Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: WBS

Danger Zone? — Pens LOSE 4-2


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They are in a slump.

Other teams in the division, specifically the ones close to the Pens, aren’t.

Apologies to those who look forward to the Weekend Preview. For reason I won’t get into, I never had time for it this week. It’s been a hell of a week.

Anyway, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lose this one in Allentown 4-2 on Friday and have lost two straight and are a paltry 4-6 in their last ten.

I can’t put my finger on it. They are dealing with a lot of call-ups but are getting some bodies in the form of Ty Smith and Taylor Fedun back. They could use some forward help.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: Ty Smith was back. Tommy Nappier was recalled from Wheeling earlier in the day but didn’t dress. Alex Nylander was named as Xavier Ouellet’s replacement at the All-Star Classic in a few weeks.

First Period: At even strength? They were great. On the penalty kill? They sucked. They went 0/2 and were down 2-0 after the period.

Tyson Foerster scored the first goal then Cal O’Reilly scored the second goal.

The Penguins had a power play and, get this, Lehigh Valley who was the team with one less player had more shots during the 2:00 time frame.

So yeah, one of those periods.

Second Period: No better. Ronnie Attard is a beneficiary of the Phantoms playing the role of the Harlem Globetrollers to the Penguins defenders playing the Washington Generals, slams home a shot for a 3-0 Phantoms lead.

Less than 90 seconds later, that may Foerster again doubles up his goal tally for the night with a goal that mercifully ended Filip Lindberg’s night. Enter Taylor Gauthier.

Pens shut down the shots after that but they were on the power play two times in the period but failed to cash out for a goal.

Third Period: They got two goals from their two best players on the ice all game in Tyler Sikura and Corey Andonovski to make things interesting.

It wasn’t that interesting as they would not get closer. They did pull Gauthier for the extra man and heated up, but couldn’t get a third. Had a feeling that if they would have got a third, they woulda got the fourth.

If if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

Three Stars: 3) Sam Ersson (34 saves) 2) Olle Lycksell (three assists) 1) Tyson Foerster

The Good: Nice to see that some of the players played a full 60 tonight.

The Bad: You can’t send 9 guys to Wheeling.

Turning Point: Attard’s goal was way too easy and a blueprint for how easy it was for the Phantoms and how tough it was for the Penguins.

Around the Division: Hartford beats Providence 2-1 in overtime….Charlotte doubles up Rochester 4-2…Springfield beats Belleville 5-1.

Standings: Hershey 59 – Providence 55 – Charlotte 48 – Lehigh Valley 45 – then a four way tie for last with the Penguins, Springfield, Bridgeport and Hartford with 43 points.

Wheeling Update: Nailers are outing Kansas City taking on the Mavericks. That box is here.

Video Highlights: I may be able to work an edit in the morning, hopefully.

More tomorrow after Bridgeport.

Let’s Go Pens!

American Power – Pens LOSE 3-2


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More conventional game tonight for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who lose 3-2 on Wednesday after being up 2-0.

It’s concerning, because the Amerks were coming in on a 0-3-1-0 streak and if there was a game on the schedule this week you were hoping they could win going away, it was this one.

Rochester gets two in the second and then a power play goal in the third to snap their losing streak and pick up their eighth straight win over the Penguins.

Here’s how they lined up:

Rochester didn’t post lines.

Lineup Notes: As the graphic says, it was Chris Ortiz in for Adam Smith. Dustin Tokarski was recalled earlier in the day, Ty Smith was returned to Wilkes-Barre ion the transaction.

First Period: Pens waste no time getting a power play goal, something they could have used about 24 hours prior in Utica, to go up 1-0 via Alexander Nylander.

Rochester responded with a goal which was brought back on account of a high stick via replay, so it stayed 1-0 Wilkes-Barre who continued to carry the play.

Penguins double up when Sam Houde continues his hot streak by getting himself a goal.

That goal seemed to wake up the Americans a bit, but Lindberg kept any threats quiet.

Second Period: That thing I said about waking up the Americans a paragraph up was foreshadowing, because Rochester started to pour it on.

An early goal from Lawrence Pilut cut the deficit to one.

About six minutes later Jeremy Davies finds the back of the net and the game is tied.

Davies with the patience of Job, gets a nice goal.

Was really a quiet period for Rochester, who just methodically ate away at the deficit to tie the game heading into the…

Third Period: An iffy Jack St. Ivany slash put Rochester on the first power play of the period for either team and Vinnie Hinostroza scores to give the home team a lead.

The Penguins couldn’t muster the equalizer and with time running out on them, took two penalties.

Three Stars: 3) Lukas Rousek (two assists) 2) Jeremy Davies (goal) Vinnie Hinostroza (goal)

The Good: Didn’t seem like they had any problems scoring early and often in the first period.

The Bad: The first period was their best period and sadly, they were average or below after that.

