Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: vs. Lehigh Valley 10/20


Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game / Last Meeting: Last night in Allentown these two teams played an instant classic where the Penguins came out on top 5-4. The Penguins gave up two power play goals in the third period before Teddy Blueger scored on a power play goal and then Garrett Wilson scored with 63 seconds left to lift the Pens pas the Phantoms. TJ Brennan for the Phantoms had a goal and an assist.

Record: For WBS: 4-1-0-0 (8 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division) // For LV: 2-2-0-0 (4 pts., 6th place Atlantic Division)

Referee(s): Mitch Dunning / Dan Kelly

Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco / Luke Murray

Why You Should Care: If last night was any indication on how this series is going to go between these two sides, then buckle up. The Phantoms will be looking to exact some revenge on the Penguins while Wilkes-Barre will be looking to button up in the discipline department on Lehigh Valley so as to not allow for so many power plays. Expect more of the same and another thriller between these two rivals.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Other Game to Watch: Can Hershey, who lost in a shootout last night in Charlotte, hand the Checkers their first loss of the season?

Next Five Games: vs. HER 10/26, @ HER 10/27, vs. HFD 11/2, vs. HFD 11/3, @ BRI 11/4

Instant Classic — Pens WIN 5-4


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Tristan Jarry took a lot of flak from some of the chicken littles Wednesday night when he came back from Pittsburgh and was named the starter early in the week by Head Coach Clark Donatelli.

“Ride the hot hand in Anthony Peters!” they yelled.

Peters has the best GAA / SV% coming into the week, but he’s not on an NHL contract. Jarry is. The Pittsburgh Penguins assigned Jarry to Wilkes-Barre because he is waiver exempt and he came to Coal Street with orders that he is the starting goalie.

It’s like that line in Captain Phillips.

(Jarry, busts into the coaches office….)

Jarry to Clark Donatelli: Look at me. LOOK AT ME! 

(Donatelli looks up from his desk)

Jarry: I am the starting goaltender now.

Jarry lost Wednesday to the 0-5 Bears at the time. I didn’t make him the focal point because the AHL team will always do what the NHL team wants. The AHL is a developmental league. Jarry wasn’t the reason that the Penguins lost the game Wednesday; Vitek Vanecek was, stopping 40 off 42 shots.

But enough about the past, let’s talk about the present.

Jarry turns in a great performance in Allentown, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins survive a thriller at PPL Center and win 5-4.

A comeback in the third led by a power play goal by Teddy Blueger that made it 4-4 then a late go ahead goal by Garrett Wilson which made it 5-4. Late saves by Jarry at the end preserved the win for Wilkes-Barre who improve to 4-1 on this young season.

Jarry opposed Carter Hart.

Lines were…

Notes: No Anthony Angello tonight so everyone moved up one on the right side, Patrick McGrath made his season debut on the fourth line. No other changes to defense. Angello’s status is the ever detailed “day to day.” 🙄

Tonight’s game was Will O’Neill’s 400th AHL game.

First Period: Was a goalie duel to start the game, with Jarry and Hart making some good saves.

Hart stopped Adam Johnson shorthanded with his mask, then later stopped him on a power play with the glove.

Jarry was dialed in, bailing out Stefan Elliott on this play…

Then, Patrick McGrath threw a big hit which caused a commotion and Linus Olünd pounced on it and scored to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

But the Phantoms answered right back with less than a minute to play when Mike Vecchione scored on a bouncing, uncontrolled puck that put the Phantoms on even footing heading into the first intermission.

Second Period: Penguins withstood four Phantoms power plays along with having a Phantoms would be goal taken off the board on account of goalie interference on Jarry and take a 3-2 lead into the third period.

Sam Miletic scored after the Penguins killed a Phantoms carry over power play to open the period on this play…

About a minute later, Philippe Myers scored a goal with Jarry screened to tie it.

Then, the game slowed with the Penguins taking penalty after penalty.

Pens get a call go their way when Zach Trotman hit a guy that bowled over Jarry, who never recovered, and a goal was scored.

Immediately waved off by both referees Dan Kelly and Chris Pontes. Look, there are 12 pages in the AHL Rulebook on this type of play. These types of plays are like car crashes. They happen all the time, you just hope you are never involved in one. There never seems to be a right or wrong call and depending on what side you are on, you like or dislike the call.

Zach Aston-Reese scored on a bank pass off of the back boards to give Wilkes-Barre a 3-2 lead.

