WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON CLINCHES 16TH-STRAIGHT PLAYOFF BERTH

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – With Saturday night’s results, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 16th-consecutive season. The Penguins’ 16-year postseason streak is the American Hockey League’s active record.

Ticket packages for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

Individual game tickets for the postseason will go on sale on Monday, Apr. 9 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, TicketMaster.com, or also by calling the Penguins’ offices at (570) 208-7367.

The Penguins are currently (42-22-6-2) and sit in second place in the Atlantic Division.

PENGUINS DROP 4-3 CONTEST TO DESPERATE SOUND TIGERS

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a close matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.

Daniel Sprong put forth a goal and two power play assists to keep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (41-22-6-2) within striking distance, but a Bridgeport team fighting to keep its slim playoff hopes alive had the extra vigor to hang on when it was all said and done.

The Penguins took the lead 4:48 into the game when captain Tom Kostopoulos cashed in on the man advantage. Sprong unloaded a one-timer towards the net, which Kostopoulos tipped past goaltender Christopher Gibson.

Shortly thereafter, Bridgeport answered back with a power-play goal of its own. Mitchell Vande Sompel picked the short side corner over the shoulder of Tristan Jarry, evening the game at one goal apiece.  Then Steve Bernier gave the visitors their first lead of the night at 11:45 of the opening frame.

Vande Sompel later scored his second goal of the night, once again beating Jarry to the short side and just inside post. Vande Sompel’s first career multi-goal game put the Sound Tigers up, 3-1, just under five minutes into the second stanza.

Sprong pulled the Penguins within one again by unloading a wicked one-timer on a set face-off play. Teddy Blueger won the draw clean to Sprong who blasted the puck into the opposite top corner at 7:50 of the second period.

Sprong’s goal nearly served as a turning point in the contest, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton began peppering Gibson with shot after shot following the rookie’s team-leading 29th goal of the season. The Penguins almost doubled the Sound Tigers’ shot total in the middle frame, throwing 13 pucks at the net. Gibson held down the fort with some dazzling saves so that his squad could enter the second intermission with the one-goal lead.

Ben Holmstrom tipped in a cross-crease pass from Kyle Schempp eight minutes into the third period, extending the Sound Tigers’ lead to 4-2.

The Penguins reduced the deficit down to one yet again when Blueger tipped in one of Sprong’s shots during a power play late in the final frame. Down by one and with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t muster the equalizer, despite two great scoring chances for Sprong.

In the end, Jarry stopped 18 shots while Gibson recorded 25 saves on the night.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 7, against the Binghamton Devils. Saturday’s game is also Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s final home game of the regular season and will serve as the team’s annual Fan Appreciation Night. Pre-game ceremonies prior to the contest between the Penguins and Devils are scheduled to begin 7:00 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

DANIEL SPRONG NAMED TO AHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The American Hockey League announced today that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Daniel Sprong has been selected to the 2017-18 All-Rookie Team. The AHL All-Rookie Team was voted on by coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.

Sprong became the eighth Penguin ever named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team, joining Casey DeSmith (2016-17), Jake Guentzel (2016-17), Matt Murray (2014-15), Alex Goligoski (2007-08), John Curry (2007-08), Michel Ouellet (2003-04) and Toby Petersen (2000-01).

Since starting the 2017-18 campaign with seven goals and 10 points in his first five games, Sprong has put together a terrific rookie campaign with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 28 goals and 29 assists for 57 points in 59 contests with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The 21-year-old currently leads all league rookies in goals, and he ranks second in points, shots (181), power play goals (10) and game-winning goals (6). His 57 points also place him ninth in the overall AHL scoring standings.

The Amsterdam, Netherlands native was a second round pick (46th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sprong saw a stint in the NHL earlier this season with Pittsburgh, during which he registered two goals and an assist across eight games.

