- But I can see the reasoning. Gamer is near done. 350 words. Not bad for a guy that didn’t listen and watched here and there. 42 minutes ago
- Laughable that Utica didn’t award Peter Mannino a star tonight. They went DeFazio (game tying goal) O’Reilly (shootout GWG) & Eriksson 32/33 44 minutes ago
- Heading home. Blog’ll be up before midnight. 1 hour ago
- Albany and Providence with 69 pts. in 6 and 7. Pens’ll have 68 in 8th. Hershey, barring an implosion, will have 9th with 67 pts. 1 hour ago
- Albany yaks up a big lead again but manages to win in shootout. Worcester beats Providence in one too. St. John’s wins in regulation v BRI 1 hour ago
- However, a pack of rabid dogs make up the non-division leaders. Pens may settle 7-8-9 tonight, depending on other finals. 1 hour ago
- Pens’ll pick up the point, with Norfolk losing 3-1 at home to the Bears, WBS will get to w/in 2 of the East lead. 1 hour ago
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
March 7, 2014Posted by on
Textbook Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hockey tonight for 59:52 tonight.
Up 1-0 late in third, with under a minute left and Comets G Joacim Eriksson pulled, ol’ buddy Brandon DeFazio slips one under G Peter Mannino through a crowd. A lifeless Utica Comets crowd was alive.
Overtime solves nothing, probably the most even set between the two teams, with an even three shots each.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth round of the shootout, another ol’ buddy, this time Cal O’Reilly is staring down Peter Mannino. Neither team to this point scored a single shootout goal.
The Utica Comets were wearing green jerseys. It was an Irish themed night, in March, with St. Patricks day a week or so away.
So you can guess how this one ended up with O’Reilly, a common Irish name, on Mannino, whom I am assuming has some Italian in him, what with the vowel at the end of his name.
Utica wins 2-1 in the shootout. The Pens leave a huge point behind in the Mohawk Valley.
Four big things to takeaway from this game:
1) Brian Dumoulin was back from injury.
2) Chuck Kobasew was not on the trip. Russ Hryvnak tweeted that he will join the team next week.
3) Peter Mannino was great in net, but…
4) The Wilkes-Barre defense bottled up the Comets, allowing them only 10 shots through two periods.
Utica got a few more shots in the third, with the Pens playing prevent and the Comets in all out desperation mode.
Spencer Machacek took a nice pass from Jayson Megna, camped out behind Eriksson’s net and zipped one in 1:12 into the second period.
I wasn’t able to watch much of the game or listen, but it seemed that the Wilkes-Barre defense simply just limited Utica to not much and whatever they did, Mannino was there.
Three stars went went DeFazio (game tying goal) O’Reilly (shootout GWG) & Eriksson (32 saves on 33 shots) — laughable that Peter Mannino didn’t get a star but with the setup of a late game tying goal and shootout game winner and a goalie that stops all 5 shooters, I can see the reasoning.
Rest of the Division, Standings and Conference look looks like this:
Other Game of Note: Albany yaks up a 3-1 lead in Maine to the Pirates but manage to eke out a 4-3 shootout win.
Standings: Binghamton 70 — Norfolk 70 — Penguins 68 — Hershey 67 — Syracuse — 53
Conference: 1) MCH (82) 2) SPR (74) 3) BNG (70) 4) STJ (74) 5) NOR (70) 6) PRO (70) 7) ALB (69) 8) WBS (68)
Binghamton is in the cat bird seat, with at least a game in hand on everyone in the top eight.
SendToNews Highlights: Aren’t up yet. I may check for a link tomorrow.
Pens travel to Hamilton for a date with the Bulldogs tomorrow at 7 p.m. Gameday for that will be up at 3 p.m.
Let’s Go Pens!
March 7, 2014Posted by on
Away Game: 28
AHL Game: 862
Who: Utica Comets
Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium
When: 7:00 p.m.
Last Game: Saturday in Atlantic City against the Albany Devils, the Pens won 2-1. Brendan Mikkelson and Tom Kostopoulos scored third period goals and Peter Mannino stopped 19 of 20. For Utica, they hosted Oklahoma City and won in a shootout 4-3. Nine Comets registered points.
Last Meeting: December 14 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 1-0. Nick D’Agostino scored the goal and Eric Hartzell stopped all 22 shots faced.
Record: For WBS: 30-20-3-4 (67 pts., 3rd place East Division) — For UTI: 24-26-3-4 (55 pts., 4th place North Division)
Why you should care: Penguins begin a three game road trip in the Western Conference against an improved Utica team hungry for a playoff spot just like the Penguins. Tonight will not be easy.
Referee(s): Fred Leblanc
Linesmen: Jim Harper / Francis Trempe
Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep
Television: AHL Live
Other Game to Watch: Hershey and Norfolk in Virginia. Should be a good test for both clubs.
Next Five Games: @ HAM 3/8, @ TOR 3/9, HAM 3/14, NOR 3/15, @ SYR 3/21
March 6, 2014Posted by on
Welcome to the Third Quarter Chirps from Center Ice Quarterly Grades.
