Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

GAMEDAY: @ Springfield 12/12

@     

Who: Springfield Thunderbirds

Where: MassMutual Center

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Sunday in Hershey, the Pens go down 4-1 and storm back and win 5-4 in a shootout. Ethan Prow scored in regulation to tie it, John Muse stopped nine shooters and Joseph Cramarossa scored in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Pens. For Springfield, the Thunderbirds defeated the Binghamton Devils 5-1. Five different Thunderbirds scored and Michael Hutchinson stopped 42 of 43 shots.

Last Meeting: November 23 in Springfield, the Pens lost 4-3 in overtime. Ethan Prow had a goal and an assist in the loss but Jacob MacDonald scored an overtime power play goal to win it for the Thunderbirds.

Record: For WBS: 12-10-3-1 (28 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For SPR: 13-7-2-2 (30 pts., 3rd place North Division)

Referees: Mitch Dunning / Geoff Miller

Linesmen: Robert St. Lawrence / Kevin Briganti

Why You Should Care: Penguins look to continue the momentum off of the perfect weekend that they had against Cleveland, Bridgeport and Hershey. It won’t be easy against a tough opponent in Springfield. What lineup does Wilkes-Barre bring? Does new acquisition Ben Sexton play? Does John Muse start in goal? Springfield has scored a power play goal in every contest against the Pens so far this season. Does the streak continue?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

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

Other Game to Watch: Colorado and Tucson is the game tonight. Eagles are fun upstarts, the Roadrunners are a very tough opponent and have been the class of the Pacific for a few years now.

Next Five Games: vs. LV 12/15, @ BRI 12/16, vs. BRI 12/19, @ HER 12/21, @ SYR 12/22

Six of Six from Six — Pens WIN 5-4 (SO)

       @       

5                                             4

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins came into Sunday afternoon winless so far on the season on the day the Lord rested.

Going down 4-1 at one point to their blood rival in Hershey, thoughts of last weekend’s debacle in Toronto started to creep into the minds of Penguins fans.

But a mix of the same tenacity that saw Wilkes-Barre shutout Cleveland on Friday and blitzkrieg Bridgeport on Saturday get the Penguins back into contention and they storm back to make it 4-3 at the end of the second period.

A quick moving third period where time melted off the clock like a snowman in June.

Until the Penguins best player stepped up and ensured that overtime would become a necessity.

Ethan Prow, a stone cold lock for Springfield in January at All-Stars, stepped into a shot with under a minute left and the game was tied.

Overtime would come and go and the Penguins even had to kill a penalty, then after nine cool saves in the shootout round from Johnny Muse, Joseph Cramarossa would score to give the Penguins the stunning 5-4 shootout win over the Hershey Bears.

Ethan Prow had a chance in the bottom of the sixth to win it, that would have been magical.

A perfect six point weekend for Wilkes-Barre / Scranton. A shutout Friday, a come from behind win Saturday against Bridgeport and a come from behind from multiple goals down Sunday at the end of a three in three on the road against the Bears.

Are the Penguins back? Certainly seems like it, but one weekend does not a season make. We all know that the Penguins are good and have not played up to their potential in the weeks coming into this past weekend. Now, going forward the Penguins have shown the ability that they can indeed win in all different forms.

John Muse opposed Vitek Vanecek.

Lines were…

…once again unchanged from Saturday and Friday.

First Period: The Penguins weren’t able to capitalize on turnovers by the Bears, and Hershey struck twice to carry a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Jayson Megna, who always seems to score against the Penguins this season, opened the scoring.

Then Hershey cashed on a power play when Riley Barber found himself fin the slot, Chris Summers backed off and while doing so, sent an unintentional screen on his goaltender. Barber then snapped a shot in between Summers’ legs and beat Muse five hole.

Bounces. The Bears had them, the Penguins didn’t.

Second Period: The Penguins would finally solve Vanecek after a power play expired as Kevin Czuczman’s shot deflects off in front of Liam O’Brien and goes in and it’s a 2-1 game.

But Liam O’Brien would exact an ounce of revenge finishing this play off of a nice pass by Steven Whitney on a Bears odd man. The only time Muse would get beat clean this weekend.

:52 later, Tyler Lewington wheels around the net and banks a shot off of Muse and in for a 4-1 Bears lead.

But instead of pack it in, Wilkes-Barre played lock it down.

Teddy Blueger got the deficit back to two with this nice play in front of Vanecek that made it a two goal game again.

Okay, good. Get to the intermission down two and see what happens from there, right?

