PENGUINS PODCAST SUMMER UPDATE / TOBIAS LINDBERG

The Penguins Podcast is back to get you up to date on all the happenings from the summer so far. Nick Hart leads you through news regarding free agency, development camp, the draft and more! Tobias Lindberg stops by the Podcast for a bit to talk about the crazy trade that made him a Penguin as well as World Cup action. There may or may not be a bonus guest that shows up later in the show, too…

PENGUINS SIGN BURTON, CRAMAROSSA, JOSEPHS AND SPINOZZI


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed forwards Joseph Cramarossa, Jarrett Burton and Troy Josephs as well as defenseman Kevin Spinozzi to American Hockey League contracts for the 2018-19 season.

Cramarossa returns to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after spending the latter half of the 2017-18 campaign with the Penguins. Acquired in a Valentine’s Day trade with the Stockton Heat, Cramarossa went on to produce six goals and six assists for 12 points in 28 games as a Penguin. Combined with his stats from the first half of season with Stockton, the Markham, Ontario native earned a career-high 22 points (9G-13A).

Cramarossa, 25, has played 229 career games in the American Hockey League, and he has 26 goals, 27 assists, 53 points and 269 penalty minutes in that time. Cramarossa was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round (65th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft after playing for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament.

Burton also had a strong 2017-18 season with the Penguins, posting AHL career highs in goals (9), assists (10), points (19) and games played (52). The two-way forward has played the entirety of his AHL career with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, previously skating for the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers. In 232 professional games played, Burton has 51 goals and 61 assists for 112 career points.

Josephs spent the majority of last season with the Nailers, and during 43 games in a Nailers uniform, he posted 36 points (16G-20A). The rookie also notched his first career hat trick on Feb. 2, 2018 against the Indy Fuel. Josephs skated in four games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, as well, but did not produce any points in that time.

Originally a seventh round pick (209th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Josephs turned pro last season after a four-year career at Clarkson University. The 24-year-old from Whitby, Ontario also won the 2013 Ontario Junior Hockey League championship as a member of the St. Michael’s Buzzers.

Spinozzi, 22, was an undrafted free agent who made Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s team out of training camp on a professional tryout agreement. He ultimately signed an AHL contract with the club on Dec. 16, 2017 and posted two assists in 16 games. The rookie defenseman also appeared in 12 games for Wheeling, registering two goals and three assists for five points in that time.

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season of hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON ANNOUNCES 20TH SEASON SCHEDULE


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ full 2018-19 schedule was released today by the American Hockey League, and the Penguins will play on weekend evenings or afternoons for 32 of their 38 home games during their 20th season.

Download PDF versions of the 2018-2019 schedule here | COLOR PDF | B&W PDF 

Sync your online calendar with the schedule here  Stanza Calendar

The Penguins will play a 76-game regular season schedule (38 home/38 road) featuring games against 13 teams in the Eastern Conference and an additional three opponents from the Western Conference. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton remains a member of the eight-team Atlantic Division, along with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Charlotte Checkers, Hartford Wolf Pack, Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Providence Bruins and Springfield Thunderbirds. The Penguins will meet division foes 54 times (27 home/27 road) with their remaining 22 games coming against clubs in the North Division (eight home/eight road) and Central Division (three home/three road).

As it was revealed on Tuesday, the Penguins will open their 20th season on Saturday, Oct. 6, when they face off with the Thunderbirds at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. They then quickly turn their attention to a road trip to Ohio for a two-game set with the Cleveland Monsters. The early-season road trip will be Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first visit to Cleveland since the 2008-09 campaign. The Monsters come to Northeastern Pennsylvania to play on the Penguins’ home ice twice during the season, once on Dec. 7 and the next time on Feb. 1.

For the second year in a row, the Penguins will revisit home-and-home series with three Western Conference foes, the Grand Rapids Griffins, Milwaukee Admirals and Rockford IceHogs. The Penguins’ longest stretch of road contests this season is five games from Nov. 4 – 14. Their longest homestand lasts only three games, which will occur three separate times during the season in January and twice in March.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will also participate in several games with unique start times this season. The Penguins will take the ice at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with the Phantoms at 1:05 p.m. on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. While on the road, the Penguins will have three different contests with puck drops scheduled before noon. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will play Springfield at 10:35 a.m. at MassMutual Center. The Penguins also have 10:30 a.m. start times for showdowns with the Sound Tigers on Wednesday, Jan. 23 and Tuesday, Apr. 2 at Webster Bank Arena.

