Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

Tigers Dig Deep Holes — Pens LOSE 3-2

BRI         vs.         WBS

3                                              2

Understaffed is the wrong word for this one. So is undermanned. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins skated with a full contingent of players tonight in a 3-2 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Pink in the Rink Night.

Inexperienced is probably a better term to use or disjointed maybe with all of the roster shuffling in recent weeks.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers now have won six games in a row. The Penguins meanwhile dig out of a 0-3 hole at the end of the first period and nearly came back to win.

Penguins played terrible in the first half of the game then started to turn it on with starting goaltender Tristan Jarry settling into a grove.

Jarry opposed Christopher Gibson.

Lines were…

Ty Loney – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
John McCarron – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Niclas Andersen – Ryan Parent

Tristan Jarry – Matt Murray

Lineup Notes: Jarrett Burton was signed earlier in the day to a PTO with Matia Marcantuoni down with injury. Burton was Wheeling’s leading scorer at the time. He took Marcantuoni’s place centering the fourth line. That was the only change for the Pens coming off Friday’s win against Springfield.

First Period: Pens took three straight penalties in the period. They get scored on even strength when a defender loses Jared Gomes streaking down the far side. Gomes went up the wing and scores on a shot that beat Jarry clean and it was 1-0 Sound Tigers.

Then the Sound Tigers league worst power play scored seconds after a Ryan Parent hook when an Alan Quine shot from the point found its way in for a 2-0 Bridgeport lead. Jarry was badly screened on that attempt by Quine.

The Penguins were running all over the place and almost into each other trying to match the pace of the Sound Tigers. Then, they lost Ben Holmstrom behind Jarry’s net for a second. Holmstrom finds Justin Vaive on the far side and Vaive connects for a goal that made it 3-0.

Shots after the first period were every bit of 14-5 in favor of the Sound Tigers. Jarry was the reason that it wasn’t 6 or 7-0. The Penguins looked and played overmatched and were not playing as a team. How could they when it’s constantly one or two guys out of the lineup because of injury or call-up.

Second Period: Penguins kept it a 3-0 deficit and killed a couple of Bridgeport penalties. Then, Carter Rowney scored to put the Penguins on the board at 3-1. Off of the ensuing face-off the Penguins nearly scored again and were starting to come alive when the horn sounded to end the period. Of note here, Will O’Neill picked up an assist on the Rowney goal. O’Neill has 13 points in his last 13 games.

Third Period: Carter Rowney picked up a bouncing puck, took it to his right through some Sound Tigers defensemen, drew Gibson out of his net and beat him to cut the deficit to one with 13:12 to play in the period.

Penguins then got a power play and nearly scored on it with several chances. Pens were continuing to push when Steve Oleksy was called for slashing. They killed that then Gomes was called for a slash of his own. Wilkes-Barre called their timeout, but with Jarry eventually pulled and the Penguins skating six men to four, they never found the equalizer.

Moral of this one is that a 0-3 hole after the first period is tough for even the healthiest of teams to battle back from because you are constantly chasing the game.

Three Stars: 3) Ben Holmstrom (two assists, +2) 2) Justin Vaive (game winning goal, +1) 1) Carter Rowney (two goals, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey inches closer to surpassing the Penguins for tops in the Atlantic. They beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 5-1….Albany shuts out Hartford 3-0….Providence beats Portland 3-1….Springfield doubles up Syracuse 6-3.

Standings: Penguins (.674 percentage points) — Hershey (.635) — Portland (.589) — Providence (.565) — Bridgeport (.564) — Hartford (.532) — Lehigh Valley (.490) — Springfield (.457)

In case you are wondering, the Hershey Bears cannot surpass the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins for first place this weekend no matter if they win in the only AHL game on the schedule on Super Bowl Sunday against the Binghamton Senators. Even if the Penguins lose Tuesday to the Utica Comets, the percentage points then would be .660. It’s mainly because the Penguins have games in hand on Hershey that is the difference in the percentage points thing that the AHL has us ranked by this season (thanks, California) so while the margins are going to be close, Hershey still has work to do.

That’s right, the Pens and Bears still have to play each other eight more times.

Wheeling Update: Predictably, the undermanned and understaffed Wheeling Nailers lost 6-0 to the Reading Royals tonight. The Nailers played with eight forwards.

I doubt there will be video highlights but if I see any and can work and edit in, I’ll put it here.