Wrong. Thomas DiPauli scores with five seconds left and the entire complexion of the game changes.

Third Period: It really would have been a shame if the Penguins didn’t win the game, because the way they played the third, it seemed like it wasn’t if the Pens would score, it was when.

Wilkes-Barre outshoots Hershey 11-4 in the period. They locked things down and didn’t allow Hershey any more good looks.

Jarrett Burton took a hard hit into the boards, went to the room and returned. The Pens also had to kill a Prow tripping penalty.

Then, with Muse vacated for the extra attacker and after a Wilkes-Barre time out, Adam Johnson collected the puck in his own zone, flew the neutral zone and entered the zone ands dished to Teddy Blueger who dropped to Prow for the tying goal.

Overtime: Solved nothing. The Bears would get a power play, called time out, but weren’t able to score.

Shootout: No one scored till the bottom of the ninth when Joe Cramarossa stepped up to the plate

Here is the entire overtime and shootout round Periscoped for you by yours truly if you have 16:29 to kill.

Three Stars: 3) Joe Cramarossa (shootout game winner) 2) Teddy Blueger (goal, two assists) 1) Jayson Megna (goal)

The Good: I liked the tenacity from the team. Not just tonight, but the entire weekend. You could tell about half way through Friday that they were not going to let Cleveland beat them. Same for Bridgeport on Saturday after letting off at the end of the first period. I think they had enough losing and were starting to hear it at home, at the rink and in the media. It’s hard to win games in the American Hockey League. It’s even harder to win three in a row in three days. The Penguins accomplished that and have to feel good about themselves heading into Wednesday in Springfield.

The Bad: The lapses are still there. It’s nitpicking here on a Sunday evening after the team won three straight, but the lapses are evident. There was no way that the Penguins should have gone down 4-1 like they did. It was good that it happened in the second period and not any later, because it could have been a totally different result.

One More Thing: John Muse was as cool as a cucumber in the shootout. I think Head Coach Clark Donatelli was looking for either Muse or Anthony Peters to take the reins as the starter this weekend. I don’t think he has his answer to be honest with you. Also, if you tuned into the game today you heard Scott Stuccio on color. He adds so much more to the broadcast in that position just by his observances in the game flow and an extra set of eyes for Nick Hart on play by play. He’s prepared, knows what he is talking about and Wilkes-Barre should try to get him on more broadcasts as his schedule allows. It’s already a good broadcast with Nick Hart, it’s better with both Nick and Scott calling the action.

Around the Division: Only other team in action was Springfield, at home hosting the Binghamton Devils. Thunderbirds win 5-1.

Standings: Charlotte 39 — Bridgeport 32 — Springfield 30 — Lehigh Valley 30 — Penguins 28 — Providence 26 — Hartford 25 — Hershey 24

Wheeling Update: Nailers beat the Indy Fuel 5-1. Nick Saracino had two goals and three assists and factored into every goal. Trucksville native Craig Skudalski had a goal, his first as a Nailer:

Video Highlights: 

Pens are in action Wednesday night in Springfield. If there is anything newsworthy between now and then look for it here on the blog. Otherwise, have a good week and we will see you here again at 3 p.m. for the Gameday setup against the Thunderbirds.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 12/9

@     

Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

When: 5:05 p.m.

Last Game: Saturday afternoon against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Penguins won 3-1. Jeff Taylor scored his first goal as a professional and was named first star of the game. For Hershey, the Bears hosted the Hartford Wolf Pack and won 6-3. Liam O’Brien and Mike Sgarbossa had two goals. Colbv Williams had three assists.

Last Meeting: November 28 in Hershey, the Pens won 3-1. Thomas DiPauli had a pair of goals. Ex-Penguin Jayson Megna scored for Hershey.

Record: For WBS: 11-10-3-1 (26 pts., 6th place Atlantic Division) // For HER: 11-13-0-1 (23 pts., 8th place North Division)

Referees: Andrew Howard / Corey Syvret

Linesmen: Jud Ritter / Richard Jondo

Why You Should Care: Wilkes-Barre can sweep the weekend with the same effort they have brought with them the last two games they have played. Expect John Muse in net and the Penguins to come with some pep looking to jump on the Bears early. Bears won’t be looking to make it easy, though.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

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

Other Game to Watch: Light Sunday. Bakersfield heads into San Jose for a good test against the Pacific Division’s best.

Next Five Games: @ SPR 12/12, vs. LV 12/15, @ BRI 12/16, vs. BRI 12/19, @ HER 12/21

Do You Know a Good Taylor? — Pens WIN 3-1

       vs.       

