Chirps from Center Ice

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

Penguins 1 – Syracuse 4

This tweet from Pens play by play man Nick Hart summed up tonight’s affair between Wilkes-Barre and Syracuse perfectly:

One step forward and two steps back tonight for the Penguins, who haven;t scored first in a dozen plus games. When you are constantly playing from behind and are a young group at the core, it makes for a long season.

Box here. Alex D’Orio got the start, played well, but there is only so much to do when the team in front of you is so porous.

Someone needs to put an APB out on Pierre Olivier-Joseph. Two penalties tonight, hasn’t really done much since his reassignment from Pittsburgh. The NHL hangover is still lingering with him.

That may be too harsh, they’ve all been poor, collectively.

Back at it next Saturday against Hershey.

GAMEDAY: @ Syracuse 4/17

Who: Syracuse Crunch

Where: Upstate Medical University Arena

When: 7:00 p.m.

Last Game: Last night at home against Binghamton, the Pens lost 6-3. Tommy Nappier debuted in goal for the Penguins and look the loss. Josh Currie had a goal and an assist in the loss. For Syracuse, the Crunch were defeated by Utica 3-2 on Wednesday. Taylor Raddysh had a goal and an assist in the loss.

Last Meeting: March 24 in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens were crushed 6-3. Josh Currie was the lone bright sport for the Pens with a goal and two assists. Syracuse scored all of their goals in the first, Gemel Smith had a hat trick and two assists.

Record: For WBS: 7-9-3-2 (19 pts.) — For SYR: 10-8-1-0 (21 pts.)

Referees: Mason Riley / Jason WIlliams

Linesmen: Tory Carissimo / Adam Tobias

Why You Should Care: Pens got smacked by Syracuse the last time these two teams met. Surely the Penguins will be coming with receipts tonight?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: @ HER 4/24, vs. HER 4/25, vs. LV 4/28, @ BNG 4/30, vs. HER 5/1

Slick Mitens — Pens LOSE 6-3

A pair of goaltenders made their debuts tonight in Wilkes-Barre. Tommy Nappier from The Ohio State University for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Marek Mitens for tonight’s opponent, the Binghamton Devils.

Mitens would guide his team to victory tonight with 33 saves, only getting scored on twice by the opposition on the power play twice and once short handed.

Josh Currie (1-1-2) Drew O’Connor (2 assists) and P-O Joseph were bright spots for the Penguins in the loss.

Box here. If tonight’s recap feels mailed into you it was, my niece turned three today so we had a get together. I got her one of those toy cars that you sit in and drive. I never was to have one as a child. I was always too big (too tall) for anything like that. She enjoys it. More of the same tomorrow too, the “big party” is tomorrow.

Anyway, that’s it. One of my better pun headlines wasted for a bit of a mail in job but can you do?

Pens back in action Saturday in Syracuse.

GAMEDAY: vs. Binghamton 4/16


Who: Binghamton Devils

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 6:00 p.m.

Last Game: Sunday in Hershey, the Penguins were shutout 2-0. For Binghamton, the Devils last played in these two teams….

Last Meeting: Last Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 5-4 in overtime. Jordy Bellerive scored the overtime goal to win it for the Penguins, Ryan Schmelzer scored late for the Devils to get them to overtime.

Record: For WBS: 7-8-3-2 (19 pts.) — For BNG: 4-9-5-1 (14 pts.)

Referees: Mike Dietrich / Brandon Schrader

Linesmen: Bill Lyons / Tyler Loftus

Why You Should Care: Hey! These aren’t the Phantoms! No, they aren’t. The Pens / Phantoms game was postponed due to COVID issues with Lehigh Valley so the Devils stepped in and will play Wilkes-Barre tonight at the special start time of 6 pm.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: @ SYR 4/17, @ HER 4/24, vs. HER 4/25, vs. LV 4/28, @ BNG 4/30

Bush League — Pens LOSE 2-0


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In a season which really is meaningless, the rule book is also affected.

There was a sequence where the Penguins thought that they scored on a power play. They celebrated Jordy Bellerive’s would be goal, but referees Terry Koharski and Jordan Deckard never awarded the goal.

No penalties were given at the end of the sequence.

No announcement made as to WHY the goal wasn’t allowed.

The rule book DOES have video review.

Just not year.

COVID, and all.

So they half ass a rule book in a half ass attempt at a joke of a season with three teams not even playing, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are shafted out of a goal and what likely would have been at least a point.

Eh, that’s meaningless too, there’s no playoff this year either.

Pens lose 2-0.Pens lose 2-0.

Here is how they lined up:

Lineup Changes: Zach Trotman was injured last night so Billy Sweezy went back in. Jan Drozg and Kyle Olson swapped things up front.

Also, the lineup above was not correct, Will Reilly was in for P-O Jospeh who was a healthy scratch.

First Period: Almost seemed at times that the Penguins sleptwalked through the first period, going over six minutes without a shot and Aliaksei Protos scored his first goal of his AHL career to give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the only scoring of the period.

Teams traded power plays but had no success.

Second Period: There was no scoring in the period and it seemed like a lazy, Sunday afternoon second period. Then this happened:

Second fight of the season for WBS and first of Kyle Olson’s pro career.

Kessey acting like he KO’d Dennis Bonnie or something.

