Chirps from Center Ice

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

GAMEDAY: vs. Binghamton 3/8

vs. 

Who: Binghamton Devils

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena

When: 3:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night at home against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Penguins won 5-2. Jordy Bellerive scored a power play goal again, and the Penguins overall scored three times on the man advantage. For Binghamton, the Devils beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at home Saturday 5-1. The Devils connected for two power play goals as well as two shorthanded ones. Zane McIntyre stopped 34 shots.

Last Meeting: Friday in Binghamton, the Penguins lost 6-4. The game wasn’t ass close as the scoreline indicated. Jordy Bellerive had a pair of power play goals.

Record: For WBS: 28-25-3-5 (64 pts., 5th place Atlantic Division) // For BNG: 32-24-4-0 (68 pts., 4th place North Division)

Referees: Alex Normandin / Chris Waterstradt

Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco / Tyler Loftus

Why You Should Care: Pens should have a good idea of what type of team they are this weekend when they rematch against the Devils this afternoon. That should determine really if getting hopes up for a playoff push again are founded or unfounded.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Promotion(s): TUX’S BIRTHDAY BASH –Celebrate with Tux and his furry friends as we celebrate the big bird’s birthday. Mascots from around the AHL and local colleges will be on hand to help him blow out the candles.

Other Game to Watch: Providence can tie Hershey in points at the top of the Atlantic and win their eleventh straight today.

Next Five Games: @ LV 3/11, @ LV 3/13, @ HER 3/14, vs. CLE 3/18, vs. HER 3/21

Streak Snappers — Pens WIN 5-2

           vs.            

2                                                      5

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!

GAMEDAY: vs. Bridgeport 3/7

vs.   

Who: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last night in Binghamton, the Penguins lost 6-4. Jordy Bellerive had a pair of power play goals late. for Bridgeport, the Sound Tigers were in Allentown and won 6-4. Kieffer Bellows had a pair of goals.

Last Meeting: February 15 in Bridgeport, the Pens lost 3-2. Simon Holmstrom had two goals. Jamie Devane and Joseph Blandisi chipped in goals for the Penguins.

Record: For WBS: 27-25-3-5 (62 pts., 6th place Atlantic Division) // For BRI: 21-32-5-2 (49 pts., 8th place Atlantic  Division)

Referees: Michael Markovic / Jesse Gour

Linesmen: Bob Goodman / J.P. Waleski

Why You Should Care: Pens need to snap out of this five game losing streak. Bridgeport has played them tough. It may require a perfect storm to get two points later tonight.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Promotion(s): ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATION –The Penguins will be celebrating the area’s Irish heritage once again with our annual St. Patrick’s Celebration.  The Pens will be wearing special Shamrock sweaters which will be auctioned during the game, and we’ll have FAN-Tastic Irish entertainment throughout the night.

Other Game to Watch: Rochester meets Belleville in Canada as these two teams who are at the top of the North Division.

Next Five Games: vs. BNG 3/8, @ LV 3/11, @ LV 3/13, @ HER 3/14, vs. CLE 3/18

Bedeviled — Pens LOSE 6-4

         @         

4                                            6

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!

GAMEDAY: @ Binghamton 3/6

@  

Who: Binghamton Devils

Where: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Saturday in Hershey, the Penguins were obliterated 5-1. David Warsofsky scored a power play goal. For Binghamton, the Devils shutout the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1-0. Janne Kuokkanen scored the only goal on a power play and Zane McIntyre had a 36 save shutout.

Last Meeting: The Penguins beat the Devils 2-1 on February 5. David Warsofsky scored both goals on the power play and Casey DeSmith stopped 22 shots. Nick Merkley scored for the Devils.

Record: For WBS: 27-24-3-5 (62 pts., 6th place Atlantic Division) // For BNG: 30-24-4-0 (64 pts., 5th place North Division)

Referees: Jesse Gour / Tim Mayer

Linesmen: Rob Sauda / Tyler Loftus

Why You Should Care: Two teams heading in opposite directions meet on the Southern Tier tonight. It’s the Penguins on the bottom end of the barrel here coming in on a four game losing streak. Binghamton have won three in a row and are 8-2 in their last ten. The Penguins have had decent success against this iteration of the Devils, so we will see how this one goes tonight.

Listen: Nick Hart on the call on WILK.

Watch: AHLTV is back for another season and better than ever.

Other Game to Watch: Springfield visit Providence in another critical Atlantic Division matchup between the two teams.

Next Five Games: vs. BRI 3/7, vs. BNG 3/8, @ LV 3/11, @ LV 3/13, @ HER 3/14

AHL Power Rankings: Early March 2020

Some changes and shake ups in the top five this week with a pair of Atlantic Division teams set to battle for the top of the division but it’s Belleville who holds on to their top spot in this weeks version of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings.

Binghamton makes a jump into the top five this week and Iowa hangs around also. Pop past the Wild if you didn’t link in direct to see where your favorite team ended up this week.

