Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

No Need to Murray — Pens WIN 3-1

WBS          @          button_bng200

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You never buy into the myth that a game is won or lost in the first five minutes of any given game. For the Penguins, it seemed that way. Here is why.

In the first five minutes of tonight’s game, the Binghamton Senators got in behind the Penguins defense and nearly scored. Noted Penguin killer Shane Prince hit the post of the net that Matt Murray was guarding.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins settled in, getting two goals in the first period, and Matt Murray made 25 of 26 saves en route to a 3-1 Penguins win tonight. Another solid performance by Murray, who lost his shutout bid in the third period with 4:22 remaining.

Murray is 11-0-1 in his last twelve starts, by the way.

Murray opposed Scott Greenham.

Lines were…

Scott Wilson – Andrew Ebbett – Tom Kostopoulos
Bryan Rust – Jasyon Megna – Josh Archibald
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Bobby Farnham – Matia Marcantuoni – Adam Payerl

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Scott Harrington – Danny Syvret
Nick D’Agostino – Harrison Ruopp

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Alex Boak took warmups but was the healthy scratch along with J-S Dea and Pierre Leblond. Bryan Rust was back in the lineup for the first time since February 21.

First Period: If Binghamton scores on those two partial breakaways that I spoke of in the open then it’s a much, much different ballgame. Thankfully they did not and Murray was able to make 11 saves in the period. Meanwhile, Tom Kostopoulos created a turnover, passed to Scott Wilson who put it on net which trickled in past Greenham with Kostopoulos providing interference to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Then, with the Penguins about to go on the penalty kill, Andrew Ebbett wins a face-off and finds a streaking Jayson Megna exiting the zone. Megna turns on the jets and powers past the Binghamton defense and backhands one in past Greenham for a 2-0 lead. Only the third shorthanded goal scored by the Penguins this season.

Second Period: Penguins played a boring period. They were not about to let the explosive Binghamton offense start something that resembled a comeback. Matt Murray made some more saves, most memorable of the period a shoulder save that started a fight between Adam Payerl and Max McCormick.

Third Period: More saves by Murray, denying a quick developing two on one for Binghamton. Carter Rowney scores in a pile just as the Penguins power play expired to make it 3-0. At this time, it was all about whether or not Matt Murray would pick up his 11th shutout.

He wouldn’t. Freddy Claesson fired a shot that Max McCormick tipped in to put Binghamton on the board with 4:22 left. The B-Sens made it interesting late and Murray had to make some more key saves, but the home team would get no closer.

I do love this quote from Carter Rowney as told to Tom Venesky after the game…

Shows that while Murray may not pay much attention to shutouts and personal accolades, his teammates do.

Three Stars: 3) Scott Wilson (goal, even) 2) Jayson Megna (goal, +1) and 1) Matt Murray (25 saves on 26 shots)

The Penguins forechecking was ferocious tonight. I don’t know if the B-Sens are just in cruise control or what for the remainder of what is left of their season but the Penguins jumped on the B-Sens from about the face-off dots up to the blue line and caused many turnovers. One led to the first Penguins goal.

Around the Division: This is the last stand for the division. So far, so good. Hershey hosted the AHL leading Manchester Monarchs and were defeated 6-3. The Penguins need the Monarchs to win tomorrow, in regulation, and win in Allentown against the Phantoms which would pull them to within two points of the Bears. Elsewhere, Norfolk lost in overtime 4-3 to Albany and the Phantoms were idle.

Standings: Hershey 87 — Penguins 83 – Lehigh Valley 65 — Binghamton 64 — Norfolk 55

Conference: 1) MCH (92) 2) SYR (88) 3) HER (87) 4) WBS (83) 5) POR (80) 6) HFD (79) 7) PRO (79) 8) WOR (76)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers beat the Fort Wayne Komets by a score of 2-1. Eric Hartzell was in goal and stopped 35 of 36 and also picked up second star honors.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Penguins travel to a rested Lehigh Valley Phantoms team that was idle tonight. Gameday for this will be up on the blog here at 3 p.m.