A lot of action in the period, to say the least.

Third Period: All of that penalty killing that Wilkes-Barre did in the second period finally caught up to them in the third.

TJ Brennan point shot tied it…

Then Greg Carey gave Lehigh Valley their only lead of the night…

Both goals came on the power play.

Those were the last power plays that the Phantoms had for the rest of the game.

Penguins cashed on a power play goal of their own when they kept it in the zone the entire time, and Teddy Blueger scored off of a pass on the pads to tie the game.

Penguins got another power play but were not able to score on it. As time ticked away and it looked like overtime was inevitable, Jimmy Hayes led a two on one, put a shot on Hart that the Phantoms net minder made a stop on but never was able to smother, and Garrett Wilson did this.

Tristan Jarry made some saves at the end of the game that preserved the win for his team. Jarry stopped 28 of 32 shots, none bigger then at the end of the game.

Three Stars: 3) Teddy Blueger (goal) 2) TJ Brennan (goal, assist) 1) Garrett Wilson (game winning gaol)

Around the Division: Springfield beats Laval 5-3…Hartford beats Belleville 4-3…Bridgeport beats Providence 4-3 in overtime…Charlotte improves to 5-0 with a 4-3 shootout win over Hershey where the Bears only had 13 shots all game.

Standings: Charlotte 10 – Hartford 9 – Penguins 8 – Springfield 8 – Bridgeport 5 – Lehigh Valley 4 – Providence 3 – Hershey 3

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.


These two teams rematch Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre. If this game tonight was a preview of what we can expect for 11 more meetings, buckle the hell up. Gameday setup hits the blog Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Lehigh Valley 10/19


Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: PPL Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Wednesday at home against the Hershey Bears, the Penguins got tow third period goals, but suffered their first loss of the season despite putting up 42 shots. Tristan Jarry appeared in his first game for the Penguins this season and stopped 25 shots.

Record: For WBS: 3-1-0-0 (6 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division) // For LV: 2-1-0-0 (4 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division)

Referee(s): Dan Kelly / Chris Pontes

Linesmen: Ryan Knapp / Matt McNulty

Why You Should Care: First of twelve regular season meetings tonight and first of a weekend doubleheader home and home against the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley has more questions than answers right now and after a week of practice look to ferret out those issues against one of their biggest rivals. The Penguins are coming off of a loss in a game they fought hard to win Wednesday at home against the Bears. Both teams should bring their best tonight in Allentown.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Other Game to Watch: Springfield brings their high flying offense into Laval, QC for a nice early test for both teams.

Next Five Games: vs. LV 10/20, vs. HER 10/26, @ HER 10/27, vs. HFD 11/2, vs. HFD 11/3

AHL Power Rankings: Week 2

No changes with the top team from Week 1, the Charlotte Checkers, in Week 2. It’s the Checkers world and we are all skating in it.

Some shake up in the top five and beyond. The theme this week is going to be .500. There are a lot of teams that are .500 and some of them are a surprise in a good way and a surprise in a bad way at the, “just average” mark two weeks into the season.

San Jose jumps to second behind the Checkers. The Barracuda have a lead on the rest of the Pacific.

The Iowa Wild played just one game last week, won it, and remain third.

Springfield jumps up into the top five this week after blasting Lehigh Valley 7-0 last Friday. Their offense is potent and they head to a scrappy Laval Rocket team who’ve impressed early on.

The Chicago Wolves round out the top five after a 4-0 start to lead the Central.

Pop past the Wolves if you didn’t link in direct to see where the rest of the AHL fills out in Week 2.


Last Week: CHA 4 @ UTI 3, CHA 4 @ SYR 1
Remain the number one team this week after a 4-0 start. There doesn’t appear to be anything that can faze this team at the moment.


This Week: vs. HER 10/19, vs. HER 10/20, @ UTI 10/24
Record: 4-0-0-0


Last Week: SJ 6 @ STK 4, TUC 3 @ SJ 2 (SO)
Remain at the top of the Pacific through the second week of the season and have some slight separation on second place Tucson.


This Week: @ STK 10/20, vs. STK 10/21
Record: 4-0-0-1


Last Week: TEX 3 @ IA 4 (SO)
Light past week for the Wild, who are off to a 3-0 start. Two more with the Stars this coming week.


This Week: @ TEX 10/19, @ TEX 10/20
Record: 3-0-0-0


Last Week: SPR 7 @ LV 0, LV 5 @ SPR 4 (SO), PRO 3 @ SPR 6
Springfield is a preseason team we picked as a contender that is living up to expectations very early on. This is a fun team to watch that can score in bunches.


