WARSOFSKY IMPRESSES IN HARDEST SHOT COMPETITION

 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – David Warsofsky stepped up to the blue line in preparation of his showcase event at the 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition, the CCM Hardest Shot. After a few strides used to reach a stationary puck, Warsofsky unloaded a slap shot at the empty net with radar guns positioned nearby.

He went through those same motions again for a second attempt. He uncorked another slapper, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd at PPL Center before his score registered on the big screen at center ice. When the result came in, it showed 98.4 mph.

Warsofsky’s slap shot was the second-strongest in the competition at the time, and ultimately finished fourth overall but just nine-tenths of a mile per hour behind the event’s winning score.

At all levels, the hardest shot event is usually dominated by the biggest players on the ice. The likes of Zdeno Chára and Shea Weber have legendary reputations for their record-setting slap shots, and Kyle Wood, tonight’s winner, was the biggest entrant in the competition. Warsofsky, on the other hand, impressed everyone with his score because he stands at five-foot-nine, 170 lbs.

Warsofsky’s showing at the Skills Competition and throughout this entire season has proven it’s not always the biggest guys that pack the biggest punch on their shots. It’s all about the technique.

“I think it’s just the way he releases it,” said Warsofsky’s partner at the Skills Competition, Tristan Jarry. “He’s a smart player, and he’s figured out how to get everything out of his shot even though he’s not that big. We’ve seen it many times this year, and he’s helped us out a lot with that shot.”

Warsofsky’s head coach – with both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and All Star weekend with the Atlantic Division – Clark Donatelli, offered his explanation for why the small-statured Warsofsky is able to get so much power on his shots by drawing comparisons to another sport.

“You know, it’s like that same thing with the bat speed and hitters in baseball,” Donatelli said. “It’s about the way you hit it. He’s got a great shot, and we all know it. Obviously, it’s less about how big and strong you are. It’s about where you make contact and how you transfer your weight. Bigger guys have an advantage in that they have more weight to move, but in [Warsofsky]’s case, it’s all about the technique and putting it all together for a great shot.”

That shot has helped Warsofsky add nine goals to his All-Star caliber résumé that includes 33 points in 30 games this season. Even if that stat line wasn’t convincing enough for opponents, he now has 98.4 reasons making sure no one will be underestimating this “little guy’s” big abilities any time soon.

 

NOTES

• Tristan Jarry had a good night, himself. He stopped five of 10 shots faced in the hellacious AHL Live Rapid Fire event, then improved to a perfect three-for-three in the Pass and Score. The Pass and Score featured three Western Conference opponents coming in on Jarry with one puck and no defenders in the way. It was perhaps the most impressive showing of all the eight goalies who took part in the event.

“It’s no fun to get scored on, so it’s always a competition,” Jarry said. “It’s one of those things where you can’t think too much and just follow the puck, read the play. We practice that a lot, actually. We do a lot of three-on-oh’s and five-on-oh’s, so the guys actually had me really prepared for that.”

• Unsurprisingly, the Penguins’ All-Stars were booed heavily when announced at PPL Center, home of the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Jarry couldn’t contain his smile when the crowd erupted with displeasure at the mention of his name. Clark Donatelli held his composure a bit better when the cameras cam his way, but said afterwards that that kind of hostility is part of what makes these events enjoyable.

“They’re rivals! They can’t take a night off to like us,” Donatelli said. “I think that makes it more fun, though. The rivalries in Pennsylvania, they’re good for the fans. And when the fans are into it, it’s more fun for the guys on the ice, too.”

 

KOSTOPOULOS EARNS 500TH AHL POINT IN PENGUINS’ 6-2 WIN

BOXSCORE

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins ended their schedule before the All-Star break on a high note by setting a franchise record, seeing their captain hit an historic milestone, and beating the Binghamton Senators, 6-2, on Saturday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Penguins (33-9-3-0) set a club record with their 12th win in the month of January, and Tom Kostopoulos became the 91st player in American Hockey League history to earn 500 points in his AHL career.

The Penguins struck first in the contest when Ryan Haggerty unloaded a fireball at the Senators net that burned past Chris Driedger at 10:52 of the opening frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton extended its lead when Teddy Blueger used his soccer skills to kick the puck over to a wide open Dominik Simon who wasted no time burying it. Simon’s tally was his sixth of the season and came at 15:32.

