Chirps from Center Ice

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


33 save shutout by Casey DeSmith and two power play goals by the Penguins special teams coupled with being perfect on the penalty kill propel the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins to their first win of the season, 5-0 over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Goals by Tom Sestito, Daniel Sprong, Frank Corrado, J-S Dea and Dominik Simon.

Full piece in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Lehigh Valley 10/13


Who: Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: Last Saturday at home against the Charlotte Checkers in the home opener, the Penguins lost 5-2. Daniel Sprong and Thomas DiPauli scored goals for the Penguins but Wilkes-Barre allowed Charlotte to score twice shorthanded. For Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms were in Hartford on Sunday and lost in a shootout 2-1. Alex Lyon turned away 35 of 36 shots presented to him.

Record: For WBS: 0-1-0-0 // For LV: 1-0-0-1

Referee(s): Keith Kaval / Corey Syvret

Linesmen: Tom DellaFranco / Tom George

Why You Should Care: The Penguins had a week to stew on the egg that they laid at their home opener last Saturday. The Phantoms blew out Hershey in theirs then went to play a tougher Hartford team then they thought and lost in a shootout. So it’s two teams that either didn’t like the way they played or aren’t sure of their style of play. Should be an interesting game and miniseries between these two heated rivals this weekend.

Promotion(s): Postgame Autographs

Other Game to Watch: Binghamton visits Laval. Both teams are coming off great opening weekends.

Next Five Games: @ LV 10/4, SYR 10/15, LAV 10/20, HFD 10/21, HER 10/27

Summers Up – No, Literally

With Ian Cole taking a full slap shot off of his two front teeth in Pittsburgh’s last game against Nashville on Saturday night, the Penguins today recalled D Chris Summers from Wilkes-Barre this afternoon.

In the aftermath, Cole tweeted a picture of his repairs that is as graphic as you can think of. He had swelling and is doing better than expected per Mike Sullivan.

Summers isn’t expected to play in Pittsburgh’s games in Washington Wednesday and Tampa Bay Thursday but the Penguins needed to make a recall because historically they like to roll with seven defenseman.

Summers wasn’t my first choice as a player to go up in a role of the seventh defenseman, I expected Frank Corrado to get that call. But I just blog about the team, I don’t make hockey decisions.

On Coal Street, the Penguins defense is already stretched thin with the recall of Summers. Jeff Taylor, Zach Trotman and Jarred Tinordi are all out and most likely ruled out for the weekend. The skinny on Trotman, who left the game Saturday, is that he is day to day but is unlikely to play in this weekends games. (Isn’t that week to week?) So that leaves some combination of Andrey Pedan, Ethan Prow, Kevin Czuczman, Kevin Spinozzi, Frank Corrado, Dylan Zink and Lukas Bengtsson for Clark Donatelli and his staff to choose from. With a three in three coming up for the Penguins, expect to see a recall from Wheeling at some point before Friday, one would assume.

In other news, the Colorado Eagles will become the AHL’s 31st team in 2018-19 serving as the primary affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. The Eagles are already the ECHL affiliate of the Avalanche so they are stepping up a league. They are going to play in the Pacific Division. That means you are probably going to see the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage head to the Central Division and most likely the Cleveland Monsters head to the Eastern Conference and the North Division. All yet to be determined, but we do know that the Eagles are coming next season and will play in the Pacific. What we don’t know is if they will play 76 like the rest of the AHL or 68 like the California teams and the Tuscon Roadrunners.

Oh, in case you were wondering what happened with the Avalanche’s current AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage, the St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed the Rampage up as their primary affiliate beginning in 2018-19.

Still waters run deep in Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre.

More news as it comes this week, if not, check me out Friday for your Penguins / Phantoms Gameday setup.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 1

After a long summer for some and a shorter one for others, the first weekend of the 2017-18 AHL season is in the books.

Some teams are 2-0, other teams are 0-2. There are a bunch of teams in the middle somewhere because no one played three games this weekend.

Usually in the first weeks of the season here at the Rankings you see teams riding the elevator up and down. I don’t expect anything different here as we get rolling on the season. One weekend does not a season make, but you would rather start off on the right foot rather than the losing one.

New look to the Rankings this year, hope you like it. Please leave input below.

The Texas Stars are on top of the Power Rankings after week one after two wins against a very strong Chicago Wolves team. For a Stars team that missed playoffs last season, you probably couldn’t draw it up any better in Cedar Park.

Jump through if you didn’t link in direct to see where your favorite team ended up.

Read more of this post

Foegele Bout It — Pens LOSE 5-2


5                                          2

If you have been coming to this blog for any number of years you will often read me write that there are great teams in the AHL, good teams and bad teams. Charlotte, a team that hasn’t been seen in the Eastern Conference since 2011, is a great team. They were a playoff team last year in the Central Division and were not intimidated by this new look, revamped Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Penguins team. The Checkers spoil the Penguins opener with a 5-2 win.