Look, I get that the types of players like Kale Kessy are the last of a dying breed, but don’t go acting like you are Hercules pummeling a guy in his first pro fight (Olson had some scraps in the WHL) when you know that there isn’t anyone else in white that has the wherewithal to go with you properly.

Pens got a power play out of the whole thing but got sloppy and loose and found themselves on a two man disadvantage they navigated through perfectly.

Third Period: Gave it to ya in the lede. Pens had another power play after the one where they thought Bellerive scored. Then a miscommunication in between Lagace and the bench led to a too many men on the ice call. With Lagace legally pulled for a home run shot at a goal at 5-on-5, Brian Pinho scored an empty net goal.

Three Stars: 3) Max Lagace (20 saves) 2) Pheonix Copley (21 save shutout) 1) Aliakei Protas (goal)

The Good: Absent the on and off ice shenanigans and the meaningless empty netter, they held their opponent to one goal.

The Bad: 0-4 on the power play.

Turning Point: Could have been the Olson / Kessy fight, but the Bellerive no goal completely changed things. It should have been a goal. It could have been reviewed, under normal circumstances.

I’d add a later edit on the explanations given ex post facto, but if the AHL is going to half ass a season through, so am I.

Pens are back in action Friday with Lehigh Valley.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 4/11

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

When: 3:00 p.m.

Last Game: Last night at home against Binghamton, the Penguins on 5-4 in overtime. Cam Lee scored his first pro goal, Jordy Bellerive scored in overtime to win it. For Hershey, the Bears had their game scheduled Saturday against Lehigh Valley postponed because of COVID issues. The Bears were last on the ice Wednesday against the Devils and won 3-2. Nine different Bears scored a point.

Last Meeting: March 28 in Hershey, the Bears won 3-1. Matt Moulson’s goal late in the third was enough to carry the Bears to the win. Tim Schaller scored for the Penguins.

Record: For WBS: 7-7-3-2 (19 pts.) — For HER: 13-5-2-0 (28 pts.)

Referees: Jordan Deckard / Terry Koharski

Linesmen: Colin Gates / Bill Lyons

Why You Should Care: Pens showed grit and determination last night against the Devils and won in comeback fashion. What will today bring?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV

Next Five Games: vs. LV 4/16, @ SYR 4/17, @ HER 4/24, vs. HER 4/25, vs. LV 4/28

Grits — Pens WIN 5-4 (OT)


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They found a way to win tonight with half of the offense on recall to Pittsburgh.

Josh Currie, Radim Zohorna, Anthony Angello, Drew O’Connor, Freddy Gaudreau are just some of the names on recall. Yet they managed to come from behind and beat the Binghamton Devils 5-4 on overtimebeat the Binghamton Devils 5-4 in overtime on Saturday evening. A gritty, come from behind way to do it but successful overall.

Here is how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: A ton. Justin Almeida was back from Pittsburgh and was on the top line. D’Orio backed up Lagace, who was back down from Pittsburgh this week as well.

First Period: Seemed like the Pens dominated play in spurts, had a bunch of power play opportunities to show for it but trailed at the end of the period on a kind of lucky-ish shot that beat Lagace for the lead at intermission.

Every team that scored first in the series between these two teams has gone on to lose the game.


Second Period: Devils extend their lead by two. Turnover in the neutral zone led to this.

Justin Almeida gets the Penguins on the board with a nifty play.

Unfettered, Binghamton would get another goal to go when Nate Schnarr did this.

Yeah thats a hide a puck, spin, shoot high and snipe in a goal for a 3-1 lead.

Wilkes-Barre seemed to be letting the game slip away. The scales were tipping in the improved Devils favor, and it was getting the Penguins mad.

They also lost the services of Zach Trotman as well, who wasn’t on the bench in the second period.

The Penguins started throwing the body and you could hear that teapot whistling. There wasn’t a fight, but the intensity was ratcheting up.

Then Felix Robert scored this highlight reel goal that brought the Penguins to within one.

Falling over, steals the puck, gathers himself and flips a backhander past Senn for a possible goal of the season candidate.

Big response goal as well. Pens boiling, big mad and Robert responds with a highlight reel goal to bring Wilkes-Barre within one heading into the…

Third Period: Cam Lee has five assists against Binghamton this season and no goals to show for it. He loves playing the Devils but hasn’t scored a goal in the AHL yet, so you think that he would have to get one agains the Devils in a big spot, right?


Nifty snipe there for his first professional tuck.

It had a sense that they were just going to accept the result as it was on the scoreboard and just skate to overtime.


Big goal at an in opportune time. What an effort by Jon Gruden setting it all up, too.

Just hold on and win, right?

Senn vacated for an extra attacker and Binghamton immediately scores to tie the game at four. Ryan Schmelzer.

Off to…

Overtime: Pens killed a Jan Drozg trip behind a yeoman PK effort by Jon Lizotte and Jordy Bellerive wins it again.

Three Stars: 3) Felix Robert (goal, assist) 2) Nate Schnarr (two goals) 1) Jordy Bellerive (game winning, OT goal)

The Good: Half of the reliable offense is all up with Pittsburgh. The AHL Penguins found a way to win without them.

The Bad: Would like to see them do this against a better team like Hershey or Lehigh Valley. They fell in a hole against a last place Binghamton team and dragged themselves out.

Turning Point: Much like last week, Bellerive’s goal in overtime is the obvious choice.

They are in action Sunday afternoon at 1 against Hershey. More then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Stay safe.