Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: vs. Hershey 12/14




Home Game: 15

AHL Game: 393

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 4:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night in Allentown against the Phantoms, the Pens lost in a shootout 2-1. J-S Dea had the only goal for the Pens in the loss. For Hershey, reigning AHL Player of the Week Chirs Conner stayed hot with a goal and three assists as the Bears defeated the Binghamton Senators by a score of 5-2.

Last Meeting: Last Sunday in Hershey, the Pens won 3-2. Derrick Pouliot had two goals for the Pens in the win.

Record: For WBS: 15-9-1-2 (33 pts., 1st place East Division) — For HER: 14-10-1-1 (30 pts., 2nd place East Division)

Why you should care: If the Penguins can close out the weekend with against Hershey today, it would bloat the lead over the Bears to five points. A loss would mean a point separates the Penguins and Bears for the division lead.

Referee(s): Kendrick Nicholson / Evgeny Romasko

Linesmen: Leo Boylan / Ryan Knapp

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @TheHersheyBears

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /TheHersheyBears

Instagram: wbspenguins / thehersheybears

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @TLTomVenesky // @timleone

Broadcasters: WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / HER: Scott Stuccio @ScottStuccio

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @ChocHockey

Radio: For WBS: WILK News Radio / For Hershey: 1460 The Ticket 

Television: AHL Live

Promotion(s): None

Other Game to Watch: Albany hosts Lehigh Valley in Atlantic City today.

Next Five Games: ALB 12/19, @ BNG 12/20, @ BNG 12/26, BRI 12/27, NOR 12/28

Seeing Stolarz — Pens LOSE 2-1 (SO)

WBS       @       button_lv200

  1                                         2


If the Penguins ever deserved to win a game, it was this one.

But rookie Phantoms goaltender Anthony Stolarz wasn’t going for it.

Anchored by a 44 save performance by the rookie Stolarz, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms win this game by a score of 2-1 against the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

Matt Murray vs. Anthony Stolarz.

News of the day was that Bobby Farnham and Bryan Rust were recalled Saturday morning to Pittsburgh and Jayson Megna was sent back. That said, here is what the lines looked like tonight…

Tom Kostopoulos – Carter Rowney – Adam Payerl
Conor Sheary – JS Dea – Jayson Megna
Tom Kuhnhackl – Sahir Gill – Josh Archibald
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Dom Uher

Scott Harrington – Taylor Chorney
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Alex Boak took part in warmups again but was scratched.

First Period: At 1:15, a Brett Hextall shot rebounded to Petr Straka that put the Phantoms on the board first for the 1-0 lead. Penguins lost D zone coverage that led to the goal. Wilkes-Barre settled in from there and got two power plays but didn’t capitalize. Stolarz had a nifty save sliding back over the opposite way that stopped a Barry Goers back door rebound attempt.

Second Period: The Penguins did everything they could to score in this period but Stolarz would remain stout in net and stopped all 12 Wilkes-Barre shots fired this period. It seemed all four lines were rolling, Matia Marcantuoni kept his legs moving on a puck behind the net, centered to Pierre Leblond in front but no dice. Tom Kostopoulos and Carter Rowney worked a two on one but Rowney never got a good enough shot off. It seemed like a methodical wear down of the Phantoms by the Penguins but Stolarz kept them out.

Third Period: Finally, the Pens broke through and got the tying goal. Jayson Megna threw a puck on net that J-S Dea whacked in through a pile of bodies to tie the game at one. That was enough to force…

Overtime: Megna and Dea had a bunch of chances to end the game in overtime, but never did so it was onto….

Shootout: Josh Archibald and Petr Straka cashed on their attempts, Conor Sheary and Jason Akeson missed theirs. Tom Kuhnhackl and Taylor Leier scored theirs. Jayson Megna missed his and Nick Cousins deked Murray down to score his and the Phantoms took the extra point home with them.

Three Stars: 3) Petr Straka (goal, +1) 2) Anthony Stolarz (44 saves on 45 shots) and 1) Nick Cousins (shootout game winning goal, -1)

Around the Division: No matter what happens in tomorrow’s game against Hershey, the Pens will stall lead the East Division by at least a point, maybe five. That is because the Bears beat the Binghamton Senators by a score of 5-2…. Norfolk beat Springfield 4-3.