1

Last Games: UTI 6 @ BEL 3, MB 4 @ BEL 5 (OT), LAV 4 @ BEL 1, BEL 5 @ CLE 1, BEL 4 @ CLE 1, TOR 4 @ BEL 8
Senators hold the top spot for another go around here on the Power Rankings. Remarkable work done by Troy Mann and his crew to turn the race to the North Division crown into a runaway.

n/a

Next Games: vs. ROC 3/6, vs. ROC 3/7, @ LAV 3/11, @ UTI 3/13, @ SYR 3/14
Record: 38-17-4-1

2

Last Games: HER 1 @ WBS 2, HER 5 @ BRI 4 (SO), CHA 1 @ HER 6, WBS 1 @ HER 5, CHA 6 @ HER 3
Hershey’s going to get company quick in the form of Charlotte and/or Providence quickly. The race for the lead in the Atlantic may become a three horse race.

+3

Next Games: @ HFD 3/6, @ HFD 3/7, @ PRO 3/8, vs. TOR 3/13, vs. WBS 3/14, vs. LAV 3/18
Record: 35-18-3-3

3

Last Games: CHA 1 @ BNG 2, CHA 6 @ BNG 3, HFD 3 @ BNG 5, TOR 4 @ BNG 5, BNG 1 @ BRI 0
Quite the turnaround in the Southern Tier, but the Devils have little room for error still out of the playoff picture.

+4

Next Games: vs. WBS 3/6, vs. LV 3/7, @ WBS 3/8, @ ROC 3/11, @ LAV 3/13, @ LAV 3/14, vs. LV 3/18
Record: 30-24-4-0

4

Last Games: SPR 4 @ PRO 7, WBS 1 @ PRO 2, PRO 6 @ WBS 2, PRO 3 @ SPR 1, PRO 3 @ HFD 2
Eight straight wins at a time where playoff jockeying is so important. On this trajectory the next time we do this the Bruins could very well be tops in the Atlantic.

+5

Next Games: vs. SPR 3/6, @ SPR 3/7, vs. HER 3/8, @ HFD 3/11, @ CHA 3/14, @ CHA 3/15
Record: 33-18-3-3

5

Last Games: IA 3 @ TEX 4, IA 4 @ TEX 0, CHI 2 @ IA 5, IA 2 @ STK 0, IA 1 @ SJ 2 (OT), IA 1 @ SJ 5
It isn’t out of the realm of the reasonable anymore that Iowa may catch Milwaukee for the best in the Central, but that loss in San Jose Wednesday stinks.

-3

Next Games: @ MB 3/7, @ MB 3/8, @ GR 3/11, vs. SA 3/15, vs. SA 3/18
Record: 36-17-4-3

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Weekend Update 3/1

I took the weekend off because of my cat and stayed off Twitter so I apologize if you rely on me to give you updates about the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. Friday night I was in New York State and Saturday night I was home relaxing and decompressing and quite frankly wanting nothing to do with tweeting.

I didn’t watch a second of the Syracuse game Friday because of my travels, but watched a good portion of Saturday’s game. I can tell you that the Penguins were more competitive just based off of what I read on Twitter and elsewhere on Friday than they were on Saturday. I don’t think it’s a situation of giving Hershey the division and the odds on lock in the Calder Cup Finals, but when you constantly turn the puck over and don’t look like a cohesive unit 50+ games into the season, any team will look like a Cup contender.

They lost Friday 4-3. The Penguins were up 2-1, then got it to 3-3 before Alexander Volkov’s goal with under four minutes to play in the third period gave the Crunch the lead for good. Alex Barre-Boulet stole the show, scoring :11 into the game and netting a hat trick with two other goals.

Here’s how they lined up Friday.

Phil Varone made his debut and immediately made an impact. The power play clicked twice and Varone assisted on both goals. Varone had a goal taken away on account of a kick in that was taken away on video review.

Riley Barber had a nice goal that put the Penguins up 2-1 in the first on a power play goal.

Cole Cassels and Phil Varone had the assists there.

Saturday, they were expecting a different result. They played good Friday in Syracuse and were looking to carry the momentum into Hershey Saturday.

It didn’t work.

Here’s how they lined up first and foremost.

No Niclas Almari for both games this weekend. He’s been a sore spot, but I don’t think it would have mattered Saturday. They were on a whole, bad in every way Saturday night.

They went down 4-0. Garret Pilon scored on a breakaway goal off of a gaffe. Daniel Sprong made his Bears debut and scored on a fluke of a goal that clattered around in the air before going in the net. Mike Sgarbossa scores into an empty net when Sprong hit him with a no look behind the back pass. Sgarbossa’s first game back in a while too which made it 3-0. Philippe Maillet scored to make it 4-0 before David Warsofsky connected with a power play goal that made it 4-1 with and assist to Phil Varone before Sgarbossa and Sprong connected again to make it 5-1. Hershey let off from there and protected it’s four goal lead.

That’s basically it in one paragraph. Everything that could go wrong went wrong Saturday.

They have a week to get it together. They head to Binghamton Friday before returning home to face Bridgeport who always plays them tough and host the Devils again for a Sunday matinee.

Some solace as Springfield is struggling just as much and have lost two straight and are on 62 points with the Penguins.

The bad news is fourth place Charlotte is at least four points up with two games in hand after Sunday’s game in Hershey.

We will get back to regularly tweeting the games next weekend dependent on the health of the little guy who is improving.

AHL trade deadline is Monday. I don’t expect the Penguins to be active, but stranger things have happened. Check in Monday for an update there if there is one to be had.

AHL Power Rankings this Thursday but for anything breaking before.