Chirps from Center Ice

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

Seventh Heaven — Pens WIN 2-0

   button_adk200       vs.       WBS

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A 2-0 Penguins win against a Providence team that made a decent Lehigh Valley team look silly the night before, winning 5-1. Matt Murray picked up his AHL leading seventh shutout of the season, tying Brad Thiessen in that department in a season. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins bottled up the speedy Providence forwards, taking away scoring chances and opportunities in passes that could lead to scoring chances.

You can call this a statement win for the Penguins, who looked bad late against Lehigh Valley last Saturday. Providence is a well coached and deep team in all positions team. To answer back with a week off with a 2-0 shutout is a testament to how well the Penguins are coached and how well Murray has been playing of late.

Murray vs. Jeremy Smith

Lines were…

Conor Sheary – Andrew Ebbett – Bryan Rust
Scott Wilson – Jayson Megna – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Scott Harrington
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

First Period: Felt like a boxing match. Both teams landed punches, no one landed a knockout blow. Providence had late sustained pressure in the Penguins zone late but no one scored. If yo were scoring it like a boxing match, it would have gone 10-9 Bruins.

Second Period: Bryan Rust left the game with an apparent leg injury, needing help off the ice and down the runway while play was ongoing. Then Nick D’Agostino was crushed into the boards by a blatant Jared Knight board, but there was no call from referee Ryan Hersey. After some consultation with his linesmen, Hersey threw Knight out of the game and put the Penguins on a 5:00 major power play.

Late in the power play, Tom Kostopoulous was tripped with no call. That action must have been enough to distract Smith as Scott Wilson zipped a shot past him for a 1-0 Penguin lead.

Foreshadowing…

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Third Period: Andrew Ebbett was denied on a sure goal by Smith that kept it just a one goal deficit for the Bruins. This period had a lot of what the first period had but for the fact that the Penguins were up by a goal and there wasn’t anymore hockey to be played at the end of the period. Providence made their push, but the Penguins held firm.

One thing that I did notice, and this was excellent coaching by P-Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was a timeout that he used with 1:19 left. The net Jeremy Smith was guarding was dislodged from its moorings and needed repair. Alexander Khokhlachev and his line mates were on the bench at the time, so Cassidy uses his timeout and gets them on for the final 1:19 looking for the equalizer.

Instead what they find is Conor Sheary scoring from center ice on an empty net. Ballgame.

Three Stars: 3) Jeremy Smith (17 saves on 18 shots) 2) Scott Wilson (goal, even) and 1) Matt Murray (22 save shutout)

Around the Division: Hershey and Bridgeport had a line brawl where the goalies fought but the Bears come out on top by a score of 4-3. — Binghamton loses 5-3 to Syracuse — Worcester sweeps Norfolk 4-3 and Hartford beats Lehigh Valley 5-4 in overtime.

Standings: Hershey 69 — Penguins 64 – Lehigh Valley 55 — Binghamton 50 — Norfolk 48

Conference: 1) MCH (71) 2) SYR (70) 3) HER (69) 4) HFD (67) 5) WBS (64) 6) SPR (64) 7) WOR (62) 8) PRO (61)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost 5-0 to the Toledo Walleye in Ohio.

SendToNews Highlights: Let’s YouTube instead…

Pens back at it tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Hartford vs. the Wolf Pack for another game which should be very interesting. Gameday for that hits the blog Sunday morning at 11 am.m.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP: Pens WIN 2-0

Theres a bunch of snow on the ground as I head out of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza after watching the Penguins beat the Bruins by a score of 2-0.

Matt Murray had a 22 save shutout, his AHL leading seventh of the season. This pulls him into a tie with ex-Penguin Brad Thiessen for most in a season.

Scott Wilson scored a power play goal in the second which broke a scoreless deadlock between the two teams. Conor Sheary netted an empty net goal in the final minute of play.

Pens did a great job of containing Providence’s speedy forwards all night and blocking shots and passes. A team effort if there ever was one.

