CHRISTIAN THOMAS WINS BRONZE WITH TEAM CANADA


Christian Thomas is bringing a bronze back to northeast Pennsylvania.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward captured the bronze medal as part of the Canadian men’s ice hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Canada defeated the Czech Republic, 6-4, on Saturday to claim the medal, with former Penguins forward Andrew Ebbett (2013-15) picking up a pair of goals in the game.

Thomas appeared in all six of the Canadians’ contests, recording two points (1+1) and a plus-3 rating.  He tallied his goal in a 4-0 win over the Republic of Korea in group play.

In his first season with the Penguins, Thomas has recorded 21 points (12+9) in 30 AHL games this season.  The 25-year old from Toronto, Ontario has 177 career points (88+89) in 314 AHL contests with six teams.

The Penguins next home game is this Sunday, February 25, when they host the Hershey Bears at 3:05pm.  It’s another Kids Free Sunday, with fans ages 14 and younger able to get into the game for FREE with a paid adult ticket.

Get your tickets for Sunday by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.

FAN FRIDAY INFO

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KOSTOPOULOS APPEARS IN 700th AHL GAME


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos appeared in his 700th American Hockey League game on Friday night, as the Penguins played host to the Rockford IceHogs at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 204th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft, Kostopoulos made his professional debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on October 22, 1999 when the Pens took on the St. John’s Maple Leafs in Newfoundland.

Since that time, Kostopoulos has suited up in 636 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over what is essentially two stints (1999-2004; 2013-present). He also appeared in 64 games with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs during the 2004-05 campaign.

Entering Friday night’s action, Kostopoulos had recorded 525 AHL points (207+318) and 961 penalty minutes.

Kostopoulos has also appeared in 630 National Hockey League games with Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils, posting 157 points (61+96) and 723 penalty minutes.

The 39-year old Kostopoulos is one of just four players to appear in 600 AHL and 600 NHL games.  On Jan. 28, 2017, Kostopoulos became the 91st player in AHL history to reach 500 career points, and on Feb. 4, 2017, he became the 14th player in league history to have played in 600 games with one club.

The Penguins next home game is this Sunday, February 25, when they host the Hershey Bears at 3:05pm.  It’s another Kids Free Sunday, with fans ages 14 and younger able to get into the game for FREE with a paid adult ticket.

Get your tickets for Sunday by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.

FAN FRIDAY INFO

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ICEHOGS PAY FIRST VISIT TO WBS THIS FRIDAY


For the first time in franchise history, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be facing off against the Rockford IceHogs on Friday, February 23rd.  And since this week’s foe is a little unfamiliar, we thought we’d give you a little background on Friday night’s opponent.

While the IceHogs may be new to Penguins fans, they’ve actually been playing hockey since 1999, when they broke in as members of the United Hockey League.  The team’s name was selected by fan voting, beating out monickers ranging from Rhinos to Roughnecks (according to the IceHogs website).

The team competed in the UHL for eight seasons, making five playoff appearances.  Their best season in the league was their final one (2006-07), as they finished third in the 10 team league with a 48-21-7 record, and captured the Colonial Cup Championship in seven games over the Kalamazoo Wings.

The AHL debuted in Rockford in 2007-08 when ownership purchased the dormant Cincinnati Might Ducks franchise and signed an affiliation agreement with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since joining the AHL, the IceHogs have made five postseason appearances, and have twice advanced to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.  Their best season so far has been the 2014-15 campaign, when they finished with a 46-23-5-2 mark, finishing second in the Midwest Division.

This season, the IceHogs have a record of 26-22-3-3, and currently sit in sixth place in the Central Division. Rookie forward Matthew Highmore currently leads the IceHogs in goals (20), points (34), and games played (54), while forward Anthony Louis leads the team in assists with 21.  Jeff Glass leads all Rockford goaltenders in games played (19) and wins (10), with a record of 10-5-1-0.

The IceHogs also have many notable alumni that have gone on to play for the Blackhawks and ultimately win the Stanley Cup.  Bryan Bickell, Corey Crawford, Scott Darling, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy, Troy Brouwer, Andrew Shaw, Kris Versteeg, and Antti Raanta have all spent time in Rockford and gone on to win the Stanley Cup with the NHL club.

