Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Postgamer

Close Shave — Pens WIN 2-1 (OT)


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In a bit of a surprise to Penguins fans on Wednesday night, the Wilkes-barre / Scranton Penguins tweeted their usual lineup graphic. It looked like this:

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That is indeed Riley Barber’s name in the lineup. Tyler had some more insight:

I had a whole paragraph I had to rip up criticizing the Penguins and the antiquated way that injuries are described in professional hockey. After Barber scored in overtime to give the Penguins a 2-1 overtime win in Allentown Wednesday night, it didn’t matter.

It was a goalie duel, and don’t look now but Dutsin Tokarski has quietly won some games for the Penguins where Casey DeSmith has faltered. Am I brewing up a goalie controversy? No, I am not. Just stating the facts. It will be very interesting to see who plays Saturday in Hershey. Not overlooking the rematch Friday against the Phantoms, but the Bears are a juggernaut and the Penguins need to be almost perfect to win games these days.

This was, by all accounts a better game for Wilkes-Barre, who were in a battle with the Phantoms all night and managed to find a way to win. Find a way to win, that has to be the mantra in this last month of the season.

Other lineup notes included Barber for Justin Almeida and Niclas Almari for David Warsofsky. Warsofsky was listed as injured. I honestly don’t mind, his even strength numbers are terrible and his +/- is a joke. He’s good on the power play and that’s all. Almari has been an abject disaster of late, but if he is going to develop as a pro over here, he learns from his errors and gets better the next time out.

First Period: Alex Lyon kind of stole the period for the Penguins, making stops on Adam Johnson on a breakaway, Kevin Roy on a redirect of a Cole Cassels shot and then Riley Barber twice in close in the periods final seconds. High degree of difficulty saves which he made look easy.

Second Period: The goaltender duel continued and the period zipped by. Kevin Roy got free, but hit a post. Seconds later on the same shift, this:

Amazing what happens when you take the goaltenders eyes away.

Penguins found themselves on some penalty trouble late, but the Penguins penalty kill was stout and held the Phantoms out of the net.

Third Period: Penguins killed off the remaining penalty kill time left over from the second, then had a power play of their own that they failed to score on then Kurtis Gabriel scored on a deflection in front that squeaked through Tokarski and in to tie the game at one.

The Phantoms didn’t GIF the goal.

Penguins had a late power play come and go and it was off to….

Overtime: It took Riley Barber :50 to end it.

On a nice feed by ex-Phantom Phil Varone, no less.

Three Stars: 3) Kurtis Gabriel (goal) 2) Alex Lyon (33 saves) 1) Riley Barber (overtime game winning goal)

The Good: Strong goaltending from Tokarski, defense looked good. Lehigh Valley has been a huge disappointment this season, so take this with a grain of salt.

The Bad: In games like this where the goalies steal the show, anything is a nitpick. They didn’t take any exorbitant penalties and found a way to win. Moving on…

Turning Point: Barber’s shot that ended it gets it here.

Around the Division: It’s a meaningless exercise if the Charlotte Checkers, who are in fourth place keep winning and oh, shucks, they did tonight against Cleveland 3-2 in overtime….Bridgeport beats Toronto 4-1….Providence wins their twelfth straight with a 3-1 win in Hartford and the Wolf Pack have lost five straight.

Standings: Providence 82 — Hershey 81 — Charlotte 73 — Hartford 73 — Penguins 66 — Springfield 65 — Lehigh Valley 58 — Bridgeport 53

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: If I see them I will edit them in.

Pens rematch Friday in Allentown. Gameday setup hits here Friday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Zane McInTitle — Pens LOSE 3-0


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Zane McIntyre has the title to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

His exploits with the Providence Bruins and now with the Binghamton Devils, who win today 3-0, their first win here ever. 27 saves for McIntyre Sunday afternoon.

The Penguins played an incomplete game today and some of the saves made by McIntyre were dazzlers, but the Devils had the better of the play and got goals to go in what you could call a goalie duel.

Doesn’t look like a playoff team to me, sadly. It’s an amalgamation of players who come from all walks, Wheeling and elsewhere.

Casey DeSmith opposed McIntyre.


Lineup Notes: None that I can spot. Chris Brown was the extra on for warmups.

First Period: Scoreless period. Devils had two power plays out of it to the Penguins one. Shots were a very manageable 9-6 for Binghamton in comparison to Friday’s contest when it was a lot worse for the Penguins.

Highlight of the period was this save on Ben Street.

Second Period: Seemed like the Devils took over the game a bit and then Jesper Boqvist got free in the slot and wired a shot that went in for a 1-0 Devils lead.