Standings: Penguins 33 – Hershey 30 — Binghamton 27 — Lehigh Valley 25 — Norfolk 22

Conference: 1) SPR (37) 2) MCH (36) 3) WBS (33) 4) SYR (35) 5) HFD (31) 6) HER (30) 7) POR (28) 8) PRO (28)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost to the Reading Royals by a score of 2-1. Eric Hartzell took the loss, stopping 21 of 23 shots.

SendToNews Highlights: Phantoms will probably have them and when they do I will link in.

Pens wrap up the weekend with a 4 p.m. start against the Bears. Gameday for that will be up a high noon Sunday.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Lehigh Valley 12/13




Away Game: 13

AHL Game: 379

Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: PPL Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Lats Game: Last night at home vs. Bridgeport, the Pens won 4-1. They scored two power play goals. Bryan Rust had two goals. For Lehigh Valley, they lost last night in Binghamton 3-1. Zack Stortini scored the only goal for the Phantoms in the loss.

Last Meeting: December 5 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 5-1. Tom Kostopoulos scored two goals.

Record: For WBS: 15-9-1-1 (32 pts., 1st place East Division) — For LV: 10-10-2-1 (23 pts., 4th place East Division)

Why you should care: Trap game for the Penguins. They eked out a win in Hershey Sunday against the Bears in Hershey that snapped an eight game losing streak and put the Pens atop the East Division again. They handled the Sound Tigers top ranked power play and scored two goals on the man advantage themselves. If the Penguins think they can sleepwalk through this game in Allentown tonight against the Phantoms, they will be in for a surprise.

Referee(s): Ryan Fraser

Linesmen: Bob Fyrer / Jud Ritter

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: Binghamton and Hershey are playing in Hershey for second place in the division, essentially. The B-Sens trail the Bears for second by just a point.

Next Five Games: HER 12/14, ALB 12/19, @ BNG 12/20, @ BNG 12/26, BRI 12/27

Love Me Two Times — Pens WIN 4-1

BRI         vs.         WBS

1                                              4


Facing a Bridgeport Sound Tigers team that came into the weekend with the AHL’s best power play, the Pens were awfully lucky they didn’t blow the game in the first 10 minutes.

That was when referee Darcy Burchell whistled three consecutive penalties against the Penguins. But the Penguins managed to bend but not break and hold the League’s top power play units at bay and weather the storm and skate away with the 4-1 win.

Bryan Rust had two goals. Derrick Pouliot had a highlight reel goal that you need to see to believe. Tom Kostopoulos scored the other one. The Penguins, actually, were the ones that had success on the man advantage, scoring twice. Jeff Zatkoff made 26 saves.

News of the day, announced at around 9 a.m. today was that Coal Street locked up Head Coach John Hynes and Alain Nasreddine to multi-year extensions. This should be the least shocking news that you should read this month. Hynes on Sunday, eclipsed the 200 wins mark and Nasreddine’s defense has consistently been tops in the AHL since he has been running the blueliners.

The aforementioned Jeff Zatkoff vs. Kevin Poulin.

Taylor Chorney returned from injury. With that reinforcement in the lineup, here’s what it looked like, line by line…

Tom Kostopoulos – Carter Rowney – Adam Payerl
Dom Uher – JS Dea – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Conor Sheary – Josh Archibald
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Scott Harrington – Taylor Chorney
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray.

Alex Boak skated the warmup as the extra.

First Period: The Penguins got an early power play that Bridgeport disposed of then the Penguins took essentially three straight. Bridgeport took another, as time expired on the Penguin power play, Barry Goers tossed a shot on net that Tom Kostopoulos tipped in for a 1-0 Penguin lead.

Second Period: Jeff Zatkoff was pushed into and was knocked down and never recovered enough to get back to his feet and square, about five seconds later ex-Penguin Colin McDonald throws a shot on net that deflects off of Kael Mouillerat and in. Burchell initially looked as if he was going to blow it down on account of the initial interference on Zatkoff but awarded the goal. Right call in my mind, the interference happened, five seconds ticked by and the shot went in without interference.

