Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: @ Springfield 11/22

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Who: Springfield Thunderbirds

Where: MassMutual Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Saturday at home against Lehigh valley, the Penguins won 2-1. Sam Miletic and David Warsofsky scored first and third period goals respectively and Dustin Tokarksi picked up the win with 31 saves….For Springfield, the Thunderbirds were in Binghamton on Saturday and won 3-2. The Thunderbirds connected twice on the power play. Philippe Desrosiers stopped 35 shots.

Last Meeting: November 15 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 4-1. Andrew Agozzino had a pair of goals and Casey DeSmith stopped 41 shots.

Record: For WBS: 10-5-1-1 (22 pts., 2nd place Atlantic Division) // For SPR: 11-7-0-0 (22 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Mathieu Menniti / Conor O’Donnell

Linesmen: Paul Simeon / Kevin Briganti

Why You Should Care: Should be a good one tonight in Springfield with two teams who are sound structurally and evenly matched. Pens will want to avoid penalties and look to block shots. Springfield will want to do the same.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Other Game to Watch: Hartford visits Rochester as their tour of Central New York continues this week. The Wolf Pack were handed just their second defeat of the season Wednesday in Syracuse and head to Rochester who are off to a good start themselves.

Next Five Games: vs. CHA 11/23, vs. LV 11/27, @ LV 11/29, vs. BRI 11/30, vs. TEX 12/6

Cramarossa Traded 11/20

As I was typing up the part about Jamie Devane getting healthier and not having a spot at the table because of the overage of veterans on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins this afternoon, I wanted to throw in a line about a potential trade.

I didn’t. It kind of took care of itself a few hours later.

It does and doesn’t take care of the Penguins veteran problem. Knott isn’t a veteran, hell he hasn’t even played a single game in the AHL this season (9 points with the Indy Fuel) so what, if any, impact Knott with have at the AHL level remains to be seen.

Andrew Agozzino, Ryan Haggerty, Jamie Devane, Stefan Noesen, Andreas Martinsen, Kevin Czuczman, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky are your vets. That’s eight. You can only dress six. Goalies do not count.

It may not be the only shoe to drop, meaning that there may be another trade at some point, but not immediately. The Penguins still have too many veterans. If you had to make me guess, it’s probably down to Martinsen and Devane. I would have thrown in Cramarossa.

More Friday, as needed before.

Wednesday Updates, Spotty Friday’s

Tyler had some update from Penguins practice Thursday I figured I would pass along if you don’t already follow his beat.

Healthiest the club has been in a while, but for a few call-ups to Pittsburgh.

One of the early knocks on Joseph was the fact that he was as thin as a beanpole so as far as this type of illness, not the best thing for an athlete trying to put and keep weight and muscle on.

Jamie Devane is, in fact, what classifies as a veteran. With a team right now cycling in any combination of Joseph Cramarossa, Ryan Haggerty and Andreas Martinsen as their excess vet who gets in, a return from injury isn’t the only thing Devane has working against him.

They kind of re-debuted that on Saturday when Larmi backed up Dustin Tokarski.

These were from Tuesday and were all over the place social medially….

That made #2 on SportsCenter this morning.

Also,

It’s Emil Larmi, in case you didn’t know.

Pens will likely leave for Springfield Thursday for their game Friday against the Thunderbirds in Massachusetts. I will not have up to date tweets on the game because we have business partners affiliated with my big boy job taking us out to dinner. I don’t go all the time (they only come in to take us out as a group before Tanksgiving, and I only go if the Pens are on the road) so I am going this year. I’ll have some type of write-up about the action here for you Friday night.

If you are looking for Twitter coverage, Pens and Thunderbirds official Twitters should have you covered. From the Thunderbirds perspective, my friend Katy tweets every Thunderbirds home game and is a very good follow.

I’ll be back at the game calls Saturday when the Penguins host the reigning, defending, undisputed Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers Saturday night.

More Friday after the game, sooner if I need to break in for news.

So Close, Yet So Far Away* — Pens WIN 2-1

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I feel like this is a game that a year ago, they somehow find a way to lose.

It’s the middle of November, six or so weeks into the season so by comparison fairly early, but it’s the first five game winning streak the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have had in a long time, winning 2-1 Saturday over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in a hotly contested, close game.

Tonight signified the tenth win of the season for the Penguins, who are now 10-5-1-1. They didn’t win their tenth game until December 7, 2018 in a home game against the Cleveland Monsters last season.

Lehigh Valley had all the momentum on the side, yet Dustin Tokarski was cool as a cucumber and stopped 31 shots.

Tokarski opposed Alex Lyon.