Adam Johnson got in for a breakaway but had to settle the puck before firing and didn’t get a good enough shot off.

Third Period: Ben Street drives the net and Brett Seney cleans up the loose change in front just :12 into the period to give the Devils a 2-0 lead.

Penguins has a crack at a power play and never got close. Time dwindled and Binghamton hit and empty net to make it three.

Three Stars: ‪3) B. Seney (goal) 2) J. Boqvist (goal) 1) Z. McIntyre‬ (27 save shutout)

The Good: DeSmith should get MVP, either that or hazard pay.

The Bad: They wear different type of uniforms for a reason, so you don’t pass to the opposite team. Passes were terrible.

Turning Point: Seney’s goal :12 into the third put the hammer on the nail. No coming back from that with the collective way they played this afternoon.

Around the Division: Bridgeport gets three in the third, forces overtime and beats Lehigh Valley 6-5 in a shootout…Hershey gets two late goals and forces overtime but lose 3-2 in a shootout up in Providence….Springfield beats Hartford 4-1 Charlotte was off.

Standings: Hershey 81 — Providence 80 — Hartford 73 — Charlotte 69 — Springfield 65 — Penguins 64 — Lehigh Valley 57 — Bridgeport 51

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. They played a three in three which started Wednesday and ended Friday. Would you consider that to get the weekend off? I think I would.

Video Highlights: I don’t think Coal Street is going to edit up a shutout.

Lehigh Valley Wednesday. More then, otherwise warranted.

Let’s Go Pens!

Streak Snappers — Pens WIN 5-2


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The five game losing streak that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins had coming into this game with Bridgeport is over. After having five games where ether couldn’t do anything right, this game where they won 5-2, they couldn’t do anything wrong.

Binghamton Sunday afternoon at home. If the Penguins are serious about making a playoff push, albeit a faint chance otherwise, it would behoove them to win that game.

Dustin Tokarski opposed Jakub Skarek.

Lines were as follows…

Justin Almeida was recalled for Myles Powell who must have been banged up Friday in Binghamton.

:11 in Jamie Devane butchered Cedric Lacroix. I mean just beat him to a mess. Lacroix left a trail of gushing blood all over time ice which required the zambonis to come out and clean up. After about a 15 minute delay, play resumed. Pens killed a penalty, then Kevin Roy tipped in a shot from Kevin Czuczman to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. 

You could see that they were playing with purpose, outshooting Bridgeport 12-7. Both teams went 0/1 on the power play. 

In the second, the Penguins weren’t able to score on extended 1:40 of two man advantage but that didn’t stop the Sound Tigers from gifting the Penguins more penalties. 

They scored three seconds into one when Jordy Bellerive tipped a Zach Trotman shot that made it 2-0. 

They connected on their second power play goal of the period when Jan Drozg collected loose change in front and scored to make it 3-0. 

Oliver Wahlstrom scores on a Sound Tigers power play to spoil the Tokarski shutout and made it 3-1. 

But the Penguins got it right back when Zach Trotman fired and scored to reestablish the three goal lead. 

(no GIF of this one)

A failed clear by the Penguins in the third and Seth Helgeson scored to make it 4-2. You could feel as the period went on that the Sound Tigers were making a push.

But Chase Berger finally connected on his first goal of the season into an empty net which made it 5-2. With that monkey off of his back, perhaps the goals will come.

The Good: Felt like a team win. Guys were blocking shots, helps that they connected on a few power plays here and there too.

The Bad: A team like the Penguins should always beat a last place team, no matter if it is Bridgeport or whoever. Proof will be in the pudding when Binghamton rolls in town in a few hours.

Turning Point: Jamie Devane’s massacre of Cedric Lacroix set the tone early for the night.

Around the Division: Providence wins its tenth straight, beating Springfield 4-2….Hershey beats Hartford for the second straight night and wins 4-1….Binghamton beats Lehigh Valley 5-1….Utica clips Charlotte 3-2 in overtime.

Standings: Hershey 80 — Providence 78 — Hartford 73 — Charlotte 69 — Penguins 64 — Springfield 63 — Lehigh Valley 56 — Bridgeport 49

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.

Video Highlights: 

Gameday setup here at 11 am Sunday for Binghamton, Let’s Go Pens!

Bedeviled — Pens LOSE 6-4


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The scoreline was never that close tonight, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins simply didn’t have it Friday in Binghamton and lost 6-4. Losing streak hits five games.

