Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

From Canada to Syracuse

One of them is the December 3 game that the Pens were supposed to play in Syracuse. That gets moved to Sunday, March 27. Wilkes-Barre will be wrapping up a FRiday stop in Belleville and a Saturday trip to Laval. Instead of bussing straight home, the Pens will play in Syracuse that Sunday at 5.

All but one game (the December 5 game in Hershey) needs to be rescheduled. Edit: This game was rescheduled for February 22. Thank you Brian for the correction. The Charlotte game that the Pens were supposed to play at home after the Friday trip to Syracuse was moved to the middle of April. Yesterday’s game played was supposed to be last Wednesday’s game.

Old Age Don’t Come Alone — Pens LOSE 4-1

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So Tuesday was my birthday. My father, who is still alive and kicking, still has some sage advice for me in his advanced age.

Old age don’t come alone.

I have all my teeth, have never had a cavity and every dentist I have ever seen has a picture of me on their wall as their best patient. Not really, but what I am getting at here is that as you age, you could possibly lose your teeth.

I still don’t know where I am going with this but the Penguins tonight had a toothless attack and lost 4-1.

They managed just 19 shots and went 0/3 on the power play. Ouchie.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: None. Juuso Riikola, Sam Pouling, Jan Drozg and Alex D’Orio remained in COVID protocols.

First Period: Pens spent a ton of time in the offensive zone, but it was Joe Snively getting smashed into the boards by PO Joseph then picks himself up and cuts back to the slot where he scores to put the Bears up 1-0.

Second Period: Pens lose Michael Chaput to a lower leg / ankle / foot injury. He needed help off and wasn’t putting any weight on his foot.

Jurusik was keeping his team in the game, but as I have said all along, goaltenders don’t score goals, they prevent them.

So Hershey scores twice within 63 seconds late in the period. Here’s one of the goals that the Bears GIFed, they didn’t do the other one.

Kody Clark had the other goal.

Pens had just 5 shots in this period, to the Bears 12.

Third Period: The toothless attack continued. The Pens went the first eight minutes of the period without a shot, and even had a laughable power play tossed in there. Also, while not mentioned by Nick Hart on radio, the Pens may have lost Vallteri Puustinen and Niclas Almari to injury as they were noted by Zach Fisch on the Bears side as not on the Penguins bench.

Just dandy.

P-O Joseph busts up Copley’s shutout bid with a shot from the point that goes in to make it 3-1.

But Matt Moulson scores to make it 4-1 later on to snuff out any faint hopes for the Penguins possible comeback.

Gotta move things along here, it’s a Tuesday and a work night, no GIFs here.

Three Stars: 3) P-O Joseph (goal) 2) Kody Clark (goal) 1) Joe Snively (goal)

The Good: Nothing to see here.

The Bad: Toothless attack. Hershey is an extremely average AHL team, but they have some offensive punch. These are the same Penguins who pumped the Springfield Thunderbirds for six goals Sunday. Was Springfield really that bad Sunday? My guess is yes, which isn’t good for Springfield’s prospects as they stand today.

Turning Point: Penguins waited for something to develop and instead, were developed, Kody Clark’s goal that made it 2-0 was really all Hershey needed to cakewalk the rest of the way. That the Penguins didn’t muster anything resembling an offensive attack in the third period but for the Joseph goal made it easy for them.

Around the Division: It could always be worse. We could be Rochester Americans fans. They witnessed their team lose 11-1 to Charlotte. Yes, eleven to one.

Standings: Bears to fourth, Pens to sixth. Pens are .500, and will probably play there all season.

Pens and Bears rematch Saturday in Wilkes-Barre’s only action of the weekend. I may preview that one and the two games midweek next week with Toronto and Rochester.

I’ll be back at the next Penguins home game on December 27 against Hershey. Can’t actually wait for that one.

Let’s Go Pens!

Jurusik Park — Pens WIN 6-0

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This headline is probably the easiest one I will write all season.

Penguins sign Matt Jurusik out of Idaho from the ECHL to a PTO Friday evening because Alex D’Orio has COVID, Louis Domingue has a lower body injury and so does Filip Lindberg.

So it’s essentially Tommy Nappier and Matt Jurusik tending nets for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

If I would have told you that it would be a PTO on a call up from Idaho of all places that would have gotten the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins their first team shutout since January 11, 2020, you wouldn’t have believed me.

Hell, I wouldn’t have even believed myself.

28 saves for Jurusik, 14 different Penguins players record a point and it’s the biggest, easiest win of the season by far for the Penguins who crush the Springfield Thunderbirds 6-0.

Jurusik opposed Colten Ellis.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: 500th professional game fro Taylor Fedun….Sam Poulin, Juuso Riikola, Jan Drozg, and Alex D’Orio remain in COVID protocol. Jordy Bellerive and Justin Almeida returned to the lineup from their COVID protocol taking the place of Nick Hutchinson and Will Reilly.

