Chirps from Center Ice

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

Lunch Pail Kids – Pens WIN 4-1

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I hate work night home games. I have to be up in a few more hours because I am traveling for my big boy job tomorrow.

Anyway, the first place Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hosted the second place Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight and it was the first place team beating the second place team 4-1.

Apologies if this recap is a bit stripped down. Work night games before a day of travel will do that for you.

Lineup wise, Gage Quinney was back in and played first line center. Colin Smith was also back in the lineup. On defense, Zach Trotman and Frank Corrado were in for the Pens.

Earlier in the day, J-S Dea was recalled by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Well deserved and long overdue call up for Dea. Pens are on the west coast this week so Dea is likely just an extra body, but I legitimately hope that the coaching staff gives J-S a game.

With Dea out of the lineup, the finesse that he brings to the rink with him night in and night out was missing. The Pens needed a workmanlike game tonight and got one. A lunch pail, roll up your sleeves and get to work type game against a second place Lehigh Valley side.

This is without many key players out of the lineup too. If you keep this defense intact and get names like Tom Kostopoulos back, among others, we may have a deep run. Hell, this June will be 10 years. Think about that.

Anthony Peters opposed Dustin Tokarski

First Period: Quick period that moved briskly. Phil Myers scored on a power play for Lehigh Valley giving them the lead. Puck may have deflected off of a Penguin defender in front.

Second Period: Pens explode for three goals and take command. Gage Quinney tied it on a nice drop pass from Ryan Haggerty, then Christian Thomas scooped in a shot laying in the crease for a power play goal to make it 2-1 then later Teddy Blueger scored on a nice pass from Colin Smith for a tap in goal that made it 3-1.

Further, Lehigh Valley only took five shots in the period. A lockdown middle frame by the home team.

Third Period: Lehigh Valley piped shots at Peters, who is filling out nicely as a legit goaltender at the AHL level, but got nothing past him. The Phantoms, with about five minutes left in the third and still down a pair, pull Tokarski and Zach Aston-Reese hits the open, empty net.

Ballgame. Eight wins in a row now and I can safely say that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are back.

Theee Stars: 3) Gage Quinney (goal, +2) 2) Zach Aston-Reese (goal, two assists, +2) and 1) Christian Thomas (game winning goal, even)

Around the Division: There were just two other games. Charlotte hosted Bridgeport in a 5 p.m. rematch from Tuesday night in an empty building because of snow and and beat the Sound Tigers 4-3. Checkers ended up sweeping Bridgeport in the two game series. Hershey traveled up to Springfield who have won four straight. Hershey battled back to force overtime but lose to the Thunderbirds 5-4 in a shootout.

Standings: Penguins (.689 percentage points) — Providence (.632) — Lehigh Valley (.622) — Charlotte (.588) — Bridgeport (.538) — Hershey (.500) — Springfield (.476) — Hartford (.439)

Wheeling is off as is the rest of the ECHL until Friday.

Video Highlights….

Pens are practicing Thursday before hopping on a bus for Providence for Friday’s game up in the Rhode Island capital. Gameday setup for that game will be Friday at 3. Check back then.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Lehigh Valley 1/17

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Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Saturday in Laval, the Penguins won 4-3 bolstered by Andrey Pedan’s first ever professional hat trick. For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms beat the Hershey Bears on Sunday 2-1 in overtime thanks to T.J. Brennan’s overtime goal at 44 seconds.

Last Meeting: December 27 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins lost 5-4. That was the last time that the Penguins lost a game, seven games ago. Garret Wilson and gage Quinney both had a goal and an assist in the loss.

Record: For WBS: 23-10-2-1 (49 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) // For LV: 23-12-2-3 (51 pts., 2nd place Atlantic Division)

Referee(s): Brandon Schrader / Reid Anderson

Linesmen: Libor Suchanek / J.P. Waleski

Why You Should Care: Battle of the top two teams in the Atlantic Division here in Wilkes-Barre tonight. The Penguins will be gunning for their eighth straight game while the Phantoms will be looking for another win against the Penguins. Should be a hotly contested, competitive game, as is always the case with these two great rivals.

Promotion(s): None

Other Game to Watch: Springfield, winners of four straight, host Hershey, who are 0-1-2 in their last three games and looking to get their week started off on the right foot.

Next Five Games: @ PRO 1/19, @ HFD 1/21, @ HER 1/24, @ LV 1/26, BNG 1/27

Andrey Pedan Named AHL Player of the Week

There would have been a major uprising from the City of Wilkes-Barre if neither Ryan Haggerty or Andrey Pedan were not named AHL Player of the Week this week.