The full 2017-18 AHL All-Rookie Team is as follows:

GoaltenderVille Husso, San Antonio Rampage (37GP, 15-13-5, 2.32 GAA, .926sv%, 4 SO).
DefenseFilip Hronek, Grand Rapids Griffins (62GP, 9G-24A, 33PTS, +21, 4 GWG)
DefenseSami Niku, Manitoba Moose (71GP, 15G-37A, 52PTS, +18, 9 PPG)
ForwardMason Appleton, Manitoba Moose (71GP, 21G-40A, 61PTS, +13, 7 PPG, 6 GWG)
ForwardDaniel Sprong, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (59GP, 28G-29A, 57PTS, +2, 10 PPG, 6 GWG)
ForwardDylan Strome, Tucson Roadrunners (47GP, 22G-28A, 50PTS, +8, 9 PPG, 3 GWG)

Each player will receive a custom-designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the All-Rookie Team.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Apr. 6 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with a chance to secure a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

LAFFERTY NETS FIRST PRO GOAL IN PENGUINS’ 5-3 DEFEAT OF BEARS

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fended off a late comeback attempt by the Hershey Bears to defeat their I-81 rival, 5-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Tuesday night.

Tristan Jarry backstopped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (41-21-6-2) to victory in a game that saw Sam Lafferty score his first professional goal and the Penguins improve to 9-0-1-1 against the Bears this season. Also, with the win, the Penguins have reduced their magic number to clinch a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs to one.

The Penguins wasted little time in scoring the game’s first goal as Teddy Blueger fired a spin-o-rama backhander through Pheonix Copley’s five-hole 53 seconds into the game.

Hershey tied things up at 13:41 of the opening frame when Connor Hobbs unloaded a perfectly placed one-timer underneath the cross-bar. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton re-established its lead exactly two minutes later. The Penguins responded when Daniel Sprong tapped the puck over to Garrett Wilson in the slot, who then beat Copley down low once again.

Midway through the second period, Lafferty ripped a snapshot past the blocker of Copley, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead. The Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania native’s first goal as a pro caused a goaltending change for the Bears, too. Copley stepped out and was relieved by Vítek Vaněček.

The goaltending switch and two-goal deficit motivated Hershey, but the visitors couldn’t muscle anything past Jarry despite a flurry of scoring chances in the second half of the middle frame. Jarry made a series of highlight reel saves, featuring a sprawling save for which he fell on his back and reached around his head to the far post so that he could rob Colby Williams of a sure goal. Jarry’s lights-out goaltending maintained the home team’s 3-1 lead going into the second intermission.

Sprong cashed in on the power play with his AHL rookie-leading 28th goal of the season to give the Penguins a three-goal lead 4:32 into the final period.

Hershey made things interesting by using goals from Anthony Peluso and Mathias Bau three minutes apart to pull within one. The Bears were also given a power play opportunity with less than a minute to go in regulation. Their late power play only yielded an empty net goal for Jean-Sébastien Dea to round out the night’s scoring at 5-3.

Jarry made 30 saves in the win for the Penguins. Copley was replaced after denying 12 of 15 shots faced, while Vaněček stepped in to turn aside 13 of the 14 bids Wilkes-Barre/Scranton threw his way.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Apr. 6 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with a chance to secure a spot in the postseason. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS LOSE HEATED BATTLE WITH BRUINS, 3-1

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a tenacious battle to the Providence Bruins, 3-1, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (40-21-6-2) outshot the visitors 35-27, but Jordan Binnington turned in a great performance in net that stymied the Penguins time and time again.

The Bruins got on the board first when Adam Payerl capitalized on the power play at 14:06 in the opening period. Payerl was able to slap a rebound behind Tristan Jarry to put the visitors up, 1-0.

With 3:12 left in the first period, Trent Frederic collected the puck on a failed clear attempt by the Penguins forwards and fired a shot past Jarry for his second pro goal. However, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton stormed down the ice on the next shift and reduced the deficit back down to one. Jean-Sébastien Dea gathered a centering pass from Daniel Sprong and picked the corner over Binnington’s glove before the first intermission.

The Penguins and Bruins kept the chances coming in the middle frame, firing 11 and 13 shots respectively, as both goaltenders stayed strong in their crease.

Penguins came close to tying the game midway through the final period when Sprong rushed down the ice and whipped a shot at the opposing net. Garrett Wilson was there to collect the rebound only to be denied by Binnington.