1                                             3

I think the biggest difference between this weekend so far and last weekend is adjustments. Head Coach Clark Donatelli shook up his defense pairings, traded away dead weight and the Penguins have now won two straight games after beating Bridgeport 3-1 Saturday afternoon at home.

Couple that with the fact that the Penguins are getting good goaltending out of Anthony Peters and John Muse and scoring from guys like Jeff Taylor and Ethan Prow today and the sky is the limit with this team.

Four points so far out of the weekend with a chance to sweep it and get all six Sunday in Hershey. Good position to be in.

Anthony Peters opposed Jeremy Smith.

Smith has owned the Penguins.

Lines were…

…completely unchanged from last night. What wasn’t broke against a tough Cleveland opponent needed no fixing against an equally as stout Bridgeport Sound Tigers team.

First Period: Penguins played a great first half, then fell asleep in the second half and got scored on shorthanded and Bridgeport took a 1-0 lead to the room.

Sebastian Aho put a shot on that Otto Koivula tipped in to give the Sound Tigers the 1-0 lead.

Second Period: Penguins came out and dominated, but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. They were outshot in the first 10-5, then came out in the second and outshot the Sound Tigers 17-8. Wilkes-Barre played disciplined, didn’t take a penalty at all in the frame and were awarded three power plays. But they still had nothing to show for it.

Smith stood on his head in the period.

Third Period: Jeff Taylor of all people finally solves Jeremy Smith and the Penguins were finally on the board and off to the races.

That’s another assist for Will O’Neill, he had one Friday night against Cleveland. The pairing with him and Kevin Czuczman is working. But for a few hiccups here and there this weekend, O’Neiol has been fine.

A little over a minute later, Ethan Prow sweeps home a rebound off the pads of Smith from a Lafferty shot that gave them Penguins a 2-1 lead.

Pens had to kill a Ryan Haggerty holding penalty. Bridgeport kept the puck in the zone the entire time, but never got one past Peters for the tie.

Penguins could have iced the game away on a power play of their own but failed but Teddy Blueger hit the empty net to make it 3-1 anyway.

The Good: The changes on defense and the power play are working. The Penguins never let off the throttle the entire time while trailing and even in the third period. The killer instinct which lacked in the past few weeks is stirring. Watch out.

The Bad: Hard really to find something bad when it is after all a developmental league, but the lapse in the first period where Wilkes-Barre got scored on could have cost them yet another 1-0 contest if it wasn’t for the relentless offensive attack the Penguins unleashed from the second period onward.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: If the Penguins win Sunday in Hershey, then this weekend is going to set up as a perfect weekend for them both in what they can control and what they can’t control out of town. Friday was positive, Saturday setup the same way too. Lehigh Valley loses to Cleveland 4-2. Providence loses to Belleville 3-2. Hershey beats Hartford 6-3. Charlotte, down 4-2 after an empty net goal in Springfield, tie the game and win in overtime to stun the Thunderbirds and win 5-4.

Standings: Charlotte 39 — Bridgeport 32 — Lehigh Valley 30 — Springfield 28 — Providence 26 — Penguins 26 — Hartford 25 — Hershey 23

Pens can tie for fourth with a win and a Binghamton regulation win in Springfield tomorrow. It’s December and I am talking about seeding and regulation wins. Ha.

Wheeling Update: Nailers with a big 5-2 win in Toledo. Michael Phillips with two goals and an assist.

Video Highlights: 

Pens are back in action Sunday afternoon at 5 in Hershey. Gameday setup hits the blog at 1.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP – Pens WIN 3-1

A masterful third period comeback from the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins Saturday afternoon against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Pens win 3-1. All three goals scored in the third period. More in a bit. Anthony Peters with the win.

GAMEDAY: vs. Bridgeport 12/8

vs.     

Who: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 3:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night against the Cleveland Monsters, the Pens won 1-0. John Muse had a 32 save shutout, Ryan Haggerty scored a power play goal. For Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers were off Friday but played on Wednesday and beat the Hartford Wolf Pack at home 2-1. Chris Bourque struck on the power play and Sebastian Aho had two assists for the win.

Last Meeting: November 4 in Bridgeport was a wild game. Zach Aston-Reese had a hat trick and an assist, Ethan Prow had three assists, Garrett Wilson had two goals and an assist but the Penguins lost 8-5. Josh Ho-Sang had four assists.

