Chirps from Center Ice

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

Penguins / Comets Tweet Feed

wbs14_200          @          uti14_200

Not near a radio? Don’t have a Twitter but still want to follow along with tonight’s game? Look no further. See below for tonight’s game tweets. You don’t even have to refresh. When the game is over, stay tuned right here for the postgame recap.

GAMEDAY: @ Utica 2/9

@     uti14_200

Away Game: 24

AHL Game: 694

Who: Utica Comets

Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium

When: 7:00 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Saturday at home against Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins were defeated by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-2. Carter Rowney scored both goals. For Utica, the Comets won in overtime in just five seconds off of the stick of Brandon Gaunce and beat the St. John’s IceCaps.

Last Meeting: January 9 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens won 4-2. Scott Wilson had two goals and an assist.

Record: For WBS: 30-14-1-1 (62 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) — For UTI: 22-17-3-3 (50 pts., 3rd place North Division)

Why you should care: Scott Wilson isn’t walking through that door tonight, neither is Conor Sheary. Dominik Simon is hurt. Those are your top three Penguins scorers out of the lineup for one reason or another tonight so the Penguins, as they have had to these last few games, will need to find scoring from a role player if they want to beat the Comets tonight, who have won four in a row.

Referee(s): Geno Binda / Peter MacDougall

Linesmen: Francois Dussureault / Kory Nagy

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay // @UticaComets / @CometsInGame

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /UticaComets

Instagram: wbspenguins / uticacomets

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TLTomVenesky / @CometsTales and @OD_Birnell

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / UTI: Brendan Burke @brendanmburke

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @CometsArmy

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Utica: 94.9 K-Rock

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: I like Albany vs. Providence tonight. The P-Bruins have the AHL’s longest point streak and the Devils are a sneaky good team.

Next Five Games: @ HFD 2/12, POR 2/13, POR 2/14, @ TOR 2/19, @ RCH 2/21

AHL Power Rankings: Week 18

We are in Week 18 here and almost to the middle of February. There are sure thing teams like Toronto and Ontario and then a patch of about 20 or so teams then teams that may as well pack it up and restructure for the Fall.

The Toronto Marlies are again the number one team here in Week 18.

As we have maintained for pretty much all season, the Central Division is the Division to watch. The Atlantic is getting cozy as well with the Hershey Bears closing in on the Atlantic Division lead, a lead that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have had since October.

Lots more to look at this week, so if you didn’t link in direct, hit the jump to see where everyone ended up this week.

Read more of this post

Tigers Dig Deep Holes — Pens LOSE 3-2

BRI         vs.         WBS

3                                              2

Understaffed is the wrong word for this one. So is undermanned. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins skated with a full contingent of players tonight in a 3-2 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Pink in the Rink Night.

Inexperienced is probably a better term to use or disjointed maybe with all of the roster shuffling in recent weeks.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers now have won six games in a row. The Penguins meanwhile dig out of a 0-3 hole at the end of the first period and nearly came back to win.

Penguins played terrible in the first half of the game then started to turn it on with starting goaltender Tristan Jarry settling into a grove.

Jarry opposed Christopher Gibson.

Lines were…

Ty Loney – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
John McCarron – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Niclas Andersen – Ryan Parent

Tristan Jarry – Matt Murray

Lineup Notes: Jarrett Burton was signed earlier in the day to a PTO with Matia Marcantuoni down with injury. Burton was Wheeling’s leading scorer at the time. He took Marcantuoni’s place centering the fourth line. That was the only change for the Pens coming off Friday’s win against Springfield.

First Period: Pens took three straight penalties in the period. They get scored on even strength when a defender loses Jared Gomes streaking down the far side. Gomes went up the wing and scores on a shot that beat Jarry clean and it was 1-0 Sound Tigers.

Then the Sound Tigers league worst power play scored seconds after a Ryan Parent hook when an Alan Quine shot from the point found its way in for a 2-0 Bridgeport lead. Jarry was badly screened on that attempt by Quine.

The Penguins were running all over the place and almost into each other trying to match the pace of the Sound Tigers. Then, they lost Ben Holmstrom behind Jarry’s net for a second. Holmstrom finds Justin Vaive on the far side and Vaive connects for a goal that made it 3-0.

Shots after the first period were every bit of 14-5 in favor of the Sound Tigers. Jarry was the reason that it wasn’t 6 or 7-0. The Penguins looked and played overmatched and were not playing as a team. How could they when it’s constantly one or two guys out of the lineup because of injury or call-up.

Second Period: Penguins kept it a 3-0 deficit and killed a couple of Bridgeport penalties. Then, Carter Rowney scored to put the Penguins on the board at 3-1. Off of the ensuing face-off the Penguins nearly scored again and were starting to come alive when the horn sounded to end the period. Of note here, Will O’Neill picked up an assist on the Rowney goal. O’Neill has 13 points in his last 13 games.