Shots were 15-4, 29-9 Binghamton after the first and second periods respectively. When the Penguins would score, the Devils would score right back. One of the best shorthanded units in the AHL, the Devils struck once. Casey DeSmith should get hazard pay, you could tell he was frustrated as the game went on.

I mean if you didn’t think they were making playoffs a few weeks ago, this performance tonight, coupled with all the other ones in this five game losing streak are glaring indicators that they are. We can get into why at a later date.

Casey DeSmith opposed Gilles Senn.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Jan Drozg up from Wheeling, Chase Berger’s first game since February 8. Zach Trotman was back. If you didn’t hear Riley Barber was injured last weekend, played through it but was ruled out for six weeks. The curse of trades with Wilkes-Barre continue.

First Period: Devils ran amok on the Penguins, outshooting them 14-5 in the period, yet the two teams just scored a goal a side.

Binghamton first with Jesper Boqvist scoring on a rebound that made it 1-0 Devils.

Kevin Roy found Adam Johnson with a rainbow pass that sent Johnson off on a breakaway and Johnson buried it to tie the game at one.

The Penguins were lucky to get out of the period tied at one.

Second Period: Binghamton broke the dam.

They outshot the Penguins 15-4 and scored three times. Ben Street, Jesper Boqvist on a power play and Janne Kuokkanen all scored in the period to break the game wide open for the Devils and it was 4-1 after two.

Third Period: Penguins manage to get more shots at Senn, but they still trailed by three. Kevin Roy scored on a one timer off a Cole Cassels pass but :24 later Ryan Schmelzer scored to reestablish the three goal Devils lead.

Nathan Bastian blew away Casey DeSmith on a shorthanded goal that made it 6-2.

Jordy Bellerive scored a pair of power play goals in garbage time when Binghamton let off to make it 6-4.

Mistakes. Lackadaisical defending. At what point to we start talking about David Warsofsky and his -32 +/- or his 34.15% even strength goals for differential? You may as well call up Emil Larmi up now and let him get his lumps versus having DeSmith get shelled night in and night out.

Lost in all off this is Cole Cassels who is the teams MVP. He’s one guy you lock up the first chance you get this summer.

Three Stars: 3) Janne Kuokkanen (goal, assist) 2) Ryan Schmelzer (goal, two assists) 1) Jesper Boqvist (two goals)

The Good: There are players who want to play, Bellerive, Cassels and Roy come to mind and others who just want to ride. Lead, follow or get out of the away,

The Bad: This is only the second time since the Binghamton Devils have existed that they have defeated the Penguins.

Turning Point: Tons of little things, but Ryan Schmelzer’s goal which came seconds after Cassels in the third basically said that the Devils were going to assert their dominance and there wasn’t anything the Penguins could do about it.

Around the Division: Utica beats Charlotte 2-1. Providence beats Springfield 2-1 in overtime. The Thunderbirds will be affiliated with the St. Louis Blues next season. Silly season is upon us. Hershey beats Hartford 1-0. Bridgeport beats Lehigh Valley 6-4.

Standings: Hershey 78 — Providence 76 — Hartford 73 — Charlotte 68 — Springfield 63 — Penguins 62 — Lehigh Valley 56 — Bridgeport 49

Wheeling Update: Kalamazoo beats Wheeling 4-2.

Video Highlights: Moving on…

Bridgeport in Saturday. They always play the Pens tough so it’s a big task. Gameday here Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

Mauled – Pens LOSE 6-2


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Tonight was just the second home game I missed in the ten or so years that I have been a season ticket holder. I have a sick cat. My buddy Barry hasn’t been eating, and a long story short is a likely diabetic which is causing pancreatitis which is causing his liver to fail on him. He was at the vet today and goes back Thursday. I am hoping that with supportive care that he pulls out of this and gets back to a semi normal lifestyle again.

Based off of that, this blog recap is going to be a bit on the fly.

Maybe it’s good that I missed the game. The Penguins lose 6-2. They look nothing like a playoff team right now. Providence wins their sixth straight and the Penguins, with an injection of Anthony Angello back from Pittsburgh, couldn’t do anything to look competitive after the second period.

Casey DeSmith opposed Dan Vladar.

They lined up like this.

No Varone yet. Lafferty was recalled Tuesday.

First Period: Missed all of it. Here’s the timeline.

Shot from the point. Vladar leaves loose chance and Sam Miletic smacks it in.

Josiah Didier charged at a puck left in the high slot off of a face-off draw and stepped into one and scored to make it 1-1.

Seemed like an even period from the vibe off of the Twitter feed.

Second Period: It wasn’t an even period.

:41 in and Cameron Hughes scored to make it 2-1.