The Senators got on the board thanks to Nick Paul knocking in a rebound with 2:57 left in the first period. However, the Penguins quick reestablished their two-goal lead 1:05 later with a pinpoint pass from Blueger to Jean-Sébastien Dea. Twenty-one seconds after that, Blueger scored a goal of his own, making it 4-1 for the Penguins.

Chad Nehring tipped in a point shot and brought the Senators within two 6:04 into the second period. But once again, the Penguins responded. Derrick Pouliot danced his way through the neutral zone and fed Danny Kristo who brought the score to 5-2.

Kostopoulos achieved his 500th AHL point on a goal at 11:54 of the third period and put a bow on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s league-leading 33rd victory of 2016-17.

All-Star Tristan Jarry made 32 saves for his 19th win of the season, which is tied for most in the AHL. Driedger posted 10 stops on 14 shots before being replaced by Matt O’Connor at the start of the second period. O’Connor made 9 saves on 11 shots faced.

On deck for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the All-Star break, during which the Penguins’ David Warsofsky and Tristan Jarry will participate in the AHL All-Star Classic at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Feb. 3 for the first visit in 2016-17 by the St. John’s IceCaps to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual game tickets for Feb. 3’s game and all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Penguins ticket packages, including 22-game12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS DEFEAT WOLF PACK, 3-2

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got back to their winning ways on Tuesday night by beating the Hartford Wolf Pack, 3-2, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Penguins (22-7-3-0) flexed their offensive power to score three-straight goals, giving them enough breathing room to fend off a late-game surge by the Wolf Pack.

Wilkes-Bare/Scranton came out strong in the first period, with Teddy Blueger lifting the puck past two Hartford players and into the top corner for a goal just 3:50 into the contest.

The Penguins pressured the Wolf Pack heavily on their first power play of the game, which yielded no results. Success came just seconds later, however, when Josh Archibald tipped in David Warsofsky’s shot from the blue line at 13:03.

The Penguins spent very little time in their own defensive zone throughout the opening period, out-shooting the Wolf Pack 15-4 at the end of the first 20 minutes of play.

After a scoreless second period Chad Ruhwedel made it 3-0 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton just 2:24 into the third period on a Penguins power play that featured a Wolf Pack forward with a broken stick.

Hartford began its comeback bid shortly thereafter, at 5:45 of the third with a goal from Steven Fogarty.  And Tanner Glass notched the Wolf Pack’s second score of the game from the slot on a feed from behind the net. Glass’ marker made it a one-goal game at 14:33 of the third.

The Penguins headed to a late penalty kill as the Wolf Pack pushed to tie the game, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s P.K. finished the night a perfect four-for-four and helped the team hang on for the win.

Tristan Jarry made 25 saves on the night – including 15 in the third period – en route to his league-leading 14th win of the season. Brandon Halverson recorded 32 saves and was handed the loss.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is at home on Friday, Jan. 6 against the Hershey Bears. Friday night’s contest is also an Eyewitness News Fan Friday, with $14 lower bowl tickets, select draft beers for just $2 from 6:00-7:30 p.m., and a post-game autograph session with two Penguins players.

Individual game tickets for Friday night’s game and all Penguins home games, are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Penguins ticket packages, including 22-game12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS WIN FIFTH-STRAIGHT WITH 4-2 TRIUMPH OVER T-BIRDS

BOXSCORE

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton did their part spreading joy this holiday season by sending thousands of fans home happy after downing the Springfield Thunderbirds, 4-2, on Teddy Bear Toss night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.

The victory came in the Penguins’ final game before the holiday break, and extended their current winning streak to a season-high five games.

After a scoreless first period, the Thunderbirds and Penguins traded goals by inadvertently putting pucks into their own nets less than five minutes apart.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled ahead with a diving effort by Oskar Sundqvist to push a knuckling puck across the goal line. Sundqvist’s team-leading 12th goal of the season made it 2-1 at 16:06 of the second period. Not even 60 seconds of game time passed before Garrett Wilson netted the Penguins’ second power play goal of the contest.

