which only drew a 2:00 minor. Zlobin went to the dressing room and did not return.

Brandon Yip scored his first goal of the night off of a rebound which handcuffed Murray.

All of the action that was present in the first period was pretty absent in the….

Second Period: This fight between Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Steve MacIntyre highlighted an otherwise average second period. Here’s the embed of the fight…

Please let me know on Twitter or here in comments if you can see the video of the fight on your device. Whether it’s mobile or computer.

Oh, this 2-on-1 save by Matt Murray was another highlight of the second period.

Third Period: Tom Kostopoulos scored this goal to put the Penguins ahead 2-1. But :34 later, Chris Wagner scored to tie the game again. After a review, referee Geno Binda confirmed the call on the ice. It looked at first pass that Wagner kicked the puck in but Binda took one look at the replay and confirmed his call.

In hindsight, that goal took all the wind out of the WBS sails. I can’t recall another good scoring chance after the Kostopoulos goal.

Overtime: Yip ended it rather quick. A Penguin blocked a shot on net that they never tracked, the puck was passed over to Yip who buried it for the game winner.

Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, +1) 2) Chris Wagner (goal, assist, +2) 1) Brandon Yip (two goals, assist, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey cruises in Manchester with a 4-0 win. The Bears have not allowed a goal in 159:36, when Jayson Megna scored a goal for the Penguins last Saturday….Binghamton wins in overtime against the Utica Comets 4-3. Comets goaltender Jacob Markstrom did not get the AHL all time shutout streak tonight. Lehigh Valley was off.

Standings: Hershey 12 — Penguins 11 – Lehigh Valley 9 — Binghamton 8 — Norfolk 6

Conference: 1) ALB (13) 2) HER (12) 3) WOR (9) 4) WBS (11) 5) HFD (9) 6) LV (9) 7) PRO (9) 8) BRI (9)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off tonight. They host the Reading Royals tomorrow at WesBanco Arena.

SendToNews Highlights: Aren’t up yet. Check back soon.

The two teams rematch tomorrow. Gameday will be up Saturday at 3:15.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Norfolk 10/31

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Away Game: 6

AHL Game: 112

Who: Norfolk Admirals

Where: Norfolk Scope

When: 7:30 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Wednesday in Allentown, the Penguins won in overtime 2-1. J-S Dea scored the overtime game winning goal and Matt Murray stopped 42 of 43 shots. For Norfolk, the Admirals were in Hartford Sunday and were shutout 3-0.

Record: For WBS: 5-4-0-0 (10 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For NOR: 2-5-0-0 (4 pts., 5th place East Division)

Why you should care: Penguins look to keep the success on the road rolling with a weekend trip to Norfolk, Virginia against a struggling Admirals team, who have had all week to work out what bugs have been irking them. Should be a great weekend of hockey between the two sides.

Referee(s): Geno Binda

Linesmen: John Grandt / Tom George

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @NorfolkAdmirals /
@AdsGameUpdates

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /NorfolkAdmirals

Instagram: wbspenguins / NorfolkAdmirals

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For NOR: Pete Michaud @AdmiralsVoice

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @BeneathScope / @ShawnDulin

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Norfolk: AM 1650 WHKT

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: Hershey is in Manchester taking on the defending regular season Eastern Conference Champion Monarchs.

Next Five Games: @ NOR 11/1, HER 11/7, @ BNG 11/8, SYR 11/9, LV 11/14

Payback’s a Dea — Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)

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So this Penguins / Phantoms rivalry is going to be a great one. I’ve been following this team for the better part of five years and haven’t witnessed a regular season game that had such high tension and drama. If there were instant classics in the AHL for games in October, this game, a 2-1 Penguins overtime thriller, certainly would take the cake.

The Phantoms spoiled the party for the Penguins in their home opener two and a half weeks ago. The Penguins dealt the Phantoms their first loss on home ice tonight. J-S Dea had the game winner in overtime.

Matt Murray opposed Rob Zepp tonight. Murray is a rookie appearing in just his fifth pro start. You couldn’t tell tonight. Murray played like a seasoned veteran and kept the Penguins in the game all night long. Murray stopped 42 of 43 shots.