No, my lede did not include a diatribe against referees Evgenii Romasko and Terry Koharski. They called what they saw and they happened to call a lot of it. The Penguins got burned twice shorthanded by Warren Foegele, who by all accounts should be AHL Player of the Week this Tuesday. Koharski / Romasko called it down the middle, six penalties a side for each team, and the Penguins gave up a power play goal to Charlotte and also allowed Foegele to score twice shorthanded. You don’t win many hockey games that way no matter if its opening night or not.

The only reason it wasn’t a Checkers runaway was due to the play of Tristan Jarry, who stopped 31 of 35 shots.

Jarry opposed Jeremy Smith. Here’s a look at the lines…

Sure beats me hammering out the lines like the old days no?

First Period: Pens nearly got on the scoresheet first with this nice setup and play by Tom Sestito. Yes, Tom Sestito.

Real quick, want to thank Taylor for putting these GIFs out there on Twitter and being so nice to allow me to embed them on my blog for you all. I think it enhances the read.

Penguins struck first with a goal boy Daniel Sprong on the power play. Get used to seeing a lot of this this upcoming season…

That release is sickening, by the way.

Checkers would get on the board after an intentional offside call from the Penguins put the draw down in the Penguins zone to Jarry’s right. After the face-off Valintin Zykov turned around and fired at Jarry and it went in….

Second Period: All out Checkers blitzkrieg, 23 shots to the Penguins 9, put Charlotte ahead of Wilkes-Barre 3-2 after things ended in the second.

Penguins jumped out to a 2-1 lead when Thomas DiPauli follows his own shot while shorthanded and beat Smith to push the Penguins ahead.

Ferocious forechecking by Teddy Blueger set up the whole thing. DiPauli takes advantage.

Undeterred, Phil Di Giuseppe cashed on a power play when he put a shot on Jarry then followed the rebound off of Tristan’s shoulder and put a backhand in to tie it at two for Charlotte.

Penguins then found themselves on the power play looking to make something happen, but J-S Dea turned the puck over to Roland McKeown who found Foegele who scored his first shorthanded goal of the night….

Again, shots 23-9 for Charlotte and nary a goal scored even strength for the Checkers.

Third Period: Foegele again, shorthanded again….

Shots were an even 6-6 this period including a not shown 175′ empty net goal by the Checkers with Jarry vacated from Di Giuseppe.

Charlotte, already leading coming into the period, get another shorty from Foegele to make it 4-2 then get an empty netter. Ballgame.

After the game, Tom tweeted this…

Three Stars: 3) Thomas DiPauli (goal, even) 2) Lucas Wallmark (two assists, +1) and 1) and Warren Foegele (two shorthanded goals, +2)

Around the Division: Lehigh Valley pounds Hershey 7-2 in Allentown….Bridgeport loses 2-1 in Binghamton….Providence beats Springfield 5-2. Hartford was off, they host Lehigh Valley Sunday afternoon.

Too soon for a Standings look. Lehigh Valley, Charlotte and Providence all won so they are on top of the division, the rest of us, Wilkes-Barre included, have 0 points. Still early days.

Wheeling Update: Nailers get ripping on their season next weekend.

I don’t think that the Penguins will post video highlights but if they do, I will edit them in.

Power Rankings debut Monday at 4. Check them out then. Let’s Go Pens!


Boatloads of penalties against, failure to score in penalties for and giving up two shorthanded penalties to Warren Foegele doom the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on opening night. They lose 5-2. 

Firepower never came alive because there was no flow because of the penalties. Jeremy Smith and Tristan Jarry were great in goal for their respective teams, but the Checkers and Foegele finally got to Jarry. 

Full story in a bit.

GAMEDAY: vs. Charlotte 10/7


Who: Charlotte Checkers

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Last Game: This is the first game of the season for the Penguins. For Charlotte, they kicked their season off in Hartford last night and erased a third period 4-2 deficit and won 5-4 against the Wolf Pack. Where have you seen that before? Patrick Brown had three assists. Warren Foegele had two goals.

Record: For WBS: this is their first game — For CHA: 1-0-0-0

Referee(s): Evgenii Romasko / Terry Koharski

Linesmen: Bob Goodman / Scott Pomento

Why You Should Care: It’s the first game of the season for the new and improved Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. Deep at all positions and ready to roll, this is the Penguins best shot it would seem to seriously contend for the trophy which has eluded them the most, the Calder Cup. It all gets started in a few hours.

Promotion(s): Opening Night / Geisinger Magnetic Schedule

Other Game to Watch: Hershey and Lehigh Valley renew old rivalries tonight in Allentown.

Next Five Games: LV 10/13, @ LV 10/4, SYR 10/15, LAV 10/20, HFD 10/21