Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

To Binghamton, By Way of Utica — Pens LOSE 2-0

HER          @          button_uti200

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The Penguins dressed an all ATO lineup tonight and lost 2-0 to the Utica Comets. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will play the Binghamton Senators in Round 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

I mean, that’s all you need to know, right? Pens conceded the East Division Championship to the Binghamton Senators last night, so it was all about who the Pens would play in the first round of the playoffs, right?

I’d consider that a cop out though, so read on for your recap.

The Penguins dressed an all ATO lineup. Goaltender Matt Murray started in goal for the Penguins and Eric Hartzell backed up. Scott Wilson and Jean-Sebastian Dea made their pro debuts up front. Scratches for Wilkes-Barre were Brendan Mikkelson, Harry Zolnierczyk, Nick Drazenovic, Chuck Kobasew, Mike Carman, Bobby Farnham, Andrew Ebbett, Tom Kostopoulos, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matia Marcantuoni and Clark Seymour. Scott Harrington appeared in his 76th regular season game for the Penguins, the only player to claim that title this year.

The Penguins, to a man, did not look out of place playing against the eliminated Utica Comets. Joacim Eriksson started for the Comets and the Penguins played them straight up. A first period shot by Peter Andersson beat Matt Murray but Murray had no chance as he was heavily screened. Nice pace between the two teams. Dea really has a nose for the net and Murray plays bigger in net than any goaltender I have seen this season.

Penguins had several chances at the power play in this game but were unsuccessful. The power play was 0-for-7 for the night. If you are looking for a reason why the Penguins didn’t win the game tonight, look no further than that.

Pascal Pelletier scored a power play goal, amidst all the penalty killing that Utica had to do, to extend the lead for the Comets to 2-0. It was a blind pass by Alex Grenier that set up that goal by Pelletier. Murray had no chance.

Penguins fail to convert on two power plays late, and there is your ball game.

Three Stars: 3) Peter Andersson (goal, +1) 2) Pascal Pelletier (goal, even) 1) Joacim Eriksson (27 save shutout)

I have done the following for 75 post game write-ups so for completeness sake…

Around the Division: Binghamton beats Norfolk 4-2….Syracuse wins in Hamilton 3-1….Hershey bests Adirondack 2-1.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins close out the 2012-13 campaign with a 42-26-35 record, good for 92 points, second in the East Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Conference: 1) MCH (105) 2) SPR (100) 3) BNG (96) 4) STJ (99) 5) ALB (93) 6) WBS (92) 7) PRO (91) 8) NOR (90)

Your Round 1 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal schedule is as follows:

Game 1: @ Binghamton 4/25
Game 2: @ Binghamton 4/26
Game 3: vs. Binghamton 4/30
Game 4: vs. Binghamton 5/2*
Game 5: @ Binghamton 5/5*

* – if necessary

Here’s the entire Round 1 schedule for the other 14 teams.

Wheeling Update: Ton Kuhnhackl with the overtime game winning goal as the Nailers win 3-2, take 2-0 series lead against the South Carolina Stingrays as the series shifts back to Wheeling.

SendToNews Highlights: Not up yet. I’ll look again and link if available.

Blog schedule here at Chirps from Center Ice look like this:

Sunday: Final AHL Power Rankings
Monday: Fourth Quarter Grades
Tuesday: Western Conference Playoff Preview
Wednesday: Eastern Conference Playoff Preview
Thursday: Penguins / B-Sens Series Preview
Friday: Gameday Setup, tweeting and blogging of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Stay tuned. It’s about to get real.


Let’s Go Pens!!

GAMEDAY: @ Utica 4/19




Away Game: 38

AHL Game: 1138

Who: Utica Comets

Where: Utica Memorial Auditorium

When: 7:00 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night in Binghamton, the Pens lost 5-4. After being down 5-0 at one point the rally fell short. Chuck Kobasew scored a goal and had an assist. For Utica, they hosted Toronto last night and won 3-2. Comets goaltender Joe Cannata stopped 37 of 39 shots.

Last Meeting: March 22 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens lost 2-1. Chuck Kobasew scored the only goal for the Pens in the loss.

Record: For WBS: 42-25-3-5 (92 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For UTI: 34-32-5-4 (77 pts., 3rd place North Division)

Why you should care: The Division Championship has already been decided to Binghamton, but the Penguins are now playing for seeding. Many factors are in play. The most simplest one is a win cements the Pens at the five seed and a date with St. John’s in Round 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Referee(s): Steve Patafie

Linesmen: Jim Harper / Andy Petrus

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

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /UticaComets

Instagram: wbspenguins / uticacomets

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @CometsTales / @OD_Comets

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

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @CometsArmy

Radio: For WBS: 103.1 WILK-FM / For Utica: 94.9 K-Rock

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: I am giving you two. Albany hosts Springfield and Providence is in Worcester. Both of these games can determine where the Pens end up in playoffs is Wilkes-Barre does not win tonight.

