Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: Wheeling

Spinozzi Signed, Maguire to Wheeling 10/4

News dujour out of Coal Street Wednesday was news that the Penguins signed Kevin Spinozzi to a professional tryout agreement and then later in the day sent Sean Maguire to the Wheeling Nailers.

Spinozzi certainly earned the extended tryout agreement. While I don’t see him as a regular contributor to the Penguins defensive corps in the immediate future, he may play a factor when the injuries start piling up and bodies are pulled from all over the place. Obviously, Clark Donatelli and his staff saw enough of Spinozzi to offer him the tryout agreement.

Sean Maguire was sent to the Wheeling Nailers. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when for Maguire with the tandem of Tristan Jarry / Casey DeSmith already set in goal for the Penguins. Maguire should see the majority of starts for the Nailers and be ready should his services be needed by the Penguins in the near future. 

Pittsburgh finalized its roster. Here it is:

That does not include Andrey Pedan, who we can only assume has been assigned to Wilkes-Barre.

AHL Previews are rolling along with the Pacific, Central and North done and the Atlantic rounding things out Thursday at noon.

Penguins Training Camp Roster / Schedule Revealed

Thursday afternoon, Coal Street announced their training camp roster and schedule for camp that opens Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Full roster here.

Here’s blurbs on all of them cause why not.


Riley Bourbonnais: Penguins signed him to an AHL contract over the summer. RPI product. Had a cup of coffee with Wheeling last year.

Jarrett Burton: Re-signed by the Penguins this summer. Was a depth guy last year, expect a big camp from him should he hope to stick around full time in 2017-18.

Cam Brown: Natick, Mass native who played 9 games and scored 3-4-7 after 34 games with the Maine Black Bears in the NCAA. Looks like a setup guy, he had 35 assists for Maine last year.

Hunter Fejes: Signed to an ECHL contract with Wheeling this past summer. had 18-20-38 with the Rapid City Rush last year.

Reid Gardiner: Penguins fans remember him as the guy that they signed last season who was released back to Kelowna of the WHL. Wilkes-Barre re-signed him again this summer and there is no going back to juniors for Gardiner, who had gaudy numbers (18-19-37) with Kelowna in 28 gamess.

Ryan Haggerty: Doesn’t need much of an introduction. Played a third / fourth line role with the Penguins last year. Has a big shot which he didn’t really use much last year.

Troy Josephs: Entering his first year pro and is looking to live up to the 20-13-33 he put up at Clarkson University last season. I don’t feel like he will be in competition for a spot, but if you sit and think about it for a while he may be.

Tom Kostopoulos: Only question is whether or not this is his final year.

Daniel Leavens: Robert Morris product signed with Wheeling late last year and then re-signed with the Nailers over the summer. 8 points in 7 games for the Nailers last year.

Pat McGrath: Doesn’t need an introduction. My big interest in him is whether he puts up more points since hockey is killing fighting.

Tom Mele: Second oldest player in camp. Mele is 31 and played 40 games with the Cincinnati Cyclones last year. He’s won a Central League championship with Fort Wayne when the Komets were in the CHL and an Kelly Cup Championship with Alaska.

Shawn O’Donnell: Mele plays LW and they have O’Donnell listed as a RW. He played 47 games with Cincinnati last year also, I wonder if they were linemates?

Justin Parizek: He attended a development camp with the Vancouver Canucks. He served as captain of the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks last year. Researching him finds he is a two-way winger. He’s smart too, had a 3.79 GPA in college.

Gage Quinney: Wilkes-Barre signed him in August. 44 points in 45 games for Wheeling last year. Does he stick or go down to Wheeling?

Kenny Ryan: Went from San Diego in the AHL, to Cincinnati to Indy in the ECHL. I don’t think he is signed anywhere, so it may be a tryout of sorts for him for the Nailers or someone else. Shawn Rine corrected me on this to inform that Ryan is actually signed by the Nailers.

Nick Sorkin: Sorkin played three games with Wilkes-Barre last season. He captained the Nailers last year, where he played 57 games.

Cody Wydo: Another Wheeling reinforcement that the Penguins called on last season. He, like Sorkin, appeared in three games for Wilkes-Barre.