Jake Guentzel tied Sundqvist for the team-best in goals with his own 12th marker of the year at 5:01 of the third frame when he stick-handled past a sliding Thunderbirds defenseman and rocketed a shot into the back of the net.

In the final minutes of the third period, Anthony Greco tucked a puck past Tristan Jarry and made it 4-2 after a sequence of pin-ball redirections and bounces set Greco up perfectly on the backdoor post.

Jarry posted 29 saves in his league-leading 12th win of the season, while Mike McKenna made 28 saves in the loss for Springfield.

The Penguins enter the holiday break holding first place in the AHL with a 19-5-3-0. Their next game is Monday, Dec. 26 when they travel up I-81 to take on the Binghamton Senators. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is the next night, Dec. 27, and they’ll take on the Thunderbirds again. Good seats are still available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Penguins ticket packages, including 22-game12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

NOTES:  Rookie defensemen Lukas Bengtsson has recorded a point in three-consecutive games (1G-3A)… Guentzel now has 13 points (6G-7A) in his past seven AHL games dating back to Nov. 18, and has only been held off the scoresheet once in that time frame (Dec. 14 at Hartford)… Warsofsky has 11 points (3G-8A) in his past eight games, and like Guentzel, only failed to register a point in the win at Hartford… Over the course of the Penguins’ five-game winning streak, they have outscored their opponents 24-8… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has successfully killed off 20-straight opponent power plays.

PENGUINS LOSE AT HERSHEY, 4-0


HERSHEY, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins could not find the same comeback magic they conjured in their previous two visits to Giant Center and fell 4-0 at the hand of the Hershey Bears on Wednesday night.

The Penguins (12-4-1-0) were unable to beat the Bears’ goaltender, Vítek Vanečěk, once in 60 minutes of game time, and as a result, lost to Hershey for the first time in 2016-17.

The contest began with a furious start from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, outshooting the Bears 6-0 before the five-minute mark of the first period and holding an 11-6 shot advantage by the end of the opening frame. The Penguins’ best chances came from Josh Archibald and newcomer Danny Kristo, playing in his first  game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. On both occasions, Vanečěk shut the door, and the first period ended in a 0-0 deadlock.

The scoreless tie was finally snapped with just 20.5 seconds remaining in the second period when Hershey’s Zach Sill scooped up a puck in the high slot and potted his first goal of the season.

Christian Thomas extended the Bears’ lead to 2-0 at 2:22 of the third period with a power play goal. Thomas stuffed a puck that was lodged underneath Tristan Jarry’s left leg pad and stuffed it across the goal line. After protest by the Penguins, the play was reviewed, but the goal stood as called.

Forty seconds past the midway point of the third period, Christian Djoos picked the top corner over Jarry’s glove hand, scoring his first goal of the season and putting the Bears up 3-0.

Paul Carey extended his personal point streak to 12 games with a tally on a mini-breakaway with less than a minute left in regulation. Carey’s late-game goal brought the game to its final score of 4-0.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outshot Hershey 24-18 when it was all said and done, but the Penguins never found the back of the Bears’ net and were handed their third shutout loss of the season.

Jarry recorded 14 saves in the loss for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while Vanečěk stopped all 24 pucks thrown his way for his second shutout of the season.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Nov. 25, when they head up the Long Island Sound to face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Saturday, Nov. 26, also against Bridgeport. Individual game tickets for next Saturday night’s game and all Penguins home games, are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

GUENTZEL’S FOUR POINTS POWER PENS PAST BRIDGEPORT, 7-1

800_guentzel-4

BOXSCORE

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were catapulted to a huge victory on Saturday night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers thanks to an explosive first period and four-point performance by rookie Jake Guentzel.

The Penguins (7-1-1-0, first in the Atlantic Division) erupted for four goals in the first period alone, their highest total in one period so far in 2016-17, lifting them to a 7-1 rout of the Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.

Just 1:02 into the game, Tom Kostopoulos forced a turnover and fed Guentzel in front of the Sound Tigers’ net for the first goal of the contest.

Reid Gardiner scooped up a rebound at 4:40 of the first period and popped it into the top corner for a 2-0 Penguins lead. Gardiner’s tally was also his first professional goal.