Let’s Go Pens!


Pretty dominating display here in Binghamton as the Penguins defeat the Binghamton Senators by a 3-1 score here in New York. 

Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals by Scott Wilson and a shorthanded effort by Jayson Megna. 

They bottled up Binghamton in the second period and shut them down, not allowing any chances. 

In the third it was more of the same. Carter Rowney added an insurance goal as a Penguin power play had just expired. Matt Murray’s bid for his 11th shutout of the season was spoiled by a Max McCormick redirect of a Freddy Claesson shot with 4:22 left. 

Penguins inch closer to clinching a playoff spot. They also inch closer to the Hershey Bears, who were losing 6-3 last I looked. 

Full recap will be up in a few hours. I have to make the trek back home. 

Let’s Go Pens!!

GAMEDAY: @ Binghamton 3/27

Away Game: 33

AHL Game: 978

Who: Binghamton Senators

Where: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Sunday in Lehigh Valley, the Penguins won 3-0. It was Matt Murray’s records breaking tenth shutout with 32 saves. Tom Kostopoulos, Bobby Farnham and Scott Harrington also scored for the Penguins in the win. For Binghamton, the Senators were in Bridgeport Sunday and lost 7-1 to the Sound Tigers. Buddy Robinson scored the only goal in the blowout loss.

Last Meeting: Last Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins lost 4-3. Taylor Chorney assisted on all three Penguins goals.

Record: For WBS: 37-21-3-4 (81 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For BNG: 28-29-7-1 (64 pts., 4th place East Division)

Why you should care: Penguins take on the B-Sens for the final time in Binghamton tonight. The B-Sens have given the Penguins fits of recent with their play. Wilkes-Barre will need to contain the B-Sens tonight and make them play more their style if they want to come back home with two points.

Referee(s): Darcy Burchell / Jamie Koharski

Linesmen: Andy Petrus / Francis Trempe-

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @BSens_Hockey

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /binghamtonsenators

Instagram: wbspenguins / bsens_hockey

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @TLTomVenesky // @PSBMatt

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

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Binghamton: Oldies 96.9

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: If the Penguins have any realistic hopes of winning the East Division, they need Manchester to beat Hershey in Hershey in both games this weekend, preferably in regulation. The Monarchs have been the best team in the AHL all season long while the Bears have been one of the best teams in the AHL in 2015.

Next Five Games: @ LV 3/28, HFD 4/1, WOR 4/3, LV 4/4, @ LV 4/8

Breaking Records — Pens WIN 3-0

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I had a feeling this morning that Matt Murray was going to start in goal this afternoon in Allentown and would probably, provided that the Penguins do what they need to both offensively and defensively, get another shutout. I had the feeling that he was due again.

Face it, the Phantoms have struggled this season on the ice. They probably aren’t making playoffs this season after this weekend’s performance, getting just one point out of a possible six. But, they give the Penguins fits matchup wise.

But the Penguins haven’t been good since sweeping Hershey last weekend and have only had a point in four games since. We all know that the Penguins are an extremely well coached team and John Hynes won’t sit by idle while his teams falls down the rungs of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

So couple the Phantoms recent struggles and the whip that is Hynes on the horse they call Penguins, and you get a Wilkes-Barre win, this time 3-0.

Matt Murray’s tenth shutout. He is 10-0-1 in his last 11 starts. He breaks another record that existed for a long, long time. This is Gordie Bell’s shutouts in a season for a rookie goaltender, a record that has stood since 1942-43. Just a remarkable display for the Penguins rookie goaltender.

Murray opposed Rob Zepp, who has given the Penguins fits himself.

Lines were…

Scott Wilson – Jayson Megna – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Bobby Farnham – Matia Marcantuoni – Josh Archibald
Pierre Leblond – J-S Dea – Adam Payerl

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Derrick Pouliot – Scott Harrington
Danny Syvret – Nick D’Agostino

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Conor Sheary and Barry Goers were out, so it was all hands on deck for the Penguins. No healthy scratches.

