Chirps from Center Ice

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

Road Life is the Devil — Pens LOSE 4-0

WBS          @          ALB

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The Penguins spent eight days on the road with a weekend trip to St. John’s and a Tuesday visit to the Capital District of New York this evening.

The road weary Penguins were shut out by Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid tonight and lost 4-0. Kinkaid made 22 saves.

The main story of the night will be starting Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. Zatkoff left the game in the second period when he made what seemed to be a routine save on Paul Thompson. I have shoddy Vine video here. He was replaced by Matt Murray and was not on the Penguins bench to start the third period.

Albany’s Mike Sislo’s eyes must light up whenever he sees Wilkes-Barre / Scranton on the Devils schedule. Sislo has 6 goals in 4 games played against the Penguins. He had two tonight on the power play in the second period, which iced the game for the Devils.

With Andrew Ebbett, Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington inserted to the lineup, the lines were…..

Tom Kostopoulos – Nick Drazenovic – Bryan Rust
Scott Wilson – Andrew Ebbett – Jayson Megna
Bobby Farnham – Zack Torquato – Adam Payerl
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Dominik Uher

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Reid McNeill – Scott Harrington
Derrick Pouliot – Philip Samuelsson

Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray

Scratches were Harrison Ruopp, Alex Boak. J-S Dea, Tom Kuhnhackl, Josh Archibald (week to week) Anton Zlobin, Nick D’Agostino, Barry Goers (took warmups) and Conor Sheary (day to day)

First Period: Not a whole heck of a lot happened. There were more post whistle scrums then any actual action. Zatkoff and the Penguins defense was tested early with an early barrage and passed then the Penguins had a late barrage of their own. They had about 1:30 to close out the first that tested Kinkaid but he was up to the challenge as well.

Second Period: Penguins dominate the Devils at even strength but when the Devils were given a power play, Mike Sislo burned Wilkes-Barre twice. The first was a laser from the blue line and the second was a snapper from inside the near face-off dot that beat Zatkoff stick side twice.

Then ex-Penguin Paul Thompson comes in partially unabated and Zatkoff makes what appears to be a routine save. The camera cuts to the action going back up ice but then the play stops and the camera cuts to a felled Zatkoff lying on his stomach. He’d need help off ice and put no weight on his right leg. Enter Matt Murray.

Third Period: Murray made this save on Mike Sislo to deny him his bid at a hat truck. Pens then gave up a 2-on-1 shorthanded bid to Albany but the Devils didn’t connect. The Penguins were making too many cute passes when they needed to take shots. With time running out and Murray pulled for the extra attacker Tim Sestito buried a shot from about 180′ away that sealed the game for the Devils. Immediately after on the face-off that ensued, Reid Boucher snapped one past Murray to make it 4-0.

Three Stars: 3) Reid Boucher (goal, assist, +1) 2) Keith Kinkaid (22 save shutout) 1) Mike Sislo (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: Binghamton lost a wild one in St. John’s 6-5. The two teams rematch tomorrow in Newfoundland and Labrador. The other East teams had the night off.

Standings: Hershey 6 — Lehigh Valley 4 — Norfolk 4 — Penguins 4 – Binghamton 3

Conference: 1) HFD (7) 2) WOR (6) 3) HER (6) 4) ALB (7) 5) BRI (6) 6) STJ (6) 7) SYR (5) 8) PRO (5) 12) WBS (4)

Wheeling Update: Nailers travel to the Carolinas this weekend and play Gwinnett Friday.

SendToNews Highlights: Unless you are a Keith Kinkaid fan or an Albany Devils fan living in Wilkes-Barre, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to see here from a Penguins perspective. But here you go anyway.

We will probably see Wheeling moves this week. Either Eric Hartzell on his way up to backup Murray or reinforcements on their way to the Carolinas to join the Nailers there. Between now and Friday’s game vs. Springfield, that will give us some fodder to blog about, right?

The “Fancy Stats” chart page is updated though the Albany game. Link here. Bookmark this, it’s a page you can access at the top of the blog by clicking the “Charts” tab at time. It’s late on Tuesday night, I’ll examine the numbers some point this week and bloviate like bloggers do.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Albany 10/21



Away Game: 3

AHL Game: 59

Who: Albany Devils

Where: Times Union Center

When: 7:00 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Saturday in St. John’s, the Penguins won 4-1. Rookie Scott Wilson had a goal, and an assist and was a +2 in the contest. For Albany, they hosted Bridgeport Saturday and won 3-2. Ex-Penguin Paul Thompson had two goals and was named first star of the game.

Record: For WBS: 2-2-0-0 (4 pts., 4th place East Division) — For ALB: 2-0-0-1 (5 pts., 3rd place Northeast Division)

Why you should care: Should be an interesting game tonight. The Penguins are coming off of a great weekend in St. John’s and the Devils are undefeated in the AHL with hot scorer and ex-Penguin Paul Thompson waiting for Wilkes-Barre’s arrival.