Lineup:

Bob Rotruck, radio voice of the Phantoms, didn’t post lines. Neither did the Phantoms twitter. Sorry.

Lineup Notes: Joseph Blandisi was recalled earlier in they to Pittsburgh, so Justin Almeida took his spot in the lineup up front. Matt Abt for Michael Kim on defense and Emil Larmi backed up and gave Casey DeSmith a well deserved night off. A note on Blandisi going up, it still doesn’t solve the veteran problem.

First Period: Quick moving period. Not a lot happened from an infraction stand point. I don’t think there was a clean face-off all night, linesman Julien Fournier, in particular was awful in that regard.

German Rubtsov struck Andrew Agozzino with a high stick and put the Penguins on a power play. Less than a minute into it, Sam Miletic struck on a rebound that gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Remember when the Penguins used to give up multiple goals in the first period to the opponent? I do.

Despite the advantage to Lehigh Valley at even strength all period and a 14-9 shot advantage, Wilkes-barre led where it mattered most going into the…

Second Period: Mikhail Vorobyev just :55 into the period pounced on a rebound and brought the Phantoms level.

Game stayed pretty even. Pens killed a Matt Abt hook about halfway through. Abt, for his part was OK defensively tonight in my opinion.

Third Period: Need a big goal? Turn to your captain.

Warsofsky knew where the shot was going to go before he even shot the puck. Shooters shoot.

Dustin Tokarski had the save of the evening here.

German Rubtsov will see that pad in his sleep.

Phantoms got close a couple times but the Penguins penalty killing remained stout. With Alex Lyon pulled, the Phantoms were never able to equalize.

Three Stars: 3) Dustin Tokarski (31 saves) 2) Sam Miletic (goal, assist) 1) David Warsofsky (goal, assist)

The Good: The win streak is good. Finding different ways to win is good. Friday against Springfield it was a bit run and gun and the Penguins won that battle. Tonight was a defensive slug fest and the Penguins somehow won the battle. How long it continues is your best guess.

The Bad: Struggling to find one here in a five game home stand where the Penguins allow the opponents just three goals. Let’s just skip this section.

Turning Point: Dustin Tokarski’s pad stop on German Rubtsov preserved a slim 2-1 lead for his side and was just enough to get keep a close affair close, with your team in the lead.

Around the Division: Hartford continues to win, 5-2 winners at home against the Providence Bruins….Springfield keeps pace, rebounding nicely with a 3-2 win in Binghamton….Hershey wins at home against Charlotte 2-1….Bridgeport is shutout in Laval 3-0.

Standings: Hartford 27 — Penguins 22 — Springfield 22 — Providence and Hershey 20 — Lehigh Valley 17 — Charlotte 14 — Bridgeport 12

Wheeling Update: Nailers with a hard luck 1-0 overtime loss in Reading. Jordan Ruby stopped 27 in net for the Nailers.

Video Highlights:

They get a week of practice after a day off or so, then it’s up to Springfield Friday for a trip to see the Thunderbirds. More in between.

Let’s Go Pens!

* – felt like the headline should have been used in event of a loss, but with Elvis night, had to go with the apropos given the kind of close game it was.

RAPID RECAP – Pens WIN 2-1

Feels like they could have lost this one.

As close as you like for a game, Pens win 2-1 on goals from Sam Miletic in the first and David Warsofsky in the third. 31 saves from Dustin Tokarski. Pens fifth win in a row, allowed just three away goals during the home stand.

More in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Lehigh Valley 11/16

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Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night at home against Springfield the Penguins won 4-1. Andrew Agozzino scored a pair of first period goals, the penalty kill was a perfect 7-for-7 and Casey DeSmith had 41 saves in net. For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms were in Binghamton last night and lost 3-1. Andy Welinski scored the only goal for Lehigh Valley on the power play.

Last Meeting: November 6 in Allentown, the Pens lost 4-2. Kyle Criscuolo had a pair of goals and an assist for the Phantoms. Ryan Haggerty and Jake Lucchini scored for the Penguins.

Record: For WBS: 9-5-1-1 (20 pts., 2nd place Atlantic Division) // For LV: 6-4-1-4 (17 pts., 6t place Atlantic Division)

Referees: Terry Koharski / Alex Normandin

Linesmen: Julian Fournier / Ryan Knapp

Why You Should Care: Can the Penguins continue the stingy play? Don’t expect Casey DeSmith tonight after a shutout Wednesday and 41 saves last night, it’s Dustin Tokarski’s time in net tonight. Lehigh Valley will be stewing over the one goal they put up in a bad display last night in Binghamton and won’t need any reason to get up for this rivalry game.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Promotion(s): We’ll be celebrating ‘The King’ on Saturday the16th with ELVIS NIGHT, featuring local tribute artist Jimmy T.  The Exeter native will be performing on the ice during the first intermission and taking photos with fans, all while spreading the word about kidney donations.  Jimmy is himself looking for a donor, and you can find out how you can help him find a match at the game.*

Other Game to Watch: Grand Rapids and Rockford sported nearly equal records coming into the weekend and these Central Division foes square off tonight in Rockford.