Current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Ryan Haggerty (2015-16) and Michael Leighton (2014-16) have spent time with the IceHogs, while some recognizable faces from the Pens’ past (Jeff Taffe, Rob Scuderi, David Koci, Tim Brent) have also suited up for the team.

Come on out and be a part of history, as the Penguins and IceHogs face off for the first time ever this week.  It’s another EYEWITNESS NEWS FAN FRIDAY, with lower bowl seats available for just $14, and select draft beers available for just $2 from 6-7:30pm.

This special FAN FRIDAY rate is available only through the Penguins front office by calling 570-208-7367, by visiting our offices at 40 Coal Street inside the Toyota SportsPlex, or online through the Penguins Team Store.

You can also request more info on FAN FRIDAY by filling in the info below:

FAN FRIDAY INFO

Would you like more info on tickets for any of our upcoming FAN FRIDAY games? Simply fill in your contact info below, and a Penguins ticket representative will contact you within 48 hours.
Info compiled by Courtney Answini

OLYMPICS ROUNDUP – QUALIFICATION GAMES GET UNDERWAY TONIGHT

Noah Welch and Team USA look to advance at the 2018 Winter Olympics when they face off with Slovakia Monday night.

Now the fun begins.

The second round of the men’s ice hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics gets underway this evening, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The qualification round features the bottom eight finishers from the opening round of play battling it out to make it to the quarterfinals. The first place teams from group play (Sweden, Czech Republic and Olympic Athletes from Russia), as well as the top second place finisher (Canada), all receive byes into the third round of play.

The United States and Slovakia, who finished with identical 1-2-0 marks in the first round, will face off in the first game of qualification on Monday night at 10:10pm Eastern Time. The Americans downed Slovakia by a 2-1 score earlier in the tourney.

The full schedule for the qualification and quarterfinals rounds is:

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUALIFICATION ROUND SCHEDULE

DATE TIME TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Monday, February 19 10:10pm USA – 5 Slovakia – 1
Tuesday, February 20 2:40am Slovenia – 1 Norway – 2 (OT)
Tuesday, February 20 7:10am Finland Korea
Tuesday, February 20 7:10am Switzerland Germany

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUARTERFINALS SCHEDULE

DATE TIME TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Tuesday, February 20 10:10pm Czech Republic USA
Wednesday, February 21 2:40am OAR Norway
Wednesday, February 21 7:10am Canada TBD
Wednesday, February 21 7:10am Sweden TBD

ALUMNI UPDATE

Nine former and one current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins players are competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics.  Their stats through Group Play:

CANADA
Andrew Ebbett – 2gp, 0-1-1
Chris Lee – 3gp, 0-3-3
Christian Thomas, 3gp, 1-0-1

CZECH REPUBLIC
Ondrej Nemec – 3gp, 0-0-0

GERMANY
Matthias Plachta – 3gp, 0-0-0

SOUTH KOREA
Bryan Young – 3gp, 0-0-0

NORWAY
Patrick Thoresen – 3gp, 1-0-1

SLOVAKIA
Thomas Surovy – 3gp, 0-1-1

USA
Chad Kolarik – 2gp, 0-0-0
Noah Welch – 3gp, 0-0-0

PENGUINS TIES IN PAST OLYMPIC GAMES

Konstantin Koltsov represented Belarus at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

When Team Canada hits the ice against Switzerland on Thursday morning, Christian Thomas will become the first active member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to take part in the Winter Olympic Games.

But he’s far from the first player with ties to the team to represent his country at the tournament.

One-time Penguins have suited up for their national teams in each of the past three Olympics. Here’s a quick look at those past Pens and their performances.

2006 – TURIN, ITALY

Tomas Surovy – Slovakia
A member of the Penguins from 2001-2006, Surovy made his first (but not his last) Olympic appearance for Slovakia at the 2006 Games. He chipped in with one assist during group play, helping his country to a perfect 5-0 mark. The Slovaks’ quarterfinal meeting with the Czech Republic resulted in a 3-1 loss, leading to a fifth place finish for Surovy and his countrymen.

2010 – VANCOUVER, CANADA

Marc-Andre Fleury – Canada
Fleury spent the entire 2004-05 campaign with Wilkes-Barre, as well as parts of two other regular seasons (2005-06, 2007-08). He didn’t see any action in the tournament, serving as Team Canada’s emergency netminder behind Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo, but still laid claim to a gold medal.

