Chirps from Center Ice

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

Boy Oh Boyd — Pens LOSE 5-1


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The Penguins looked tired and non-competitive in a Sunday afternoon start in Hershey and lost 5-1. Travis Boyd had a big day, scoring two goals and assisting on another. The Penguins are 1-2-1 after four games and went 0-2-1 on the weekend, with a pair of losses to in-state rivals.

You can write it off to call-ups. Adam Johnson, Sam Lafferty and Joseph Blandisi are in Pittsburgh. That’s a good chunk of offensive bite missing from the lineup early on.

Friday, they took a bunch of shots from the perimeter that Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon ate up easily.

Saturday, they failed to close out the resilient Utica Comets, got a point but lost in OT.

Sunday, feeling the strain of a third game in three nights, they were obliterated in Hershey against a Bears team that only traveled to Allentown Saturday and had off Friday.

Callups happen all the time to all 31 teams in the AHL. Would some offense have helped this weekend? Sure, but you have to play the hand you’re dealt.

Casey DeSmith opposed Pheonix Copley.

Lines were…

And for the Bears…

Lineup: No changes up front for the Penguins at all. Lines were the same as they were Saturday in Utica. Matt Abt was with Jon Lizotte and Niclas Almari was with Kevin Czuczman. Joseph and Warsofsky stayed paired with one another.

First Period: Pens looked flat to start, Hershey hit two posts, but the Penguins got their legs under them but then ran into penalty troubles and found themselves down 2-0 after the Bears scored two power play goals.

Travis Boyd on the first power play…

…and then Matt Moulson scored on a goal assisted by Boyd when Stefan Noesen picked up an extra instigator after a fight with Erik Burgdoerfer after Burgdoerfer had a big hit on the wall on Jake Lucchini.

Here’s the hit that led to the second Hershey power play.

I mean, I don’t know what they expect to do anymore with these instigators they are handing out like candy at Halloween. Burgdoerfer runs over a guy and has to answer with a fight. Punches were thrown, yet Noesen picks up the instigator? Get out of here with this, just outlaw fighting altogether if you are going to call garbage like this.

Second Period: The hits continued for the Penguins, who saw Hershey score two more goals on them in the middle frame.

Travis Boyd again on the wraparound. Shades of Game 7 in overtime from a few years ago dancing around my head…

So much wrong with this play. First DeSmith pulled way out of his net, then Boyd’s attempt was going to go wide but it went off of Abt’s skates and into the net for a 3-0 Hershey lead.

The Penguins then went on a power play only to see Martin Fehervary beat Casey DeSmith on a two on one shorthanded to make it 4-0 Bears.

😬 😬 😬 😬

Third Period: Penguins couldn’t get anything going offensively. Mike Sgarbossa scored to extend the Hershey lead to 5-0.

Niclas Almari scored on a late power play goal to break up the Copley would be shutout bid that made it 5-1. Great setup by Chase Berger from behind the net.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Moulson (goal, assist) 2) Martin Fehervary (goal) and 1) Travis Boyd (two goals, assist)

The Good: Hard to come up with one. They looked flat, sometimes overmatched and let their goaltender get shelled. Kasper Bjorkqvist had a good game I thought, he was hooked on a breakaway which led to a Penguins power play chance late in the third.

The Bad: Where to start? Special teams seems to be a work in progress. Hershey seemed a step quicker which I think you can write off to Wilkes-Barre playing Friday with Hershey off.

Turning Point: Stefan Noesen getting sent off for 17 minutes of play time took out a large offensive piece for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Around the Division: Rochester beats Hartford 3-2 in overtime….Springfield picks up a big win in Providence beating the Bruins 5-2.

Standings: Hartford 7, Providence 6, Hershey 5, Charlotte and Springfield 4, Lehigh Valley, Bridgeport and the Penguins 3.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: 

This Week: Mailbag Monday morning for you. I suspect there will be a lot to talk about….Pens are back in action Wednesday at home against Binghamton….Power Rankings this Thursday. I haven’t decided when or where I am going to run the chart this week with all the stuff going on the blog this week. I may just delay them to next week with the Penguins having only played four games thus far and only one game this weekend in Bridgeport. I may just do that instead.