First Period: Not really much going in the first period. Phantoms had the first nine shots on goal before the Penguins began to store and come to life but there wasn’t any scoring.

Second Period: Penguins had a few power play opportunities, but were getting murdered in the face-off dot. Ever since Andrew Ebbett went up, they have struggled. The Penguins didn’t score on any power plays in the period, but Tom Kostopoulos, at the end of his shift, did this…

1:03 later, Bobby Farnham did this…

Phantoms tried to create chances, but Matt Murray was sharp.

Then, this happened….

Stortini was only given a 2:00 boarding minor. Farnham was fine. Stortini should have been ejected. The Penguins should send tape to the league. If that is any other player on the receiving end of that “hit” by Stortini, they are incapacitated. Stortini should have been ejected.

Matia Marcantuoni’s speed was on full display in this game. He used his speed to generate several chances.

Third Period: Boring period if you are a casual hockey fan that would be happening to watch. Penguins clamped down defensively and all Phantoms chances were one and done. Time dwindled and it became a question whether the Phantoms would squeak one past Murray and start a comeback. It didn’t happen. Murray made a big stop before on a Mark Alt redirect.

With the Phantoms net vacated, Scott Harrington backhanded a shot from his own blue line that went in that sealed the 3-0 win for the Penguins.

Three Stars: 3) Bobby Farnham (goal, +2) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (game winning goal, +2) and 1) Matt Murray (32 save shutout)

Don’t let the 18 shots that the Penguins had in the game concern you. They were looking to preserve the win in the third period and later to preserve the shutout for Murray.

Around the Division: Can’t figure this one out. Binghamton comes to Wilkes-Barre last night and hands the Penguins a 4-3 loss yet goes to Bridgeport, with Peter Mannino in net again, and lose 7-1. Bridgeport is the worst team in the Eastern Conference, by the way. Norfolk and Hershey were off.

Standings: Hershey 87 — Penguins 81 – Lehigh Valley 65 — Binghamton 64 — Norfolk 54

I am not calling the division race over yet. Wilkes-Barre won its game in hand on Hershey today. Had they lost, then I would have conceded to the Bears. Hershey still has to play the East’s best team in Manchester for a pair soon.

Conference: 1) MCH (90) 2) HER (87) 3) SYR (84) 4) WBS (81) 5) PRO (79) 6) HFD (77) 7) POR (76) 8) SPR (75)

Providence was up 2-0 on St. John’s today at home and lost 3-2. Bruins have a game in hand. Just something to watch. Hartford has a game in hand on Providence and two games on Wilkes-Barre, but the Pens and Wolf Pack play each other on April 1.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.

The Week 24 AHL Power Rankings go up Monday at 4. Check them out then.

GAMEDAY: @ Lehigh Valley 3/22


Away Game: 32

AHL Game: 961

Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: PPL Center

When: 5:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Lats Game: Last night at home vs. Binghamton, the Pens lost 4-3. Taylor Chorney had three assists, a career high for the Penguins defenseman. For Lehigh Valley, they were in Worcester last night and lost 6-1. Brandon Manning had the only goal for the Phantoms in the loss.

Last Meeting: February 14 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins lost 5-4 in a shootout. Brian Dumoulin had two assists and was named second star of the game.

Record: For WBS: 36-21-3-4 (79 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For LV: 29-26-6-1 (65 pts., 3rd place East Division)

Why you should care: Penguins are cold right now. They look to get hot again against a struggling Phantoms team that matches up really well against them. Wilkes-Barre almost needs to win this game in hand that they have on the Bears if they have any hopes of catching the Bears for the division lead.

Referee(s): Trevor Hanson

Linesmen: Ryan Knapp / Scott Pomento

Twitter: @WBSPenguins and @WBSGameDay / @LVPhantoms

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins / /LehighValleyPhantoms

Instagram: wbspenguins / lehighvalleyphantoms

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky / @gblockus

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For Lehigh Valley: Bob Rotruck @BobRotruck

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Lehigh Valley: Fox 1470

Television: AHL Live

Other Game to Watch: I like Hartford at Albany. The Wolf Pack are a playoff team looking to make a run while the Devils are on the outside looking in.