The Penguins may be dealing with more injuries as Reid McNeill left the game blocking a shot on the penalty kill and Derrick Pouliot left the game later when he was checked and tumbled into the boards. It looked almost like a whiplash of sorts.

Wilkes-Barre was 9-for-9 on the penalty kill including several Phantoms 5-on-3s that referees Mike Mullen and David Banfield handed out like Halloween candy.

Lehigh Valley was without its top three defensemen on recall to Philadelphia. Brandon Manning, Mark Alt and Shayne Gotisbehere to name two.

The Penguins scored on a five on three when Derrick Pouliot twirled around in the slot to a wide open Andrew Ebbett who pushed the puck across to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the first.

Murray made what was probably the banner save of the night diving across to deny Scott Laughton on a 2-on-1 in the first period.

Then with about five minutes left in the second period, Zack Stortini tied the game at one a piece with a trailing roof shot on Murray as part of a 2-on-1.

The third period felt like it was spent entirely on the penalty kill as the the Penguins were whistled for three infractions. They managed to kill them all with relative ease. What did get to Murray was stopped without much trouble, as Murray didn’t allow many rebounds.

Overtime didn’t stop the penalties. The Phantoms didn’t score on theirs thanks to more big time saves by Murray. The Pens did on theirs after a John Hynes time out.

J-S Dea ended it off of a face off play that came immediately after the timeout.

Three stars were 3) Rob Zepp (30 of 32 saves) 2) Matt Murray (42 of 43 saves) and 1) Zack Stortini (goal, +1)

Binghamton lost to Utica 3-2 in regulation. Hershey and Norfolk were off.

Wilkes-Barre heads to Norfolk Thursday. Hynes did not have an update on the conditions of McNeill and Pouliot after the game and Jayson Megna was recalled to Pittsburgh Thursday morning.

Here are the highlights from last night’s game…

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Lehigh Valley 10/29

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Away Game: 5

AHL Game: 103

Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: PPL Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Lats Game: Sunday at home vs. Binghamton, the Penguins won 3-2. Andrew Ebbett had a goal and an assist and was named first star of the game. For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms lost in Hershey to the Bears 3-0.

Last Meeting: The Phantoms beat the Penguins on opening night on October 11 by a score of 5-2. Chris VandeVelde had two goals for the Phantoms and rookies Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary had goals for the Pens in the loss.

Record: For WBS: 4-4-0-0 (8 pts., 3rd place East Division) — For LV: 4-2-0-0 (8 pts., 2nd place East Division)

Why you should care: Tonight is about one thing for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. Payback. The Phantoms embarrassed the Penguins at their home opener nearly three weeks ago. The Penguins want to repay the favor in their maiden voyage to Allentown.

Referee(s): David Banfield / Mike Mullen

Linesmen: Leo Boylan / Jud Ritter

Twitter: @WBSPenguins and @WBSGameDay / @LVPhantoms

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins / /LehighValleyPhantoms

Instagram: wbspenguins / lehighvalleyphantoms

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky / @gblockus

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For Lehigh Valley: Bob Rotruck @BobRotruck

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Lehigh Valley: Fox 1470

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: I am going Western Conference tonight with Oklahoma City and Texas. The Barons beat the Stars twice this weekend. Do they pull the trifecta or do the defending champs get one back?

Next Five Games: @ NOR 10/31, @ NOR 11/1, HER 11/7, @ BNG 11/8, SYR 11/9

AHL Power Rankings: Week 3

A pair of Admirals bookend this weeks AHL Power Rankings.

The biggest movers are your Providence Bruins, up sixteen spots after not allowing a single goal this weekend.

The biggest free fall this weekend belongs to your Syracuse Crunch, down thirteen spots.

If you didn’t link in direct, please jump through to see where everyone else ended up this week.

Read more of this post

Politics Makes My Heart Race — Pens WIN 3-2

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Let me know if at the end of this game, a 3-2 Penguins victory, you stood up out of your seat at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza or out of your chair at home or apartment and breathed a sigh of relief.

The Penguins were badly outclassed the night before in Hershey and couldn’t get out of their own way. They soundly beat the fluttering Springfield Falcons Friday night but you just weren’t sure.