Pens have a date in Utica Tuesday. My Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4 at their usual time. The big board chart refresh will update sometime Sunday afternoon.

Let’s Go Pens!!!


The Bridgeport Sound Tigers came into the game tonight having won five games in a row and on the rise in the Atlantic Division. The understaffed Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins scraped together a lineup tonight and gave it a go. 

Gosh golly, they almost came out winners. Or forced overtime at least. 

Behind 3-0 after the first period, the Penguins comeback falls short and they lose 3-2. Carter Rowney had both Penguins goals. 

Tristan Jarry stopped 24 of 27. 

More in a bit with full analysis.

GAMEDAY: vs. Bridgeport 2/6


vs.     bri14

Home Game: 23

AHL Game: 686

Who: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night in Bridgeport, the Pens won 4-3 in overtime. Carter Rowney capped off his three point night with the game winning power play goal. For Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last night and won 6-3. Bracken Kearns had a hat trick.

Last Meeting: October 18 in Bridgeport, the Pens won 5-1. Tristan Jarry stopped 35 of 36 shots to pick up his first professional win as a goaltender.

Record: For WBS: 30-13-1-1 (62 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division)  — For BRI: 24-19-2-1 (51 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: Expect Tristan Jarry tonight as the Pens are coming off of a road win and a night where Matt Murray saw 45 shots. The Sound Tigers are coming in on a five game winning streak and the Pens are just getting off of a four game losing streak. If the Penguins are going to win tonight, they will need another strong performance in goal and offensive help from a Carter ROwney or maybe an Anton Zlobin type player.

Referee(s): Jamie Koharski / Peter MacDougall

Linesmen: Jason Mandroc / Matt McNulty

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @TheSoundTigers

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /soundtigers

Instagram: wbspenguins / thesoundtigers

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TLTomVenesky / @fornabaioctp

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For BRI: Paul Ryan @PaulRyanPaul

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For BRI: I don’t think Sound Tigers games are on radio. Here’s the link to AHL Live where you could here the game if you want to.

Television: AHL Live

Promotion(s): Pink in the Rink | McCarthy Tire All-Star Poster

Other Game to Watch: Every team in the AHL in in action tonight for the first time this season. The game on my radar though is Lehigh Valley at Hershey. The Phantoms have won five of their last six and the Bears are on a ten game point streak.

Next Five Games: @ UTI 2/9, @ HFD 2/12, POR 2/13, POR 2/14, @ TOR 2/19

Carter’s Got Peanuts — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)

WBS          @          button_spr200

4                                                3

With half of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins normal roster either injured or on call-up to Pittsburgh, the Penguins needed a big game from a role player tonight.

They got that in the form of Anton Zlobin tonight, on recall from Wheeling this morning. Zlobin’s performance was supplemented by none other than Carter Rowney and the Penguins beat the Springfield Falcons in overtime in a late nail biter on a power play goal by a score of 4-3.

The game plan tonight was ride a strong performance by Matt Murray in goal and get scoring from somewhere, anywhere, and hope for the best. 42 saves on 45 shots by Murray tonight and the third line of Zlobin, Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos were a combined +6 tonight.

It was Matt Murray vs. Niklas Treutle.

Friday morning, the Penguins called up two and signed one. Up from Wheeling were Anton Zlobin, Patrick McGrath and Derek Army. Army was signed to a professional tryout agreement.

Lines were….

Ty Loney – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
John McCarron – Matia Marcantuoni – Patrick McGrath

Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Ryan Parent – Niclas Andersen

Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry

Lineup Notes: Ryan Parent was making his Wilkes-Barre season debut. He last appeared in two games for the Pens in playoffs last season. Harrison Ruopp and Clark Seymour were the healthy scratches as was Brian Foster. Tyler Biggs, Barry Goers and Dominik Uher (week to week) along with Sahir Gill and Dominik Simon (day to day) were the injury scratches.

First Period: Penguins needed a quick start to set the tone and the pace and got it, twenty seconds in, when Steve Oleksy scored his first of the season with Tom Kostopouls providing interference in front:

I thought at the time that Tom Kostopoulos scored that goal, but the house scored it and kept it Oleksy’s.

The next part of the game plan was take advantage when the opponent gives you a power play opportunity. With half of the firepower in Pittsburgh, Clark Donatelli has been improvising recently with Tom Sestito parked in front of the crease on the power play.