The Penguins were unflappable though, and soon Brett Gallant was boxed for interference. It was a golden opportunity for the Penguins to retake the lead on the power play. They did just that. A Conor Sheary shot from the wing rebounded straight to Bryan Rust for the rebound goal.

The Penguins never looked back. Hold onto your stomachs, you are about to see a disgusting goal…


In hindsight, that goal let a lot of air out of the Sound Tigers. Because I don’t think they ever recovered enough to make any kind of pushback in the third period. Speaking of…

Third Period: Rust with his second of the night from the high slot. He took a pass from Domimik Uher on the far wall, waited in the slot for his chance, loaded up and fired for the 4-1 lead. That was the highlight of an overall blah period. The Penguins were not going to do anything to lose the lead and Bridgeport couldn’t amount anything that resembled a comeback.

Three Stars: 3) Jeff Zatkoff (26 saves on 27 shots) 2) Derrick Pouliot (goal, assist, -1) and 1) Brayn Rust (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: Hershey lost in Syracuse 4-1. A tight game that was 1-1 late in the third and the Crunch got two bang-bang goals and an empty netter to take the win….Binghamton beats Lehigh Valley 3-1 and Norfolk, dressing a lineup with a bunch of NHLers on conditioning assignments, still can’t beat Springfield and lose 3-1.

Standings: Penguins 32 – Hershey 28 — Binghamton 27 — Lehigh Valley — 23 — Norfolk 20

Conference: 1) SPR (37) 2) MCH (34) 3) WBS (32) 4) SYR (33) 5) HFD (31) 6) POR (28) 7) HER (28) 8) BNG (27)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were down 5-1 to Reading at one point and mount a comeback that comes one goal short and lose 5-4. Zack Torquato had a goal. Clark Seymour had an assist. Here is a story that ran in the papers out there on local product Patrick McGrath earlier this week.

SendToNews Highlights: Better yet, how about a YouTube package?

Penguins take to the road to Allentown for a 7:00 game against the Phantoms. Gameday for that will be up at 3:00.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Bridgeport 12/12




Home Game: 14

AHL Game: 376

Who: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Last Sunday in Hershey, the Penguins won 3-2. Derrick Pouliot had two goals and John Hynes won his 200th game. For Bridgeport, they hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Sunday and lost 5-3. Ex-Penguin Harry Zolnierczyk had a goal. Aaron Ness had two assists.

Record: For WBS: 14-9-1-1 (30 pts., 1st place East Division) — For BRI: 12-9-2-1 (27 pts., 5th place Northeast Division)

Why you should care: It’s another important weekend for the Penguins coming up and Wilkes-Barre cannot underestimate this Sound Tigers team coming in tonight. They need the same effort from last weekend if they want to get by Bridgeport tonight.

Referee(s): Darcy Burchell

Linesmen: Ryan Knapp / Matt McNulty

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay@TheSoundTigers

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /soundtigers

Instagram: wbspenguins / thesoundtigers

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie and @TLTomVenesky / @fornabaioctp

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For BRI: Phil Giubileo @philgpbp

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): None

Other Game to Watch: Syracuse ended Springfield’s 11 game winning streak Wednesday, now the Crunch are home to take on the Hershey Bears.

Next Five Games: @ LV 12/13, HER 12/14, ALB 12/19, @ BNG 12/20, @ BNG 12/26

AHL Power Rankings: Week 9

Not a whole heck of a lot of shake up to the top five this week in the Week 9 Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings.

The Springfield Falcons remain at the top of the pack with another perfect week and an 11 game winning streak.

The surprising Oklahoma City Barons are second on the board with a perfect weekend and leading the West Division.

The San Antonio Rampage remain hot with points in their last eleven outings.

There’s 27 other teams that I can ramble on about here in this space but won’t. Instead I will ask you to click the jump to see where the rest all ended up if you didn’t link in direct.

Read more of this post

I’ll Take Penguins Win for 200, John — Pens WIN 3-2

WBS        @       HER

3                                         2


There were technical difficulties on the AHL Live feed tonight so I was not able to listen to the away feed and the call of Mike O’Brien. The alternative was ex-Penguins broadcaster Scott Stuccio, which is always a treat.