With Eric Hartzell back in net for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton today, more uncertainty. Hartzell has been bad in your recent memory, was shipped to Wheeling late last year and wasn’t seen at all when the Penguins went through the Calder Cup Playoffs last Spring.

You weren’t alone. As I got up out of my seat at the Arena, that feeling of a ton of bricks off your shoulders kicked in. Not just for me, but more likely for the man in goal tonight for the Penguins, that being Eric Hartzell.

This past weekend, the Penguins were 2-1. Not the greatest, but better than most.

Wilkes-Barre peppered Binghamton Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, firing 40 shots at the netminder. They looked sound for a good majority of the game and controlled a great portion of it.

Hartzell, for what it’s worth, looked steady. He got beat twice, one by Chris Wideman as he drove to the slot and whipped a shot past Hartzell’s glove to cut the B-Sens deficit to one late in the first and again in the second, while Binghamton was on the power play. A rebound popped high in the air and was batted in the net legally by Cole Schneider.

The Penguins raced to a 2-0 lead in the first period when Matt Rust powered past a Binghamton defender and fired a shot on net that Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos cashed in on to make it 1-0. Later, on a power play, Derrick Pouliot would score his first professional goal to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Penguins were furious in the third period, outshooting Binghamton 16-5. Andrew Ebbett was camped out on Hammon’ds crease and popped home a rebound of his own shot to extend the lead to 3-2.

Wilkes-Barre had to kill a late Binghamton penalty with Adam Payerl in the box for interference on the goaltender. The B-Sens hit the post on the power play but never found the equalizing goal.

Bobby Farnham served his one-game suspension from his instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the Hershey game Saturday night. This topic was well covered here, so no need to rehash any of that.

Nick Drazenovic did not play either, he is week to week with a lower body injury, per Tom Venesky.

Essentially it was Adam Payerl and Anton Zlobin in for Farnham and Drazenovic.

Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (goal) 2) Derrick Pouliot (goal, assist) and 1) Andrew Ebbett (goal, assist, +1)

Around the Division: The Hershey Bears defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-0. Norfolk was shutout in Hartford, 3-0. That is the second shutout the Admrials have suffered this weekend.

Standings: Hershey 10 — Lehigh Valley 8 — Penguins 8 – Binghamton 6 — Norfolk 4

Conference: 1) ALB (11) 2) HER (10) 3) WOR (9) 4) PRO (9) 5) HFD (9) 6) BRI (9) 7) STJ (9) 8) LV (8) 9) WBS (8)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off. They are in Reading Thursday.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

My Power Rankings hit the blog tomorrow at 4. I will have the Charts refresh Tuesday too. Pens travel to Allentown for the first time ever when they take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Wednesday.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Binghamton 10/26

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Home Game: 4

AHL Game: 98

Who: Binghamton Senators

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 4:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night in Hershey, the Pens lost 4-1. Jayson Megna had the only goal for the Pens in the loss. For Binghamton, they hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and lost in overtime 5-4. Derek Grant had two goals for the B-Sens late, which forced the game into overtime for Binghamton.

Record: For WBS: 3-4-0-0 (6 pts., 4th place East Division) — For BNG: 2-2-2-0 (6 pts., 3rd place East Division)

Why you should care: Pens look to close out the weekend on a wining note after last nights setback in Hershey. The Binghamton Senators, ahem, the defending East Division Champion Binghamton Senators, stand in their way.

Referee(s): Ryan Fraser / Ryan Murphy

Linesmen: Leo Boylan / Francis Trempe

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @BSens_Hockey

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /binghamtonsenators

Instagram: wbspenguins / bsens_hockey

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @TLTomVenesky // @PSBSens

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For BNG: Grady Whittenburg @BSensRadio

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Binghamton: Oldies 96.9

Television: AHL Live

Promotion(s): None

Other Game to Watch: Let’s go with Worcester hosting Portland. The Sharks have been hot of late and the Pirates have been struggling.

Next Five Games: @ LV 10/29, @ NOR 10/31, @ NOR 11/1, HER 11/7, @ BNG 11/8

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