The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins get to know their Atlantic Division foes pretty well over the course of a season. With between eight and 12 games versus each of the local opponents, the Penguins have plenty of first-hand experience to draw upon for future games.
But it’s very rare that the Pens get to face North Division opponents on back-to-back nights.
This weekend would be the exception though, as the birds in black and gold head to Newfoundland to face the St. John’s IceCaps in a two-game set.
Traveling to St. John’s is a challenge for most AHL clubs. The remote location (the furthest point east in North America) means there are no direct domestic flights, so the Penguins bus to Toronto, then fly out to the Maritimes.
Because of the time commitment it takes to get to St. John’s, it’s only natural that all visitors make the most of their stays by playing a pair of games. And that actually can be of a benefit on the ice.
The Penguins can read the stat sheets and watch video to get an idea of what the IceCaps are putting on the ice. But the players can really get first-hand knowledge of systems and style of play by facing off with the opposition.
“We know going in they have a strong team and they work hard,” said Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos, who played his first ever pro game at the Mile One Centre on October 12, 1999 against the St. John’s Maple Leafs. “You can learn a lot from the first night going into the second night.”
The Penguins return home on Friday, December 9 when they play the Hershey Bears at 7:00pm. It’s an Eyewitness News Fan Friday, with $14 lower bowl tickets, select draft beers for just $2 from 6-7:30pm, and a post-game autograph session with two Penguins players.