Andrey Pedan gets the nomination. The AHL announced the news as the 1 p.m. games got going on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

AHL could have went either way with either Pedan or Haggerty. I was told once that these types of awards are boosters for players on NHL contracts. Ryan Haggerty is on an AHL only contract to Wilkes-Barre, so that may have played into it. It’s my own conspiracy theory, but I’m happy for Pedan nevertheless.

In case you missed his weekend, Pedan had a hat trick Saturday and two assists with a +5 rating to help the Atlantic Division leading Penguins extend their winning streak to seven games.

The AHL Player of the Week and the rest of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins take on the second place in the Atlantic Lehigh Valley Phantoms this Wednesday at home. But for anything breaking between now and then, check out the Gameday setup here Wednesday at @ 3.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 15

The first full week of January is in the books and the AHL hit the halfway mark this past weekend as the positioning for the divisional races and top four are heating up.

Big shakeup this week in the Top 5. In fact, no one stayed where they were last week. Every team moved up or down this week.

The Toronto Marlies are back in the top spot this week after sweeping the Checkers in North Carolina and are 7-3 in their last ten.

The Syracuse Crunch jump up to the second spot in the Rankings, sweeping the Rochester Americans capping off a perfect week for the Crunch.

The Pacific Division leading Tucson Roadrunners are third, followed by the Atlantic Division leading Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who have won seven straight.

The Grand Rapids Griffins round out the top five, the defending champions are not out of this thing yet and are not to be discounted.

To see the sixth place team, hit the jump after the Griffins to see the rest if you didn’t link in direct.

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Last Week: TOR 4 @ CHA 1, TOR 3 @ CHA 1
Sweep the Checkers in North Carolina. 7-3 in their last ten, winners of six straight.

+3

This Week: @ SYR 1/19, @ BNG 1/20, @ BRI 1/21
Record: 28-11-0-0

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Last Week: SYR 4 @ BNG 1, SYR 3 @ UTI 2, RCH 0 @ SYR 4
Crunch sweep the week, putting pressure on second place Rochester. Shutting the Amerks out Saturday sends a strong message.

+5

This Week: vs. BNG 1/15, @ BEL 1/17, vs. TOR 1/19, @ UTI 1/20
Record: 23-12-1-2

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Last Week: TUC 4 @ STK 2, TUC 4 @ ONT 6, TUC 4 @ SD 2
Tucson holds the first spot in the Pacific for another week with wins against second place Stockton and third place San Diego.

+2

This Week: vs. SD 1/15, vs. SD 1/17, @ SA 1/19, @ SA 1/20
Record: 19-11-2-1

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Last Week: WBS 6 @ BEL 2, WBS 4 @ LAV 3
Seven straight for the Penguins, who took advantage of some non-playoff teams. Real test is this week against rivals Lehigh Valley and Providence.

+5

This Week: vs. LV 1/17, @ PRO 1/19, @ PRO 1/21
Record: 23-10-2-1

5

Last Week: GR 3 @ MTB 2 (OT), GR 5 @ MTB 1, CLE 2 @ GR 4, CLE 2 @ GR 1
Griffins sweep the Moose in Winnipeg, then split a series with the Monsters. Don’t sleep on the defending champs yet.

+5

This Week: vs. MIL 1.17, @ MIL 1/19, vs. RFD 1/20
Record: 19-17-1-4

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

Andrey the Giant — Pens WIN 4-3

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Hat tricks are a rare thing. Back to back hat tricks are extremely rare. But that is what happened Saturday afternoon in Laval, QC as Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins defensemen Andrey Pedan scored a hat trick, his first of his professional career. Last night, Ryan Haggerty scored his first professional hat trick last night in Belleville.

Wilkes-Barre wins 4-3. Seven straight for the Penguins, their longest winning streak of the season.

Had the conversation on here a week ago whether the Penguins are, “back” after their horrific December. I think so. Today’s game was a terrific, physical and exciting affair between two teams that knocked the snot out of each other. It was a game that could have went either way, and Pedan and his heroics are enough to lift the Penguins past the Rocket today in Quebec.

Anthony Peters opposed Michael McNiven.

Lines were…

Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea — Ryan Haggerty
Garrett Wilson – Greg McKegg – Christian Thomas
Adam Johnson – Teddy Blueger – Thomas DiPauli
Freddie Tiffels – Jarrett Burton – Patrick McGrath

Andrey Pedan – Kevin Czuczman
Jarred Tinordi – Ethan Prow
Chris Summers – Kevin Spinozzi

Anthony Peters – Adam Morrison

Lineup Notes: Freddie Tiffels, Jarrett Burton and Patrick McGrath replaced the fourth line from last night. Ethan Prow, Kevin Spinozzi and Chris Summers were in on the blue line. Thomas DiPauli bumped up to the third line, replacing Colin Smith.