The Bruins cashed in on the power play once again when Jordan Szwarz lifted the puck past Jarry into the left corner of the goal, extending his team’s lead to 3-1 at 8:32 in the third.

Binnington’s brilliance continued as he stood tall to fend off a Sam Lafferty scoring chance moments later. Lafferty collected a big rebound and threw it towards a wide open goal, but the goaltender reached behind his back, smacking the puck away in acrobatic fashion and robbing Lafferty of his first pro goal.

Binnington ended up with 34 saves, while Jarry posted 24 stops in the loss.

The Penguins’ next game is Tuesday, Apr. 3 against the Hershey Bears. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Individual tickets for the final three home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS SIGN NICLAS ALMARI TO ATO

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Niclas Almari to an amateur tryout agreement for the 2017-18 season. Almari returns to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after accepting an ATO and training with the club in April of 2017.

Almari, 19, just completed his second professional season with HPK-Edustusjääkiekko Ry of the Finnish Liiga. In 41 games with HPK this season, Almari notched four goals and four assists for eight points. At times throughout the season, Almari, a native of Espoo, Finland, was loaned to Lempäälän Kisa and Espoo United of the Mestis, Finland’s second professional league. In 13 combined contests in the Mestis, Almari racked up four assists.

At the expiration of the regular season, Almari was assigned by HPK to its junior club for the Jr. A SM-liiga Playoffs. In five postseason games, he scored twice and added an assist for three points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins selected the defenseman in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, Almari began his professional career with HPK. Almari completed the 2016-17 campaign with HPK’s junior club for a 10-game stint in the Jr. A SM-liiga playoffs. HPK U20 won the Legacy Bowl that year, and Almari topped all defensemen during the playoffs in assists (10) and points (11).

The Penguins’ next game is today, Saturday, Mar. 31, when they host the Providence Bruins for the second time this week. Puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final four home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS EARN 40TH WIN WITH 4-3 VICTORY AT HARTFORD

BOXSCORE

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got a third-period equalizer to force overtime and got the deciding goal in the extra frame for a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack at XL Center on Friday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (40-20-6-2) received a three-point effort from Christian Thomas, and Daniel Sprong potted the game-winner for his team-leading 27th goal of the season. Furthermore, the Penguins achieved 40 wins for the 13th season in a row, the league’s active record.

Ethan Prow was reinserted into the Penguins’ lineup due to a pregame suspension levied to Andrey Pedan, and made an immediate impact by setting up the game’s first goal. Prow ushered the puck out of the Penguins’ defensive end and then dished it to Christian Thomas, who wired a shot through Alexandar Georgiev’s five-hole 9:16 into the contest.

The Wolf Pack unleashed three-straight goals in the second period to stun the visitors and assume a 3-1 lead. First, Gabriel Fontaine deposited a tap-in on the power play at 1:34 of the middle frame. Less than two minutes later, Dawson Leedahl’s backhander gave Hartford its first lead of the night. Cristoval Nieves delivered a behind-the-back set-up to Scott Kosmachuk for the Wolf Pack’s third goal of the frame at 11:13.

After Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t get any puck luck on a dominant man advantage, Zach Trotman unloaded a slap shot that snuck behind Georgiev and pulled the Penguins within one goal. Trotman’s tally was assisted by Thomas and Jarred Tinordi with 3:07 left in the second period.

Thomas completed his three-point night and evened the score, 3-3, with a goal at 6:25 of the third period. Tom Sestito stripped a Hartford defenseman of the puck in the Wolf Pack’s zone and fed Thomas on the backdoor for the slam dunk.

Adam Johnson was afforded an opportunity to put the Penguins back on top when he was awarded a penalty shot midway through the third period, but Georgiev slammed the door shut.

The three-on-three overtime was filled with scoring chances for both sides as the two clubs combined for 10 shots on goal. However, the final shot was the only one that mattered, coming from the stick of Sprong with 39.8 seconds left in the extra frame.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 31, when they host the Providence Bruins for the second time this week. Puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final four home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

TOM KOSTOPOULOS NAMED PENGUINS’ MAN OF THE YEAR

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are proud to announce that Tom Kostopoulos has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Northeast Pennsylvania community during the 2017-18 season.