Welcome to the Pageau Sheau — Pens LOSE 5-4

WBS          @          button_bng200

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The Binghamton Senators are the East Division Champions.

But it didn’t look like it in the third period of this game, a 5-4 Wilkes-Barre setback. The Penguins outshot the Penguins 26-7 and outscored them 2-0 and nearly tied the game late. Brian Dumoulin shot a puck right at Chris Conner camped out on the right of starting goaltender Andrew Hammond’s crease but Conner didn’t get all on the tip which would have forced overtime.

But they don’t play hockey on what ifs. The now is that the Penguins will need to start the 2014 Calder Cup Campaign on the road, without home ice advantage.

The aforementioned Andrew Hammond vs. Peter Mannino.

Chris Conner was in the lineup, down on conditioning. Zach Sill and Carter Rowney are the names you know that were scratched. Josh Archibald and the rest of the ATOs were scratched. Scott Wilson took warmups. The veteran scratch was Spencer Machacek.

First Period: Shane Prince took a pass from below the goal line and was parked right in front for a 1-0 Binghamton lead. A turnover in front of the Wilkes-Barre net and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his first of three to make it 2-0. Jonathan Bombulie says that the Binghamton Senators make you pay for your mistakes. He wasn’t lying.

Second Period: On a carry over power play from the first, Pageau scored his second on a power play. Then, nifty passing by Alex Grant to David Dziurzuynski and it was 4-0 Penguins. With Dominik Uher in the box for a hook, Pageau finished off his hat trick to make it 5-0 Penguins.

Looking back at the recap so far, it was an all out assault by the Binghamton Senators. Or was it? Did Binghamton just capitalize on turnovers and nifty passes or were the Penguins that bad?

Adam Payerl got one back. Then the Penguins started their comeback.

Bobby Farnham shorthanded. Farnham tore up ice quick, put a wild shot on net that wasn’t close, tracked down the carom and had a wide open net to shoot into. The momentum that Wilkes-Barre had was broken by intermission and the start of the….

Third Period: All Wilkes-Barre from start to finish. Hammond made big saves though. A setup by Chris Conner to Barry Goers was stopped. Anton Zlobin draws the Binghamton net minder out of the net and attempts a wrap around but is stopped. Andrew Ebbett got one past Hammond to cut the deficit to two. While on a power play, Hammond made a sprawling save to keep it a two goal lead. Chuck Kobasew gets one by Hammond to make it a one goal lead for the Senators. With Mannino pulled, the Penguins got close, but never found the equalizer. Dumoulin had Conner at the far post but Conner missed it or else who knows what….

Notes: Mannino hadn’t given up more than two goals in a game since November….the Penguins goaltenders as a whole have a 5.33 GAA and a .809 SV% in Binghamton this season.

Three Stars: 3) Chuck Kobasew (goal, assist, +2) 2) Mark Stone (three assists, +1) and 1) J-G Pageau (three goals, +1)

Around the Division: Syracuse loses to Rochester 5-1….the Norfolk Admirals are headed to the playoffs with a 3-1 win against the Hershey Bears. With a 2-1 Providence overtime win, the Hershey Bears are eliminated form Calder Cup Playoff contention for the first time since 2005-2006.

Other Games that Matter: I gave you the Providence box above. St. John’s is locked in at the 4 seed and Albany was off. It’s still up in the air as to who the Penguins can face in the first round.

Basically how it runs is this. If Wilkes-Barre loses tomorrow in Utica in regulation and Albany (vs. SPR) AND Providence (@ WOR) win, the Pens are a 7 seed. That’s as low as they can go. Win, and the Pens are a 5 no matter what. OTL and SOL get tricky depending on competition. It’s something that I hope that Jason Chaimovitch and the brain trust in Springfield are working on at this ungodly hour (11:44 p.m. on a Friday)

Standings: Binghamton 94 — Penguins 92 — Norfolk 90 — Hershey 86 — Syracuse 73

Conference: 1) MCH (105) 2) SPR (100) 3) BNG (94) 4) STJ (97) 5) WBS (92) 6) ALB (91) 7) PRO (91) 8) NOR (90)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers won Game 1 in South Carolina 3-0.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Gameday for the final regular season game vs. Utica will be up at 3. If the Springfield brain trust manages to put together scenarios, I may run a mini blog post with the who’s and how’s.

