Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: vs. Milwaukee 1/5

vs.     

Who: Milwaukee Admirals

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night against Grand Rapids, the Penguins won 3-2 in a shootout. Ryan Haggerty had two goals in regulation and Joseph Cramarossa scored the only goal in the shootout in the bottom of the third. For Milwaukee, the Admirals were last in action on Wednesday in Rockford and won 2-1. Troy Grosenick stopped 34 shots.

Record: For WBS: 18-14-4-1 (41 pts., 4th place Atlantic Division) // For MIL: 17-12-5-1 (40 pts., 5th place Central Division)

Referees: Mitch Dunning / Alex Ross

Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco / J.P. Waleski

Why You Should Care: Penguins can’t rest on their laurels from their last game against a rested Milwaukee Admirals team that did not play Friday. If Wilkes-Barre brings the same stuff that got them through Grand Rapids last night, they should be OK tonight against Milwaukee. But it’s easier said than done.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

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

Promotion(s): Penguins Trading Card Strip # 2 – The first 4,000 fans will receive a Penguins card strip, featuring five different players.

Other Game to Watch: San Antonio takes on Chicago in game two of their weekend meeting in Rosemont. Last night the Rampages shutout the Wolves 3-0 so it’s Chicago looking to pay it back against San Antonio later on tonight.

Next Five Games: @ CHA 1/11, @ CHA 1/12, vs. RCH 1/18, vs. HER 1/19, vs. LV 1/21

Friday Night Classic — Pens WIN 3-2 (SO)

       vs.       

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In stark contrast to last Friday around this time, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins put up and displayed a fight to them all night against the Grand Rapids Griffins from the Central Division.

The Griffins will bury you offensively if you let them. Any team will, really but not many are as stacked as Grand Rapids is. Chris Terry leads the AHL in goals scored. Turner Elson or Carter Camper is usually there setting him up for all that success. They are a deep team and a team that had points in five straight games coming in.

Make it six, but just an overtime point as the Penguins take down the Griffins in a shootout, 3-2. It was a classic knockdown, drag out game from the jump. The teams started out nice to each other then the competitive juices started flowing and they hated each other at the end of the night. And Terry, Elson and Camper had company in the forms of Ryan Haggerty (two goals) Joseph Cramarossa (shootout goal and one of his finer performances) and Teddy Blueger.

It’s two teams that you wish would play more, because it was a game that brought the best out of both sides.

Tristan Jarry opposed Patrik Rybar.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Garrett Wilson serves the first of his two game suspension, Ryan Haggerty went to the top line with Blueger and Angello. Joseph Cramarossa returned from his one game suspension and took Ryan Haggerty’s third line spot with Jimmy Hayes and J-S Dea. Jarrett Burton went in for Linus Ölund on the third line. Jeff Taylor yielded to Tim Erixon on defense.

First Period: The Penguins got the game started off on the right foot just :17 when Ryan Haggerty deflected a shot from the point that put the Penguins ahead 1-0.

Grand Rapids would counter and Matt Ford snapped in a shot off of a face-off play that made it 1-1.

That’s Wade Megan on the face-off win. You won’t see it in the clip above, but Megan gave Ford a look seconds before as if they knew what was up.

Second Period: Griffins go for a clear that doesn’t make it past center ice and Ryan Haggerty collects and skates in and snaps a shot from in between the circles to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.

Have to wonder if Grand Rapids played more regular games in Wilkes-Barre and the players were more familiar with the building that clear goes further and the completion of the game changes entirely.

Griffins answer a few minutes later when Libor Sulak puts a shot on net that caroms off Jarry to the stick of Turner Elson for a goal that made it 2-2.

Jarry, pretty sharp all evening, was dull on that sequence. I think he lost sight of the puck.

The Penguins had a chance to get ahead when Dylan McIlrath was tagged for concurrent penalties which gave the Penguins a 4:00 power play. They buried the Griffins in their zone for a good three minutes, had a guy break a stick but the Griffins held the fort and killed the entire four minutes. A hell of a kill that could have swung momentum in their favor heading into the third.

Third Period: The Penguins took three penalties in the period, and their penalty kill held firm. Grand Rapids outshot the Penguins 9-4 in the period and overall dominated chances. But they didn’t finish.