Anyway, after the end of the second period of what was a 2-2 game, Stuccio said that these two teams have played each other twice in two nights, and it felt like eight games. Even for the broadcasters.

You can count the bloggers too, Stoosh.

The Penguins, after being dealt a setback the night before on home ice by these same Bears, battle back and re-claim first place in the division with a thrilling 3-2 victory.

The victory was Head Coach John Hynes’ 200th win as Penguins head coach. Here’s the info graphic from Coal Street.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Philipp Grubauer

Lineup wise. Matia Marcantuoni was in for Sahir Gill up front and Alex Boak was back in for Clark Seymour.

Obie said in pre game that Taylor Chorney will likely start practicing again this week and Nick Drazenovic will continue, but in a limited role.

First Period: :39 in, Steve Oleksy put the Bears on the board with a goal that unleashed the teddy bear toss that took a grand total of 22 minutes to clean up. 17,000+ bears were flung to the Giant Center ice. The Penguins went back to the locker room during the delay. When play started back up again, they slowly built up momentum that led to this Derrick Pouliot goal that tied the game at one. Pierre Leblond was boxed for a penalty, the Penguins killed it and into the clear, Leblond found himself leading a three-on-one. He never got a shot off but maintained possession to Tom Kostopoulos who found a cutting Pouliot who put it in for the evening goal.

Wilkes-Barre maintained momentum throughout the remainder of the period. Carter Rowney had Grubauer dead to rights and had an empty net, but put the puck off the far post and not in.

Second Period: Penguins had a double minor they were killing to open the period then Stan Galiev held Tom Kuhnhackl. Neither team scored 4-on-4 and when Galiev was freed from the penalty box, he had the puck passed to him in the slot. He did the rest, with an NHL cabiber wrist shot that beat Zatkoff cleanly.

Soon after that, the Bears fail to clear a puck which eventually finds its way to Alex Boak. Boak then shoots the puck towards the net and it deflects off of Bobby Farnham and in to tie the game again.

Then, the Penguins were gifted an opportunity to take the lead with a double minor to Steve Olesky. Cam Schilling then put the puck out of play giving the Penguins a full two minutes of five on three. The Penguins never managed anything that looked like a good opportunity and Hershey killed the entire two minutes and then the back end of the Oleksy double minor. Penguins would get another crack at the power play, but never managed a shot on goal.

Third Period: The story of this game was that the Penguins were good on the penalty kill when they needed to be and the Bears couldn’t stop taking penalties against the Penguins. Finally, it bit them, when Derrick Pouliot unleashed this slap shot from the blue line that put the Penguins ahead in the game, for good. Pouliot is 2-2-4 in six games against the Bears this season.

Final ten minutes felt like it was all Hershey who tried everything to get the equalizer, but with Zatkoff back there, he made sure that there would be no Bears comeback. There was one sequence where the Penguins had a defensive breakdown but Zatkoff was there to make the save and calm things down. As time dwindled and with Grubauer out and Bears coach Troy Mann calling time out, the Bears never got the goal they were looking for.

Three Stars: 3) Chris Conner (two assists, +1) 2) Tom Kostopoulos (two assists) 1) Derrick Pouliot (two goals, +1)

Around the Division: Binghamton had their five game losing streak ended in Hartford as the Wolf Pack won 4-2. The losing streak continues for the Norfolk Admirals with another loss in Manchester by a score of 5-2. Lehigh Valley beats Bridgeport on the back end of a home and home between those two teams by a score of 5-3.

Standings: Penguins 30 – Hershey 28 — Binghamton 25 — Lehigh Valley 23 — Norfolk 18

Conference: 1) SPR (35) 2) MCH (32) 3) WBS (30) 4) SYR (29) 5) POR (28) 6) HER (28) 7) ALB (27) 8) HFD (27)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers never made it to Brampton for their scheduled game against the Beast today. Transportation issues was the cause of the cancellation. No make up game has been announced yet.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Week 9 AHL Power Rankings hit the blog Monday at 4. Be on the look out for those at that time.

Let’s Go Pens!


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