Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: vs. Springfield 10/21

vs.     spr16_200

Home Game: 2

AHL Game: 42

Who: Springfield Thunderbirds

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: Saturday in the home opener, the Penguins beat the Hartford Wolf Pack 6-2. Josh Archibald scored the first goal of the season for the Penguins, Jake Guentzel had four points. For Springfield, they were in Bridgeport last Sunday and won 2-1. Reto Berra stopped 17 of 18 shots and was named first star of the game. The Thunderbirds missed on two penalty shots, :37 apart.

Record: For WBS: 1-0-0-0 (2 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) — For SPR: 1-1-0-0 (2 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: The Penguins rolled the Hartford Wolf Pack last Saturday. They will be looking to do the same against a Springfield Thunderbirds team that is still looking to find it sea legs. You can’t underestimate Springfield, but the Penguins should be ready for the challenge.

Referee(s): Cameron Voss / Furman South

Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco / Jud Ritter

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay // @thunderbirdsahl

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /thunderbirdsahl

Instagram: wbspenguins / thunderbirdsahl

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TLTomVenesky

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For SPR: Ryan Smith @RyanSmithHockey

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK Newsradio / For Springfield: WHYN News Talk 560

Television: AHL Live

Promotion(s): November Magnetic Schedule (First 5,000), Postgame Autographs

Other Game to Watch: I like Binghamton / Albany. The Devils obliterated their competition last weekend and the B-Sens shut out the Hershey Bears last Saturday. Could be an interesting matchup.

Next Five Games: SYR 10/22, @ HER 10/23, ALB 10/26, @ SPR 10/29, SYR 10/30

Wheeling Wrap 10/18

I am debuting a new feature on the blog on Tuesday called, “Wheeling Wrap” where I take a look at the week that was surrounding the Penguins ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.

The Nailers were in action just once this past weekend and raised their Eastern Conference Championship banner Saturday night at home against the Brampton Beast. They also kicked off their 25th season.

The Beast would win 3-2 in overtime.

David Vallorani would open the scoring for the visitors at 4:26 of the first period. The Nailers would answer back in the second period when Josh Shalla would score the first goal of the season for the Nailers at 9:13 of the second period.

Wheeling would edge ahead of the Beast in the third period with a goal by Darryl Lloyd.

Luke Pither would answer at just about half way for the Beast at 9:59 for the Beast that made it a 2-2 game. Pither would later win the game for his team in overtime, beating Nailers starting goaltender Doug Carr at 3:27 of overtime. Carr would stop 30 of 33 shots in the overtime loss.

Neither team capitalized on the power play.

The Nailers are 0-0-1-0 very early on in the North Division, a division that consists of six teams. Adirondack, Reading, Brampton, Manchester and Elmira all are in the same division with the Nailers this season.

Wheeling plays host to the Reading Royals this Thursday before traveling to Cincinnati to take on the Cyclones Saturday night.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 1

It’s the first weekend of AHL hockey for the 2016-17 season and the Week 1 AHL Power Rankings are due.

If you are new to this, it’s one guys attempt at ranking all the AHL teams, 1-30. It runs all season on Monday at 4 p.m. most times, right here on the blog.

In this weeks version, the defending champs sit at the top of the mountain after raising a banner and beating a division rival.

The Eastern Conference runner ups and their closest competition are 2 and 3 this week.

Every team played a game this week except for the Bakersfield Condors, who are ranked, you just have to find them.

I won’t keep you. The Rankings begin after the jump if you didn’t link in direct.

Read more of this post

It’s Always Sunny on Opening Night — Pens WIN 6-2

button_hfd200          vs.          WBS

2                                              6

Welcome back.

For the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, this was about as complete a game you will find.

Yes, I realize it is the first game, but these points matter as much in October as they do in January when you are slogging with half of your offense either hurt or on recall and defenders coming in on PTO’s and a bus load of Wheeling guys playing on a Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre.

Penguins win this one 6-2. All of the players you come to expect to have big games did. Jake Guentzel had a four point night (1-3-4) but Oskar Sundqvist stole the show. Easily the best player on the ice by far tonight, Sundqvist was making all the plays you would expect of someone that spent the late part of last season in the NHL and in playoffs.