Scores that matter elsewhere: BRI 3 @ HER 4 – Bears stay five up on the Pens for the division / Hartford and Lehigh Valley are in overtime / NOR 3 @ WOR 4 – Worcester should leap Providence for seventh / POR 3 @ SPR 2 – Pirates are the 9 seed and Springy was the 5 seed coming into tonight.

Full recap later on once I negotiate through the snow. This is here to get you what you need to know at a reasonable time after the game.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Providence 2/21

vs. 2012_PRO

Home Game: 29

AHL Game: 790

Who: Providence Bruins

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last Saturday at home against Lehigh Valley, the Penguins lost in a shootout 5-4. Brian Dumoulin had two assists, good for second star honors. For Providence, they were in Allentown last night and beat the Phantoms 5-1. Colin Stuart and Ryan Spooner each had two goals in the win.

Last Meeting: January 18 in Providence, the Penguins lost 5-4. Alexander Khokhlachev scored a goal with 1:29 left in regulation to break a 4-4 deadlock. Carter Rowney had a goal and two assists and Scott Wilson had two goals and an assist in the losing effort.

Record: For WBS: 28-18-2-4 (62 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For PRO: 27-19-6-1 (61 pts., 2nd place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: Saturday night game at home in front of a sold out crowd and a game on TV. Big home game for the Penguins who want to start the weekend off on the right foot after a full week off and week of practice. Providence comes in battling for a playoff spot and I shouldn’t have to remind you about the recent playoff history between these teams.

Referee(s): Ryan Hersey

Linesmen: Luke Murray / Jud Ritter

Twitter: @WBSPenguins / @WBSGameDay / @AHLBruins

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /providencebruins

Instagram: wbspenguins / ahlbruins

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky / @MarkDivver

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / PRO: Nick Gagalis @NickGagalis

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep 

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Providence: WNRI 1380 AM

Television: AHL Live / MyNetworkTV (local in Wilkes-Barre)

Promotion(s): Military Appreciation Night / Jayson Megna Bobblehead, courtesy of Jeep

Other Game to Watch: The Penguins haven’t played the Hartford Wolf Pack yet, but they do tomorrow. The Wolf Pack are in Allentown tonight taking on the Phantoms. Hartford is a sneaky good team.

Next Five Games: @ HFD 2/22, @ HFD 2/28, @ BRI 3/1, @ MCH 3/6, @ MCH 3/7

AHL Power Rankings: Week 19

Special President’s Day start time to the Week 19 AHL Power Rankings here at 11 a.m. on Monday. Here are a few things to look for…

There is a new number one this week.

There is a team the Politburo describes as, “quietly underrated.”

See if you can find the description of the team that is interjecting themselves into the most exciting divisional race to watch in the AHL.

A question for some fans of some teams that read this blog. I’m really interested in your replies.

Something or nothing for a team in the East Division.

An apology to a team the Politburo messed up on last week.

Plus much more. Click through the jump if you didn’t link in direct.

Read more of this post

Shootout at the Mohegan Corral — Pens LOSE 5-4 (SO)

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That extra point that the Phantoms took home with them tonight may come back and haunt the Penguins.

That is because, after being up 4-3 to start the third with a full 2:00 of a power play to start with, the Penguins don’t score on the man advantage and then allow the Phantoms to rattle off 7 shots in a row and ultimately lose 5-4 in a shootout to Lehigh Valley tonight. The Penguins haven’t won a shootout all season.

With Hershey continuing to roll, winning tonight, the Penguins are now three points back of the Bears. Hershey burns off one of its three games in hand Sunday in Bridgeport.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Rob Zepp.

Lineup the same, just swap out Adam Payerl for Pierre Leblond, with Lehigh Valley having both Jay Rosehill and Zack Stortini in the lineup.

First Period: If you were at the game or watched on AHL Live, you saw Zatkoff struggle with rebounds. Finally Taylor Leier pounced on one and opened the scoring.