Almost forgot about these, what with the hubbub surrounding the NHL trade deadline, the snow in the Northeast, polar vortexes, big boy jobs and whatever else.
Oh, on that Trade Deadline, if you missed my analysis of the moves surrounding the AHL East Division, click this and then come back.
Anyway, back to the Grades. I included the January 17 game at Providence to make it a 20 game snap shot instead of the standard 19. This is paying off logistics involved in the Second Quarter, where I had to cut it short a game because of the January 17 Providence-Portland-Providence trip.
I have to say, a really flat period for a lot of guys. When I recap games and such I just recap what went on that game or weekend. Looking back at this quarter especially, I see why the Penguins are struggling. You’ll see why when you look at each capsule.
So here they are. Rules are anyone who skated gets a blurb. That means Chris Conner, Cody Sylvester, etc. don’t get grades. If you played six or more games or more you get a grade.
Here we go, after the jump.
March 5, 2014Posted by on
With all the hype surrounding trade deadline day for the NHL, let’s cut to the chase and examine how it affects the AHL’s East Division.
Let’s get right to it…
Pittsburgh / Wilkes Barre
Marcel Goc from Florida and Lee Stempniak from Calgary for draft picks. So, the Wilkes-Barre roster and prospect pipeline stays intact. Chuck Kobasew, who cleared waivers yesterday, to Wilkes-Barre. Chris Conner can NOT be sent to Wilkes-Barre because he was not on waivers yesterday. So, ideally from a Wilkes-Barre perspective, it’s Conner for Kobasew. I’ll reserve judgement on whether this is good or bad after I see what Kobasew and do in the AHL.
Jonathan tweeted that Simon Despres and Brian Gibbons were on the Wilkes-Barre roster at 3 p.m. and thus eligible to return to the Penguins at some point.
Washington / Hershey
Bears end up netting Chris Brown from Phoenix / Portland in an NHL deal for Marty Erat and John Mitchell. Brown has put up solid numbers in Portland for the past two seasons. He’s 14-21-35 so far this year. Brown was also sent from Phoenix with Rostislav Klesla, but Klesla’s stay in Chocolatetown lasted less than 24 hours as he was sent to Buffalo with G Michal Neuvirth in the trade for G Jaroslav Halak.
Connor Carrick and Dmitry Orlov were eligible to be sent to Hershey, but were not and will remain with Washington for the duration.
Ottawa / Binghamton
Initial returns are that the winners of the NHL Trade deadline in the East Division are the Binghamton Senators, who get a depth defenseman in Patrick Mullen from the Utica Comets and Alex Grant (yes, THAT Alex Grant) from Norfolk / Anaheim for Andre Petersson. Grant makes a dangerous Binghamton power play even more dangerous. Ottawa also papered down Cody Ceci and Mike Hoffman, making that duo eligible for the AHL if the need arises.
In another minor move, Ottawa loaned Joe Corvo to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. But Corvo, a Chicago area native, is hurt and isn’t expected to play the rest of the season. He also is making $900K this season.
Tampa Bay / Syracuse
Dana Tyrell and Matt Taormina to Columbus for Jonathan Marchessault and Dalton Smith. Syracuse looks like the big winner in this trade. Marchessault was Springfield’s leading scorer (14-27-41) Richard Panik was recalled earlier today, meaning his AHL days are done at least for this year and Vlad Namestnikov was sent to Syracuse. If there is one downside, the moves today leave the Crunch a bit thin on the blue line.
Anaheim / Norfolk
Jonathan’s take on today’s proceedings is here.
In my view, Wilkes-Barre has the most work to do in the divsion, with seemingly everyone else bolstering up their rosters. The Kobasew add is nice and should help, but you just never know with how a player who has spent most of his time in the NHL will take a demotion back to the AHL. You go from airplanes and caviar to bus rides and 3 a.m. McDonald’s stops.
Time, always tells.
March 3, 2014Posted by on
Well, that was an unexpected weekend.
The Binghamton Senators go to “The Rock” and get swept by the St. John’s IceCaps. Meanwhile, the Norfolk Admirals pasted the AHL’s best Manchester Monarchs. To say that yours truly was expecting either would be wrong.
Hershey has lost six straight. The Penguins still can’t figure it out. The Crunch are too far out to be in the discussion. The B-Sens look like a Jekyll and Hyde team. Does the East Division run through Hampton Roads again?
And that discussion is just one division out of the six that comprise the American Hockey League.
The Chicago Wolves sit atop the Week 22 AHL Power Rankings this week. They are rolling. Biggest risers this week are your Norfolk Admirals.
A Comet and a Bear walk into a bar. I’m bad at jokes. But if you guessed that the punchline is that Utica and Hershey took the biggest slide this week, you get the joke.
The only team not to make a move up or down? Your Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
Click through to see where everyone else ended up if you didn’t link in direct.