Ryan Whitney won a silve medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

Ryan Malone , Brooks Orpik, Ryan Whitney – United States
Malone made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, outing up in three games at the end of the 2002-03 season. He appeared in all six games with the Silver Medal squad in Vancouver, posting three goals and two assists.

Orpik appeared in 152 regular season games with the Pens in parts of three seasons, and was a solid defensive presence for the Americans in 2010. He went scoreless in the six games, but finished plus-1 for the tournament.

Whitney spent the entire 2004-05 season, and shorts stints in two others, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, before representing his country at the Olympics. He went scoreless during the tournament.

Miroslav Satan – Slovakia
Satan spent 10 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton late in the 2008-09 season, posting nine points (3+6) for the club. He posted a goal and an assist in five games during the 2010 tournament – his fourth Olympics appearance – as Slovakia finished fourth overall.

Konstantin Koltsov – Belarus
Koltsov had three stints with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06), posting 46 points (16+30) in 86 games. He picked up two assists in Belarus’ opening game, a 5-3 win over Germany, but went scoreless in the three ensuing match, as his country finished ninth out of 12 teams.  This was Koltsov’s second trip to the Olympics (2002 Salt Lake City).

Patrick Thoresen – Norway
Thoresen appeared in five games with the Penguins during the 2006-07 season, recording six points (1+5) on assignment from the Edmonton Oilers. He picked up three assists in a 5-4 OT loss to the Swiss, and notched another two helpers in a 4-3 loss to Slovakia in the qualification round.

Sven Butenschon – Germany
Butenschon spent two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (1999-01) posting 75 points (26+49) from the team’s blueline. The Germans dropped all four games they played in the tournament, and Butenschon recorded two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.

2014 – SOCHI, RUSSIA

Olli Maatta – Finland
Maatta made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, suiting up in three postseason games in 2013. The second-youngest member of Team Finland posted five points (3+2) in six games, including a goal in the bronze medal game against the United States.

Brooks Orpik – United States
Orpik helped the US to a perfect record (3-0-0) in group play, and advanced to the medal round with a 5-2 win over the Czechs. The Americans fell in a hard-fought 1-0 decision to Canada in the semifinals, then dropped a 5-0 decision to the Finns.

Michal Rozsival – Czech Republic
Rozsival appeared in 29 games with the Penguins in 2000-01, posting 16 points (8+8). He went scoreless in four games with the Czechs in 2014, who placed sixth out of 12 teams.

Tomas Surovy – Slovakia
Slovakia suffered through group play, posting an 0-2-1 mark before falling to the Czech Republic, 5-3, in qualification play. Surovy netted his lone Olympic goal in that game.

Patrick Thoresen – Norway
Thoresen picked up the lone goal for his country in a 3-1 loss to Canada, and notched an assist in a 3-1 loss to Austria. The Norwegians finished 12th overall in the tournament.

* = former Penguins coaches Dan Bylsma and Todd Richards were behind the bench for Team USA (Bylsma – head coach; Richards – assistant coach)

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FORMER PENS DOT OLYMPIC ROSTERS

The puck will drop at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games on Wednesday, February 14, with a pair of opening round games taking place at 7:10 am Eastern Time. And there will be no shortage of familiar faces for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans throughout the tournament.

In addition to current Penguins forward Christian Thomas, nine former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be pulling on jerseys for their national teams in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Here’s a quick look at theses blasts from the past with ties to our team.

CANADA

Andrew Ebbett (C) – The Canadian forward played parts of two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2013-15), recording 84 points (30+54) in 88 games. Ebbett also played in 29 playoff games over the two seasons, and scored 15 points (3+12).

Ebbett appeared in 33 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in parts of two seasons (2013-2015), recording seven points (1+6).

The Vernon, BC native also spent time with the Binghamton Senators (2006-2007), Portland Pirates (2007-2008), Iowa Chops (2008-2009), San Antonio Rampage (2010-2011) and Chicago Wolves (2012-2013) in the AHL.

While in the NHL Ebbett suited up for the Anaheim Ducks (2007-2010), Chicago Blackhawks (2009-2010), Minnesota Wild (2009-2010), Phoenix Coyotes (2010-2011) and the Vancouver Canucks (2011-2013). In his eight NHL seasons, Ebbett totaled 224 games and 71 points (26+45).

Ebbett has spent the past three seasons in Switzerland with Bern SC. He currently he has 46 points (13+33) in 47 games with the club this season.