The Penguins’ full 2018-19 schedule is listed below.

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

 

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS 2018-19 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

(Home Games in BOLD, All Times EST)

Day Date Time  (EST) Visiting Team Home Team
Sat Oct. 6 7:05 p.m. Springfield vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Thu Oct. 11 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Cleveland
Sat Oct. 13 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Cleveland
Wed Oct. 17 7:05 p.m. Hershey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Oct. 19 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley
Sat Oct. 20 7:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Oct. 26 7:05 p.m. Hershey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Oct. 27 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hershey
Fri Nov. 2 7:05 p.m. Hartford vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Nov. 3 7:05 p.m. Hartford vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Nov. 4 3:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Bridgeport
Fri Nov. 9 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Providence
Sat Nov. 10 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hartford
Sun Nov. 11 3:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Providence
Wed Nov. 14 10:35 a.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Springfield
Fri Nov. 16 7:05 p.m. Charlotte vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Nov. 17 7:05 p.m. Charlotte vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Nov. 23 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Springfield
Sat Nov. 24 7:05 p.m. Hershey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Nov. 25 3:05 p.m. Providence vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Wed Nov. 28 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hershey
Fri Nov. 30 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Rochester
Sat Dec. 1 4:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Toronto
Fri Dec. 7 7:05 p.m. Cleveland vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Dec. 8 3:05 p.m. Bridgeport vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Dec. 9 5:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hershey
Wed Dec. 12 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Springfield
Sat Dec. 15 7:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Dec. 16 3:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Bridgeport
Wed Dec. 19 7:05 p.m. Bridgeport vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Dec. 21 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hershey
Sat Dec. 22 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Syracuse
Wed Dec. 26 7:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Dec. 28 7:05 p.m. Hershey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Dec. 29 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley
Mon Dec. 31 6:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Binghamton
Fri Jan. 4 7:05 p.m. Grand Rapids vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Jan. 5 7:05 p.m. Milwaukee vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Jan. 11 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Charlotte
Sat Jan. 12 6:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Charlotte
Fri Jan. 18 7:05 p.m. Rochester vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Jan. 19 7:05 p.m. Hershey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Mon Jan. 21 1:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Wed Jan. 23 10:30 a.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Bridgeport
Sat Jan. 26 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Binghamton
Fri Feb. 1 7:05 p.m. Cleveland vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Feb. 2 7:05 p.m. Bridgeport vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Wed Feb. 6 8:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Rockford
Fri Feb. 8 8:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Milwaukee
Sat Feb. 9 8:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Grand Rapids
Wed Feb. 13 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hershey
Sat Feb. 16 7:05 p.m. Utica vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Feb. 17 3:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hartford
Fri Feb. 22 7:05 p.m. Hershey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Feb. 24 3:05 p.m. Rockford vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Mar. 1 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Providence
Sat Mar. 2 7:30 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hartford
Wed Mar. 6 7:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Fri Mar. 8 7:05 p.m. Hartford vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Mar. 9 7:05 p.m. Syracuse vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Wed Mar. 13 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley
Sat Mar. 16 7:05 p.m. Providence vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Mar. 17 3:05 p.m. Toronto vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Tue Mar. 19 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Hershey
Fri Mar. 22 7:05 p.m. Lehigh Valley vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Mar. 23 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley
Sun Mar. 24 3:05 p.m. Springfield vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Wed Mar. 27 7:05 p.m. Providence vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Mar. 30 7:05 p.m. Springfield vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Tue Apr. 2 10:30 a.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Bridgeport
Fri Apr. 5 7:05 p.m. Binghamton vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sat Apr. 6 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley
Sun Apr. 7 3:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley
Fri Apr. 12 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Utica
Sat Apr. 13 7:05 p.m. Bridgeport vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Sun Apr. 14 3:05 p.m. Binghamton vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

 