Referee(s): Keith Kaval / David Banfield

Linesmen: Mike Emanatian / Frank Murphy

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @AlbanyDevils

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /albanydevils

Instagram: wbspenguins / albanydevils

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky@Pete_Dougherty and @Bill_Cain_

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For ALB: Josh Heller @Josh_Heller

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @trace_1114

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Albany: 104.5 The Team

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: Binghamton is in St. John’s tonight. How will the IceCaps fare with more East Division opposition heading their way tonight?

Next Five Games: SPR 10/24, @ HER 10/25, BNG 10/26, @ LV 10/29, @ NOR 10/31

Three Additions

Wilkes-Barre got some help in the form of the additions of Scott Harrington and Andrew Ebbett on Monday and the addition of Derrick Pouliot today.

Neither Harrington nor Ebbett appeared in a game with Pittsburgh since the season opened. Harrington was sent down to Wilkes-Barre once before but then immediately called back up but had not appeared in a game. Robert Bortuzzo is getting healthy enough to work his way into a lineup discussion, so the decision was made to send Harrington to Wilkes-Barre to get quality AHL minutes rather than wearing a suit and eating popcorn in the players suite at the NHL level.

For Ebbett, he will boost the lineup here in Wilkes-Barre and should help out on the power play. Wilkes-Barre is one of three teams which have yet to score a power play goal. (Toronto and Worcester the others)

Pouliot is an interesting but predictable move. He’s been with Wilkes-Barre since camp opened but was still on the Pittsburgh roster and is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He’s apparently reached a point to where he could begin playing. That said, I think it may be until November until we see him on the ice. However, if you see corresponding moves from Wilkes-Barre sending guys to Wheeling, then it is entirely possible that Pouliot could be inserted into the lineup, as soon as this weekend. Time will tell.

Gameday for tonight’s game in Albany hits the blog at 3 p.m. today.

Let’s Go Pens!

AHL Power Rankings: Week 2

So how’d your team do this week, with a week of practice under them after last weekends opener?

Going through the shuffling this week, there really hasn’t been that much movement between teams in the second week of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings.

The biggest gainer this week were your Hershey Bears, up 20 spots to 7th and…well, just read the capsules in the new look. Oh, wait, you missed last week and the new look? Well, better late than never!

The club in free fall this week were your Springfield Falcons, down 16 spots to 28th.

Click through the jump to see where your favorite team ended up this week…

Read more of this post

Sweeping St. John’s — Pens WIN 4-1

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I don’t want to say that the Penguins are back, yet. But this weekend is a step in a positive direction.

Wilkes-Barre is 7-1 in the regular season against the St. John’s IceCaps (where was this last June?) and dominated the weekend with a 4-1 win tonight.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Peter Budaj

The lineup remained unchanged from last night.

First Period: Tom Grace used to coin the phrase, “it was OK if you like perfect.” That was the best way to describe the Wilkes-Barre / Penguin start of this game. They came out flying. Scott Wilson got his first goal of the game and his first professional goal and the first regulation lead for the Penguins in 2014-15. Wilson wheeled around a fallen Julian Melchiori and cut in and backhanded a shot past Budaj for a 1-0 Penguins lead.

Then, the Pens tacked on another when they cycled a puck down low. Tom Kostopoulos set up Jayson Megna in between the circles. Megna dished to an unmarked Nick Drazenovic who did not miss to give the Pens a 2-0 lead. It was two goals on four shots for Wilkes-Barre to this point.

The assault continued. I was listening to Brian Rogers tonight because of technical problems streaming the game from my iPad to my brothers Apple TV (sorry, Obie) and he said that Budaj was out there, “all alone” and it showed. The Pens did anything they wanted. They threw pucks on net, won face-offs, and looked great.

Second Period: The exact opposite of the first. St. John’s pressed the Pens into mistakes and the IceCaps capitalized. JC Lipon scores to make it 2-1 after the Penguins don’t clear. Head Coach John Hynes called time out afterwards to settle things down and slow the momentum, heading to the St. John’s side. Pens killed a late penalty and then needed to kill 1:59 of another one heading into the….

Third Period: The pendulum of momentum swung back to Wilkes-Barre’s side. It started with a nice 2-on-1 break shorthanded chance that Budaj stopped. Budaj was on point all night, really.

Tom Kuhnhackl crashed the net and Bryan Rust smacked home the rebound to extend the Pens lead back to two goals again.

Zack Torquato scored an empty netter with Budaj vacated.

Three Stars: 3) Brian Dumoulin (+3) 2) JC Lipon (goal, -1)  1) Nick Drazenovic (goal, +1)

Around the Division: Hershey wins in Springfield 4-1….Binghamton lost to Syracuse in Central New York 4-2…Lehigh Valley loses in their old stomping yard Glens Falls to the Adirondack Flames 4-2 and Manchester beats Norfolk 4-2.

Standings: Lehigh Valley 4 — Hershey 4 — Penguins 4 – Norfolk 4 — Binghamton 3

Conference: 1) WOR (6) 2) ALB (5) 3) LV (4) 4) SYR (5) 5) HFD 6) HER 7) MCH 8) WBS all have 4.