Third Period: Carter Rowney picked up a bouncing puck, took it to his right through some Sound Tigers defensemen, drew Gibson out of his net and beat him to cut the deficit to one with 13:12 to play in the period.

Penguins then got a power play and nearly scored on it with several chances. Pens were continuing to push when Steve Oleksy was called for slashing. They killed that then Gomes was called for a slash of his own. Wilkes-Barre called their timeout, but with Jarry eventually pulled and the Penguins skating six men to four, they never found the equalizer.

Moral of this one is that a 0-3 hole after the first period is tough for even the healthiest of teams to battle back from because you are constantly chasing the game.

Three Stars: 3) Ben Holmstrom (two assists, +2) 2) Justin Vaive (game winning goal, +1) 1) Carter Rowney (two goals, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey inches closer to surpassing the Penguins for tops in the Atlantic. They beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 5-1….Albany shuts out Hartford 3-0….Providence beats Portland 3-1….Springfield doubles up Syracuse 6-3.

Standings: Penguins (.674 percentage points) — Hershey (.635) — Portland (.589) — Providence (.565) — Bridgeport (.564) — Hartford (.532) — Lehigh Valley (.490) — Springfield (.457)

In case you are wondering, the Hershey Bears cannot surpass the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins for first place this weekend no matter if they win in the only AHL game on the schedule on Super Bowl Sunday against the Binghamton Senators. Even if the Penguins lose Tuesday to the Utica Comets, the percentage points then would be .660. It’s mainly because the Penguins have games in hand on Hershey that is the difference in the percentage points thing that the AHL has us ranked by this season (thanks, California) so while the margins are going to be close, Hershey still has work to do.

That’s right, the Pens and Bears still have to play each other eight more times.

Wheeling Update: Predictably, the undermanned and understaffed Wheeling Nailers lost 6-0 to the Reading Royals tonight. The Nailers played with eight forwards.

I doubt there will be video highlights but if I see any and can work and edit in, I’ll put it here.

Pens have a date in Utica Tuesday. My Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4 at their usual time. The big board chart refresh will update sometime Sunday afternoon.

Let’s Go Pens!!!


The Bridgeport Sound Tigers came into the game tonight having won five games in a row and on the rise in the Atlantic Division. The understaffed Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins scraped together a lineup tonight and gave it a go. 

Gosh golly, they almost came out winners. Or forced overtime at least. 

Behind 3-0 after the first period, the Penguins comeback falls short and they lose 3-2. Carter Rowney had both Penguins goals. 

Tristan Jarry stopped 24 of 27. 

More in a bit with full analysis.

GAMEDAY: vs. Bridgeport 2/6


vs.     bri14

Home Game: 23

AHL Game: 686

Who: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night in Bridgeport, the Pens won 4-3 in overtime. Carter Rowney capped off his three point night with the game winning power play goal. For Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last night and won 6-3. Bracken Kearns had a hat trick.

Last Meeting: October 18 in Bridgeport, the Pens won 5-1. Tristan Jarry stopped 35 of 36 shots to pick up his first professional win as a goaltender.

Record: For WBS: 30-13-1-1 (62 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division)  — For BRI: 24-19-2-1 (51 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: Expect Tristan Jarry tonight as the Pens are coming off of a road win and a night where Matt Murray saw 45 shots. The Sound Tigers are coming in on a five game winning streak and the Pens are just getting off of a four game losing streak. If the Penguins are going to win tonight, they will need another strong performance in goal and offensive help from a Carter ROwney or maybe an Anton Zlobin type player.

Referee(s): Jamie Koharski / Peter MacDougall

Linesmen: Jason Mandroc / Matt McNulty

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @TheSoundTigers

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /soundtigers

Instagram: wbspenguins / thesoundtigers

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TLTomVenesky / @fornabaioctp

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For BRI: Paul Ryan @PaulRyanPaul

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For BRI: I don’t think Sound Tigers games are on radio. Here’s the link to AHL Live where you could here the game if you want to.

Television: AHL Live

Promotion(s): Pink in the Rink | McCarthy Tire All-Star Poster

Other Game to Watch: Every team in the AHL in in action tonight for the first time this season. The game on my radar though is Lehigh Valley at Hershey. The Phantoms have won five of their last six and the Bears are on a ten game point streak.

Next Five Games: @ UTI 2/9, @ HFD 2/12, POR 2/13, POR 2/14, @ TOR 2/19

Carter’s Got Peanuts — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)

WBS          @          button_spr200

4                                                3

With half of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins normal roster either injured or on call-up to Pittsburgh, the Penguins needed a big game from a role player tonight.

They got that in the form of Anton Zlobin tonight, on recall from Wheeling this morning. Zlobin’s performance was supplemented by none other than Carter Rowney and the Penguins beat the Springfield Falcons in overtime in a late nail biter on a power play goal by a score of 4-3.