It worked.

Nifty redirection by Sestito there.

Springfield would outshoot the Penguins 12-8 in the period thanks in large part to being on the power play three consecutive times to close out the period but the Penguins penalty killing led by Matt Murray kept them off the scoresheet.

Patrick McGrath and Stefan Fournier fought to close out the period in what Mike O’Brien called on radio, “one of the best fights we have seen all year.”

Second Period: Matia Marcantuoni was injured in the first period and did not come out for the second so the Penguins skated a forward short and may need to dress seven defensemen tomorrow against Bridgeport.

Niklas Treutle settled into the game nicely and denied Tom Sestito on a mini breakaway. Sestito tried to go five hole but was stopped. Tretule then stopped Anton Zlobin on a mini break also. It was clear that the Falcons netminder was settling into the game.

Springfield continued to press and finally got a goal when Steve Delisle threw a puck at Murray from the far wall and past him to cut the lead to one. The Falcons continued to press and Murray was needed to make some more big time saves. Reid McNeill blocked a shot in an unprotected area of the leg and went of the ice into the locker room with assistance.

Here is video if it in slow motion:

Third Period: But a shot off of a leg / ankle wasn’t going to faze McNeill, as he would return to the ice and assisted on this goal by Zlobin which made it 3-1 Penguins just :28 into the period…

It was Zlobin’s first goal in the AHL since March 14, 2014 when he scored against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

But the Falcons continued to press with loads of time left in the period and eventually tied it.

— Greg Carey cashed in on rebound left by Matt Murray on a Philip Samuelsson shot that made it 3-2 on a power play.
— Carey then struck when the Penguins won a defensive zone face-off, tried to clear but Carey put a shot on net that may have deflected off of Steve Oleksy and in that tied the game:

Pens got a power play but couldn’t cash on it. Mike O’Brien succinctly noted that the last place Falcons were playing with nothing to lose and the depleted, first place Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were playing and looking tense.

Corey Potter dumped a puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. Will O’Neill hit the post on the ensuing late power play but the teams headed to overtime tied 3-3.

Overtime: Pens won a faceoff, got it in the offensive zone and moved the puck around and, well…see for yourself…

So ends the four game losing streak that the Penguins were on coming in. So ends the four game losing streak that Matt Murray was on.

Three Stars: 3) Anton Zlobin (goal, assist, +2) 2) Tim Erixon (assist) 1) Greg Carey two goals, +2)

No idea on those selections. Carter Rowney was 1-2-3. Matt Murray made 42 saves, a career high for him.

Around the Division: Hershey continues its tear with a 6-2 thrashing of the Binghmaton Senators on the Southern Tier. After a scoreless first, the Bears scored six times on eight shots to win….Bridgeport battles through a Danick Martel hat trick to overcome the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 6-3…The Hartford Wolf Pack continue their tear, beating All-Star goaltender Mike McKenna and his Portland Pirates by a score of 5-0 and Albany overcomes a loaded Providence team 4-3 in a shootout.

Standings: Penguins (.689 percentage points) — Hershey (.628) — Portland (.602) — Providence (.556) — Bridgeport (.554) — Hartford (.543) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Springfield (.444)

Wheeling Update: Good on the Wheeling Nailers, who have been pillaged on the low end of all of these call-ups, on beating the Reading Royals 3-2 tonight on the road. Casey DeSmith stopped 24 of 26.

Pens bus back home for a Saturday night game against Bridgeport. Gameday setup for this will hit the blog Saturdsay at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Springfield 2/5

@     spr14

Away Game: 23

AHL Game: 669

Who: Springfield Falcons

Where: MassMutual Center

When: 7:00 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last Saturday at home against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Penguins lost 5-3. Scott Wilson had two goals. For Springfield, they beat the Portland Pirates at home 6-2. Corey Potter had two goals and two assists and was named first star of the game.

Last Meeting: January 2 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 4-1. Carter Rowney had two assists.

 Record: For WBS: 29-13-1-1 (60 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) — For SPR: 17-22-2-3 (39 pts., 8th place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: The sliding Penguins are headed to the place where they have had the most success of recent against a team they are 3-0 against this season. Wilkes-Barre is 3-0 in their last three at the MassMutual Center. The Penguins are probably going to be without the services of Dominik Simon, Dominik Uher or Sahir Gill tonight or this weekend. That is significant firepower out of the lineup tonight for the slumping Penguins who have dropped three straight and are backing up towards the rest of the division. A full, sixty minute effort is going to be key tonight.