Overtime: Thrill a minute. Adam Johnson had a pair of breakaways. Sam Lafferty had one which was sprung by a hand pass from Tristan Jarry.

But no dice in overtime. You would have loved to see the teams just play another period and keep playing until a winner was decided.

Maybe someday, like an early June summer. For now, it was off to the shootout.

Shootout: Joseph Cramarossa scored in the bottom of the third using his move that won it for the Penguins a few weeks back in Hershey in the bottom of the ninth.

Jarry stopped Chris Terry, Axel Holmstrom and Dominic Turgeon. Rybar stopped Adam Johnson and J-S Dea before succumbing to Haggerty.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Great night for the Penguins overall. Of course Charlotte wins with a man short in Belleville 4-1. Bridgeport loses in Syracuse 3-1, just third time in two months the Sound Tigers have gone without a win….Providence beats Lehigh Valley 4-2…Hartford beats Springfield 3-1. Hershey was off.

Standings: Charlotte 53 — Bridgeport 48 — Lehigh Valley 41 — Penguins 41 — Springfield 37 — Hartford 36 — Providence 35 — Hershey 30

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were beaten in Indianapolis tonight 3-2 by the Indy Fuel. Renars Krastenbergs scored for the Nailers in the loss.

Video Highlights: 

Pens are back in action Saturday against the Milwaukee Admirals, who were idol tonight. Gameday setup hits the blog Saturday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP – Pens WIN 3-2 (SO)

Instant classic in Wilkes-Barre tonight between the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Penguins.

A closely constested, hot affair that saw teams grade goals in the first and second periods. After a scoreless third and a white knuckle overtime, Joseph Cramarossa’s goal in the bottom of the third secured victory for the Penguins tonight.

More in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Grand Rapids 1/4

vs.     

Who: Grand Rapids Griffins

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Monday in Binghamton on New years Eve, the Penguins won 5-2. Teddy Blueger scored twice, Ben Sexton also scored and Garrett Wilson had a goal and two assists. For Grand Rapids, the Griffins hosted the Rockford IceHogs on New Years Eve and won 2-1. Chris Terry assisted on both goals and Harri Sateri stopped 31 shots.

Record: For WBS: 17-14-4-1 (39 pts., 4th place Atlantic Division) // For GR: 19-11-3-2 (43 pts., 3rd place Central Division)

Referees: Sean MacFarlane / Conor O’Donnell

Linesmen: Ryan Knapp / Jason Mandroc

Why You Should Care: Penguins look to continue the good, physical play against very tough team, from the Central Division in the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins are coming in on a five game point streak as they continue to ascend through the very competitive Central Division. Wilkes-Barre will be looking to minimize mistakes tonight and look for a win against the Griffins.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

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

Promotion(s): EYEWITNESS NEWS FAN FRIDAY — Enjoy great hockey at a great price with $14 lower bowl tickets, courtesy of our friends at Eyewitness News. Fans ages 21 and over can enjoy select draft beers for just $2 from 6-7:30 p.m. and everyone is invited to stick around after the game for our Citizens Voice / Scranton Times Tribune postgame autograph session, featuring a pair of Penguins players.

Other Game to Watch: Springfield heads to Hartford to take on the Wolf pack in a rematch from this past Sunday where the Wolf Pack clipped the Thunderbirds in overtime.

Next Five Games: vs. MIL 1/5, @ CHA 1/11, @ CHA 1/12, vs. RCH 1/18, vs. HER 1/19

Ethan Prow Named to All-Star Team

In news that should surprise no one, the AHL announced their playing rosters for the All-Star Classic later this month up in Springfield, Massachusetts and Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins defenseman Ethan Prow was named as the sole Penguins representative.

For you visual learners, here are the entire rosters for all four divisions in one tweet. Click to expand if you have to:

On Prow, here is a snippet from the Coal Street release mentioning some of his accomplishments….

Prow is second on the Penguins with 10 goals, and he has also earned 22 points this season. He was able to double his goal output from his previous two seasons combined by notching his 10 goals in 30 games. Prow’s 10 tallies also put him in a tie for the second-most goals among all AHL defensemen.  Furthermore, Prow is the first Penguins defenseman to have reached double digits in goal scoring at the end of December since Ross Lupaschuck (2002-03).