Turning Point: The second penalty they took late, a Raivis Ansons hold at 16:50 was all she wrote. They were desperately chasing the game and it cost them.

Around the Division: Hershey pounds Lehigh Valley 5-2…Bridgeport gets a much needed win over Hartford 6-2 and Charlotte blanks Utica 4-0.

Standings: Hershey 59 – Providence 54 – Charlotte 46 – Lehigh Valley, Penguins and Bridgeport 43 – Springfield and Hartford 41

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video HIghlights: probably won’t be able to work an edit in. Been a hell of a week. AHL Video Center is your best bet.

Back at it Friday inn Allentown.

Let’s Go Pens!

Steamed Hams – Pens LOSE 5-1

Just going with a quick one tonight, recapping a game which was delayed 99 days after a power outage halted play between the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and the Utica Comets.

Penguins lose 5-1. They resumed on a power play, failed to score, Utica scores with .9 left to play to go up two, and when you take a herky jerky game in a herky jerky circumstance, once it runs downhill, it is tough to stop.

Here’s how they lined up:

No one else played in the division, so the Pens are still on the same points, 43, and are fifth in the division behind Lehigh Valley.

They are back in action Wednesday for a more conventional game against the Rochester Americans. More then.

Let’s Go Pens!

On an Island – Pens WIN 3-2


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Looked shaky there for a bit, but they hold on for a 3-2 lead in Bridgeport Saturday night and only allow the Islander, who were chasing the game down a goal in the third period, to just two shots.

They get 22 saves from Dustin Tokarski, fresh off NHL duty and are pointed in the right direction again.

Perhaps, just maybe, they turned the corner with the display they put on in the second half of the game Saturday.

Here’s how they lined up:

Bridgeport didn’t post lines.

Lineup Notes: Lukas Svejkovsky is day to day with a lower body injury after leaving the second period Friday…Taylor Fedun, fresh off re-assignment from Pittsburgh was inserted back and replaced Chris Ortiz…Brooklyn Kalmikov made his AHL debut, replaced Jamie Devane (essentially) … Josh Maniscalco played at forward, commonly a defenseman.

First Period: Pens killed a Bridgeport early power play then on their second attempt finally got one to go courtesy of Sam Houde.

Then Alex Nylander took a neat pass from Drake Caggiula for a goal at even strength that put the Pens up 2-0 exactly one minute later.

Off ice guys took away the assist. It reads Nylander from Caggiula and Nathan Légaré at 16:51.

Pens were rolling down hill but hit a stop sign in the form of a Samuel Bolduc shot that cut the home teams deficit to one.

Second Period: Samuel Bolduc scores his second of the contest to tie the game when his shot goes off Tokarski, then the post, then off Colin Swoyer and in.

Bridgeport takes three penalties in the period but it’s Drake Caggiula scoring with under two minutes to play to give the Penguins the lead for good.

Third Period: Jakub Skarek took over for Cory Schneider in the third period. Penguins get a big save from Dustin Tokarski in the rare work that he daw in the period.

Pens navigate through a Raivis Ansons interference penalty cleanly and then with Skarek pulled for the extra man, Bridgeport is not able to locate the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Alex Nylander (goal, assist) 2) Samuel Bolduc (two goals) 1) Drake Caggiula (goal, assist)

The Good: Maybe they turned a corner with that effort and display in second half of the game.

The Bad: How much of it was Bridgeport’s woes though as a team? The Islanders may not be the measuring stick you are after to call this a turnaround.

Turning Point: Caggiula’s goal that gets them the lead for good gets it here.

Around the Division: Charlotte blows out Cleveland 9-0…Hartford beats Rochester 4-1…Springfield slips past Grand Rapids 3-2 in overtime…Hershey beats Belleville 4-2. Providence was off.

Standings: Hershey 57 – Providence 53 – Charlotte 44 – Penguins 43 – Lehigh Valley 43 – Springfield and Bridgeport 41 – Hartford 39

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose in Kalamazoo 3-2 in overtime.

Video Highlights: Probably best to seek them at the AHL VideoCenter.

Back at it Tuesday for the makeup game with Utica then Wednesday for a full game in Rochester.

Let’s Go Pens!

I’m 0-for-2 in These Shoes – Pens LOSE 5-2


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I bought a new pair of shoes this past week, Monday, and wore the new sneakers / walking / running shoes to Wednesday’s game and tonight’s 5-2 throttling at the hands of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Walking up to my doorstep at home I said to myself, “I’m 0-for-2 in these shoes” and just went with it for lack of a better headline.

Woof. Wilkes-Barre was manhandled by the Phantoms Friday and played their worst period of hockey of the season there in the second when the Phantoms explode for four straight goals to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the third period.