Chris Lee (D) – A journeyman defenseman, Lee spent his final North American season (2009-10) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 39 points (9+30) in 79 regular season game.

Prior to his time with the Penguins, Lee saw action with the Albany River Rats, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and the Iowa Stars in the AHL.

He ventured overseas starting in 2010-11, and for the past five seasons has been a mainstay on the blueline for Magnitogrosk Metallurg in the KHL. He finished second on the team in scoring last season with 65 points (14+51) in 60 games.

 


CZECH REPUBLIC

Ondrej Nemec (D) – Drafted 35th overall in the 2002 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nemec played part of one season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2003-2004), appearing in seven games and scoring a total of three points (1+2).

After leaving the Penguins, the defenseman returned to Europe where he has played for 14 seasons in the Czech Extraleague and the Continental Hockey League. He currently plays for Brno Kometa in the Czech Republic, and has nine points (5+4) in 38 games.


GERMANY

Matthias Plachta (LW) – Plachta was acquired by the Penguins late in the 2015-16 season, and put up seven points (2+5) in 20 games with the club. He began his only AHL season with the Springfield Falcons, posting another seven points (2+5) in 46 contests.

Plachta returned to his native Germany after his brief foray into North American, and has suited up for the Mannheim Eagles for the past two seasons (as well as for six years before making the jump to the AHL). He currently ranks third on the team with 30 points (11+19) in 49 games.


NORWAY

Patrick Thoresen (LW) – An Edmonton Oilers signee, Thoresen appeared in five games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2006-07, posting six points (1+5) in his short stay with the team. He went on to appear in 29 AHL games with Springfield the following year, recording 26 points (13+13) with the club.

In the NHL, Thoresen combined for 24 points (6+18) in 106 games with the Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers (2006-08), before returning to Europe for the 2008-09 season.

He has spent the majority of the past 10 years with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL, with whom he currently plays.

The 2018 Games will be the third time Thoresen has represented his country at the Olympics (2010, 2014).


SLOVAKIA

Tomas Surovy (LW) – A fourth round selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Surovy spent parts of five seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2001-06), appearing in 239 regular season games with the club.  The left wing currently ranks second on the Penguins’ all-time lists in goals (89) and points (187); is tied for second in game-winning goals (14); and is fourth in power play goals (27).

Surovy appeared in 126 gams with the Pittsburgh Penguins between 2002-2006, posting 59 points (27+32) and 71 penalty minutes.  He has been playing professionally in Europe since the start of the 2006-07 season, and currently suits up for his hometown team, Banská Bystrica HC 05, in the Slovakian Extraleague.

Surovy has previously represented Slovakia at the 2006 Turin and 2014 Sochi Games, recording two points (1+1) in 10 Olympic contests.  He is the seventh former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skater to be named to his national team for the 2018 Winter Olympics.


SOUTH KOREA

Bryan Young (D) – A fifth round draft pick (2004) of the Edmoton Oilers, Young appeared in 10 games with the Penguins in 2006-07, recording one assist. He spent the majority of his time in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons (2007-10), and also appeared in 22 games with the Milwaukee Admirals (2006-07).

Young appeared in 17 games with Edmonton over two seasons (2006-08), going scoreless with 10 penalty minutes.

Following the 2009-10 season, Young took his game to South Korea, and has recorded 192 points (39+153) in 283 games with Gangwon High1 and the Daemyung Killer Whales, with whom he currently plays. He became a naturalized citizen of South Korea in 2014, allowing him to represent the country this year.


TEAM USA

Chad Kolarik (C) – The Abington, PA native spent one season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2012-13), in which he appeared in 35 regular season games, recording 33 points. He also suited up in 15 playoff games, scoring 11 points.

Before joining the Penguins, Kolarik spent time with the San Antonio Rampage (2007-10), the Syracuse Crunch (2009-10), the Springfield Falcons (2010-11) and the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale (2010-11, 2012-13) in the AHL.  He also appeared in six NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, recording one assist.

The former seventh round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004 has spent the past five season playing in Europe. He currently plays in Germany with the Mannheim Eagles, and has 44 points in 44 games this season.

Noah Welch (D) – The Boston, MA native was drafted 54th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001. Welch spent parts of two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2005-2007) during which he appeared in 104 games, scoring 50 points. An AHL All-Star in 2007, Welch also saw action with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2005-2007), playing in 27 games and recording six points.