Danny Fick: Nailers re-signed Fick over the summer where he played 69 games for them. He also appeared in two games for the San Antonio Rampage.

Dan Milan: He was in camp last year. Nailers signed him for 2017-18. 73 PIMs for ECHL Fort Wayne last year.

Matt Petgrave: Played college in New Brunswick last year and then five games with Brampton.

Kevin Schulze: Another Wheeling signee in camp with Wilkes-Barre. 68 games last year for the Nailers, 60 points. Had one game with teh Penguins.

Craig Skudalski: Here is your local connection besides Pat McGrath. Skudalski is a Wyoming, PA native. He bounced around in the lower levels of the minor leagues with Roanoke of the Southern League and Danbury of the Federal League.

Kevin Spinozzi: Captained the Sarnia Sting of the OHL last year. 41 points in 58 games. Not signed anywhere, so he’s looking for a good first impression.

Jeff Taylor: Up to this point, every defenseman I listed feels like a warm body until the regulars filter down from Pittsburgh. Taylor isn’t one of them. He had 6 games with Wilkes-Barre last year and is heading into his first pro season. Those reinforcements will get here soon enough, Taylor wants to make a case that he belongs in that top six defensive pairing among them.

Dylan Zink: Same as Taylor. Will be interesting to watch the competition between the two at camp and in exhibition games.


Sean Maguire: Most likely Wheeling’s number one goalie again this season with DeSmith – Jarry pegged as the opening night duo. Still though, he wants to make it a tougher decision than that.

Will King: Valencia, PA native played in Sweden’s third tier hockey league last year with OK numbers in 11 games (2.57 GAA, .915 SV%)

Colin Stevens: Wheeling’s other goalie, signed by the Nailers over the summer. 33 games split with Tulsa (24) and Manchester (9) of the ECHL last season.

Nick and Obie held a two man advantage discussing some of the players invited to camp.

So there you go. If you have something you’d like to add on any of these guys, please feel free in the comments below.

Clark’s Army — Tim Army Named Assistant Coach

Announced Thursday was the rounding out of the hockey operations that will oversee the on ice product of the 2017-18 campaign the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will embark on in about two months.

Tim Army was named assistant coach, Seamus McKelvey was named head athletic trainer and Mike Joyce was named the teams strength and conditioning coach.

I was desperately looking for a pun headline to tie these announcements in together. The Army pun is a layup, Mike Joyce was a drummer in The Smiths, and Seamus would have been the boy headed to the army in the pun related to the Smiths once I couldn’t find.

Meat is Murder was a rejected pun headline. What’s with me and puns anyway? That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.

Anyway, let’s get serious.

Joyce interned last year with the Penguins and impressed enough to land the job. He’s a Scranton native.

McKelvey had some time with the Penguins and last season worked as an assistant trainer with the Providence Bruins.

Army and head coach Clark Donatelli have a history together.

Obie went on to say that there will be audio of the call Army had with the local media available on the team website Friday so if you are looking for something to listen to give that a listen.

In case you are wondering, Army is the father of Derek, who did time in Wilkes-Barre a few seasons ago.

Out the door, a couple more things. Wheeling re-signed Garrett Meurs to a contract this week and ex-Penguin Clark Seymour is back from Austria where he spent last season, signing with the Florida Everblades.

Have a great weekend.

Depth Gage – Pens Sign Quinney 8/7

Some puns are layups. Consider this one an easy two points.

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins continued to fill out the back end of their lineup Monday when they announced the signing of Gage Quinney to a one year AHL contract.

Quinney played in Wheeling last season and of the players who appeared in at least 15 games, he had the best points per game ratio with .978. That nugget from Pens play-by-play voice Mike O’Brien this morning.

Color man Nick Hart chimed in later that Quinney impressed a bit at Pens camp last Fall and had a stellar season in Wheeling.

Nice to see the Penguins signing guys who put time in at Wheeling to AHL contracts. That’s how you build a strong minor league system, you reward guys who have put the time in.

The Nailers had a signing of their own today, goaltender Colin Stevens. Press release here and neat tweet with an infographic and highlights below…

Note that the Stevens signing is an ECHL signing, meaning that any AHL team, including the Penguins, can sign him to their team should the need arise.