Next Five Games: @ BNG 3/27, @ LV 3/28, HFD 4/1, WOR 4/3, LV 4/4

Saturday Night Slugfest — Pens LOSE 4-3

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There were no fights in this game, but this game was a slugfest between two rival teams. The Penguins came out on the short end of the game with a 4-3 loss.

They did a lot of things right in this game. But what they did wrong, cost them, and big.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Peter Mannino.

Lines were essentially unchanged but for a late Conor Sheary scratch. He took warmups and was skating his usual top line position but was announced as a scratch. Must have been an injury, because he leads the team in points and you aren’t going to scratch a guy that leads in that category. J-S Dea took his spot in the lineup.

First Period: Penguins jump was noticeable, holding the B-Sens to without a shot for the first ten minutes of play. Really great to see.

Then out of no where, Mike Sdao scored through a screen that made it 1-0 Binghamton. Probably the second shot of the game.

Off the face-off, Troy Rutkowski high sticked Tom Kuhnhackl and drew blood. Penguins 4:00 power play. Off that face-off, Buddy Robinson scored to make it 2-0 Binghamton. That was the fourth shot on goal for the B-Sens in the period. Not good at all.

Penguins finally cashed on the power play though with Danny Syvret’s first as a Penguin.

Second Period: Penguins carried momentum into the second period and were rewarded with a goal in the first minute. Taylor Chorney put the puck on the pads of Mannino and Carter Rowney, who has been excellent of late, pushed it past Mannino and in for a tie game.

Game then hit a lull which I said at the time benefitted the B-Sens.

In the final minute though, Scott Wilson cashed on a rebound of a Tom Kostopoulos shot that made it 3-2 Penguins.

Third Period: I don’t know what it was. Whether the Penguins played tentative or what. Binghamton is a team that plays fast and loose and if you are not used top playing that style of hockey, you get burned. It happened to the Penguins. Max McCormick scored on a one timer that came out of nowhere that tied the game at three.

Barry Goers left the ice bloodied and holding his left arm as play was stopped so he could get off. He did not return.

Penguins had a few chances late on the power play to either take the lead or tie the game after a Shane Prince backhander of a fluttering pass to him that made it 4-3.

With Zatkoff pulled with over a minute to play, the Penguins never found the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Cole Schneider (assist, even) 2) Taylor Chorney (three assists, a career high, +2) and 1) Shane Prince (game winning goal, +1)

Around the Division: Bears win in overtime up in Portland by a score of 4-3. Hershey has 6 points in their last three games and are getting hot again. Lehigh Valley got thumped by Worcester 6-1 and Norfolk lost 4-3.

Standings: Hershey 87 — Penguins 79 – Lehigh Valley 65 — Binghamton 64 — Norfolk 54

Conference: 1) MCH (88) 2) HER (87) 3) SYR (82) 4) WBS (79) 5) PRO (79) 6) HFD (77) 7) POR (76) 8) SPR (75)

Wheeling Update: Nailers lost 2-1 in Elmira.

SendToNews Highlights: Aren’t up yet. If I remember Sunday morning I will look again.

Pens face-off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tomorrow at 5:05. Gameday for this at 1 here on the blog.

Let’s Go Pens!!


Another quick rapid recap for you on thisSaturday night. 

A stinker. 4-3 Pens loss. Pens did a lot of things right, out shooting the B-Sens 36-23. What they got wrong, they fished out of their nets. 

Pens had a 3-2 lead going into the third period when Binghamton got two goals off crazy plays. A quick one timer by Max McCormick through a screen and later Shane Prince backhander on a fluttering puck that he fluttered past Zatkoff and in for a 4-3 lead. 

Pens had the majority of the power plays but only scored on one of them and were scored on shorthanded.

Lineup change late saw Conor Sheary a late scratch. Obie speculated as to an injury. Sheary took warmups. Other personnel news saw Barry Goers leave the game with an injury, possibly arm related. 

Full recaps of things to come in a bit. 


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