It was what appeared to be a knee on knee hit by Tanner Glass that took Sundqvist out of the game in the second period. He returned for the start of the third but went back to the room and was not seen the rest of the night when the game was already well decided for the Penguins. Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli on Sundqvist’s status…

Penguins are back in action next Friday when they host the Springfield Falcons Thunderbirds.

Tristan Jarry opposed Mackenzie Skapski.

Lines were…

Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Dominik Simon – Kevin Porter – J-S Dea
Scott Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Patrick McGrath – Sahir Gill – Ryan Haggerty

Cameron Gaunce – Chad Ruhwedel
Stuart Percy – Steve Oleksy
David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon

Tristan Jarry – Casey DeSmith

First Period: Relentless pressure to open by the Penguins. Josh Archibald scored the first goal of the season for the Penguins with a nifty backhand after he snuck past the Hartford defenders who were out of whack the whole night by their own right.

There were a lot of unsung heroes in this game and Tristan Jarry was one of them. He won’t garner much attention because of the offensive explosion put on by the Penguins tonight but his saves kept his team in the game when they needed him to. Example: After the Penguins scored, Hartford broke in on a 3-on-1 and Jarry closed the door on them and made the save. What could have been a back and forth offensive affair just wasn’t because of the key saves made by Jarry throughout the night.

Penguins were skating the Wolf Pack in circles. It was really refreshing and fun to see.

Jarry was needed again when he stopped a Marek Hrivik breakaway after a giveaway by Dominik Simon.

Later, after a successful Penguins penalty kill, Nicolas Jensen put home an excellent turnaround shot that beat Jarry that tied the game at one.

The period ended tied, but don’t let the scoreline fool you, the Penguins dominated the period but were beat by a great shot by Jensen that made it look closer than it appeared heading into the…

Second Period: Pens stepped on the gas and accelerated away from the Wolf Pack and put the game away.

Carter Rowney on the power play. Perfect screen by Ryan Haggerty and great shot by Carter putting the puck where the goalie can’t see it. 2-1 Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Oskar Sundqvist with an excellent power move that made it 3-1. Stuart Percy spinned off of a Hartford defender, fed Sundqvist who went straight to the crease and backhanded one in past Skapski for a 3-1 lead. Sundqvist went to the dirty area and cashed.

Sundqvist would later leave the game after a nasty collision with Tanner Glass. Here is slow motion video I took of the hit on Sundqvist by Glass off of AHL Live Sunday morning…

Knee on knee? No penalty was called on the play. Will the Penguins send tape to the League for discipline? Remains to be seen.

Anyway, immediately after that series of events, watch Jake Guentzel score this goal.

I mean, seriously?

Pens could have responded with another fight, hung their heads or started making errors. Guentzel literally takes the puck off of the face off, skates in, its tripped, shoots in mid-air and while tumbling to the ice and scores to make it 4-1 Penguins and essentially ices the game away right there.

Third Period: Oskar Sundqvist returned to the game and played a bit in the third period before being taken off the ice when the game was already decided.

Period started with another big save by Jarry. He makes the initial save, leaves a rebound and gets over in time to deny the Wolf Pack a goal.

J-S Dea would find the back of the net on a defection of a Tim Erixon shot that made it 5-1 Penguins.

Patrick McGrath fought Tanner Glass for the hit earlier on Sundqvist:

That was McGrath’s second fight of the game and in today’s AHL that gets you ejected. McGrath has 8 more fights now before he is suspended.

I don’t like this rule. It totally allows for stuff like what happened to Sundqvist to go unanswered. You want to make the game safer? Call a penalty on Glass for the hit on Sundqvist (there wasn’t) and get Glass out of the game as soon as the hit happens. Fine and suspend for dangerous play. But no, police the game the wrong way by telling Patrick McGrath that he can no longer defend the valor of his teammates because he has fought twice in the game.

And if you are going to tell me that McGrath has no place in the game, I will tell you that Patrick himself had a hell of a showing for himself. He forechecked, caused turnovers and was generally raising (legal) hell out there tonight.