Wheeling Update: Nailers win their home opener 6-3. Eric Hartzell backed up. Carter Rowney had a goal and three assists and was named first star of the game.

SendToNews HIghlights: Are here.

Here is the postgame infographic from tonight’s game.

Pens fly out Sunday morning and head to Albany.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

GAMEDAY: @ St. John’s 10/18



Away Game: 2

AHL Game: 50

Who: St. John’s IceCaps

Where: Mile One Centre

When: 6:00 p.m.*

Media Kit

Last Game / Last Meeting: Last night in St. John’s the Pens won 2-1. Reid McNeill scored in overtime to give the Penguins the win. Scott Kosmachuk scored for St. John’s.

Record: For WBS: 1-2-0-0 (2 pts., 5th place East Division) — For STJ: 1-1-2-0 (3 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) — UPDATE!

Why you should care: The Penguins showed yesterday that they can in fact win hockey games. They now look for the sweep tonight in St. John’s to cap off a perfect weekend.

Referee(s): Terry Koharski

Linesmen: Justin Day / Jim Vail

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay // @IceCapsAHL

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /stjohnsicecaps

Instagram: wbspenguins / stjohnsicecaps

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @TLTomVenesky@telyrobinshort / @telybrendan

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For STJ: Brian Rodgers

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @CharlesMDart

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For St. John’s: Listen Live

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: Manchester is in Norfolk this weekend. The Admirals eliminated the Monarchs last Spring in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Next Five Games: @ ALB 10/21, SPR 10/24, @ HER 10/25, BNG 10/26, @ LV 10/29

* – game played in Newfoundland, Canada, which is 90 minutes ahead of Wilkes-Barre time.

Working Overtime and Winning — Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)

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I almost feel like saying to people what Aaron Rodgers said to Green Bay Packers fans a few weeks ago when the Packers were losing and not looking like the Packers.


John Hynes didn’t forget to coach. Jeff Zatkoff didn’t forget to play goal. Philip Samuelsson didn’t forget how to play defense and Tom Kostopoulos didn’t forget how to skate.

The Penguins started out 0-2 to start their season, but they are finally in the win column after a 2-1 overtime win in St. John’s, after Reid McNeill’s slap shot after a J-S Dea faceoff win sent the away team home winners and spoiled the IceCaps home opener, where they raised an Eastern Conference Championship banner tonight.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Peter Budaj

Lines were….

Scott Wilson – Nick Drazenovic – Jayson Megna
Adam Payerl – Zack Torquato – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Kuhnhackl – JS Dea-Rust
Dom Uher – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Barry Goers – Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill – Alex Boak

Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray

Scratches were Anton Zlobin, Nick D’Agostino, Pierre Leblond. Injury scratches were Conor Sheary and Josh Archibald. Obie said that Sheary was not on the trip and likely could be seen next weekend.

First Period: Pens would get an early power play but couldn’t generate a good look. The Pens really looked light years better from the effort put forth from last week, hitting everything that moved and dominating everything in the period. Zatkoff was tested just once, but made the saves.

Zack Torquato, fresh up from Wheeling, was everywhere. He hit two posts, and had a great period/

Second Period: Pens continued the dominance, but the grip started to loosen a bit. Pens had some chances shorthanded, but later the IceCaps would score off a faceoff when a pass was centered from behind the net to Scott Kosmachuk to give the IceCaps a 1-0 lead.

Third Period: Pens looked like the late second period goal had no affect on them as they came out flying again. But goaltender Peter Budaj continued to close the door on any opportunity the Pens had on evening the game. Finally, Jayson Megna came flying down the far wing and snapped a shot past Budaj to tie the game at one goal apiece.

The Pens then had a power play and agains looked like world beaters but Budaj was up to the task once again.

A few chances for the Pens shorthanded, but it was onto….

Overtime: Both teams had a chance to end it respectively. Then a long delay as the net came off the moorings behind Budaj. The mooring didn’t stay set, so after a lengthy delay, J-S Dea lined up for a faceoff and won it to McNeill who zipped one past Budaj and in.

The two teams rematch tomorrow at 6 p.m. Wilkes-Barre time.

Three Stars: 3) Scott Kosmachuk (goal, +1) 2) Peter Budaj (28 saves on 30 shots) 1) Jayson Megna (goal, +1)

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley beats Adirondack in their home opener in overtime, 4-3….Binghamton beats Portland at home 3-2 and Norfolk beats Manchester 3-2. Hershey was off.

Standings: Norfolk and Leigh Valley have 4. Binghamton has 3. Hershey and the Pens have 2.

Conference: A bunch of teams have 4 points. No one has five. The Pens, despite the two points, sit at the bottom of the Conference in 15th.

SendToNews HIghlights: Are here.

Coal Street put together an awesome infographic which you can look at here. This is something I hope that they get good at and do, often.

Gameday for the rematch tomorrow will be up at 3 p.m.!

Let’s Go Pens!!!


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