First Period: :32 in, Eric Gelinas puts a shot on net that through a heavy screen to put the Rocket on the board first. Later, Andrey Pedan carried the puck through the neutral zone, unleashed a shot from high slot that McNiven got a piece of with his glove, but it went over the glove and in his net.

Christian Thomas assisted here, extending his point streak to four games.

Physicality picked up, as both teams were throwing big time hits.

Second Period: 1:03 in, the Rocket would jump out to another lead. A shot from the point was put in by Adam Cracknell. A Penguin lost his stick.

:23 later, Teddy Blueger scored. A great rush by Adam Johnson set the whole thing up…

Peters was keeping his team in the game, with this nice save here…

That was Noah Juulsen off a nice pass from Nikita Scherbak being denied by the Penguins netminder.

Andrey Pedan would add his second goal of the game while the Penguins were on a power play with this snapper of a shot that gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead…

Physicality was picking up huge. Neither team was backing down.

Laval drew even again on a power play goal. Wilkes-Barre found themselves in some penalty trouble and this one bit them. Adam Cracknell again, and it was tied again at three.

Pedan would complete his hat trick with four minutes to play in the second period exactly on a power play.

That’s Garrett Wilson down there setting the screen.

Penguins defensemen just don’t score hat tricks that often. Here is the last time that it happened…

Oh, and Ryan Haggerty assisted on that Pedan goal, giving him six points on the weekend. Give him AHL Player of the Week honors immediately.

Third Period: No scoring here, but it was a period highlighted by lots of fantastic saves from McNiven and Peters. McNiven with the toe denying Zach Aston-Reese and Peters here in a pile of bodies with time ticking down…

This time it was Laval that found themselves in penalty trouble late in the period, nullifying any attempted comeback that the home team would have planned.

Three Stars: 3) Ryan Haggerty (two assists, -1) 2) Adam Cracknell (two goals, +2) and 1) Andrey Pedan (hat trick, +1)

Around the Division: Toronto sweeps Charlotte 3-1. Checkers are in a free fall, out of a playoff spot and 3-7 in their last ten….Belleville beats Hartford 4-2…Bridgeport beats Providence and sweeps the P-Bruins this weekend beating them 2-1 in a shootout. The Sound Tigers take the fourth spot in the Atlantic….Lehigh Valley beats Hershey 2-1, the Bears five game point streak ends. These two teams rematch tomorrow in Hershey. Springfield had the night off.

Standings: Penguins (.681 percentage points) — Providence (.649) — Lehigh Valley (.628) — Bridgeport (.568) — Charlotte (.556) — Hershey (.500) — Hartford (.450) — Springfield (.436)

Wheeling Update: Nailers beat Norfolk 4-2. J.C. Campagna had a pair of goals.

Video Highlights:

Pens will travel home Sunday.

Week 15 AHL Power Rankings are yours Monday at 4 but for anything breaking between now and then.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Laval 1/13

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Who: Laval Rocket

Where: Place Bell

When: 4:00 p.m.

Last Game: Last night in Belleville, the Pens won 6-2. Ryan Haggerty led the way with his first ever hat trick, the Pens won their sixth straight game and Anthony Peters won his fourth straight for the Pens. For Laval, the Rocket hosted Hartford and won 4-2. Adam Cracknell and a pair of goals and Matt Taormina had a goal and an assist.

Last Meeting: October 20 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins won 6-5 in overtime on a Teddy Blueger overtime goal that gave the Pens the win. Daniel Sprong had a hat trick and an assist in the game. Four rocket players had multiple point games.

Record: For WBS: 22-10-2-5 (47 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) // For LAV: 16-17-5-2 (39 pts., 5th place North Division)

Referee(s): Furman South / Mitch Dunning

Linesmen: Pierre-Luc Huot / Francis Trempe

Why You Should Care: Penguins look to make it seven straight in Laval. In order to do so, they will need to replicate a lot of things that got them to six wins in a row. Expect Anthony Peters to get the start for the Penguins again and all four lines rolling looking to get the offense going.

Other Game to Watch: Toronto and Charlotte tangle for Game 2 in North Carolina. Last night the Marlies got the better of the Checkers by a 4-1 score.