Pens get goals from Lukas Svejkovsky in the first, then lost Svejkovsky to injury in the nightmare second and then a third period goal from Nathan Legare to make it 4-2. Ex-Penguin Jordy Bellerive had the put away goal that made it 5-2. Then the fights started, four of them total, when Jamie Devane, Josh Maniscalco, Corey Andonovski and Sean Josling all got into it.

Here’s all the goals in the order in which they occurred starting with Svejkovsky’s in the first.

After this, the Penguins had 1:55 of 5-on-3 time but couldn’t extend the lead further. The power play woes continue.

Wilkes-Barre played a great first period and controlled pace of play. Then the second happened.

Chris Ortiz got worked there. Need to tighten up.

Brutal turnover.

Here’s where J.D. Forrest should have went to Tommy Nappier in my opinion. He didn’t.

That entire second period was a structural mess from the top down, goaltender out.

One positive, the Penguins navigated out of 5-on-3 danger of their own for :96.

In the third, Nathan Legare got the Pens to within two, and here’s where you thought maybe…

But no. Jordy Bellerive gets away from the defenders and scores on his old team for a 5-2 Phantoms lead.

Fights happened after that which should be in the highlight package below. Nothing went right for the Penguins from the second period onward.

Three Stars: 3) Cal O’Reilly (assist) – this was O’Reilly’s 700th AHL point. O’Reilly becomes just the 25th player in the AHL to achieve that milestone. I think he has low key put together a hell of a Hall of Fame career….2) Jackson Cates (two assists) 1) Tyson Foerster (two goals)

The Good: If you can think of one, leave it in the comments.

The Bad: J.D. should have gone to Nappier after the third goal. I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome and none of the goals could be pinned on Lindberg per se, but that’s what you have a backup goaltender for.

Turning Point: Bellerive’s goal put out any faint hopes of a Wilkes-Barre comeback.

Oh, here’s how they lined up:

The Pens released Max Newton and recalled Brooklyn Kalmikov from Wheeling. Pittsburgh sent Dustin Tokarski and Taylor Fedun back.

Around the Division: Not a good night on the out of town board. Bridgeport beats Rochester 1-0 in overtime…Providence beats Hartford (good) 5-3Laval beats Hershey 3-2 in overtime…Springfield pounds Rockford 7-2 (bad)

Standings: Hershey 55 – Providence 53 – Lehigh Valley 43 – Charlotte 42 – Penguins 41 – Bridgeport 41 – Springfield 39 – Hartford 37.

Another big one Saturday in Bridgeport and the Pens thus far have had no success with the Islanders.

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: 

More Saturday. Keep the faith.

Let’s Go Pens!

Game in Hand, Crunched Away — Pens LOSE 3-2


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I thought the games final 1:30 off a 3-2 Penguins loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night was a microcosm of how the game went.

Penguins down by two with starting goaltender Filip Lindberg pulled for an extra attacker, get a goal from Alexander Nylander to pull within one, but after the ensuing face-off and the same six on five man power, they couldn’t get any closer and time ultimately runs out on them.

That’s how the game went for them Wednesday. Scoreless, quiet first followed by Syracuse getting a goal on a boffo shot by Alex Barré-Boulet through a Penguins defenders legs and right past Lindberg for a goal, then a goal from Drake Caggiula slamming home a puck though bodies in front followed by a Gage Goncalves pass in from that deflects off of Syracuse captain Gabriel Dumont and in for a 2-1 lead for Syracuse at the second intermission. Penguins would get close with a power play in the third, but a Daniel Walcott slam dunk far post from a pretty feed from the near wall put the game out of reach for Wilkes-Barre somewhere in the third period.

It was a game that they were in till the end, just couldn’t finish their chances. They had two golden opportunities in the first when Caggiula dished to Nathan Legare but Legare was unable to finish and then Ty Glover misses a seemingly wide open net for what could have been a 2-0 lead.

That’s pretty much it. Here’s the goals in the order they occurred.

Here’s how they lined up:

Lineup Notes: 

Max Newton was signed earlier in the day to a PTO out of ECHL Reading. For what it’s worth I didn’t notice his #58 on the ice at all tonight. Maybe I need to pay more attention.

Three Stars: 3) Gage Goncalves (two assists) 2) Drake Caggiula (goal, assist) 1) Daniel Walcott (goal)

The Good: It was close.

The Bad: Should have won. Game in hand wasted. Not like they don’t have a thousand of them, but still would have been nice to get one.

Turning Point: The Walcott goal that made it 3-1 was it. So much so that I knew it immediately.

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley beats Cleveland 2-1 in overtime. Friday’s game just got that much more important….Springfield rebounds nicely after a bad weekend with a 2-1 win over a very good Milwaukee Admirals team out in The Good Land.

Standings: Hershey 54 – Providence 51 – Charlotte 42 – Penguins 41 – Lehigh Valley 41 – Bridgeport 39 – Hartford and Springfield 37

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: You know you are late with a blog post when the team has the highlights up half an hour before you even sit down to hammer out a blog post.