Prow, 26, is one of 48 players selected to AHL All-Star rosters.

Prow has consistently improved over the course of his three seasons as a pro, all of which have been spent with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He amassed 16 points (1G-15A) in his rookie year, then followed that up with four goals and 13 assists for 17 points with the Penguins in 2017-18.  He has 15 goals and 41 assists for 56 points in 139 career AHL games.

Former Penguins Colin McDonald (Lehigh Valley) and Cal O’Reilly (Iowa) were also named. McDonald was appointed as playing captain for the Eastern Conference in December.

Charlotte sends two players, plus their head coach because the Checkers finished first in the division at the end of 2018. Bridgeport, Lehigh Valley and host Springfield are sending two each and Providence, Hartford, Hershey and Wilkes-Barre are only sending one player.

Hershey’s appointment was Vitek Vanecek. I don’t know how you can send a goalie as your appointment as a last place team, but perhaps that’s just me.

Back here Friday for the 3 pm Gameday setup against Grand Rapids.

Garrett Wilson Suspended Two Games

On Thursday, the American Hockey League doled out punishment for this hit that Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins captain Garrett Wilson laid on Binghamton Devils Nathan Bastian this past Monday up in Binghamton.

Here is the hit which got Wilson the suspension.

Of note, Wilson was assessed a Match Penalty for an Illegal Check to the Head at the time and was thrown out of the game. Nathan Bastian returned to the game after going to the bench.

Wilson was suspended two games. He will miss Friday at home against Grand Rapids and Saturday at home against Milwaukee and will be eligible to return next Friday when the Pens are in action in Charlotte for a pair of games against the Checkers.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 13

There are a few new fresh teams in the top ten this week in the Week 13 edition of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings but the top five, absent of Iowa replacing Rochester, remain intact.

Charlotte remains number one again, because it’s a day that ends in y.

San Jose bumps up to second after getting a bit of breathing room on second place in the Pacific.

Iowa runs from the tenth spot last week to the top three after running over fourth place Chicago.

Bridgeport rounds out the top five. Jump past the Sound Tigers if you didn’t link in direct to see where your favorite team ended up.

1

Last Week: CHA 2 @ LAV 4, CHA 5 @ LAV 4 (OT), CHA 4 @ TOR 5 (OT)
This team is just collecting points, no matter the cost. Canada trip continues through the weekend.

n/a

This Week: @ BEL 1/4, @ BEL 1/5, @ TOR 1/6
Record: 24-8-3-0

2

Last Week: COL 1 @ SJ 3, SD 5 @ SJ 1, SJ 6 @ STK 5
San Jose is opening up a bit now on second place Tucson but the two hottest teams in the Pacific are the division leading Barracuda and the San Diego Gulls. Oh, and they meet this Friday in San Diego.

+1

This Week: @ SD 1/4, @ ONT 1/5, vs. ONT 1/9
Record: 19-6-1-3

3

Last Week: MIL 1 @ IA 3, CHI 1 @ IA 3, IA 3 @ CHI 1
We are never going to get tired of watching Iowa and Chicago duke it out at the top of the Central Division.

+7

This Week: vs. RFD 1/4, @ RFD 1/6, @ SA 1/9
Record: 19-8-4-3

4

Last Week: CHI 4 @ RFD 2, RFD 1 @ CHI 2 (OT), CHI 1 @ IA 3, IA 3 @ CHI 1
Two of the hottest teams in the Central meet this weekend in Rosemont when the 7-2-1 in their last ten Chicago Wolves play host to the 7-3 San Antonio Rampage.

n/a

This Week: vs. SA 1/4, vs. SA 1/5
Record: 20-11-3-1

5

Last Week: HFD 2 @ BRI 3, BRI 4 @ SPR 3, BRI 3 @ HFD 2 (OT), BRI 4 @ RCH 5 (SO)
Let a full two points get away from them with :12 left Wednesday in Rochester. Trip through New York continues this weekend.

n/a

This Week: @ SYR 1/4, @ BNG 1/5
Record: 21-9-4-2

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