About 65 passes on that play in a phone booth walking through the teeth of the defense.

Cameron Hughes picks a corner and it’s 3-1.

Niclas Almari caught watching again. He should sit next to me in Section 104 next game. I don’t move my legs much either when I’m at a Penguins game.

Riley Barber opened his scoring account and scored to make it 3-2. Miletic stripped Jack Studnika and he and Barber were off on a two on none.

Bruins respond in kind a few minutes later and Cooper Zech scored on a weird looking shot which beat DeSmith up high that made it 4-2.

Bruins controlled play, outshooting the Penguins 18-7 in the period.

Third Period: Bruins connect at the tail end of a power play as it expires and then later on a 5-on-3 to go up 5-2 then 6-2. The Penguins had a 5-on-3 that they could have had chance to score a goal on but made far too many passes and the time expired.

Penguins don’t connect on their five on three, the Bruins connect on theirs.

Three Stars: 3) Josiah Didier (goal, assist) 2) Cooper Cech (goal, assist) 1) Brendan Gaunce (two assists)

The Good: Good start, going up 1-0 and then only 1-1 at the end of one.

The Bad: That second period where they got steamrolled where they had the game essentially taken from them, doesn’t show me any signs that this team is anything close to a playoff team. Phil Varone isn’t going to fix this. They have a lot of issues which Providence exposed these past two games.

Turning Point: Failing to score on that five on three with time left in the third is a glaring miss.

Around the Division: Strange, but the Pens and Bruins were the only game in the division.

Standings: Hershey 74 — Hartford 71 — Providence 70 — Charlotte 64 — Springfield 62 — Penguins 62 — Lehigh Valley 54 — Bridgeport 45

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off tonight.

Video Highlights: I doubt they are going to want to cut up highlights of this dumpster fire.

Until We Meet Again… — Pens LOSE 2-1


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I don’t like Sunday games. Home, away, doesn’t matter I don’t like them. Sunday is my day off where I look forward to doing nothing.

I can only imagine how the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins felt Sunday after the Providence Bruins dealt them a 2-1 loss. The Bruins didn’t play Friday, while the Penguins were in a. battle with the Hershey Bears then had to travel overnight to play Saturday in Hartford, then traveled up to Providence to play less than 24 hours after that.

The Bruins hosted the Springfield Thunderbirds and didn’t have to travel a lick this weekend and got a weary Penguins team that gave up an early goal and Max Lagace and the Bruins defense locked them down from there. Providence wins its fifth in a row and gets some breathing room on the Penguins and the rest of the teams chasing them for a playoff spot.

I don’t really like making that excuse because the Bruins are no strangers to three games in three days as any team in the AHL is. The Penguins still have not applied the services of Phil Varone yet because his immigration issues are likely sitting on some lackeys desk somewhere to get approved top play and work in the United States.

Moral of the story, we will see what this Penguins team is like when they are rested, the Bruins have to travel down for a Wednesday game with Phil Varone most likely in the lineup.

Dustin Tokarski opposed Max Lagace.


That lineup graphic is not correct. Casey DeSmith was listed as the starter, but it was Tokarski and Emil Larmi was listed as the backup. They didn’t say the reason as to the late pull.

Lineup Notes: But for the late, unexplained switch at goal, no changes.

First Period: Zach Senyshyn wrister from the circle in the games first two minutes and it was 1-0 Bruins. I didn’t get setup to watch the game and missed the goal and with this being a Sunday, decided not to GIF any goals going in. Providence didn’t provide video proof of the goal but it stood.

Pens pressured from thereon, but Lagace was making some really good saves. One on Miletic even strength and a few on Riley Barber on a power play late.

Shots were 8-5 Bruins at the end of the period. Sounded like the Bruins had the jump, and the Penguins had the finish.

Second Period: Pens had a power play early, then the Penguins had some defensive issues that Tokarski navigated them through without issues. Pens had a penalty kill that they got through also. Providence continued to wear down the Penguins having not played Friday and finally got a goal to go when Steven Kampfer threw a shot on goal which may have been deflected but counted with .4 to play in the period which gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading to the…

Third Period: The Penguins, seemingly needing to empty the tank in the final period of a three in three, responded with a goal by Cole Cassels 63 seconds in to draw to within one.

But they would get no further. Providence strapped down defensively and had a late power play. Then, with Tokarski vacated for the extra man, the Bruins were able to keep Wilkes-Barre from finding the equalizer.

Three Stars: 3) Dustin Tokarski (25 saves) 2) Brendan Gaunce (assist) 1) Steven Kampfer (goal)

The Good: Pens kept it close, couldn’t get over the hump. They were lucky Friday, good on Saturday and out of both Sunday. It happens. Providence is a good team.