First Period: Matt Jurusik had a bit of a baptism by fire stopping all 13 shots faced in the first period. He had a good stop on Hugh McGing where the shot popped out of his glove and into the air. He tracked it and made another save with Nathan Moon buzzing close by.

Anthony Angello scored a shorthanded goal.

Anthony Angello scored a shorthanded goal.

Yes, I typed it twice and yes I did it deliberately because I still don’t believe it.

Good period overall.

Second Period: To quote an ex-Penguin radio voice, OK if you like perfect.

Felix Robert on a rebound and it’s 2-0.

Then the Penguins score :26 apart and make it 4-0. P-O Joseph from a ridiculous angle that makes it 3-0 and then Matt Bartkowski from the blue line with no one in front of him that beats Ellis on a howitzer for a 4-0 lead.

Joel Hofer came in on relief for Colten Ellis, but Ellis would return for the start of the third.

Hofer fared no better, as a Bartkowski shot deflects off of Kyle Olson’s chest and in to the net to make it 5-0.

Third Period: Basically in runaway games like this it’s all about preserving the good and trying to minimize or eradicate the bad or anything that can be construed as bad. Springfield didn’t make Jurusik work because the Penguins didn’t let them, and the Penguins got another goal for good measure when Justin Almeida put home his first of the season in the AHL off a nice feed by Nathan Legare.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Bartkowski (goal, assist) 2) P-O Joseph (goal, two assists) and 1) Matt Jurusik (28 saves)

The Good: Nice to have that monkey off the back and pick up a shutout, first in nearly two years. Way overdue.

The Bad: Nothing to see here. The Penguins played an almost perfect game. They didn’t allow their opponent to score and picked up a clean sheet for their try out guy from the ECHL. What more can you ask for?

Turning Point: Go back to that save that was highlighted above where Jurusik plays it out of the air after making the initial save. He was dialed in from the get go. Good to see the kid pick up the first shutout in nearly two years for the Penguins.

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley beats Hartford 4-3 in a shootout. Providence roughs up Toronto 5-1. Hershey is playing Laval when this goes up. Box here.

Standings: Can’t given them fully because the Bears are still playing when this goes up but the Pens are above .500 and on .525 percentage points good for fifth place as things stand now.

If Coal Street tosses together a highlight package and I can work in an edit it will go here.

Last Wednesday’s postponed game against Hershey will be played this Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre at 7:05. More then. Power Rankings maybe Tuesday will be back before.

Let’s Go Pens!!

Overtimed Out — Pens LOSE 3-2 (OT)

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Full disclosure, I didn’t type up a weekend preview for this weekends games because I wasn’t totally sure they were playing the games this weekend.

Also, I’ll be back at the games in person on December 27. COVID caused my Thanksgiving to be spent alone, I don’t want the same for Christmas.

Both the Penguins and Bears returned from about a two week hiatus from COVID and met Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre.

You could tell. Game was scrambly at times, really even between the two COVID ravaged sides and it rightly was decided in overtime. Hershey wins 3-2.

Both teams are back at it Sunday afternoon, but against different opponents. The Bears head home to host Laval and the Pens stay in town and host Springfield, who is also dealing with COVID and call-ups.

Tommy Nappier opposed Pheonix Copley.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: Penguins made a bunch of transactions this week trying to construct a healthy lineup. Jan Drozg, Justin Almeida, Jordy Bellerive, Kasper Bjorkqvist, Sam Poulin, Chris Bigras, Juuso Riikola were out of the lineup. Louis Domingue was hurt in practice, lower body and is day to day. Bjorkqvist’s injury is a bad laceration.

First Period: Teddy bear toss night at the arena, so Valtteri Puustinen didn’t waste time to get the fur flying.

Bobby Nardella would even the game just north of halfway for the visitors.

With both teams playing their first game in the month of December on the 11th day of December, it was a pretty even period otherwise.

Second Period: Goals :28 apart by both sides opened the action in the middle frame.

Cody Franson scores off a face-off play that gives the Bears a 2-1 lead.

But like the tweet above said, it was a lead that didn’t last long because Felix Robert was left alone in the slot and scored to make it 2-2.

Tommy Nappier is really good at handling the puck. He started a rush up the ice with a pass that ended up on Nathan Lagare’s tape that the Penguins rookie nearly scored on.

Pens took three penalties in the period, back-to-back-to-back, but were able to negotiate out of them without any damage.

Third Period: Pens had the only power play of the period and failed to score on it. The teams picked things up in the final five minutes with furious rushes, but it was off to…

Overtime: Flubbed outlet pass pounced on by Hershey and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby called game.