Keep the faith. Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 10/13


Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

Last Game: The Penguins had their home opener against Utica last night and lost in overtime 4-3. Stefan Noesen continued his hot start, scoring a goal. Noesen has four goals in three games for Wilkes-Barre. Hershey was in Allentown Saturday and won in overtime 4-3. Travis Boyd with the overtime game winner with a second left to play in OT.

Last Meeting: Last Saturday in Hershey, the Penguins won 4-3. Stefan Noesen had a pair of goals in his Wilkes-Barre debut and Garrett Pilon had a pair of assists for the Bears.

When: 5:00 p.m.

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

Referees: Patrick Hanrahan / Alex Ross

Linesmen: Colin Gates / Richard Jondo

Why You Should Care: Looking to close out the weekend on a positive note and in the win column, the Penguins head to Hershey for another date with the Bears. We liked what we say from the Pens Saturday night against the Comets, so applying that this afternoon against a Bears team is going to be crucial.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Other Game to Watch: Springfield visits Providence this afternoon in the only other divisional action this Sunday.

Next Five Games: vs. BNG 10/16, @ BRI 10/19, @ BNG 10/23, vs. SA 10/25, vs. SA 10/26

Lack of a Finnish (and a team full of them) — Pens LOSE 4-3 (OT)


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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have four Finns on the team this year, it was a trivia question during one of the stoppages in play.

With all that Finn on the team, the Penguins lack finish right now in this very early season.

They fell into a 2-0 hole in the first.

They battled back on the efforts of two power play goals and tied it in the second.

They edged ahead in the third, only to see the Comets score with under three minutes left to force overtime.

Six shots for the Penguins in the overtire period, one fro Utica. That one counted. Utica wins 4-3 in overtime.

Four Finns. No finish, though.

To be clear, none of the Penguins Finnish players cost the Penguins anything tonight. I thought the team as a whole played great, battling back from a two goal deficit to level it then when things started getting heavy in the third, they stayed step fro step with Utica, throwing the body. This team will be fine in the long run with the leadership group and coaches in place.

Emil Larmi opposed Zane McIntyre.

Lines were…

And for Utica…

Lineup Notes: Essentially Andrew Agozzino for Justin Almeida, which was inevitable with Agozzino’s demotion Friday. Shake ups here and there with the lines, but otherwise no changes.

First Period: A much better start in comparison to Friday in Allentown. Larmi made a lot of good saves in traffic tonight. He was beat twice late in the period by Reid Boucher who collected a puck on a face off win, took a step and wired one past Larmi for a 1-0 Utica lead.

Again, on a power play.

Second Period: Stefan Noesen continues his white hot start, scoring on a power play to cut the deficit to one.

Thomas DiPauli and Davis Warsofsky had a two on none and failed to connect for a goal. Later, Utica was caught with too many men and David Warsofsky, the captain, connected on a power play goal from the point for a tie game.

The game was opening up for the Penguins with Agozzino getting a chance on a breakaway but his shot sailed wide. It was fun and gun and great to see. Message received and message delivered in the second period coming out of the first intermission for the Penguins.

Emil Larmi stopped a Jonah Gadjovich penalty shot to preserve the tie.

Third Period: Game remained deadlocked and it started to get chippy. Anthony Angello wanted to engage Kole Lind but Lind wanted nothing to do with him. Jon Lizotte, who I thought was exposed in a bad way Friday in Allentown, had a huge reclamation game and found Angello coming hot out of the box and Angello streaked in on McIntyre and scored to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.

With 2:19 left, Carter Bancks whacked at a puck thrown in the crease and it went in for a tie game again.

What a response by Utica. They were getting run over, run around and could have tucked tail and ran. Instead they kept their nose down and kept scrapping.