GAMES BY DAY OF THE WEEK   GAMES BY MONTH
Home Road Total   Home Road Total
Monday 1 1 2 October 4 4 8
Tuesday 0 2 2 November 6 8 14
Wednesday 5 7 12 December 6 8 14
Thursday 0 1 1 January 5 4 9
Friday 12 9 21 February 5 5 10
Saturday 15 12 27 March 9 5 14
Sunday 5 6 11 April 3 4 7

 

GAMES vs. OPPONENTS (Home/Road)  
Atlantic Division North Division Central Division
Bridgeport (4/4) Binghamton (2/2) Grand Rapids (1/1)
Charlotte (2/2) Cleveland (2/2) Milwaukee (1/1)
Hartford (3/3) Rochester (1/1) Rockford (1/1)
Hershey (6/6) Syracuse (1/1)
Lehigh Valley (6/6) Toronto (1/1)
Providence (3/3) Utica (1/1)
Springfield (3/3)

 

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PENGUINS BEGIN 20TH SEASON AT HOME ON OCT. 6

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they will open their 20th season of hockey on home ice against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Penguins had the Thunderbirds’ number in the 2017-18 season, going a perfect 4-0-0-0 against their fellow Atlantic Division foe. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also managed to double-up Springfield in goals during that four-game season series, outscoring the T-Birds by a 16-8 margin.

The rest of the Penguins’ 2018-19 is expected to be released later this week.

Season  ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PENGUINS SIGN O’NEILL, HAGGERTY, McGRATH AND BROWN


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have signed defenseman Will O’Neill, as well as forwards Ryan Haggerty, Patrick McGrath and Cam Brown to American Hockey League contracts for the 2018-19 season.

O’Neill returns to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after two years spent as part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization. In his one season with the Penguins, 2015-16, O’Neill led the team with 42 assists, and he topped all Penguins defensemen with 50 points. The Salem, Massachusetts native’s efforts earned him a spot at the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic.

A seventh-year pro, O’Neill has racked up 207 points (40G-167A) in 396 AHL games. The 30-year-old blueliner also appeared in his first NHL game last season on Nov. 2, 2017 at St. Louis.

Haggerty is coming off of a career season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording personal bests in goals (16), assists (21) and points (37) over 47 contests in a Penguins uniform. He also notched the first hat trick of his career last season when he found the back of the net three times at Belleville on Jan. 12, 2018. The forward from Stamford, Connecticut has registered 51 goals and 56 assists for 106 points in 217 AHL games across four seasons between the Penguins, Hartford Wolf Pack and Rockford IceHogs.

McGrath notched two goals last season for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, an AHL career-high, in addition to 95 penalty minutes in 19 games. A native of Shavertown, Pa., McGrath became the first local hockey player to join the Penguins when he signed a professional tryout agreement with the team on December 26, 2014. He made his AHL debut the next night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He has since played in 70 total games with his hometown team, earning seven points (3G-4A) and 262 penalty minutes.

Brown appeared in one game for the Penguins last season, the regular season finale at Hershey on Apr. 15, 2018. He also appeared in 13 additional AHL contests on a professional tryout agreement with the Springfield Thunderbirds, earning a goal and an assist for two points. He scored his first AHL goal in his second AHL game on Feb. 17 vs. Providence. Where the then-first-year pro really shined was with the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers. Brown notched 17 goals and 36 assists for 53 points in 55 games with Wheeling, placing his second on the team in assists and fourth in points.

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season of hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

LINDBERG JOINS PENGUINS (FOR REAL)

The way Tobias Lindberg became a Penguin was… unorthodox. Part of a trade last February that saw him dealt by Vegas to Pittsburgh, Lindberg was swept up in a 24-hour whirlwhind that ultimately kept him exactly where he already was.

When the dust settled, Lindberg remained with Vegas’ AHL affiliate on loan and played out the rest of the season with the Chicago Wolves.

“When the general manager (Jim Rutherford) called me, he said to me, ‘This is a very complicated trade, one that I’ve never seen before,’” Lindberg recalled of the day he was technically dealt to the Penguins. “I didn’t try to let it bother me. I didn’t want to think about it too much. I’m just going to go crazy. I said whatever you guys want me to do, I’ll do it.”

For the time, that meant staying with a different club’s AHL affiliate, but Rutherford has since made it clear that what they want Lindberg to do is be a part of the Penguins’ future.