Next Five Games: @ SPR 11/22, vs. CHA 11/23, vs. LV 11/27, @ LV 11/29, vs. BRI 11/30

* – promo information credit to http://www.wbspenguins.com/promo-schedule/

Casey’s Fortress — Pens WIN 4-1

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I guess you could say that they are rolling.

Another stingy win at home, this time a 4-1 victory over the equally as stingy Springfield Thunderbirds team for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on Friday night.

Andrew Agozzino added a pair of goals in the first and the Penguins rode a 7-for-7 penalty kill which included a 1:56 of two man disadvantage with 41 saves from their net minder Casey DeSmith who has been playing out of his mind of recent. The Penguins, in the last three games at home, have allowed just one goal.

Well, the weather is getting colder and the Penguins are warming up. Go figure.

DeSmith opposed Chris Driedger.

Lineup:

Lineup Notes: Essentially Ryan Haggerty for Andreas Martinsen, with Anthony Angello bumped to the second line in Martinsen’s spot and Haggerty where Angello was.

First Period: David Warsofsky’s shot from the point was tipped on the way in and Andrew Agozzino was the last guy to sweep it across for an early 1-0 Penguins lead.

But Springfield would answer right back when Anthony Greco would lead a charge up ice, blow a tire, regain himself, drive to the net where Blaine Byron was set up and put a shot on, fell, got his own rebound and shot again, this time going in.

187:06 in between goals. Impressive.

No GIF on it, but a lot of commas.

Agozzino again, this time off of a ridiculous pass from Stefen Noesen from behind the net. Just watch this.

Penguins found themselves in penalty trouble late in the period when all of a sudden, Springfield had 1:56 of a two man advantage when Chase Berger drew blood on a high stick.

Second Period: Springfield managed just one shot on goal during the entirety of the two man advantage as well as the 2:04 leftover on the Berger double minor. It frustrated them, because they started to push and shove after the whistle and it really devolved into a scrap fest from there on out.

Example….

Kevin Czuczman caught a great pass from Joseph Blandisi and scored to make it 3-1.

Springfield had ample opportunities in the period to get back into the game, but this isn’t Casey DeSmith’s first time at the rodeo.

Third Period: The pushing and shoving didn’t stop, I didn’t tweet every penalty or every time a referees arm went up. Finally referees Jake Rekucki and Jason Williams started adding on ten minute misconducts to the infractions. I’m assuming there is only a number of times you can tell a player to stop, so they got tired of it and threw them out.

Ryan Haggerty nailed an empty netter from his own blue line to seal it.

Three Stars: 3) Sam Miletic (two assists) 2) Casey DeSmith (41 saves) 1) Andrew Agozzino (two goals)

The Good: The penalty killing unit went 7-for-7. The Thunderbirds power play isn’t anything to write home about. Also, Casey DeSmith is proving why he is an NHL goaltender essentially on loan to an AHL club. He’s good, he’s falling into a dangerous groove and the Penguins need to ride this for as long as they can.

The Bad: Just as the penalty kill was 7-for-7, the lack of discipline needs to be addressed. Any other team with a better power play unit and it becomes a run and gun affair.

Turning Point: After killing the two man advantage, Kevin Czuczman’s goal that gave the Penguins a two goal cushion was all the momentum to carry the day for the Penguins victory.

Around the Division: Hartford continues to pile up points. A late goal in the third guarantees overtime with Providence, yet the Bruins take down the Wolf Pack 4-3 in a shootout….Hershey is shutout in back to back games, this time to Charlotte 3-0….Lehigh Valley loses 3-1 in Binghamton…..Bridgeport loses 4-3 in overtime up in Belleville, Ontario.

Standings: Hartford 25 — Penguins 20 — Springfield and Providence 20 — Hershey 18 — Lehigh Valley 17 — Charlotte 14 — Bridgeport 12

Wheeling Update: The Nailers hosted the Utah Grizzlies Friday and lost 2-1. Renars Krastenbergs had the only goal for Wheeling in the loss, Alex D’Orio took the loss in goal.

Video Highlights:

Penguins are back home looking for five in a row against Lehigh Valley. Gameday setup is here on the blog Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!