Let’s Go Pens!!

GAMEDAY: @ Binghamton 4/18



Away Game: 37

AHL Game: 1113

Who: Binghamton Senators

Where: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Sunday at home vs/ Toronto, the Pens lost their first game after leading after two periods to the Toronto Marlies 3-2. Anton Zlobin had two assists. For Binghamton, they hosted Toronto on Wednesday and lost in overtime 5-4. The OTL tied the B-Sens with the Penguins atop the East Division.

Last Meeting: April 12 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 2-1. Scott Harrington scored the go ahead goal in the third period. Peter Mannino stopped 15 of 16 shots.

Record: For WBS: 42-24-3-5 (92 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For BNG: 42-24-3-5 (92 pts., 1st place East Division)

Why you should care: Two identical teams record wise square off on the Southern Tier of New York for the East Division Championship. The B-Sens, with a win, wrap up the title. The Penguins aren’t going to let that happen easily. Is this an appetizer for a future playoff date in the future?

Referee(s): Terry Koharski

Linesmen: John Everett / Francis Trempe

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @BSens_Hockey

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /binghamtonsenators

Instagram: wbspenguins / bsens_hockey

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @PSBSens

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

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: 103.1 WILK-FM / For Binghamton: Oldies 96.9

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: Hershey must win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. They play Norfolk tonight in Virginia.

Remaining Game: @ UTI 4/19

PSST! Hey, Man? You Up!?

I put the following up on Facebook, but figured it’s too good to go there, so we blog.

Only I am in bed, sleeping. This is a scheduled blog for you night owls enjoying NHL playoff hockey, West Coast baseball, late night TV or something else…

Chris Conner was sent to Wilkes-Barre for conditioning. This puts the Pens at two over the veteran limit.

Jonathan reports that Reid McNeill is out this weekend with a lower body injury but will be ready for playoffs.

Binghamton burned their game in hand on the Penguins tonight. They lost in overtime to the Toronto Marlies 5-4. The B-Sens and Pens are now tied in points for the East Division lead. 

Easiest way for the Penguins to win the division is win the next two games. They get the B-Sens Friday then Utica Saturday. The Comets were eliminated from playoffs today. If Bingo wins in regulation, because they have the tiebreaker on WBS, they are the East Division Champions.

Bingo gets Norfolk Saturday. The Admirals will have bussed in from Virginia the night before. They beat Hershey tonight 4-3 in regulation. If they do that again Friday in the rematch they eliminate the Bears.

The Albany Devils have clinched a playoff berth. Albany’s first since the old River Rats days. The Devils are going to be a tough out. I project them as a 6 seed, meaning that the East Division Champion (either WBS or Bingo) gets them round one in the 3-6 matchup.

It all may be meaningless, as the Texas Stars locked up the best record in the AHL tonight and are my odds on lock to represent the West in the Calder Cup Finals in June.

Unless something big breaks Thursday, next blog update comes Friday afternoon for the setup vs. Binghamton.

Now, go to bed already!

Here’s Chuckie

When Chuck Kobasew was recalled back to Pittsburgh, I had honestly thought that was the last time we would see him in Wilkes-Barre. Kobasew, assigned to Wilkes-Barre March 5, put up 10 goals and an assist in 11 games. Seemingly a man playing a kid’s game.

He’s back.

Kobasew was re-assigned today by Pittsburgh along with Harry Zolnierczyk and Simon Despres as the Penguins are about to embark on their run for their first ever Calder Cup. With the unknown status of Brian Dumoulin and the injury to Philip Samuelsson, the addition of Simon Despres is welcome and needed.

Having Kobasew back in town adds one more body over the veteran limit, but at this time of year having seven healthy veterans is a good problem to have.

Our neighbors to the north and south of I-81 loaded up too.

Ottawa sent Cody Ceci, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mark Stone to Binghamton yesterday, made official today.

Washington sent Julien Brouillette and Peter Leblanc to Hershey yesterday. Tyson Strachan was assigned today after clearing waivers. Chandler Stephenson signed his ATO and joined the team en route to Norfolk, for two huge games against the Admirals for seemingly the right to go to the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Wilkes-Barre signed three guys to ATOs today. Jean-Sebastian Dea, Clark Seymour and Matthew Murray. A forward, defenseman and a goaltender. Seymour and Murray were with the team last Spring on ATOs. Dea wowed in the Fall and earned himself a contract. Out of the trio, I would bet we see Dea.