Lindberg re-signed with Pittsburgh prior to development camp, suggesting that he’s in their plans as a prospect. He might be skating for the Steel City someday, but he’s likely to stop in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton first. The Swedish forward is totally game for a stint in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“To me, it doesn’t matter where I play. I just want to play a lot,” Lindberg said. “You see [Pittsburgh] has a lot of young guys that come up from Wilkes-Barre. When I was playing in Toronto, we played Wilkes-Barre and saw they always had a good team. If Wilkes-Barre is where I play, I’ll be fortunate to play there. Hopefully, I take on a leading role and play a lot.”

That most recent trade is just another chapter in what has been an eventful career for Lindberg. He has been traded three different times, once from Ottawa to Toronto, then Toronto to Vegas, and most recently Vegas to Pittsburgh, he won a Memorial Cup before turning pro, and has six NHL games under his belt already, too. All of these experiences have made Lindberg much more mature than your average 22-year-old.

“I still look at myself as a young player, even though I’ve packed in a lot in a few years,” he said. “It’s been a lot of trades, a lot of new cities, a lot of new teammates, a lot of injuries. I feel like I’ve learned to be more calm and work on getting a little better every summer and every day, I’m going to play in the NHL some day.”

Even if his path to the show has been full of sharp turns and changes in direction, maybe he can fully realize that dream now that he’s officially a Penguin.

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.  For more info on season ticket packages, fill in the form below, and a Penguins representative will contact you directly.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

MILETIC BRINGS HARD WORK, SCORING TOUCH TO PENS

Sam Miletic scored a lot of goals the season before the Pittsburgh Penguins signed him as an undrafted free agent. Sam Miletic scored even more goals the season after the Pittsburgh Penguins signed him as an undrafted free agent.

His impressive offensive figures and all-around demeanor have Penguins brass extremely excited for what he can bring to the table.

“The biggest thing with Sam is his attention to detail,” said Penguins development coach Jarrod Skalde. “He already looks like a pro. He conducts himself like a pro. You can see how he pays attention on the ice to all the little things.”

In typical hockey fashion, Miletic credits his offense to playing with quality teammates in both London and Niagara, but don’t let his soft-spoken humbleness mislead you into thinking he’s shy on talent. His shot explodes off his stick and packs a mighty punch. He’s also shown a willingness to drive to the front of the net with or without the puck.

As his skills developed and his scoring touch blossomed as an undrafted free agent in the Ontario Hockey League, Miletic became a prospect that Pittsburgh couldn’t ignore any more.

“We were so impressed with him last year, that’s why we signed him to the entry-level deal,” Skalde added. “We’re really excited to have him. He seems like a guy that’s already pro-ready.”

Miletic happily accepts any compliments that Skalde, reporters or fans will give him, but he’s always quick to try and deflect accolades to his teammates. That being said, he has no interest in taking a back seat to anyone at this year’s training camp. He’s determined to make coaches and anyone else notice him, one way or another.

“[Pittsburgh] seems to appreciate guys that work hard,” Miletic. “So I’m going to come into the season with that mindset, just like last year, and control what I can control.”

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.  For more info on season ticket packages, fill in the form below, and a Penguins representative will contact you directly.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

DEVELOPMENT CAMP 3-ON-3 TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK

The Penguins concluded their 2018 Development Camp with a three-on-three scrimmage tournament. Nick Hart was on hand to take in the festivities which were played in front of a capacity crowd at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania.


First things first, this was a rather quick event. The tournament consisted of only three games: Two teams played one another at the same time, then to two victors faced off in the “Final”. The games were played with two 14-minute halves instead of three periods, and, of course, every second was played at three-on-three.

The four teams involved looked like this…

FIRST ROUND

I decided to go over to the side of the ice that featured Team Maatta vs. Team Dumoulin. I wanted to see a team that had Linus Ölund, Niclas Almari and recent draft pick Calen Addison in action, plus there was no way I was going to miss Tom Kostopoulos’ debut behind the bench.

• There’s good flow to this game. Not a lot of stoppages from the goalies. Both teams looking for home run passes.

• Kostopoulos is on the Team Dumoulin side of things, but his opposing coach, Jarrod Skalde, is getting some unexpected help. Next to him is Kasper Björkqvist, another highly-touted Penguins prospect who was held out of development camp drills due to a minor injury.

