Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

There is No Need to Be Upset — Pens WIN 5-0

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If you don’t know who goaltender Matt Murray is yet, you will soon.

The rookie, making just his second professional regular season start, pitched a 21 save shutout against the Springfield Falcons and the Penguins did the rest and rolled to a 5-0 win.

The bottom line is this, anyone who was worried about losing goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to injury and worry about losing a bunch of games and note being relevant and get upset about it, need not be. Matt Murray is back there. He know what he is doing. The Penguins will be fine.

Bobby Farnham looked good. He was his usual self, flaying everywhere and agitating the other team. He had two quality scoring chances in the game, and nearly scored on both.

Bryan Rust was the team leader in goals coming into this game, with three. He tacked on two more tonight.

Nick Drazenovic really put the game away for the Pens in the first period against his old team with two first period goals.

The defense looked solid, only allowing the Falcons four shots in the second, and four shots in the third. Whatever got to Murray was stopped without much problem.

Special teams finally kicked it into gear with two power play goals. Yes, two! The Penguins could not convert on 1:14 of 5-on-3 time in the second period however.

I don’t really know what to make of this win against a team like Springfield who, like the Penguins, are struggling to find their legs to start the season. They have ex-Penguins in Ryan Craig and Brian Gibbons and blue-chippers like Jerry D’Amigo and guys like Corey Cowick and Sean Collins and Brett Ponich. Osacr Dansk is a great goaltending prospect. We’ll find out more as this weekend goes on with Hershey tomorrow and Binghamton Sunday, I guess.

It was the aforementioned Messieurs Dansk and Murray in goal tonight for their respective teams.

Lines liked like this:

Scott Wilson – Nick Drazenovic – Tom Kostopoulos
Anton Zlobin – Andrew Ebbett – Jayson Megna
Tom Kuhnhackl – J-S Dea – Bryan Rust
Dominik Uher – Zack Torquato – Bobby Farnham

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

Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell

Oh, the official word on Jeff Zatkoff is “week to week” per Hynes, as told to Jonathan Bombulie.

First Period: Great back and forth to begin between the two sides. Then Bryan Rust steps by the Falcons defense and cuts to the net and scores to put the Pens ahead 1-0. Farnham had the first of his two chances with a shorthanded breakaway but was stopped by Dansk.

Pens would double the lead on a Springfield failed clear when Nick Drazenovic buried his first of the game. He’d get his second of the period on the doorstep on a Penguins power play. Wilkes-Barre had been the last of two teams (Toronto) to not have a power play goal scored yet this season.

I feel that the game was lost for the Falcons in the final ninety seconds of the period, when Springfield tried everything it could to get one past Murray and on the board with a goal scored before the period ended. No dice.

Second Period: Pens fail to cash on a 1:14 of power play time up two men. Falcons didn’t really do anything memorable here.

Third Period: Derrick Pouliot had a great game for himself, his first on Wilkes-Barre ice, breaking up what would have been a shorthanded bid for Brian Gibbons. Pouliot must be not be a fan of the old Brian Gibbons Breakaway of the Game™.

Bryan Rust tacked on his second of the game with a wraparound stuff shot past Dansk to make it 4-0.

For good measure the Penguins added a second power play goal when Pouliot, in the corner, set up J-S Dea in the slot who just zipped one past the glove of Dea to make it 5-0.

At this point it was about preserving Murray’s shutout bid and the Penguins were successful in doing so.

Three Stars: 3) Nick Drazenovic (two goals, +1) 2) Bryan Rust (two goals, assist, +2) and 1) Matt Murray (21 save shutout)

Around the Division: Hershey coughs up three goals in 1:53 late in the third to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and lose 4-2. The Phantoms only had four shots on goal in the third period….Norfolk got shutout 4-0 in Providence. Binghamton was off.

Standings: Lehigh Valley 6 — Hershey 6 — Penguins 6 — Binghamton 5 — Norfolk 4

Conference: 1) ALB (9) 2) WOR (7) 3) LV (6) 4) HFD (7) 5) SYR (7) 6) PRO (7) 7 STJ (7) 8) MCH (6) 110 WBS (6)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were shutout 5-0 in Gwinnett, South Carolina. The Nailers play the South Carolina Stingrays tomorrow night in Charleston.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Gameday setup for the 7 p.m. start in Hershey tomorrow hits the blog at 3 p.m. Saturday!

Let’s Go Pens!!!

GAMEDAY: vs. Springfield 10/24

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Home Game: 3

AHL Game: 76

Who: Springfield Falcons

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Tuesday in Albany, the Penguins were shutout 4-0. Jeff Zatkoff left the game with injury. For Springfield, the Falcons were in Bridgeport Sunday and lost 4-3 in overtime. Ex-Penguin Ryan Craig had a goal in the Falcons loss.

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

Why you should care: Two teams set to battle out of the basement in their respective divisions. The Penguins still look for their first power play goal of the season. It’s also the homecoming of ex-Penguin Brian Gibbons. Should be an interesting matchup of two teams who are better than their records show.

Referee(s): Mark Lemelin / Micheal Mullen

Linesmen: Shandor Alphonso / Luke Murray

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay // @TheFalconsAHL

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /falconsahl

Instagram: wbspenguins / falconsahl

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For SPR: Andy Zilch @andy_zilch

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Springfield: WHYN News Talk 560

Television: AHL Live

Promotion(s): None

Other Game to Watch: Hershey is in Allentown tonight taking on the Phantoms tonight. It will be the first of two meetings this weekend between the two clubs.

Next Five Games: @ HER 10/25, BNG 10/26, @ LV 10/29, @ NOR 10/31, @ NOR 11/1

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

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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!

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

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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.

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