Sad news out of Abbotsford today, as it was announced that the Heat would not return for a sixth season. The five seasons in British Columbia have been a disaster at the turnstyle, with Abbotsford at the bottom of AHL attendance. To boot, the city had to subsidize the team for 10 years meaning that the taxpayers had to pay for the team. There’s speculation that the team may relocate to Glens Falls in the Fall, with the Phantoms already set to move to Allentown in October.

Be thankful you have a Penguins team that plays at or near capacity night after night.

Play 60, Not 50 — Pens LOSE 3-2

TOR           vs.           WBS

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The Toronto Marlies are the three time reigning North Division Champions. They are a formidable opponent and one that opposing teams in the Western Conference probably don’t like to see.

For the fans in attendance today in Wilkes-Barre, the same feelings were had.

Two Marlies goals :39 apart then a goal late with 26.7 seconds left, all in the third period, stun the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who lose 3-2 today on Fan Appreciation Night.

The Penguins controlled 50 minutes of the 60 minute hockey game, but let it slip away.

A delay of game call by Bobby Farnham put the Marlies on the power play at 8:36 of the third period. Greg McKegg slammed home a Sam Carrick shot to put the Marlies on the board.

:39 later, AHL stud Defenseman TJ Brennan zipped home a shot from the point that plum beat starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun, appearing in his second and final rehab stint for the Penguins.

A stunned crowd and team. Coach John Hynes used his time out. Both teams had good chances. Vokoun had a big save though traffic to keep it square at two.

Marlies head coach Steve Spott then used his timeout with 1:10 left in the game. In what seemed like a blender of bodies, TJ Brennan unleashed a huge shot from the blue line which was blocked.

Left in the slot, seemingly unattended, was Jerry D’Amigo. D’Amigo shoots, and Kenny Ryan in front tips it in. The Marlies are up 3-2.

Not exactly the Mohegan Meltdown from a few years ago against Charlotte in the playoffs, but close.

Penguins got a power play goal from Adam Payerl in the first and a goal from Tom Kostopoulos in the second. They limited the Marlies to only 8 shots through two periods. It seemed like a walk in the park for the Penguins.

You just don’t do that to the Toronto Marlies. That must have been the message that Spott gave to his players in the second intermission because they responded and responded well.

Probably a good thing that this happens to the Penguins on a Sunday in early April as opposed to a Friday in mid-May. Take this lesson and learn from it.

Three Stars: 3) Anton Zlobin (two assists, +2) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, even) and 1) Jerry D’Amigo (was originally awarded GWG, but that was changed to Ryan. D’Amigo assisted)

Lineup Notes: Chuck Kobasew was recalled by Pittsburgh in the morning. If you think that we needed Kobasew in order to win a Calder Cup, you are probably wrong about a lot of things….Matia Marcantuoni made his pro debut, in for Mike Carman….Zach Sill made his return from skate blade injury, his first action since January 25.

Pre-Game Awards: Media Award (Nick Drazenovic) — Rookie of the Year (Scott Harrington) — Community Service Award (Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond) — Most Valuable Defenseman (Philip Samuelsson) — Most Improved Player (Reid McNeill) — Herb Brooks Memorial Award for Spirit and Dedication (Brendan Mikkeslon) — Fan Favorite Award (Bobby Farnham) — Most Three Stars Award (Tom Kostopoulos) — Most Valuable Player (Tom Kostopoulos)

Around the Division: Binghamton lost in overtime 1-0 to the Hershey Bears. With the point, the B-Sens clinched playoffs….Norfolk wins in a shootout 3-2. Ol’ buddy Brad Thiessen started his third game in as many nights and got the win for the Admirals….Syracuse was shutout 4-0 by the Albany Devils. The Devils completed a perfect weekend.

Other Games of Relevance: Providence lost 3-2 to the Manchester Monarchs and have to wait another day to clinch…. The St. John’s IceCaps put an end to the Hartford WolfPack’s winning streak and win 6-2. 

Standings: Penguins 92 — Binghamton 91 — Hershey 86 — Norfolk 86 — Syracuse 72

Conference: 1) MCH (104) 2) SPR (100) 3) WBS (92) 4) STJ (95) 5) BNG (91) 6) ALB (89) 7) PRO (89) 8) HER (86)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers completed their regular season last night. They get the South Carolina Stingrays in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

So here’s what the rest of the week holds in the East Division. The Binghamton Senators host the Toronto Marlies Wednesday. The Pens and B-Sens square off Friday for what very well may be the East Division Championship. Then the B-Sens host the Norfolk Admirals while the Penguins travel to Utica.

Blog wise, the Week 28 AHL Power Rankings will be up Monday at 4. I have a bunch of other things in the infant stages I am thinking of for the blog. Stay tuned.

Let’s Go Pens!


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