This Week: @ LAV 10/19, @ LAV 10/20
Record: 2-0-0-2


Last Week: GR 1 @ CHI 5, MIL 4 @ CHI 5 (OT)
Wolves are 4-0, at the top of the Central and finding ways to win early.


This Week: @ GR 10/20, vs. MIL 10/21, vs. CLE 10/24
Record: 4-0-0-0

Read more of this post

Firsts on Wednesday — Pens LOSE 3-2


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Sometimes you run into a hot goalie. No matter how hard you try, the guy in the pads standing in front of the 4’ x 6’ cage just sometimes makes the stops to carry his team across the line.

Vitek Vanecek for Hershey carried his 0-5 Hershey Bears to their first win of the season on his back through an ocean with 20 foot waves.

40 saves by Vanecek tonight ensures enough for his Hershey Bears team who win their first game of the season 3-2 tonight in Wilkes-Barre. It’s also the first loss of the season for the Penguins.

I’m in the hurry up because 6:50 am Thursday morning comes quick and I don’t do this for a living.

Tristan Jarry made his first start of the season for the Penguins and opposed the aforementioned Vanecek.

Lines were:

Notes: Matt Abt was a scratch. Ryan Horvat made his WBS debut. Less roster jockeying with Derek Grant, a veteran, recalled when Jarry was sent back down. Ryan Haggerty is week to week with a lower body injury but Clark told Tom after the game it’s a shorter term week to week and shouldn’t be a long term issue.

First Period: I thought one play late in the period best summed up the period for Wilkes-Barre. It was on the power play and Sam Miletic had a wide open net to shoot into. He missed. The Penguins trailed 1-0 to the Bears after 20 minutes of play.  Lots of chances, no finish or nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.

Axel Jonsson-Fjällby scored on the Bears first shot of the game to give Hershey the early lead.

Second Period: First ten minutes took forever and I felt that it benefitted Hershey. They came in 0-5, in the midst of a seven game hellacious road trip that brought them through the Midwest, here tonight and to Charlotte this weekend, their backup goalie was a local guy signed to an ATO before the game and had guys banged up, so every stoppage after an icing or an offside was a chance to catch their breath, reset, and get back to it.

As the period wore on and the Penguins down 1-0 still, the last thing you wanted to see was the Bears go up two.

The Bears went up two. Old buddy Liam O’Brien beat Tristan Jarry gloveside on a quick shot with 20.2 seconds left in the period.

Third Period: Penguins get two quick goals in under two minutes in the games first five minutes and the thought from the Bears was likely here we go again…

Tobias Lindberg smacked one in off of Vanecek to put the Pens on the board.

Then Garrett Wilson with this deflection when the Penguins were on the power play tied it…

But then the Penguins got caught chasing their tail, watching too much in their own zone when old buddy and favorite of this blog Jayson Megna scored what ended up being the game winning goal…

Game then zipped on past after that. No power plays, minimal stoppages. The Penguins got close, again, multiple times with Jarry pulled for the extra man but Vanecek made some excellent stops to ensure that his team wouldn’t be playing overtime tonight.

Three Stars: 3) Vitek Vanecek (40 saves on 42 shots) 2) Tobias Lindberg (goal) 1) Jayson Megna (game winning goal)

Around the Division: Laval pounds Hartford 5-2. Everyone else was off.

Standings: Charlotte 8 – Hartford 7 – Penguins 6 – Springfield 6 – Lehigh Valley 4 – Bridgeport 3 – Providence 2 – Hershey 2.

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Hershey put highlights up first, so they run here so I am not looking back sometime Thursday morning. Here they are…

Pens are back in action Friday in Allentown against the Phantoms.

Don’t forget Week 2’s AHL Power Rankings out Thursday. Check them out around noonish.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: vs. Hershey 10/17


Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last Saturday in Cleveland, the Penguins scored three goals in the second period and beat the Cleveland Monsters 4-1. Anthony Peters was named first star of the game with 32 of 33 saves. For Hershey, the Bears are in the midst of a seven game road trip which started this weekend in the Midwest. They lost Sunday afternoon in Rockford 5-2. Tyler Lewington and Liam O’Brien scored goals for Hershey in the defeat,

Record: For WBS: 3-0-0-0 (6 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division) // For HER: 0-5-0-0 (0 pts., 8th place Atlantic Division)

Referee(s): Olivier Gouin / Peter Schlittenhardt

Linesmen: Neil Frederickson / Scott Pomento

Why You Should Care: Penguins welcome in Hershey for a midweek game at home in Wilkes-Barre. Bears come in 0-5 still looking for their first win. They are the last team in the AHL to win a game, and will be looking to get in the win column against a Penguins team that had a pretty good weekend in Cleveland.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is new and improved and a lot cheaper.