• There are scoring chances aplenty, but no goals until the two squads score in quick succession. It’s 1-1 midway through the first half.

• Controversy! Niclas Almari appears to tuck a nasty backhand breakaway goal, off the back bar and out, but the referee waves it off. Almari can’t believe it. This may have been your turning point in the game, at least, that’s what Coach Björkqvist was saying later in the night.

• Team Dumoulin gets a goal before the half, but Jan Drozg takes over early in the second. He’s making great individual efforts to set up chance after chance. Eventually, Will MacKinnon scores on a nasty backhand roof job. This one counts, and it’s 3-1, Team Dumoulin.

• Ölund has been a stand-out at camp all week. It’s been a little bit harder for him to make his presence felt in three-on-three, since he doesn’t have the puck on his stick at all times and its harder to show off his well-rounded game with all the open ice. Still, I think Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans should be excited to see this young man get to work this season.

• Drozg almost scores, but quickly gathers his rebound and throws it in front for Connor Roberts to finish the job. 4-1, Team Dumoulin.

• With time dwindling down and down by three goals, Skalde pulls his goalie for an extra attacker with about four minutes left in the game. Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.

• Addison just had a surgical breakout pass to create a breakaway for his team late, but it doesn’t amount to a goal. Team Maatta can’t muster the goals for an equalizer and Kostopoulos’ Team Dumoulin gets the “W”.

• Made it over to the other side of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex to see Alex D’Orio perform highway robbery on Will Reilly. D’Orio went post-to-post, then back again with his chest up the whole time to make the save look far too easy.

• Team Murray dispatches of Team Guentzel, 8-4.

TEAM DUMOULIN vs. TEAM MURRAY FINAL

• Right from the get-go, Team Dumoulin gets a two-on-one and D’Orio makes a snazzy glove save.

• Man, D’Orio remains busy early. Makes a breakaway save on Renārs Kranstenbergs only to see Krastenbergs fish the rebound out of the corner and deliver a pass to MacKinnon for the Final’s first goal. MacKinnon, a defenseman, continues to go to the net-front and get rewarded for it. 1-0, Team Dumoulin.

• Team Murray trying to turn the tide with its first solid possession of the game. Clayton Phillips set-up nicely, but can’t tickle the twine.

• D’Orio is locked in.

• Eight minutes are left in the first half, and it’s still 1-0, Tom Kostopoulos and Team Dumoulin.

• Big save by D’Orio at one end leads to a goal for Justin Almeida for a tie game. Less than a minute later, Casey Dornbach blows past the defense and splits the wickets to give Team Murray the 2-1 advantage! Not long after, Lewis Zerter-Gossage buries one in a wide-open net. My, oh, my how things have turned. Team Murray goes up 3-1 with four minutes left in the half.

• Almeida has been impressive this week. Wide open three-on-three hockey is doing nothing to conceal his skillset, either.

• Sam Miletic sets up Krastenbergs to give Team Dumoulin some life late in the half, but Team Murray trots right down the ice and gets it right back. 4-2, Team Murray.

HALFTIME THOUGHTS: D’Orio, good. Aleida, good. Miletic, driving play for his team, making some power moves to the front of the net, but hasn’t managed to score in this one.

• It’s quiet.

• Too quiet

• Five minutes go by without much action before Team Dumoulin pulls within one thanks to Jon Lizotte grinding away at the front of the net.

• Nevermind. Team Murray answers quickly again. Harvard’s Zerter-Gossage for the second time tonight, and he gives an animated celebration. 5-3, Team Murray.

• D’Orio is human after all. A little leaker gets past him, and Kostopoulos’ Team Dumoulin has pulled within one with 4:31 left in the second half.

• What’s the best time to pull the goalie when the game is played three-on-three? One minute left? Two minutes? Sooner? Earlier, we saw Team Maatta totally dominate possession with the goalie pulled and skating with a four-on-three advantage. They just didn’t get anything to show for it. Four-on-three gives you a lot more ice to work with then a standard six-on-five extra-attacker situation… I’ll let you contemplate that answer for yourself.

• Before Kostopoulos can pull the goalie, Jeff Malott dances around the O-zone and rips one in. 6-4, Team Murray.

• Now Team Dumoulin gets the extra attacker on with 1:32 left. Too little too late? A lot of really close calls, but no cigar.