Overtime: Man, these three on three overtime sessions are fun, aren’t they? Penguins had six shots in overtime, but that’s Zane McIntyre in net for the Comets and not easy to score on. Plus I think he has the keys to the Mohegan Sun Arena in his bag, he owns this place.

Lukas Jasek scores on the only shot of the overtime period for the Comets and wins it for Utica.

Three Stars: 2) Reid Boucher (two goals) 2) David Warsofsky (goal, assist) 1) Lukas Jasek (overtime game winner)

The Good: The response in the second was great to see, especially getting back into the game with two power play goals.

The Bad: They seemed to let off in spurts and one of those sequences caught them where Bancks scored to force overtime.

Turning Point: In a game full of them, Jasek’s goal that brought the game to the end wins out.

Around the Division: Hershey wins in overtime with one second remaining as Travis Boyd does the honors there and wins 4-3….Providence is 3-0 after a 3-2 win at home against Rochester….Hartford is also 3-0 after a 3-1 win against Springfield….Charlotte earns a split with Bridgeport, winning 4-1.

Standings: Hartford and Providence 6, Charlotte 4, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre and Bridgeport 3, Springfield 2

Wheeling Update:

Box here.

Video Highlights: Are here.

Pens close out the three in three weekend with a 5 o’clock meeting in Hershey. Gameday setup here Sunday afternoon at 1.

Let’s Go Pens!


They fell down 2-0, got up and tied it at two then went ahead before getting scored on late and again in overtime. Pens lose 4-3 in overtime.

Seems they may have an early closing problem. That game was there for the taking late on and they let it slip through.

Jon Lizotte has a hell of a game after looking awful last night in Allentown. Stefan Noesen scored again, Anthony Angello has the at the time go ahead goal. There’s potential, but you have to play a full 60.

More in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Utica 10/12


Who: Utica Comets

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: For the Penguins, they were in Allentown last night against the Phantoms and lost 4-1.  Stefan Noesen scored the only goal for the Penguins. For Utica, the Comets were last in action last Saturday when they opened their season on the road in Binghamton and won 4-3. Bingo scored two goals in the third and three goals on just 22 shots. Reid Boucher scored a pair of goals and assisted on another, Kole Lind had three assists.

Record: For WBS: 1-1-0-0 (2 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For UTI: 1-0-0-0 (2 pts., 5h place North Division)

Referees: Olivier Gouin / Carter Sandlak

Linesmen: Jud Ritter / J.P. Waleski

Why You Should Care: Penguins had a very poor effort last night in Allentown. Utica comes in rested having not played last night. Expect a shakeup on defense for Wilkes-Barre as they host their opener in front of an amped up crowd.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Promotion(s): The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins open the home portion of their 2019-20 season with a matchup against the Utica Comets.  The first 5,000 fans will receive a 2019-20 magnetic schedule, courtesy of Geisinger.  It’s also a McDonald’s FAN-Tastic Night, with packages including a ticket to the game, a Penguins hat and McDonald’s meal voucher, starting at just $17.50*

Other Game to Watch: Lehigh Valley and Hershey renew old acquaintances tonight in Allentown for the first of twelve regular season meetings.

Next Five Games: @ HER 10/13, vs. BNG 10/16, @ BRI 10/19, @ BNG 10/23, vs. SA 10/25

* – promo information credit to

It’s Game Two — Pens LOSE 4-1


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As you will see as you dive into this recap of a 4-1 Penguins loss Friday night in Allentown, the Wilkes-Barre defense was unchanged from last Saturday in Hershey.

I would expect that to change for the home opener Saturday night against Utica.

The Penguins get trucked in shots 16-2 in the first, go down 2-0 and then Lehigh Valley runs away with it in the second and sits on it in the third and pick up their first win of the season, subsequently handing the Penguins their first loss of this very early 2019-20 campaign.

Casey DeSmith opposed Alex Lyon.

Lines were…

And for the Phantoms…

Lineup Notes: Well Adam Johnson was recalled Thursday and Friday afternoon as I was heading home from work I saw that Pittsburgh returned Andrew Agozzino and called up Joseph Blandisi. Agozzino wasn’t in the lineup Friday presumably because they didn’t want him playing four games in four straight games.