Record: For WBS: 10-10-3-1 (24 pts., 7th place Atlantic Division) // For BRI: 14-7-3-1 (32 pts., 2nd place North Division)

Referees: Chris Waterstradt / Corey Syvret

Linesmen: J.P. Waleski / Jason Mandroc

Why You Should Care: Wilkes-Barre will be looking to ride the momentum from last night’s gritty win over Cleveland against a divisional foe in Bridgeport this afternoon. Expect Anthony Peters in goal for the Pens. The Penguins used a conservative approach against the Monsters Friday, will the same approach work against the Sound Tigers?

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

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

Promotion(s): PENGUINS TRADING CARD STRIP #1 — The first 4,000 fans will receive a Penguins card strip, featuring five different players. Stick around after the Penguins game to watch the Wilkes University Colonels in action against Nazareth College.

Other Game to Watch: Hartford visits Hershey tonight which should be a good measuring stick game for both teams.

Next Five Games: @ HER 12/9, @ SPR 12/12, vs. LV 12/15, @ BRI 12/16, vs. BRI 12/19

The Johnny Muse Show — Pens WIN 1-0

       vs.       

0                                             1

Johnny Muse was better.

In two previous starts for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, the running theme for John Muse when he started a game was that he deserved better. Last Friday in Rochester, a 1-0 Penguins defeat where Muse was the goaltender, he deserved better.

Well tonight, a 32 save shutout performance against a tough Cleveland Monsters team, John Muse was better. Penguins get a power play goal from Ryan Haggerty in the second period and that is all the offense needed to get the first home win for Wilkes-Barre in over a month. Pens win 1-0.

And man, it felt good.

Muse opposed J-F Berube who by his own right was outstanding.

Ryan Scarfo made his Penguin debut. I didn’t notice much of him in the third (he was on the bench) but what I did see was pretty much all positive. He knocked a guy over and created a turnover on one shift. He was OK.

Clark Donatelli shook up his defense pairings, separating Ethan Prow and Kevin Czuczman. It worked. Czuczman was paired with Will O’Neill and that pairing was on the ice a lot and looked good. Actually every pairing from Summers and the rookie Taylor to Abt and Prow looked decent.

J-S Dea was recalled to Pittsburgh because Dominik Simon was put on injured reserve Friday afternoon.

No scoring in the first, Penguins had the only power play in the period. Shots were 10-5 Cleveland.

In the second, Pens broke through on a power play goal by Ryan Haggerty who finally broke through on the goal scoring column after having a goal scored a few weeks ago be taken away from him and awarded to someone else.

Kevin Czuzman flew the zone, danced around a few defenders, spun around the net, put a shot on and collected his rebound and then dished to Will O’Neill who one timed a pass over to Haggerty who finished and gave the Penguins the lead.

In the third, Cleveland outshot the Penguins 12-2, this was with the Penguins getting a power play, but John Muse stopped all twelve offerings sent his way.

Muse rarely, if ever, gives up rebounds. Everything sticks.

Cleveland called time out with about 2:30 left and pulled Berube but were never able to find the equalizer.

The Good: Good win against a tough opponent in Cleveland. The Monsters are second in a tough North Division, but sometimes styles make fights. The Penguins are 3-0 against Cleveland this season. John Muse should get the start tomorrow afternoon against Cleveland, but due to the quick turnaround and a 3:05 start against Bridgeport, Anthony Peters may get the nod instead.

Tyler confirmed my suspicion.

The Bad: Hard to nitpick, but 12-2 shots against in the third is a troubling statistic. All it would have took was one for a tie then who knows what happens after that. The Penguins played really conservative tonight, using eleven players on one penalty kill at one point. The cautious approach worked tonight against Cleveland, how does it work going forward? Again, I may be nitpicking.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Decent setup, actually. Springfield loses 5-2 in Utica, Hershey is shutout in Allentown 1-0 behind Carter Hart’s 26 save shutout, Rochester beats Providence 2-1 which ends the Bruins eight game point streak, Charlotte trounces Hartford 7-4 in the Connecticut capital. Bridgeport was the only idle team tonight, likely already in town for Saturday’s afternoon start.

Standings: Charlotte 37 — Bridgeport 32 — Lehigh Valley 30 — Springfield 27 — Providence 26 — Hartford 25 — Penguins 24 — Hershey 21

Wheeling Update: Taylor had another good recap of the proceedings in the ECHL.

Here is your box.

Video Highlights: Are here.

Pens are back in action at home Saturday at 3 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Wilkes University Colonels are playing immediately after the game, in case you are wondering why the odd start. Gameday setup is yours Saturday morning at 11 am.

Let’s Go Pens!