• Zerter-Gossage completes the hat trick and brings the game to a 7-4 decision, a championship victory for Team Murray. Clark Donatelli comes out onto the ice with a championship trophy for Zerter-Gossage and co.

KOSTOPOULOS’ INFLUENCE BEING FELT BY D’ORIO, ALMARI

Tom Kostopoulos’ playing career might be over, but his legacy among teammates is going to live on for a long, long time. The long-time Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins captain has had his praises sung by more than a handful of Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions in 2016 and 2017, and his name has been brought up by the prospects at development camp this week, as well.

Both Alex D’Orio and Niclas Almari mentioned Kostopoulos as a huge influence unprompted at different times during their media availability at the UMPC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. It’s natural to understand why players that ascended from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to eventually getting their names inscribed on Lord Stanley would speak highly of Kostopoulos’ contributions to their development.

But what makes D’Orio and Almari’s comments stand out is the fact that neither of them was a teammate of Kostopoulos’ for more than a month. D’Orio and Almari joined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on amateur tryout agreements late in the 2017-18 campaign (D’Orio didn’t even get in a game,) but they both felt compelled to share their stories of the captain’s impact on the start of their professional careers.

“Off the ice, I learned so much with Tom Kostopoulos,” D’Orio said. “How to be a pro, on and off the ice. He played what, 20 years pro? I just looked at him and how he acted, and I tried to lean and be just like him.”

In a different locker room at the opposite side of the hall at the UPMC  Lemieux Sports Complex, Almari echoed D’Orio’s thoughts. Almari also used the phrase “how to be a pro” before running down a laundry list of lessons Kostopoulos taught him during their brief time together.

“Things like how to prepare before games, what to do after games, how to eat, all those small things,” Almari said. “It’s big for young guys to learn.”

“They’re just saying that because I bought them dinner,” Kostopoulos said with a big smile before continuing, “They’re good kids. I’ve said it before, this organization prides itself on bringing in good people. That’s who they keep around. That makes it fun to work with kids like that, and if they appreciate it, it makes you feel really good about yourself.”

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

D’ORIO FACED SHOTS, CHALLENGES LAST SEASON

Alex D’Orio experienced a baptism by fire this past season with the Saint John Sea Dogs. The reigning Québec Major Junior Hockey League champions had their talent pool pillaged by pro graduation and trades. D’Orio no longer had the security blankets of Thomas Chabot, Jakub Zbořil and Simon Bourque playing in front of him, so he faced a ton of shots on a nightly basis.

Imagine what you think qualifies as “a lot of shots”, and then add even more shots on top of that.

“I had sixty saves in sixty minutes,” D’Orio said, recalling a grueling contest on March 4 against the eventual Memorial Cup winners, Acadie-Bathurst Titan. “That’s a game I’m going to remember for a lifetime.”

That’s not cherry-picking one game where the floodgates opened in front of D’Orio, either. There were 15 different instances this season in which Saint John surrendered 40 or more shots while D’Orio was between the pipes. The then-18-year-old goaltender led the QMJHL in shots faced with 1651 (an average of 37.5 per game), and his 1478 saves topped league goaltenders, as well (33.6 per game). However, his save percentage finished below .900 and he only won nine games.

Despite the dramatic drop in his statistics from his draft year to last season, both D’Orio and the Penguins are taking his heavy workload as a blessing in disguise, perhaps even fast-tracking his development.

“It’s part of the junior process being part of a rebuilding team,” D’Orio said. “I received a lot of shots. I learned a lot this year. This year, I learned how to be a starter and how to receive shots… [I learned to] never stop competing. That’s a big thing.”

Goaltending Development Coach Andy Chiodo knows a thing or two about being peppered with shots from his time a professional netminder for 14 seasons. He knows the value of a young goalie getting the kind of experience D’Orio had in Saint John this past year.

“It’s all about how you react to that,” Chiodo said. “If you take it in a way where you improve your game, try to get better, make sure you can handle that workload night in and night out, and whether you get scored on or lose the game, your mindset stays where you’re trying to help your team get better and not get frustrated. Then it can serve you well. If you get frustrated, it wears on you and you start internalizing the losses.

“[D’Orio] has to handle that the right way. For the most part, it sounds like he did.”

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information