Back at it Friday for a massive game at home against the Phantoms.

Let’s Go Pens!

Weekend Preview – What, No Bears?

No Hershey on the menu for the rest of the month for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, who start seeing that other PA team a couple times this month with some other non-Hershey divisional opponents.

Music to set the mood…

Meditation music? Really? You’re really reaching…

Wait. There’s a tiger tie in there with the Sound Tig- wait, they are the Islanders now. Aw, shucks. Well, at least no bears!

A Quote…

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”

They have certainly. overcome challenges, haven’t they? Half the team either injured or called up and yet they are a point off Charlotte for third with three games in hand on the Checkers.

The Setup

Home against a game Syracuse team Wednesday then home against Lehigh Valley Friday before taking on Bridgeport in Connecticut on Saturday. The Penguins are better than all of these teams, but can’t take any of them lightly.

Syracuse is perpetually an offensively explosive team and that was on full display this past weekend with a 7-3 pasting of Laval Friday, a 5-2 walloping of Lehigh Valley on Saturday and took down their biggest rival Utica on Monday.

The Crunch are fourth in the North Division where only five teams make it so they want to stay ahead of the cut line as the season starts to head into its backend.

The Phantoms took 3 of 4 points out of Bridgeport a home and home Wednesday / Friday last week and then got thumped by the Crunch on Saturday. They are in Cleveland this week, beating Cleveland 3-1 Tuesday with a rematch on tap Wednesday night.

I gave you what the Islanders did in the first part of their weekend last, then they got stomped by Utica 5-1 on Saturday and against Springfield on Monday they beat a struggling Thunderbirds team 6-2.

Penguins beat Hershey in overtime after blowing a three goal lead in the third period on the road then gave rival Charlotte 3 of 4 points in North Carolina this past weekend and are a point off the Checkers.


Pens are 18-11-2-3, good for 41 points and fourth in the Atlantic.

Syracuse is 16-13-2-3, good for 37 points and fourth in the North.

Lehigh Valley is presently 17-14-3-2, good for 39 points and fifth in the Atlantic. The Pens have two games in hand.

Bridgeport is presently 16-15-6-1, good for 39 points and sixth in the Atlantic. The Pens have four games in hand.

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out?

Drew O’Connor, Jonathan Gruden, Ty Smith, Mark Friedman, Taylor Fedun and Dustin Tokarski are up with Pittsburgh. Kyle Olson, Xavier Ouellet and Filip Hållander are out, Taylor Gauthier and Filip Lindberg are in and out and are playing with something. Tommy Nappier has backed up and is up from Wheeling but hasn’t played in a game yet this season. Sean Josling, Chris Ortiz, Adam Smith, Josh Maniscalco and Colin Swoyer are also up from the Nailers.

Jeez, that seems like a lot. Hope I didn’t miss anyone.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

Last week it was about stepping up and getting results. I think they did that in some regard last week with getting by Hershey and taking two points out of Charlotte with how depleted they are in all areas.

This week should be about maximizing points against teams that are below them in the division and getting anything out of a non-divisional opponent on Wednesday.

I think Syracuse’s offensive forwards will challenge the Penguins defense, and the Penguins forwards may struggle to keep up on the scoreboard. But, as this team has shown me in the past, they exceed expectations.

They aren’t overtaking Hershey and Providence for the top of the division this weekend, but a good week starting Wednesday at home against Syracuse can be a step in the right direction.

Who’s in goal?

Good question. Taylor Gauthier left the game after the first period on Saturday then returned to back up the rest of the game but didn’t dress Sunday. Is he OK to go Wednesday? Can he back up? How is Filip Lindberg after his first game back after missing the last couple of weeks? Does Tommy Nappier get a start? Does Dustin Tokarski return from Pittsburgh?

I’m going Lindberg – Gauthier – Lindberg provided Tokarski stays in Pittsburgh.

For Syracuse, Max Lagace. For Leigh Valley, most likely Felix Sandstrom and for Bridgeport toss a coin for Jakub Skarek or Cory Schneider considering how far out that game is.

Who’s running the show?

Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Laura White are here Wednesday with Ryan Knapp and Tyler Loftus on the lines…Brandon Schrader and Amanda Tassoni are here Friday with Jud Ritter and Josh Cleary on the lines and on Saturday up in Bridgeport it’s Mike Dietrich and Jordan Watt with Nick Briganti and Josh Cleary again on the lines.

Looking ahead…

They make up the game against Utica on Tuesday going on the power play and then head to Rochester on Wednesday then they close out the weekend and the month of January in Allentown on Friday and then return home to host Bridgeport on Saturday.

Give us a bold prediction…

5 of 6 points, third place in the Atlantic at the end of the weekend.