March 1, 2014Posted by on
Coming into the third period of today’s game in Atlantic City against the Albany Devils and trailing 1-0, I tweeted that the Penguins had been shutout for 107:36 since last scoring Tuesday night vs. Hershey.
Brendan Mikkelson’s shot from the blue line 13:33 later ended the shutout streak. Tom Kostopoulos’ power play goal about two and a half minutes later on the power play put the Penguins out front for good and they would win 2-1 over the Albany Devils.
Peter Mannino started the game for the Penguins, his last start? November 8 in Wilkes-Barre against these same Devils. A game where he would be pulled then later sent to Wheeling, where it took him two months to report.
Full circle for Mannino, who gave the Penguins tonight something which was really lacking, steady goaltending. The first time since February 7 in Portland that the Penguins only allow one goal to the opponent.
Now you might be thinking that the sorry Albany Devils aren’t really an offensive juggernaut and you couldn’t be more wrong. The Devils are a solid club that block shots and kill penalties and were prior to tonight a point ahead of the Penguins in the Conference.
That shot blocking by the Devils made for a pretty boring first forty minutes of play. The Penguins only had nine shots on goal through two periods. A Mike Sislo backhander on a rebound of a shot while the Devils were on a 5-on-3 in the first period was the only goal allowed by the Penguins tonight.
Keith Kinkaid manned the net for the Devils. The Penguins recalled Anton Zlobin and Tom Kuhnhackl today from Wheeling. Zlobin took warmups but was scratched.
With the score 1-0 to begin the third and with both teams seemingly in it, it boiled down to who wanted it more.
The Penguins found themselves on what ended up to be a 6:00 penalty kill. Andrew Ebbett would high stick Mattias Tedenby and draw blood for a 4:00 double minor penalty.
Mike Carman, in an attempt to backhand the puck down ice, puts it over the glass with :03 left on the Ebbett double minor.
Penguins kill it all off. Brendan Mikkelson waits, waits and waits then snaps a shot from the top of the blue line for a tie game. Later, Tom Kostopoulos scores his 20th goal of the season on the power play to put the Penguins ahead 2-1.
Devils would pull Kinkaid with a minute to go, but the Penguins and Mannino closed the door.
Three Stars: 3) Mike Sislo (goal, evn) 2) Brendan Mikkelson (goal, +1) 1) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even)
Around the Division: Binghamton loses 1-0 in St. John’s and are swept by the IceCaps this weekend. The Norfolk Admirals sweep the best team in the AHL with another win vs. the Monarchs tonight, 4-1. The Hershey Bears lose to the Charlotte Checkers 4-1 and have all of a sudden lost five in a row. Syracuse was up 4-1 and need overtime to defeat the Adirondack Phantoms 5-4.
Other Game of Interest: Worcester ends its seven game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. who see their seven game winning steak end.
Standings: Binghamton 70 — Norfolk 70 — Penguins 67 — Hershey 65 — Syracuse 53
Conference: 1) MCH (80) 2) SPR (72) 3) BNG (70) 4) STJ (72) 5) NOR (70) 6) WBS (67) 7) PRO (67) 8) ALB (66)
Wheeling Update: Nailers were in Reading tonight and lost 4-1. Eric Hartzell backed up tonight.
SendToNews Highlights: No where to be located. Don’t hold your breath.
Penguins off till next weekend. So tomorrow, I’ll be keeping tabs on Utica @ Bridgeport, Albany @ Providence and Charlotte @ Hershey. You should probably follow me on Twitter if you aren’t already for the results of these games and where the Penguins wash out in the Conference Sunday night.
Other than that, come back Monday afternoon for the Week 22 AHL Power Rankings which’ll debut at 4 p.m.
Let’s Go Pens!!!
March 1, 2014Posted by on
Away Game: 27
AHL Game: 824
Who: Albany Devils
Where: Boardwalk Hall
When: 5:00 p.m.
Last Game: Last night in Syracuse the Penguins were shut out 4-0. For Albany, the Devils hosted the Utica Comets last Sunday and won 2-1. Reid Boucher and Mike Sislo both scored for the Devils in the win.
Last Meeting: November 8 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens lost 6-5. This was Peter Mannino’s last game for the Penguins before being sent to Wheeling a few days later. Mannino was recalled from Wheeling by the Penguins yesterday.
Record: For WBS: 29-20-3-4 (65 pts., 4th place East Division) — For ALB: 29-17-3-5 (66 pts., 2nd place Northeast Division)
Why you should care: Very important game for both teams, separated by a point in the playoff chase with several teams buzzing around them. Can the Penguins hake off the 4-0 setback last night? Will the rest for Devils play a factor?
Referee(s): Ryan Fraser / David Banfield
Linesmen: Jud Ritter / Luke Murray
Television: AHL Live
Other Game to Watch: Keep an eye on the 10th place Sound Tigers, who host the hapless Worcester Sharks tonight at Webster Bank Arena.
Next Five Games: @ UTI 3/7, @ HAM 3/8, @ TOR 3/9, HAM 3/14, NOR 3/15