But the Penguins went on a power play when Darroll Powe took a delay of game penalty. The Penguins are really using the power play to their advantage of recent and capitalized here, with Tom Kostopoulos getting a piece of a Brian Dumoulin shot for a tie game. The Penguins really pushed back after the Leier goal and were in control…

…until a lax defensive clear that left the puck on a tee for Adam Comrie who went high glove on Zatkoff to make it 2-1 Phantoms going into the…

Second Period: Conor Sheary scores :57 in sneaking in past the Phantoms D to tie the game at 2.

Penguins would find themselves on a 1:58 5-on-3 and Bryan Rust scored to make it 3-2 Penguins. But the see-saw would trend down for the Pens and they would see Jason Akeson score on a power play that tied the game at three again.

To this point, the game had a, “last shot wins” feel to it.

Bobby Farnham scored on a tip of a Nick D’Agostino shot to put the Pens ahead 4-3 going into the…

Third Period: Penguins had a full 2:00 of power play to work with, couldn’t manage a shot. They couldn’t manage a shot for about the first ten minutes. They took two straight penalties and killed them. They took a third and didn’t. Tie game again. Shades of Hershey a week ago it seemed. Things settled a bit after that. I had to collect my Jayson Megna pink jersey and was surrounded by clueless interns that held us in the zamboni den so I couldn’t see much of the second half of the third or any of…

Overtime: With about a minute left, the intern said, “let’s go out now” – but before that I asked to go out to watch overtime but was told that we couldn’t because the doors that the zambonis came out of were closed. Yes, hello. There is a door. This is me complaining. I hate complainers. You are perpetually unhappy if all you do is complain. I am not perpetually unhappy, nor a complainer. No one scored in overtime so it was onto the….

Shootout: Hynes went Wilson (no) Rust (yes) Ebbett for his first three. It was tied 1-1 after three and the Penguins elected to shoot first so Hynes sent Nick D’Agostino over the boards.

Wait. Nick D’Ago-who? D’Agostino? LOL, really?

Here’s what Hynes told Tom after the game regarding that decision:

He missed. Taylor Leier didn’t and the Phantoms took home the extra point.

Three Stars: 3) Nick Cousins (three assists, +1) 2) Brian Dumoulin (two assists, even) and 1) Jason Akeson (two goals, -1)

Around the Division: Hershey wins 5-2 at home against Portland….Norfolk beat Syracuse 2-1 in overtime. Binghamton was off.

Standings: Hershey 65 — Penguins 62 – Lehigh Valley 51 — Norfolk 47 — Binghamton 44

Conference: 1) MCH (68) 2) SYR (66) 3) HER (65) 4) SPR (62) 5) WBS (62) 6) HFD (61) 7) WOR (57) 8) PRO (57)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost in Toledo 5-2. Josh Archibald had an assist. J-S Dea had a goal.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here. I don’t know if Coal Street will add YouTube highlights or not.

Penguins off until next Saturday against Providence. During that time a lot of games will be played and the scoreboard will be watched. Hershey will burn off two games on the Penguins. I’ll look around the conference and see who else has games in hand on the Pens and may likely have blog pieces about that this week for content. Week 19 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog at 11 a.m. Monday because there are four games played on President’s Day. My chart refresh will probably go up sometime Sunday.

Oh, if you were wondering what the exchange was between me and Megna when he game me the jersey…

I must be getting old. He called me sir.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Lehigh Valley 2/14

vs. lv-white

Home Game: 28

AHL Game: 744

Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night at home vs. the Portland Pirates, the Penguins won 3-0. Matt Murray had a 23 save shutout and Scott Wilson scored to power play goals. For the Phantoms, they lost 3-2 at home vs. Binghamton. Nick Cousins had a goal and an assist in the losing effort.

Last Meeting: January 31 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens lost 6-2. After being up 2-0, the Phantoms rattled off six straight goals to win. Andrew Ebbett and Scott Wilson both had two assists each.

Record: For WBS: 28-18-2-3 (61 pts., 2nd place East Division) — For LV: 22-21-4-1 (49 pts., 3rd place East Division)

Why you should care: The implosion the Penguins had the last time these two teams met is still fresh in the minds. Wilkes-Barre is obviously looking to erase that memory with a strong effort tonight.