McGrath on his night and whether he knows about the 10 fight rule…

David Warsofsky scored on a power play that made it 6-1 Penguins. Wilkes-Barre was perfect on the penalty kill tonight (6/6) and perfect on the power play (2/2)

Tristan Jarry let in a late one on a lucky sequence featuring Matt Carey. Carey had a breakaway, Jarry made the initial stop. The puck hit the post back to Carey who banked the puck off of Jarry and in to make it a 6-2 game.

Three Stars: 3) Oskar Sundqvist (goal, assist, +2) 2) Carter Rowney (goal, assist, even) and 1) Jake Guentzel (goal, three assists, +3)

Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Providence 2-1 in their home opener. The P-Bruins are a surprising 0-2 to start the season…Binghamton shuts out Hershey 3-0 in their home opener. The Bears are an even more surprising 0-2….Lehigh Valley beats Springfield 4-2 in game that featured 15 power plays.

Standings: Pens / Wolf Pack and Phantoms will all lead the division with two points a piece. Everyone else is sitting on a big zero.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost in their home opener 3-2 in overtime to the Brampton Beast. I will link the box once the ECHL gremlins work their way out.

Video Highlights: 

Pens are in action next Friday. I will have the Week 1 AHL Power Rankings on the blog Monday at 4, a new feature called the “Wheeling Wrap” on Tuesday at noon and any newsworthy bits on the blog during the week.

Let’s Go Pens!


The Penguins, boasting what will probably be their best lineup put forth all season due to inevitable call ups and injuries, completely obliterate the Hartford Wolf Pack by a score of 6-2. 

Power play scored twice, penalty kill was perfect. 

More in a bit. 

GAMEDAY: vs. Hartford 10/15

vs.     hfd

Home Game: 1

AHL Game: 22

Who: Hartford Wolf Pack

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Media Kit

Last Game: This is the first game of the season for the Penguins. For Hartford, the Wolf Pack opened their season at home last night against St. John’s and won 6-3. 12 different Wolf Pack players recorded at least a point in the game.

Record: For WBS: First game of the season — For HFD: 1-0-0-0 (2 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division)

Why you should care: Penguins open their eighteenth season at home against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Penguins boast a revamped defensive corps and have some firepower up front. Should be a good early test for both teams tonight in Wilkes-Barre.

Referee(s): David Banfield / Guillaume Labonte

Linesmen: Matt McNulty / Luke Murray

Twitter: @wbspenguins  and @WBSGameDay / @WolfPackAHL

Facebook:  /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /HartfordWolfPack

Instagram: wbspenguins / hartford_wolfpack

Beat Writers: @CVSethLakso and @TLTomVenesky / @HowlingsToday

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS and Nick Hart @_NickHart // For HFD: Bob Crawford  @HawkCrawford

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Hartford: Fox Sports Radio 1410

Television: AHL Live / WYOU TV in Wilkes-Barre

Promotion(s): Opening Night, Geisinger Health System 2016-17 Season Magnetic Schedule (First 5,000)

Other Game to Watch: How good are the Phantoms going to be? They kickoff their campaign at home against the new look Springfield Thunderbirds.

Next Five Games: SPR 10/21, SYR 10/22, @ HER 10/23, ALB 10/26, @ SPR 10/29

Did You Pay the Gardiner?

Well, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins did.

Thursday afternoon, Coal Street announced the signing of Reid Gardiner to an AHL contract for this season.

When I previewed the training cap roster about two weeks ago, I had this to say about Gardiner…

Reid Gardiner – Played with Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL last season. 92 points last year for the Raiders in 71 games. Big strong kid who works hard, is good on the puck and not a defensive liability. Could be a diamond in the rough type player.

Admittedly, it was a shot in the dark by me. We’ve seen several players come in from juniors with gaudy numbers come and go around here. But something about 90 points in juniors isn’t anything to sneeze at.

Now to see if Gardiner can produce when it counts.

Here were the lines in practice today…

Yes, that’s Josh Archibald on the third line wing. He practiced today and could play this weekend.

The AHL Previews are out. Scroll down on the blog if you missed them.

May not have any news Friday. If not, the game day setup for the home opener against Hartford hits the blog Saturday afternoon at 3.