Promotion(s): None.

Other Game to Watch: Hartford is up in Laval, QC tonight for a good early test between the 3-1-1 Wolf Pack and the 2-2 Rocket.

Next Five Games: @ LV 10/19, vs. LV 10/20, vs. HER 10/26, @ HER 10/27, vs. HFD 11/2

Anthony from Cleveland — Pens WIN 4-1


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Here’s the thing. When Tristan Jarry comes down from Pittsburgh, the derivative from the NHL Penguins is going to give Jarry the net. The American Hockey League is a developmental league for players on NHL contracts sent to the AHL. Jarry is going to play. Get ready for it.

That’s fine. Because the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have a diamond in the rough and his name is Anthony Peters.

Peters makes 32 saves and the Penguins improve to 3-0 in the very early season with a 4-1 win in Cleveland Saturday night.

Johnny Muse may be better than both of them, but I digress…

Peters opposed J-F Berube.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Up front, Derek Grant made his WBS debut for Tobias Lindberg up front and Jeff Taylor was in for Will O’Neill. Anthony Peters retained the net. Don’t worry about O’Neill, the Penguins are dealing with a case of way too many veterans. Grant qualifies as one which puts them over.

Seriously, these graphics are great. Hope they return this Wednesday at home against Hershey.

First Period: Wasn’t much to this period. Kevin Stenlund had a dangle and snipe goal to put the Monsters ahead 1-0…

Hell of a shot by Stenlund.

Penguins had a power play and killed two, otherwise outshot tiger Monsters 12-11 in the first period.

Second Period: First time that the Penguins trailed after any intermission. They made sure that this was changed heading into the second intermission.

Anthony Angello potted a goal on a rebound of a Chris Summer shot to tie the game at one…

The theme of scoring on the rebound continued. Jimmy Hayes scored after Derek Grant dug a puck out of the pads of Berube for this easy tuck…

Wilkes-Barre was coming in waves. Sam Miletic hit the bar. Then, Derek Grant scored on a sick deflection of a Jeff Taylor shot from an even sicker angle…

Wilkes-Barre had to killa. late penalty, and Anthony Peters continued to stake his claim as the #1 goaltender in Wilkes-Barre. Check out this robbery of an Alex Broadhurst attempt…

Third Period: A good gauge on whether you are going to be a good team with your current group is to see how your team plays with leads. Cleveland didn’t muster anything close to a chance but for another Peters stop on Zac Dalpe on a setup from ex-Penguin Mark Letestu. That was it. Penguins had a power play but couldn’t score then Monsters head coach John Madden pulled Berube with 3:58 to play and later Teddy Blueger hit the empty net.

Three Stars: 3) Kevin Stenlund (goal) 2) Jimmy Hayes (goal) and 1) Anthony Peters (32 saves on 33 shots)

Around the Division: Charlotte continues to roll with a 4-1 win in Syracuse tonight…Lehigh Valley wins in a shootout 5-4 in Springfield after getting throttled by the Thunderbirds in Allentown last night…Rochester beat Bridgeport 4-3 Saturday afternoon…Hartford beat Providence 4-3 and Hershey remains the only team without a win in the Atlantic Division with a 5-1 loss in Milwaukee.

Standings: Charlotte with 8, Hartford with 7, Wilkes-Barre 6, Springfield and Lehigh Valley with 4, Bridgeport and Providence with 2 and Hershey with 0.

Wheeling Update: Nailers kicked off their campaign on the road in Norfolk and lost 5-3. The Nailers scored three power play goals in the loss. Elliot Grauer had a pair of goals. Apologies on the link, the ECHL switched to a new website that they clearly weren’t’ ready for because it’s a nightmare. You can’t find boxes anywhere on the regular site. Just let me find them for you. If or when they fix it, I will update future links accordingly.

Remember, my AHL Power Rankings have been moved to Thursday. So unless there is newsworthy stuff to make a blog post out of, check back here Wednesday for coverage of the midweek home game against Hershey.

Let’s Go Pens!