The game plan tonight was ride a strong performance by Matt Murray in goal and get scoring from somewhere, anywhere, and hope for the best. 42 saves on 45 shots by Murray tonight and the third line of Zlobin, Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos were a combined +6 tonight.

It was Matt Murray vs. Niklas Treutle.

Friday morning, the Penguins called up two and signed one. Up from Wheeling were Anton Zlobin, Patrick McGrath and Derek Army. Army was signed to a professional tryout agreement.

Lines were….

Ty Loney – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
John McCarron – Matia Marcantuoni – Patrick McGrath

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Ryan Parent – Niclas Andersen

Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Ryan Parent was making his Wilkes-Barre season debut. He last appeared in two games for the Pens in playoffs last season. Harrison Ruopp and Clark Seymour were the healthy scratches as was Brian Foster. Tyler Biggs, Barry Goers and Dominik Uher (week to week) along with Sahir Gill and Dominik Simon (day to day) were the injury scratches.

First Period: Penguins needed a quick start to set the tone and the pace and got it, twenty seconds in, when Steve Oleksy scored his first of the season with Tom Kostopouls providing interference in front:

I thought at the time that Tom Kostopoulos scored that goal, but the house scored it and kept it Oleksy’s.

The next part of the game plan was take advantage when the opponent gives you a power play opportunity. With half of the firepower in Pittsburgh, Clark Donatelli has been improvising recently with Tom Sestito parked in front of the crease on the power play.

It worked.

Nifty redirection by Sestito there.

Springfield would outshoot the Penguins 12-8 in the period thanks in large part to being on the power play three consecutive times to close out the period but the Penguins penalty killing led by Matt Murray kept them off the scoresheet.

Patrick McGrath and Stefan Fournier fought to close out the period in what Mike O’Brien called on radio, “one of the best fights we have seen all year.”

Second Period: Matia Marcantuoni was injured in the first period and did not come out for the second so the Penguins skated a forward short and may need to dress seven defensemen tomorrow against Bridgeport.

Niklas Treutle settled into the game nicely and denied Tom Sestito on a mini breakaway. Sestito tried to go five hole but was stopped. Tretule then stopped Anton Zlobin on a mini break also. It was clear that the Falcons netminder was settling into the game.

Springfield continued to press and finally got a goal when Steve Delisle threw a puck at Murray from the far wall and past him to cut the lead to one. The Falcons continued to press and Murray was needed to make some more big time saves. Reid McNeill blocked a shot in an unprotected area of the leg and went of the ice into the locker room with assistance.

Here is video if it in slow motion:

Third Period: But a shot off of a leg / ankle wasn’t going to faze McNeill, as he would return to the ice and assisted on this goal by Zlobin which made it 3-1 Penguins just :28 into the period…

It was Zlobin’s first goal in the AHL since March 14, 2014 when he scored against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

But the Falcons continued to press with loads of time left in the period and eventually tied it.

— Greg Carey cashed in on rebound left by Matt Murray on a Philip Samuelsson shot that made it 3-2 on a power play.
— Carey then struck when the Penguins won a defensive zone face-off, tried to clear but Carey put a shot on net that may have deflected off of Steve Oleksy and in that tied the game:

Pens got a power play but couldn’t cash on it. Mike O’Brien succinctly noted that the last place Falcons were playing with nothing to lose and the depleted, first place Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were playing and looking tense.

Corey Potter dumped a puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. Will O’Neill hit the post on the ensuing late power play but the teams headed to overtime tied 3-3.

Overtime: Pens won a faceoff, got it in the offensive zone and moved the puck around and, well…see for yourself…

So ends the four game losing streak that the Penguins were on coming in. So ends the four game losing streak that Matt Murray was on.

Three Stars: 3) Anton Zlobin (goal, assist, +2) 2) Tim Erixon (assist) 1) Greg Carey two goals, +2)

No idea on those selections. Carter Rowney was 1-2-3. Matt Murray made 42 saves, a career high for him.

Around the Division: Hershey continues its tear with a 6-2 thrashing of the Binghmaton Senators on the Southern Tier. After a scoreless first, the Bears scored six times on eight shots to win….Bridgeport battles through a Danick Martel hat trick to overcome the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 6-3…The Hartford Wolf Pack continue their tear, beating All-Star goaltender Mike McKenna and his Portland Pirates by a score of 5-0 and Albany overcomes a loaded Providence team 4-3 in a shootout.

Standings: Penguins (.689 percentage points) — Hershey (.628) — Portland (.602) — Providence (.556) — Bridgeport (.554) — Hartford (.543) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Springfield (.444)

Wheeling Update: Good on the Wheeling Nailers, who have been pillaged on the low end of all of these call-ups, on beating the Reading Royals 3-2 tonight on the road. Casey DeSmith stopped 24 of 26.

Pens bus back home for a Saturday night game against Bridgeport. Gameday setup for this will hit the blog Saturdsay at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!


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