Three Stars: 3) Valtteri Puustinen (goal) 2) Felix Robert (goal, assist) 1) Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (game winning OT goal)

The Good: Good to see the Penguins (and Bears for that matter) returning to health after COVID derailed the start of their December and delayed their (Wilkes-Barre’s) first four games.

The Bad: 0/5 on the power play.

Turning Point: OT winners usually get these.

These Saturday at 6:05 starts are great because they get people home sooner but with the rest of the division starting at 7 it really throws a monkey wrench into the blog and the out of town recaps.

Springfield is in here Sunday at 3. More then.

Let’s Go Pens!

Postpone / Re-Schedule / Re-Schedule

Wednesday’s game against Hershey postponed to next Tuesday, December 14. Last Saturday’s game with Charlotte moved to Wednesday, April 13 at 7:05.

Yes, teams are slowly getting back to practice, but with 12 or fewer skaters and with one goaltender, on the photos I saw from Hershey’s practice and Providence. The same case likely applies to Wilkes-Barre as well.

Penguins have game scheduled for this Saturday against Hershey and this Sunday against Springfield. For now.

All Games Postponed This Weekend

I am not surprised.

Next scheduled games are Wednesday and Saturday at home against Hershey and Sunday at home against Springfield. We will see what happens then.

More, as it comes.

Beaten by Bus Legs — Pens LOSE 5-1

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It’s 686 miles to and from Hershey, PA to Providence RI.

It’s 121 miles to Bridgeport CT from Providence, RI

It’s 186 miles to Wilkes-Barre, PA from Bridgeport, CT.

Let’s see:

686
121
+ 186
——-
993 miles the Providence Bruins travelled by bus this week. 686 over the course of a Wednesday game in Hershey, 121 down to Bridgeport for a Friday game and then 186 through the night from Connecticut to Wilkes-Barre for a Saturday night game. A game where the Bruins explode for FOUR goals in the third period to beat the Penguins 5-1 Saturday night.

Four goals. In the third period. After close to 1000 miles in a bus in the span of about 72 hours.

After their Wednesday game the Penguins flew back from Charlotte Thursday after spending an extra night in North Carolina and didn’t play Friday. They were the fresher, more rested team playing on home ice and they laid an absolute egg.

The team has no talent because all of that would be talent was cast away in the span of winning two Stanley Cups in two years and then mishandled by a GM here in Wilkes-Barre (Bill Guerin) who was in over his head and later by a GM in Pittsburgh (Jim Rutherford) who rage quit and just left town.

Tonight isn’t about talent. Tonight is about coaching. J.D. Forrest gets a long leash from me because you can’t turn water into wine unless your first name is Jesus and you were a carpenter and your last initial starts with C. How Forrest lets his team get outworked by a team which has lived on a bus for the last three days come in on home ice and run circles around them in the third period and show more life and juice is beyond me.

Maybe the coaching, like the players, are just average and it is what it is.

Pens took three penalties in the third, including back to back. Providence’s Zach Senyshyn cashed on his first of three in the period on a power play. Pens up to this point were 0/4. In hindsight I wish I could make an argument that an overall close game to this point was decided on special teams.

Senyshyn scores again when a rush up ice started by Samuel Asselin is broken up but Asselin has enough time and space to dish a puck over to Senyshyn who scores to put the game out of reach and make it 3-1.

Pens scrambling, pull starter Louis Domingue and Jack Studnicka scores an empty netter to really insult you and it’s 4-1.

Ballg–wait.

Senyshyn again, this time with Domingue in net to make it a hat trick.

They played “Hard Days Night” by the Beatles on the way out of the building tonight. So apropos.

Here’s all three Senyshyn goals because I hate myself.

Unless Senyshyn has his own pilot, he’s on the same bus as the rest of his team traversing I-81 and I-84 up and down the Atlantic Division, all 993 miles in the span of 72 hours.

Completely unacceptable.

Here’s the Penguins goal, a Radim Zohorna goal that opened up the scoring in the second period.

Here’s how they lined up. Kyle Keyser opposed Domingue.

Nathan Legare for the injured Kasper Bjorkqvist was the only lineup change.

Pens are sixth in the division, a .500 team, and will likely play at this level for the remainder of the season. It’s a division full of mediocrity. You have Springfield and Hartford playing as the class of the field, Bridgeport and Lehigh Valley playing as the class clowns and a bunch of C students thrown in between. If one of those C students meets a pretty girl who starts assisting them with their Algebra homework, watch out.

They go again next Friday in Syracuse, then back home for Charlotte and then the first of six in the month of December with Hershey. All winnable. You have to have a coach that gets the team rightfully prepared and a group that wants to be better every shift. Until then, the mediocrity continues.

Power Rankings Tuesday. Pens will be in the bottom third.

Phooey.