In his 19th season of professional hockey, Kostopoulos remains an active part of the community and an example for younger players on the roster. A fan favorite since his first season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 1999-2000, Kostopoulos prefers to avoid the spotlight when given the chance, but regularly visits local schools and plays a role in organizing an annual appearance at Back Mountain Memorial Library, where he, other players and Penguins mascot TUX read to children. Also, the Penguins captain heads up the team’s holiday gift giving initiative each year, for which players purchase and deliver Christmas gifts to local kids in need.

This is Kostopoulos’ first selection as IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year in his AHL career.

The Penguins captain is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2017-18 Yanick Dupré Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupré Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Friday, Mar. 30, when they travel to Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack for the final time this season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Saturday, Mar. 31, and they’ll host the Providence Bruins. Saturday’s puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final four home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS SIGN DANE BIRKS TO ATO

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Dane Birks to an amateur tryout agreement for the 2017-18 season.

Birks, 22, just completed his third season with Michigan Tech University and posted career highs in goals (5), assists (13), points (18) and games played (44). Over the course of his three years of collegiate play, Birks accumulated seven goals and 23 assists for 30 points in 117 games.

Before attending Michigan Tech, Birks competed at the junior-A level in the British Columbia Hockey League for the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Merritt Centennials. The Merritt, British Columbia native totaled nine goals and 32 assists for a total of 41 points across 112 BCHL games. During his time with the Centennials, Birks was named the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2012-13 and Defenseman of the Year in 2013-14.

Birks was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the sixth round (164th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, Birks won a bronze medal as a member of Team Canada West at the U-19 World Junior A Challenge in November of 2013.

Pittsburgh inked Birks to a two-year, entry-level contract on Mar. 27, which will begin in the 2018-2019 season.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Friday, Mar. 30, when they travel to Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack for the final time this season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Saturday, Mar. 31, and they’ll host the Providence Bruins. Saturday’s puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final four home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS DEFEAT BRUINS, 5-2, RECLAIM SECOND PLACE IN DIVISION

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used a second period surge to defeat the visiting Providence Bruins, 5-2, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday night.

Daniel Sprong scored his team-leading 25th and 26th goals of the season within the opening minutes of the middle frame to spur Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (39-20-6-2) on to beat their rival and reclaim second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Penguins came out with a strong offensive effort in the first period, throwing 14 pucks at the net, but were unable to solve goaltender Zane McIntyre. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got its greatest scoring chance of the opening frame when Jean-Sébastien Dea was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway, only to be denied by McIntyre.

Shortly after McIntyre stoned Dea on the shorthanded opportunity, the P-Bruins eventually converted on that man advantage with 41.5 seconds left in the first period. Jakub Zbořil released a rocket slap shot that found its way through traffic and into the Penguins’ net to put the visitors on the board first.

The Penguins came roaring back to start the middle frame, using three goals within the first 6:05 of the period to gain a two-goal lead. First, Sprong fooled McIntyre with a spin-o-rama backhander from the left wall as the puck somehow leaked past the Providence goalie’s pad and inside the near post. Less than three minutes later, Garrett Wilson fed Sprong for an opportunity that he ripped through McIntyre’s five-hole.

Sprong’s second goal on the night pulled him into a tie with Charlotte’s Warren Foegele for the league lead in rookie goal scoring (26).

On his first shift back after retreating to the locker room for an injury evaluation, Joseph Cramarossa sniped the glove side of McIntyre and extended the Penguins’ lead to 3-1.

Anton Blidh halted the spread of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s wildfire when he beat Tristan Jarry clean over the glove on the rush, pulling the P-Bruins back within one at 8:54 of the second stanza.

Both teams’ offenses were held in check until midway through the final period. Teddy Blueger pulled off a sensational deke in tight quarters and roofed a shot right under the crossbar for a Penguins insurance maker, putting them up, 4-2.

Jarred Tinordi flipped the puck into the empty net in the game’s closing seconds to round out the scoring at 5-2.

Both Jarry and McIntyre ended up with 27 saves on the night.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Mar. 30 when they travel to Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack for the final time this season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Saturday, Mar. 31, and they’ll host the Providence Bruins once again. Saturday’s puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final four home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.