The former second round pick also suited up with the Rochester Americans (2006-2007, 2008-2009) and Chicago Wolves (2009-2011) in the AHL, as well as the Florida Panthers (2006-2009), Tampa Bay Lightning (2008-2009) and the Atlanta Thrashers (2010-2011) in the NHL. Welch totaled 75 games in the NHL and nine points

Welch has been playing in Europe for the past seven seasons. He currently plays in Sweden with the Vaxjo HC and has appeared in 26 games this season.


The schedule for the preliminary round, which features all 12 nations participating in round robin play within their three groups, is listed below.  For a full explanation of the remaining schedule, seeding and rules, visit the International Ice Hockey Federation website.

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUALIFYING PRELIMINARY ROUND SCHEDULE

DATE TIME GROUP TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B Slovakia OAR*
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B USA Slovenia
Wednesday, February 14 10:10pm C Finland Germany
Thursday, February 15 2:40am C Norway Sweden
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Czech Republic South Korea
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Switzerland Canada
Thursday, February 15 10:10pm B USA Slovakia
Friday, February 16 2:40am B Slovenia OAR*
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Norway Finland
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Sweden Germany
Friday, February 16 10:10pm A Czech Republic Canada
Saturday, February 17 2:40am A Switzerland South Korea
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B USA OAR*
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B Slovakin Slovenia
Saturday, February 17 10:10pm C Norway Germany
Sunday, February 18 2:40am A Switzerland Czech Republic
Sunday, February 18 7:10am A Canada South Korea
Sunday, February 18 7:10am C Finland Sweden

* = Olympic Athletes from Russia

PINK STICK AUCTION INFO


We’re excited to be holding our first ever PINK STICK AUCTION during Saturday night’s PINK IN THE RINK game between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and wanted to fill our fans in on some of the auction rules in advance.

Penguins players will be using pink sticks during warm ups for the game, and signing them once they come off of the ice.

These sticks will then be transported to the concourse during the first period.

Sample Bid Sheet for Saturday night’s Pink Stick auction

In order to take part in the evening’s auction, fans will have to register and receive a bidding number.  Registration will take place during pregame and the first period at the auction table, and the auction will get underway at the start of the first intermission.

Fans will write their bids on a bid sheet (see sample photo), using their auction numbers as identification.  All sticks will start with minimum bids of $150, and the minimum bid increment for all auctions will be $5.

Bidding will end at the start of the third period, and winning bid numbers will be announced on the videoboard.

Winning bidders will be able to pay for and pick up their sticks at the Penguins Team Store located on the concourse during the third period.

Tickets for Saturday night’s PINK IN THE RINK game are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.

PENS HOME FOR A PAIR OF BIG GAMES THIS WEEKEND


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come out of the All-Star break with a pair of big Atlantic Division contests on home ice this weekend.

The Hershey Bears are first up, when they visit for another EYEWITNESS NEWS FAN FRIDAY on February 2.  Lower bowl tickets for Friday night’s contest are just $14 (while supplies last), select draft beers will be available for just $2 (courtesy of PA Prostate Cancer Coalition) from 6-7:30pm, and we’ll have a pair of Penguins players signing autographs after the game on the concourse.

Fans are also encouraged to wear their favorite gridiron team’s jersey on Football Friday, as we get you ready for Sunday’s big game.

Saturday night is the Pens’ annual PINK IN THE RINK game, as we raise awareness in the fight against cancer.

The Penguins face off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and the American Cancer Society will be on hand raising awareness of the disease, as well as celebrating those who have fought and are fighting the disease, through several concourse activities:

•Fans are encouraged to stop by Section 101 on the concourse to receive a temporary pink hair streak for a $5 donation.

•A section of the concourse wall will also be painted pink, and fans will be able to leave messages of encouragement and remembrance for those affected by the disease.

•Fans can also pick up Hockey Fights Cancer cheer cards, which can be filled out with the name of a friend or loved one they are supporting.

Additionally, Penguins players will be using special pink sticks during the pregame warmup, which will be autographed and auctioned off on the concourse.

Fans can also support the ACS by purchasing a PINK IN THE RINK ticket package, which includes a $4 donation back to the organization.

For more information on the Penguins PINK IN THE RINK game, call the team at 570-208-7367.  Or to order online, and support the ACS, click here.

