Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview: Phantom Thunder Packs

I totally don’t know what a, “Phantom Thunder Pack” is, but with Halloween this coming Sunday, it had to be a scary theme so with three games this week with Lehigh Valley (Wednesday) Hartford (Friday) and Springfield (Saturday) it kind of fits with the idea I kind of am painting myself into a corner with.

The Setup

Last weekend the Penguins hosted the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday and then had their first road game of the season Sunday in Allentown. They won both games in overtime. Kasper Bjorkqvist played the hero Friday against Hartford, Valtteri Puustinen played the hero on Sunday against Lehigh Valley. 

The home and home with Lehigh Valley gets paid off with Wednesday’s week night home game (yay!) and then the Penguins take a road trip to Hartford Friday then Springfield Saturday.

Wolf Pack were in action last Saturday when they visited the Phantoms and won in regulation 3-1. Pack are off to a surprising 3-1-1 start. 

Springfield stayed rather busy last weekend with a good old three in three, taking five of six points in a home and home against Bridgeport and a Sunday game against Providence. Springfield has Wednesday and Friday off. Hartford has off Wednesday too. Lucky dogs.

These Guys, Again?

Yeah, such is life in the American Hockey League. This is the third meeting with the Phantoms so far, one more again November 3rd, then that’s all for them until January. Those other PA rivals in Hershey the Pens don’t see till December. Gotta get these games out of the way with the teams only playing 72 games (Hartford)

The Records

Pens are 3-1, good for third in the division behind Springfield and Hershey; the Phantoms are in dead last in the division with an 0-3-1 record. Springfield leads the division with a 4-0-1 start and Hartford is 3-1-1, right behind the Penguins in fourth.

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out?

Through October 27, Justin Almeida and Tommy Nappier were assigned to Wheeling on Tuesday. Kasper Bjorkqvist was recalled to Pittsburgh Monday and Juuso Riikola was recalled sometime last Saturday. Anthony Angello remains day to day with a lower body injury, but should be back sooner than later.

Who’s in Goal

I’d go right back to Domingue Wednesday if I am J.D. Forrest. Styles make fights and Domingue had a hell of a showing for him Sunday in Allentown. But it’s probably Filip Lindberg in the cage Wednesday, then probably again Friday in Hartford then Domingue Saturday in Springfield. 

Opposition wise, expect the starters for every opponent since they all play the Penguins first this week. So that’s Felix Sandstrom this Wednesday at home against the Phantoms, Keith Kinkaid Friday in Hartford and then Joel Hofer Saturday in Springfield.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

Winning is fun, isn’t it? The Penguins are off to a decent start. They have a rough rack of opponents to navigate through this week with another shot at Lehigh Valley Wednesday, then up to Hartford who played them tight last Friday in Wilkes-Barre then to Springfield who very may well be the best team in the AHL right now, rested and ready for anything the Penguins throw at them Saturday night. 

You aren’t winning the division in the first month of the season, but I am going to be really interested in seeing how they come out Saturday against a rested, ready and really good Springfield side. Sweep the week or get 5 of 6 points, then maybe the Penguins could possibly be better than that six seed we predicted they finish in. For now, as again you aren’t winning a division at the beginning of the season with all the ups and downs that come with it.

Who is running the show?

Mike Dietrich and Patrick Hanrahan, who had Sunday’s assignment in Lehigh Valley, work Wednesday’s game with linesmen Ryan Knapp and Michael Magee. For Friday in Hartford, Mathieu Menniti is joined by new referee Dominic Cadieux with Glen Cooke and Kevin Briganti working the lines. On Saturday in Springfield, two brand new referees in Sam Bernier and Jack Young get the assignment with Caleb Apperson and Nick Briganti (Kevin’s brother, I think) working the lines.

Looking ahead…

Lehigh Valley next Wednesday, but at their place, followed by a home game Friday against Providence then back on the road up to Hartford. Equally, I think we have seen too much of the Wolf Pack also, as this will be the third meeting of the season between these two clubs, which is wild when you consider there 29 other teams in the league you can play (I know, I know…) but Wilkes-Barre won’t see the Wolf Pack again till March 13.

Give us a bold prediction…

The Penguins will shutout one of their opponents this week.

One response to “Weekend Preview: Phantom Thunder Packs

  1. Rose Moczulski October 27, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Can hope we shutout someone. Question will be can we score more than 1 or 2 goals. I did notice there isn’t alot of high scoring games so far this season which means more are playing good defense. That can change once chemistry and confidence grows. I’m hoping for a good week at the very least I would take 4 out of 6 points

%d bloggers like this: