Chirps from Center Ice

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

AHL Power Rankings: Week 10

We shuffled up the top five teams this week and then after that it was a bit of a tough sledding to hash out the next 20 teams.

The Toronto Marlies are the first AHL team to 20 wins this season and have re-taken over the top spot in the Week 10 Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings followed closely behind by the Manitoba Moose who are still rolling, but lost in a shootout Saturday to the Milwaukee Admirals at home, so they slip to second.

Those two teams meet this weekend in Toronto in a matchup that will be epic.

The rest of the top five this week go Stockton, who remain in third, Rockford, who are better in their last ten than Rochester, who is fifth.

Pop past the Amerks if you didn’t link in direct to see six and beyond and enjoy!

1

Last Week: TOR 3 @ LAV 1, TOR 5 @ LAV 2
First team to twenty wins this season are your Toronto Marlies. Circle those visits from the Moose later this week on your calendar.

+1

This Week: @ RCH 12/15, vs. MTB 12/16, vs. MTB 12/17
Record: 20-5-0-0

2

Last Week: MIL 4 @ MTB 3 (SO), MIL 1 @ MTB 6
Moose continue to roll. The nine game win streak ended Saturday when Milwaukee clipped them in a shootout, but Manitoba put it on the Admirals on Sunday. Two huge contests this week with Toronto will be ones to watch.

-1

This Week: @ BEL 12/15, @ TOR 12/16, @ TOR 12/17
Record: 18-5-1-2

3

Last Week: STK 6 @ SJ 0, TUC 2 @ STK 5
Heat take down the Roadrunners on Saturday and take over first in the Pacific. Show goes on the road this week with stops in San Diego and Ontario.

n/a

This Week: @ SD 12/13, @ ONT 12/15, @ SD 12/16
Record: 14-6-0-2

4

Last Week: RFD 4 @ GR 1, GR 2 @ RFD 7
Rockford continues to roll. 7-2-1-0 in their last ten.

+1

This Week: vs. CHI 12/12, @ SA 12/15, @ SA 12/17
Record: 15-9-1-0

5

Last Week: RCH 2 @ SPR 1, RCH 2 @ HFD 3 (SO), RCH 4 @ BRI 1
Amerks need to keep winning if they want to stay in touch with the Marlies who are just smoking opponents. They are doing that.

-1

This Week: vs. UTI 12/13, vs. TOR 12/15, @ UTI 12/16
Record: 14-5-3-3

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

Powering On — Pens WIN 4-1

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The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are in losing funk. Reasons why include slow starts and lack of power play success.

They looked like an entirely different team Sunday afternoon in Hershey.

Scoring twice on the power play and racing to a 3-1 start after the first period, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins defeated the Hershey Bears 4-1 in Chocolatetown tonight.

Sean Maguire started the game and collected his first AHL win of the season. The problem, as I have said all along this, now forgotten losing streak, has not been in goal.

He opposed Pheonix Copley, which Head Coach Troy Mann put out there against the Penguins because Copley had been undefeated coming into the meeting this evening with a 6-0 record, a 1.54 GAA and a .943 SV%. Styles make fights, but that decision led to a first round TKO for his Hershey side.

Lines were….

Josh Archibald – Colin Smith – Christian Thomas
Zach Aston-Reese — J-S Dea – Patrick McGrath
Garrett Wilson – Greg McKegg – Daniel Sprong
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Thomas DiPauli

Andrey Pedan – Zach Trotman
Chris Summers – Ethan Prow
Kevin Spinnozi – Frank Corrado

Sean Maguire – Anthony Peters

Lineup Notes: Two changes on the back end for the Pens, Kevin Spinozzi for Jarred Tinordi who is still banged up from that shot block in the third period Friday against Charlotte and Ethan Prow, recalled from Wheeling earlier in the day, in for Lukas Bengtsson, who had “fallen ill” per radio. Up front, Patrick McGrath in for Ryan Haggerty. McGrath’s first appearance since November 12.

First Period: Penguins finally got the start they needed Friday against Charlotte.

After a turnover by the Bears, Christian Thomas victimized his old team for a 1-0 Penguin lead….

…this was right after a power play where the Pens enjoyed a lot of offensive zone possession time and had a power play look good.

Later, Reid Anderson and Jeremy Tufts, the two bozos that worked the game Friday against the Checkers in Wilkes-Barre, called P-C Labrie for a slash and then during the setup for the face-off, didn’t like what Garrett Mitchell was saying and put him in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct gift wrapping the Penguins a 5-on-3 power play opportunity.

:40 in, Daniel Sprong scored his fourth goal in as many games and yet another goal against the Bears in Giant Center, where he has scored in every other game…

Later, Thomas DiPauli scored on another turnover by the Bears, this time caused by Tom Sestito. The rout was on…

Or was it? On a late Bears power play, Ty Graovac scored on a perfect tic-tac-toe play to put Hershey on the board with :01 on the man advantage.

Shots were 15-4 Wilkes-Barre / Scranton heading into the…

Second Period: Quiet period in terms of scoring because there wasn’t any by either team. Radio picked up that Tom Sestito was absent during the second period. Bears had the majority of shots (10 to WBS’ 7) and power plays (3-2) but Wilkes-Barre played bend but not break and maintained their two-goal lead.

Third Period: Penguins would connect on another power play goal with a two-man advantage when Zach Trotman scored his first of the season which made it 4-1 Penguins and iced the game away…

Period was really marred by starts and stops and penalties, all the Penguins needed to do was chip the time off of the clock and insulate Maguire and that is what they accomplished.

Three Stars: 3) Colin Smith (two assists, +1) 2) Thomas DiPauli (goal, +1) and 1) Daniel Sprong (goal, assist, even)

Around the Division: Hartford beats Springfield 5-3…Rochester pounds Bridgeport 4-1…Providence with their third third period comeback of the weekend, slips by Utica 4-3 in overtime. Lehigh Valley and Charlotte were off.

Standings: Providence (.708 percentage points) — Charlotte (.660) — Penguins (.652) — Lehigh Valley .635) — (.542) — Hershey (.500) — Hartford (.463) — Springfield (.375)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.

Video Highlights:

One thing I did want to note before I wrap it up here, Josh Archibald can play Wednesday against the Springfield Thunderbirds then his conditioning stint is over and he must return to Pittsburgh, so we will see what happens with him the early part of this week.

My Week 10 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4.

Let’s Go Pens!

GAMEDAY: @ Hershey 12/10

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Who: Hershey Bears

Where: Giant Center

When: 5:00 p.m.

Last Game: Friday in Wilkes-Barre, the Pens hosted the Charlotte Checkers and lost 2-1. Daniel Sprong scored a third period power play goal. Sean Maguire took the loss, stopping 28 of 30 shots. For Hershey, the Bears hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on the backend of a home and home with the Phantoms and ….

Last Meeting: Last Sunday in Hershey, the Penguins lost in overtime 4-3. After Tom Sestito scored with just about five minutes to go in the third which would tie the game and force overtime, Chris Bourque’s overtime power play goal would send the Bears home with the full two points.

Record: For WBS: 13-7-1-1 (28 pts., 3rd place Atlantic Division) // For HER: 12-11-0-3 (27 pts., 6th place Atlantic Division)

Referee(s): Reid Anderson / Jeremy Tufts

Linesmen: Colin Gates / Bill Lyons

Why You Should Care: Will teh day off the Pens had last night matter against the Bears at home who are playing their third game in as many days? The Pens need a better start that they had in the first period Friday against Charlotte. The start may determine the winner here this evening in Hershey.

Other Game to Watch: Springfield visits Hartford today in a matchup of the two teams at the bottom of the Atlantic Division looking to dig their way out.

Next Five Games: SPR 12/13, @ HFD 12/15, @ BRI 12/16, BNG 12/22, LV 12/23

Those Who Are Late Do Not Get Fruit Cup — Pens LOSE 2-1

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There were 17 total power plays issued in this game officiated by referees Reid Anderson and Jeremy Tufts. 10 for the Checkers and 7 for the Penguins.

But it’s not a reason why the Penguins lost.

Sean Maguire started his first game for the Penguins this season and stopped 28 of 30 shots.

But it’s not a reason why the Penguins lost.

OK, so you want to know why the Penguins lost tonight? I will let you. A team coming into a Friday night game against a division rival that they only play four times this season needs to get off to a hotter start then the Penguins did tonight. The Penguins only managed four total first period shots on Checkers starting goaltender Jeremy Smith tonight and didn’t register their first until 8:49 of the period. The Checkers fired 14 shots on Maguire and took control of the game from there.

Maguire was fine tonight. I hate to be the bearer of news you don’t want to hear, but the Penguins are in this funk that they are on right now with out without Casey DeSmith.

You can’t come out and just put up an anemic four shots on goal in the first period, give up two goals in the second then chase the game the rest of the way and look like you are involved in the game in the third period when you are fighting the opponent and two referees slowly losing control of the game.

Pens lose 2-1. With other finals in the division tonight Wilkes-Barre goes from first to fourth in the ultra competitive Atlantic Division.

Lines were…

Josh Archibald – J-S Dea – Ryan Haggerty
Zach Aston-Reese — Colin Smith – Gage Qunney
Garrett Wilson – Greg McKegg – Daniel Sprong
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Thomas DiPauli

Andrey Pedan – Zach Trotman
Chris Summers – Kevin Czuczman
Jarred Tinordi – Lukas Bengtsson

Sean Maguire – Anthony Peters

Lineup Notes: Greg McKegg and Dominik Simon swapped positions with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In an unrelated move Wilkes-Barre sent Jarrett Burton sent to the Wheeling Nailers.

First Period: Penguins got the first power play of the game but were unable to get anything going because they couldn’t establish any offensive zone production. Forward tries to bring the puck in the zone, is knocked away by a defenseman. Regroup. Dump and chase. Puck skips and goes back out. Rinse and repeat.

Checkers had three power plays in the first and Maguire was up to the task. Shots after one were 14-4 Charlotte heading into the…

Second Period: Andrew Miller opened the scoring when the Penguins collapsed on the near side and him. Play was set up by Daniel Sprong listening to the fans yell SHOOT! all night…

Checkers connected on a power play goal when Andrew Poturalski sniped this one in to put the Penguins in a big hole….

Third Period: Penguins got a power play :34 into the period.

:03 in, J-S Dea wins a face-off back to Daniel Sprong….

Penguins lose Jarred Tinordi to a blocked shot. He didn’t return. Donatelli told Tyler postgame that he didn’t think it was anything major.

After this, every penalty was met with a scrum or pushing and shoving. Garrett Wilson and Jarred Tinordi were thrown out of the game after a feeble attempt by Tufts / Anderson to get the game under control.

Then, on a Penguins power play, Checkers clear the puck out to Jeremy Smith. He comes out of his crease to play the puck and his run into by Ryan Haggerty. I don’t know who made contact with who but Haggerty was assessed a charging penalty.

The whole goaltender leaving the crease to play the puck is a gray area that should be addressed. They open themselves up to “fair game” but are protected by the referees. Either don’t allow a goaltender to play a puck or eliminate the “fair game” part of the rulebook.

Through the mess of what was supposed to be a hockey game at the end, the Penguins would lose 2-1.

Three Stars: 3) Daniel Sprong (goal, -1) 2) Andrew Miller (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Andrew Poturalski (goal, assist, +1)

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley fights off a late third period charge from the Hershey Bears and win 5-4….Providence takes a shootout win over Hartford 4-3….Rochester takes down Springfield 2-1. Bridgeport was off.

Standings: Providence (.682 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.660) — Charlotte (.646) — Penguins (.636) — Bridgeport (.591) — Hershey (.500) — Hartford (.420) — Springfield (.365)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost 3-2 in Indiana tonight against the Indy Fuel. Troy Josephs assisted on both goals scored by Riley Bourbonnais.

Doubt there will be any video highlights but if there are I’ll run an edit.

Pens have the night off Saturday. Phantoms and Hershey rematch Saturday in Hershey, Providence hosts Utica, Charlotte visits Binghamton and Bridgeport is in Springfield. I may run late Saturday final score updates here, but if not, look for the next post to be the 1 p.m. Gameday setup against Hershey Sunday afternoon.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP – Pens LOSE 2-1

Wilkes-Barre’s free fall continues. A 2-1 setback to the Charlotte Checkers tonight.

Officials losing control of the third period will mask a slow start for the Pens in which they only had four shots on goal.

Charlotte got two goals in the second. Daniel Sprong scored a power play goal in the third to cut it to one, but after that the game revolves into a penalty fest.

More in a bit, Jarred Tinordi left in the third after blocking a shot and didn’t return.

GAMEDAY: vs. Charlotte 12/8

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Who: Charlotte Checkers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Wednesday in Allentown, the Penguins were shutout 5-0 by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. For Charlotte, the Checkers hosted the Springfield Thunderbirds on Sunday and won 4-3. Aleksi Saarela had a goal and an assist for first star honors.

Last Meeting: October 7 in the home opener for the Penguins, the Checkers won 5-2. Daniel Sprong and Thomas DiPauli scored for the Penguin in the loss but Warren Foegele scored two shorthanded goals.

Record: For WBS: 13-6-1-1 (28 pts., 1st place Atlantic Division) // For CHA: 14-8-0-1 (29 pts., 4th place Atlantic Division)

Referee(s): Jeremy Tufts / Reid Anderson

Linesmen: James Tobias / Scott Pomento

Why You Should Care: Penguins come into tonight’s contest against Charlotte dropping 5 of their last 6 games. The Penguins have also given up 7 shorthanded goals this season. Warren Foegele scored two of those on the Penguins home opener October 7. In order for the Penguins to win this game, they may need to employ the KISS method.

Promotion(s): Coat Drive / WBRE Fan Friday ($14 Tickets), Postgame Autographs, $2 Draft Beers (6-7:30 p.m.)

Other Game to Watch: The Syracuse Crunch have won seven games in a row and take this streak into Binghamton tonight as the Devils are waiting to play the upset after their big overtime win over the Laval Rocket Wednesday.

Next Five Games: @ HER 12/10, SPR 12/13, @ HFD 12/15, @ BRI 12/16, BNG 12/22

Roster Moves 12/7

Here’s what happened today lineup wise throughout the organization:

– Frank Corrado was recalled and Justin Schultz was placed on injured reserve. Mike Sullivan told media that Schultz is week to week with a lower body injury. When I saw the injury, I immediately thought high ankle sprain. Those are inoperable. Sullivan indicated that the injury would not require surgery and you really don’t operate on sprains, so that further confirms my suspicion that it’s a high ankle sprain.

Greg McKegg cleared waivers. He wasn’t immediately assigned to Wilkes-Barre. Pittsburgh’s roster, with Schultz on IR, McKegg waived and Archibald still here on conditioning, is at 23. So I wouldn’t expect McKegg to be assigned here.

– Sean Maguire will start tomorrow against the Charlotte Checkers, Head Coach Clark Donatello confirmed to Tyler today.

– Finally, as you’ll see when the GameDay setup tomorrow at 3 against Charlotte, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have given up seven shorthanded goals this season. That’s the most allowed in the AHL through this week. Warren Foegele, you’ll remember last time Charlotte was in on opening night, scored two of those shorthanded goals. The Penguins will need to keep things simple I think if they want to have success against the Checkers. I guess we all find out together Friday at 7:05.