FAN FRIDAY INFO

Would you like more info on tickets for any of our upcoming FAN FRIDAY games? Simply fill in your contact info below, and a Penguins ticket representative will contact you within 48 hours.

SPRONG WILL SHOOT TO SCORE AND HAVE A BLAST IN SKILLS COMPETITION

UTICA, N.Y. – Daniel Sprong was in a car on the way to Utica, New York when he found out what events he’d be participating in during the 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition.

He’s pretty fired up about it.

“Oh, I’ve got some good ones, for sure,” he remarked before taking the ice at Adirondack Bank Center.

Sprong will represent the Eastern Conference All-Stars on Sunday night by taking part in the rapid fire shooting event, the three-on-none pass and shoot drill, as well as the marquee event of the night, the shootout relay.

The first event for Sprong will be the rapid fire shot, the perfect event for Sprong to showcase the lethal shot that has him leading the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with 19 goals this season. In a fun twist, he’ll be paired with Chris Bourque, the lone all-star representative for the Penguins’ bitter rival, the Hershey Bears.

Sprong said that his Penguins teammate Tristan Jarry recommended this event, because it’s so hard for goaltenders to move from post to post in order to contend with two shooters. Jarry would know from experience, because he was in the crease for this event as an all-star last year.

Then, Sprong will participate in the pass and score event, a three-on-none rush during which all three players much touch the puck before trying to score on a goalie for the opposite conference. He’ll skate with Charlotte’s own rookie scoring sensation, Warren Foegele, as well as Providence’s Austin Czarnik. Sprong is particularly excited about this event, because the goalie opposing him will be an old friend, Antoine Bibeau of the San Jose Barracuda.

“I used to play with [Bibeau] in juniors, and he was a real help to me when I was coming into the league at 16-years-old,” Sprong said. “It’s good to see him and I’m happy to see he’s doing well… I’ll try not to embarrass him too much.”

So there’s definitely extra motivation for Sprong to shine in the pass and score three-on-none, but that mojo goes both ways. Bibeau is determined to keep his old Charlottetown teammate off the scoresheet, but if he’s successful in shutting out his old friend, he won’t gloat about it.

“No, no. I’m not that type of guy,” Bibeau said. “But if he scores on me, I’m sure he’ll let me know.”

Sprong will not be a part of the fastest skater competition, but for what it’s worth, his money is on Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman, John Gilmour.

Last for Sprong will be the breakaway challenge. He’ll be going in the sixth round once again with Foegele and Czarnik, in addition to Lehigh Valley’s T.J. Brennan and Laval’s Matt Taormina. That five-some will shoot against Ontario Reign goaltender, Cal Petersen. Sprong advised fans to stay tuned for some tricks he might have up his sleeve in the breakaway challenge, as he’s prepared to cut loose and enjoy the Skills Competition.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “There’s no reason to overthink it. I’m here to have fun and I’m excited to be a part of this weekend.”


• A full list of 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition events and competitors can be found here.

• The 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET from the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in Utica, New York. The skills competition can be viewed in its entirety on TV on NHL Network.

PINK IN THE RINK – FEBRUARY 3


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will once again be showing their support in the fight against cancer when they host their annual PINK IN THE RINK game on Saturday, February 3 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The American Cancer Society will be on hand raising awareness of the disease, as well as celebrating those who have fought and are fighting the disease, through several concourse activities:

  • Fans are encouraged to stop by Section 101 on the concourse to receive a temporary pink hair streak for a $5 donation.
  • A section of the concourse wall will also be painted pink, and fans will be able to leave messages of encouragement and remembrance for those affected by the disease.
  • Fans can also pick up Hockey Fights Cancer cheer cards, which can be filled out with the name of a friend or loved one they are supporting.

Additionally, Penguins players will be using special pink sticks during the pregame warmup, which will be autographed and auctioned off on the concourse.

Fans can also support the ACS by purchasing a PINK IN THE RINK ticket package, which includes a $4 donation back to the organization.

For more information on the Penguins PINK IN THE RINK game, call the team at 570-208-7367.  Or to order online, and support the ACS, click here.

FAN FRIDAY INFO

Would you like more info on tickets for any of our upcoming FAN FRIDAY games? Simply fill in your contact info below, and a Penguins ticket representative will contact you within 48 hours.