Next Five Games: LV 1/17, @ PRO 1/19, @ HFD 1/21, @ HER 1/24, @ LV 1/26

Hagger-Three — Pens WIN 6-2

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Wlkes-Barre / Scranton uses six goals tonight in Belleville, Ontario to extend their winning streak to six wins with a 6-2 win in Canada tonight.

Ryan Haggerty had three goals, his first ever hat trick as a professional. Anthony Peters picked up his fourth win as a Penguins goaltender since coming in on his second PTO and coupled with a Providence loss, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are once again atop the Atlantic Division.

Another methodical win by the Penguins, who seemed numb to a better Belleville team tonight in my opinion. The Pens have been using the KISS method to win them hockey games recently and it’s been working. Anthony Peters is more than capable enough to win games for the Penguins in goal. The defense remains intact for Wilkes-Barre and the Penguins are getting scoring from the likes of Haggerty, Christian Thomas, J-S Dea, Teddy Blueger and others and it’s turned their season around.

Anthony Peters opposed Marcus Hogberg.

Lines were…

Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea — Ryan Haggerty
Garrett Wilson – Greg McKegg – Christian Thomas
Adam Johnson – Teddy Blueger – Colin Smith
Cody Wydo – Gage Quinney – Thomas Di Pauli

Pedan-Czuczman Tinordi-Trotman Taylor-Corrado

Anthony Peters – Adam Morrison

Lineup Notes: Casey DeSmith was recalled to Pittsburgh earlier in the day today because Matt Murray is away on a personal matter. For the Penguins in Belleville, Gage Quinney was back in for Wilkes-Barre along with Cody Wydo on the fourth line. On defense, Frank Corrado and Jeff Taylor were in for Chris Summers and Ethan Prow. On Thursday, Christian Thomas was selected for the mens hockey team for Team Canada. That’s Olympian Christian Thomas to you.

First Period: Ryan Haggerty got the Penguins on the board early when he unleashed this shot that eluded Hogberg that gave the Pens a 1-0 lead…

That’s a five game point streak for Haggerty and a six game point streak for Zach Aston-Reese, who picked up an assist on the goal. He’s assisted on nine of fourteen goals by Haggerty this season.

Pens had to kill a Jeff Taylor penalty and had a few shorthanded rushes but couldn’t add another goal.

Later, Max McCormick wheeled around the net of Peters and dished a pass to Colin Smith on the far post that Smith pounded home make it a 1-1 game.

Pens had a late power play, and assistant coach Tim Army put five forwards out for it, something that I have noticed the Penguins do recently, but there was no scoring with that man advantage.

Wilkes-Barre ended the period on a 7-0 shot run.

Second Period: Momma, there’s that man again…

Haggerty’s modus operandi coming over from Rockford when the Penguins signed him two years ago was that he had a great shot. He never used it as much last year as he is this year.

1:15 later, Olympian Christian Thomas scores to make it 3-1 for the Penguins.

That was Thomas’ fourth goal in his last three games.

Kurt Klinendorst replaced Hogberg with Danny Taylor in goal. It worked, to some extent, as Belleville would get one back :06 into an Andrey Pedan interference call. Ben Harpur got the Senators back to within one with his quick goal off of the Senators face-off win.

Third Period: Haggerty completes his hat trick here with this firecracker…

Pens made it 5-2 when Garrett Wilson got in on the scoring by finding daylight from a low angle on a power play…

With time dwindling, Belleville pulled Taylor for the extra man. But then Frank Corrado iced a puck down ice that J-S Dea beat everyone to and he scored an empty netter to salt the game away for Wilkes-Barre…

Three Stars: 3) Christian Thomas (goal, +2) 2) Colin White (two goals, +1) and 1) Ryan Haggerty (hat trick, assist, +2)

Around the Division: Bridgeport edges Providence 3-2. This Bruins loss catapults the Penguins to first in the division….Toronto defeats Charlotte 4-1. These two teams rematch tomorrow in North Carolina…Springfield smokes Lehigh Valley in Allentown 6-2…Hartford loses to the Penguins Saturday opponent, Laval by a 4-2 score.

Standings: Penguins (.671 percentage points) — Providence (.653) — Lehigh Valley (.618) — Charlotte (.581) — Bridgeport (.543) — Hershey (.513) — Hartford (.462) — Springfield (.436)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers come back from a 3-0 deficit to stun the Norfolk Admirals 4-3 in overtime at WesBanco tonight. Riley Bourbonnais scored the overtime game winning goal 2:19 into overtime to give the Nailers the win.

Remember that Saturday’s game from Laval starts at 4. Don’t be late! Gameday setup will hit the blog here Saturday at noon.

Let’s Go Pens!