The Bad: Ideally the start was less than ideal and the penalties were a bit excessive, but fatigue can do that for you.

Turning Point: Kampfer’s goal with .4 left in the second gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead against a road weary Penguins team they are battling for a spot.

Around the Division: The most important other game of the day for the Penguins was the Springfield / Syracuse game. The Thunderbirds win 3-2 in overtime….Hartford beat Bridgeport 4-1.

Standings: Hershey 72 — Hartford 71 — Providence 68 — Charlotte 64 — Springfield 62 — Penguins 62 — Lehigh Valley 54 — Bridgeport 45

Wheeling Update: Nailers with a big 3-2 win in Brampton today. Justin Almeida had a pair of goals and Jordan Ruby had 27 saves.

Video Highlights: I am working in an edit here at around 8 p.m. Sunday, Providence doesn’t have any and I doubt they will.

Trade deadline is Monday. Imolst likely will have a roundup of the moves around the Atlantic Division with their NHL parent teams and offer my take on what it means down the stretch. Look for that Monday if there is enough there. If not, then check back Wednesday for the Gameday setup between the Penguins and Bruins.

Let’s Go Pens!

OT PS GWG — Pens WIN 4-3 (OT)


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Adam Johnson’s overtime, penalty shot, game winning goal does the trick for the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins who win a wild one in Hartford Saturday night 4-3.

The Penguins never trailed in the game but Hartford, to their credit, exhibited a tenacity that gritted them out the overtime loser point and showed why the Wolf Pack sit in the upper echelon of Atlantic Division teams. They just rack up points.

Penguins bus to Providence for a Sunday matinee which sets up playoff implications. The Penguins and Bruins meet Sunday in Rhode Island then again Wednesday in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Dustin Tokarski opposed Adam Huska.


Lineup Notes: Was essentially a flip at center between Bellerive and Powell.

First Period: Much like the first periods opening stages against Hershey Friday, a lot of action but not a lot of scoring to show.

Until John Nyberg ripped a shot that Cole Cassels got a piece of that gave the Pens a 1-0 lead.

Second Period: Much like the second period Friday, there were a lot of penalties called against the Penguins. They were able to kill all of them (four) but there was more scoring in the period than last night.

Hartford scored in the first and final minutes and Ryan Scarfo scored his first goal with the Penguins. Here they are in succession.

Nice slam dunk shoot there and an even better pass by Vincent LoVerde.

Tweet says it all. A nice deflection of a Lizotte shot.

So it was a Darren Raddysh shot that Tokarski made the initial stop on that Lettieri collected and deflected off of Tokarski and in. A really sick angle shot for a goal.

Third Period: Kevin Roy scored a nice goal on a rush after the Penguins just killed a penalty that gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead. Nice setup by Adam Johnson to get the whole thing going.

Vitali Kravtsov finds time and space and turns on the jets and scores on this breakaway goal that tied the game at three.

Penguins didn’t do themselves any favors when they took a late puck over glass delay of game penalty but were able to navigate their way out of that and it was off to…

Overtime: Largely uneventful until Adam Johnson went off on a breakaway and was hauled down. A penalty shot was awarded and Johnson didn’t miss…

Three Stars: 

The Good: They were largely unfazed, on the road, against a team that is a point machine and came away with two points.

The Bad: Killer instinct is a moving target. It didn’t look like Hartford had, “it” tonight and had the Wolf Pack won, they would have been lucky.

Turning Point: I don’t know how anyone doesn’t look at the Johnson overtime, penalty shot goal and say that is it.

Around the Division: Hershey and Bridgeport go to a shootout after the Bears were up 4-2. Hershey wins 5-4….Lehigh Valley loses 2-1 in Syracuse….Providence runs over Springfield 7-4….Charlotte ends Binghamton’s winning streak and win 6-3 but the Checkers are probably losing one or both goalies to recall as Carolina lost both goalies in a game they won in Toronto. Imagine being a Maple Leafs fan.

Standings: Hershey 72 — Hartford 69 — Providence 66 — Charlotte 64 — Penguins 62 — Springfield 60 — Lehigh Valley 54 — Bridgeport 45

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 3-2 in Kalamazoo. Brandon Hawkins and Blake Siebenhaler scored for the Nailers in the loss.

Video Highlights: I doubt Hartford will have them, if Coal Street goes, I will work an edit in.

They are up in Providence tomorrow at 3. Gameday setup hits the blog Sunday at 11 a.m.

Let’s Go Pens!