Oh, while not officially announced, the Penguins may have an assistant coach in line to be hired this week. This from the always on the pulse of things Twitter feed of the great Mark Divver…

Stay tuned.

Wheeling Wrap 4/11

The Wheeling Nailers closed out the 2016-17 ECHL season this past weekend. Let’s take a look at how they fared.

On Wednesday, the Nailers traveled to Canada to take on the Brampton Beast and lost 5-2. The Nailers connected on power play goal in the third period by Riley Bourbonnais and Nick Sorkin scored on the other goal. Sean Maguire stopped 28 of 33. Beats goaltender Andrew D’Agostini turned away 35 of 37 Nailers shots to pick up the win.

In their home finale Friday, the Nailers crushed the Kalamazoo Wings 7-2. Riley Bourbonnais had a hat trick, Christian Hilbrich notched a goal and two assists along with Garrett Meurs. Daniel Leavens had a goal and three assists and Sean Maguire stopped 36 of 38 shots.

In the rematch Saturday in Kalamazoo, the Wings would exact some revenge on the Nailers and beat them 5-2. Joel Martin turned aside 45 of 47 Nailers shots sent his way. Kale Kerbashian and Tyler Currier scored for the Nailers in their final game.

The Nailers closed the books with a record of 34-30-8-0, good for 76 points, missing the playoffs by nine points.

It’s been fun recapping these Nailers games for you during the season Tuesday’s at noon. Maybe I bring the future back next season.

Wheeling Wrap 4/4

It’s the second to last edition of the Wheeling Wrap, where we take a look back at the week that was for the Wheeling Nailers.

The Nailers were officially eliminated from a playoff spot this past weekend and this week is their final week of the regular season. Let’s take a look back at the week that was for the Nailers…

Wheeling beat Brampton at home on Friday by a score of 4-3. Cody Widow had a goal and and assist, Daniel Leavens had two goals and Sean Maguire picked up the win, stopping 32 of 35 shots by the Beast. Wheeling went 1 for 5 on the power play. The Nailers used three first period goals to help them hold off a hard charging Beast team who are playoff bound.

Sunday, the Nailers were defeated by the Reading Royals at home 5-3 which sealed up a playoff spot for the Royals and shut the door on the Nailers playoff hopes. Wheeling scored three unanswered goals to take the lead in the second period but the Royals responded to tie the game back up heading into second intermission. In the third, Reading scored a second power play goal and the Nailers with Sean Maguire pulled for the extra attacker saw the Royals score an empty net goal. Nick Sorkin had two assists for the Nailers, Oliver Labelle had two goals and an assist for Reading and starting goaltender for the Royals Mark Dekanich stopped 32 of 35 shots.

The Nailers close out the season this week with a trip to Brampton, Ontario Wednesday before heading home to close out the season at Wesbanco Arena with a date with the Kalamazoo Wings before boarding a bus to Kalamazoo to close out the season Saturday in Michigan.

Wheeling’s record stands at 33-28-8-0, good for 74 points and fourth place in the North Division.

Wheeling Wrap 3/28

The season is dwindling down for our ECHL affiliate in Wheeling, West Virginia and the Nailers have a lot of work to do if they want to make a final push for a spot win the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Let’s take a look back at the week that was for the Nailers.

They hosted the Idaho Steelheads all week last week for a trio of games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Nailers won 4-1 over the Steelheads. Tyler Currier had a pair of goals and Sean Maguire won in net for Wheeling stopping 20 of 2 shots faced. Each team struck once on the power play, the Nailers had two tries and Idaho had three tries. Cody Wydo had a game high six shots to go with a goal and an assist.

On Friday, Idaho would punch back and take this one 3-2 over the Nailers. Maguire took the loss in net, stopping 25 of 28. Garrett Meurs and Kale Kerbashian scored for Wheeling, who could not score on eight power play tries.

In the rubber match Saturday, Idaho would take this one 4-1. Gage Quinney would score the only goal in the contest for Wheeling.  Doug Carr took the loss for the Nailers, stopping 24 of 27.

The Nailers are seven points back of the Manchester Monarchs for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. They have a 32-27-8-0 record good for fifth place.

This week, the Nailers host the Brampton Beast Friday and the Reading Royals Sunday. There are only five games left in Wheeling’s season.