Referee(s): Mark Lemelin / Ryan Fraser

Linesmen: Leo Boylan / John Grandt

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

Promotion(s): Pink in the Rink / Penguins Poster, courtesy of McCarthy Tire

Other Game to Watch: The Bears host last nights opponent, the Portland Pirates. Can the Pirates bounce back or will it be another Bears win?

Next Five Games: PRO 2/21, @ HFD 2/22, @ HFD 2/28, @ BRI 3/1, @ MCH 3/6

Hey, Mr. Wilson! — Pens WIN 3-0

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A two goal night by Scott Wilson, the Penguins go 2-for-4 on the power play and another shutout, this time 23 saves and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins beat the Portland Pirates by a score of 3-0.

Some bullet points:

  • Add the Portland Pirates to the list of teams that have yet to score a goal on the Penguins this season. Jeff Zatkoff shutout the Pirates in November, by a score of 2-0.
  • The Penguins are on a season high point streak (4-0-1-0) and have points in their last ten games (8-1-1-0)
  • The Pirates have not beat the Penguins since way back in 2010.
  • Oh, Matt Murray’s sixth shutout, leads the AHL. There is some guy in Pittsburgh named Marc-Andre Fleury that leads the NHL with 8 shutouts.

It was Matt Murray vs. Mike Lee, making his first AHL start of the season.

Lines were…

Dominik Uher – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Adam Payerl
Conor Sheary – Andrew Ebbett – Bryan Rust
Scott Wilson – Jayson Megna – Tom Kostopoulos

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Scott Harrington
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Alex Boak took warmups but was scratched. Adam Payerl was in for Nick Drazenovic, who was listed among the injured players.

First Period: Nothing for scoring. Penguins trailed Portland 6-1 in shots at one point but then the Pens pushed back and rattled off eight straight to end the period.

Second Period: Was developing into a defensive battle with two teams in the top four in defense. Mark Louis trips a Penguin, leading to a Wilkes-Barre power play. Scott Wilson scores to make it 1-0 Penguins.

Third Period: Penguins get another power play and Scott Wilson gets another goal. Nice circle to circle pass from Sheary to set it up. Then. Bryan Rust does his patented power move to the net and dishes to Andrew Ebbett who scored to make it 3-0.

At this point, it was more about preserving the shutout Murray had going than it was anything else. Murray to his credit wasn’t tested much but when he was, he was fantastic.

Team record for shutouts is seven, by Brad Thiessen.

Three Stars: 3) Brian Dumoulin (three assists, +1) 2) Matt Murray (23 save shutout) and 1) Scott Wilson (two goals, even)

Around the Division: Philipp Grubauer and the Hershey Bears shutout the Albany Devils by a score of 1-0. It was Grubauer’s fifth shutout of the season….Binghamton beat Lehigh Valley in Allentown by a score of 3-2 and Norfolk beat Syracuse 2-0 as Jason LaBarbera had an 18 save shutout also. Good night to be an AHL East Division goaltender, I guess.

Standings: Hershey 63 — Penguins 61 – Lehigh Valley 49 — Norfolk 45 — Binghamton 44

Conference: 1) MCH (66) 2) SYR (65) 3) HER (61) 4) WBS (61) 5) SPR (60) 6) HFD (59) 7) PRO (56) 8) WOR (55)

Good night for the Penguins conference wise. Springfield lost. Hartford was idle. The Wolf Pack have three games in hand though. If the Pens can’t catch Hershey for the division, staying above the best of the rest is the spot to be.

Wheeling Update: Nailers win 3-2 in overtime. Eric Hartzell picked up the win. Josh Archibald and J-S Dea were pointless, but Archibald had 7 shots on goal and Dea 3.

SendToNews Highlights: YouTube instead…

One more thing before I go, the 50/50 pot was $9,800. That thing will go to over $10,000 when the place sells out, I am sure of it. It is catching on. I didn’t win yet, though.

Pens welcome in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tomorrow at 7:05. Gameday setup for that will be here on the blog at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

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