For the players still on the farm in contrast to last Saturday’s lineup in Hershey…

No changes to the defense pairings at all from last Saturday.

First Period: Phantoms with the jump off the hop bombarded the Penguins for sixteen shots in the period and led 2-0 at intermission.

The Penguins had just two shots all period and none on a power play about halfway through.

So it was just a matter of time before the dam broke and Lehigh Valley scored.

Jon Lizotte held a puck too long in his own end, lost it and it was academic from there.

Lehigh Valley would connect again on a power play off a very nice pass from Cal O’Reilly to Mikhail Vorobyev for a tap in goal that made it 2-0.

Thanks again to Taylor for the GIFs and allowing me to run her work again on these.

Second Period: Stefan Noesen, who has been an early godsend especially with all the injuries right now in Pittsburgh, pulled the Penguins to within one in the opening minute on a power play with this effort.

Penguins came out and stayed buzzing, until Joel Farabee walked P-O Joesph and then got a step on Casey DeSmith and scored to reestablish the two goal Phantoms lead.

1:09 later, Chris Bigras wound up, fired and scored and beat Casey DeSmith for a goal that made it 4-1 and started to put the game out of reach for Wilkes-Barre.

Things pretty much evened out from there, but I started to notice something that the Penguins were doing with their shots.

Pretty academic saves by Lyon in the period. He only had to make two in the first, got beat with the first shot he saw in the second, then his defenders in front of him limited the Penguins to shots from the blue line.

Third Period: Phantoms parked the bus and only had five shots on goal all period. The Penguins had this for a shot board in the third.

That is with the benefit of two power plays in the period for Wilkes-Barre as well.

Three Stars: 3) German Rubtsov (two assists) 2) Kurtis Gabriel (goal) and 1) Joel Farabee (goal)

The Good: Stefan Noesen did pretty much all he could to put the team on his back tonight offensively. Casey DeSmith was OK too, left out to dry by his inexperienced defense.

The Bad: Defense looked out to lunch, but it’s just game two and time to work things out.

Turning Point: Lehigh Valley’s response after the Noesen goal, reestablishing the two goal then eventually the three goal lead buried the Penguins and their chance of a comeback this evening.

Around the Division: Bridgeport spoils Charlotte’s banner raising and beat the Checkers 4-2…Springfield loses 2-1 at home against Rochester. The Americans put up 40 shots. Everyone else was off.

Standings: Providence and Hartford 4, Bridgeport 3, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre, Charlotte and Springfield 2, Hershey 1.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers open their season Saturday in Cincinnati against the Cyclones.

Video Highlights: If the Phantoms get around to them, which I believe they will, I’ll toss up the package here. Check back in the morning if you really want to see them.

Wilkes-Barre holds its home opener Saturday night at 7:05 against the Utica Comets, who make their only stop in this season Saturday night. Gameday setup hits the blog Saturday afternoon at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Lehigh Valley 10/11

Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: PPL Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: For the Penguins, they opened their 2019-20 campaign with a win last Saturday over Hershey with a 4-3 win. Stefan Noesen scored two goals and Casey DeSmith had 36 saves. For Lehigh Valley, they opened their 2019-20 season at home against the Providence Bruins and were shutout 2-0.

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

Referees: Olivier Gouin / Carter Sandlak

Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco / Bill Lyons

Why You Should Care: Lehigh Valley signed a ton of offense this past offseason, yet were shutout at home in embarrassing fashion against the Providence Bruins. After a week to sit on the lack of goal scoring, look for the Phantoms to jump on the Penguins early on. Should be a good litmus test for these two teams who will meet 11 more times this season.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Other Game to Watch: The Charlotte Checkers hang a banner tonight at home in their opener against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Next Five Games: vs. UTI 10/12, @ HER 10/13, vs. BNG 10/16, @ BRI 10/19, @ BNG 10/23