Referee(s): Pierre Lambert / Michael Mullen

Linesmen: Chris Low / Paul Simeon

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay // @TheFalconsAHL

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /falconsahl

Instagram: wbspenguins / falconsahl

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso 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

Other Game to Watch: Bridgeport hosts Lehigh Valley. These two teams are hot right now.

Next Five Games: BRI 2/6, @ UTI 2/9, @ HFD 2/12, POR 2/13, POR 2/14

Have No Fehr, It’s Sunny Tomorrow

With Eric Fehr down with what Mike Sullivan told Pittsburgh media a, “significant lower body injury” which will sideline the Penguins center for at least a month, the Pittsburgh Penguins recalled rookie center Oskar Sundqvist Thursday from Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Sundqvist is 5-11-16 in 39 games with the Penguins this season. He has a goals for percentage of 46.81% and an even strength goals for percentage of 50%. He’s a penalty killer and a center, which fills the role left when Fehr went down with injury.

Wilkes-Barre hasn’t made a recall from Wheeling as of this writing, but Clark Donatelli told media today he’s going to recall two players. Dominik Uher, Dominik Simon and Sahir Gill all did not practice today so if I was a betting man, I’d call up Anton Zlobin and probably Patrick McGrath. All of Wheeling’s other top scorers are either already recalled to the AHL or not on AHL deals meaning that the Penguins would need to sign the player in order for him to play here.

Or the Penguins can go beyond Wheeling and sign another ECHL contracted player from another team. I’d expect the news on a recall to come Friday morning.

Here is Seth’s post on the Sundqvist recall.

Gameday setup for Pens at Falcons hits the blog Friday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

All Star Catchup 2/1

Had to do a double take there on the date. Is it really February 1st already?

Anyway, a couple things to note on here a few hours from the AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse. 

The West beat the East 19-14 in the skills competition last night. Tied 9-9 in the second to last event, the West won the breakaway relay by a score of 10-5. Penguins defenseman Will O’Neill participated in three events. 

This morning, Dave Andrews met with the media here and held his annual State of the AHL. I’m still working on raw audio and thought about different ways to summarize everything here on the blog but found Sean Shapiro from Wrong Side of the Red Line in Austin, TX already did a fantastic job in summarizing the event. 

Essentially Andrews hit on a few different things. First was balancing the schedule. California teams play 68 games and everyone else plays 76. You are going to see that again next year and probably the foreseeable future unless you convince teams to play less games which the independently owned teams in Hershey and Chicago won’t go for. 

Second was the two referee system. It’s coming. The biggest problem now is that the League doesn’t have enough qualified guys to work a game. 

Third is the way that playoffs are dictated financially. Basically the ticket deals that your team gives you during the season is taken away if your team qualifies for playoffs. That’s not on the team, that’s the AHL telling them what to do. That’s going away. 

There were other small things like on ice time. All teams track it but the NHL teams don’t want it made public because of confidentiality on how a certain prospect is being used. I don’t know why they would try to hide that, honestly. Games are easily available online and anyone with a stopwatch and a piece of paper can manufacture how much time a certain player is getting. 

Also, the dry scrape is sticking around. Lots of fans don’t like it because it kills momentum, but some buildings are more suited to do it the way the NHL buildings do it and others aren’t. So to make it fair for everyone they dry scrape the ice. 

Same divisions and parent clubs for next year too. I think that may be the first time in a while that nothing would change from one year to the other. 

There was some Pittsburgh news that had an affect on Wilkes-Barre today. 

First, the news that Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson are back with Pittsburgh after the parent Penguins come off of NHL All-Star break. That was to be expected. Chris Kunitz did not participate in practice today, so recalling both makes sense. The Pens play the Ottawa Senators Tuesday.

The other news today was that Tom Sestito was signed by the Penguins to an NHL contract. He will be on waivers until noon Tuesday and if no one claims him, he will be assigned to Wilkes-Barre. 

More later after the games tonight. The Atlantic Division plays the Central Division in the second game of the night, the Pacific Division in the fourth and the North in the sixth and final game of the night before the championship game. Game is local on My Network TV or on Root Sports Pittsburgh tonight at 7.


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