Bridgeport responded with Devon Toews burying a rebound goal of his own, cutting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s lead in half at 7:51 of the opening frame.

Guentzel returned the favor to Kostopoulos by setting the captain up for a one-timer that whizzed past Sound Tigers goalie Stephon Williams at 7:51, making it 3-1.

Before the first period ended, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton added yet another goal on its first power play of the game and took a 4-1 advantage into the first intermission. Carter Rowney ripped a shot through traffic and beat Williams with 58.2 seconds left in the period for the Penguins’ fourth marker of the game.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wasted no time adding to its lead, with Guentzel batting in a high-rising shot 1:50 into the second period. Guentzel’s second goal of the game also granted him his second four-point performance this season.

Garrett Wilson converted on a penalty shot at 11:49 of the middle frame, making it 6-1 in favor of the Penguins.

Another power play goal for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton came from Steve Oleksy 1:17 into the third and final period of regulation, giving the Penguins a season-high seven goals.

Casey DeSmith finished the game having made 28 saves. Williams, who tended goal for Bridgeport in the first and third periods, recorded 14 stops on 19 shots faced. Christopher Gibson stepped in to tend the Sound Tigers’ crease for the second period and denied the Penguins on nine of 11 shots.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 5, against the Providence Bruins at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.

The Penguins’ next home game is Friday, Nov. 11, when they take on the Toronto Marlies at home for the only time this season.

Individual tickets for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton home games can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, through Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 10/25/16

800_haggerty

 

Defense on display as Penguins win two of three over weekend

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (3-1-0-0) allows just three goals in last three games

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Oct. 21 – PENGUINS 0 vs. Springfield 1

The Penguins were handed their first loss of the season when they ran into the performance of Thunderbirds goalie Reto Berra. Berra stopped all 23 shots faced, including one as time expired.

Saturday, Oct. 22 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Syracuse 1

Kevin Porter scored two shorthanded goals 2:19 apart and later added an assist on the insurance marker, catapulting the Penguins to a victory over Syracuse. Casey DeSmith made 26 saves in his season debut.

Sunday, Oct. 23 – PENGUINS 2 at Hershey 1 (OT)

With the fate of the game on his stick, Dominik Simon converted on a penalty shot in sudden death overtime and gave the Penguins a 2-1 win over the Bears at Giant Center. The win snapped the 24-game streak in the Pens/Bears rivalry of the team that scores first going on to win the game.

 

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Oct. 26 – PENGUINS vs. Albany

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton welcomes the undefeated Albany Devils to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for the first and only time in 2016-17. Last year, the Penguins downed the Devils in both of their two meetings.

Saturday, Oct. 29 – PENGUINS at Springfield

The Penguins look to avenge their shutout loss to the Thunderbirds when they travel to New England for the first time this season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 4-1-0-0 in its last five games at MassMutual Center.

Sunday, Oct. 30 – PENGUINS vs. Syracuse

A Sunday matinée between the Pens and Crunch serves as a second head-to-head in eight days. Game time is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s home ice.

 

Ice Chips

– Dominik Simon’s overtime penalty shot game-winner on Sunday was the first in team history.

– Kevin Porter was the first Penguin to score two shorthanded goals in the same game since Jonathan Filewich on Dec. 23, 2006.

– Casey DeSmith’s .963 save percentage ranks second among AHL rookie goaltenders.

– Wilkes-Barre/Scranton owns the Eastern Conference’s best goals against (5) and combined team save percentage (.953).

– Tim Erixon played in his 200th AHL game on Saturday vs. Syracuse.

– Tom Kostopoulos is three points shy of reaching his 400th point with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM                          GP       W         L        OTL     SOL      PTS         Pt%

1. Springfield               4          3          1          0           0          6            .750

2. PENGUINS            4          3          1          0          0           6            .750

3. Bridgeport              4           1          2          0          0          4           .500

4. Hartford                 4           1          2          0          0          4           .500

5. Lehigh Valley         3          1          1           1          0           3            .500

6. Hershey                 4           1          2           1          0          3            .333

7. Providence            5           1          3           1          0          3            .000

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS                              GP        G        A         PTS

Jake Guentzel*                       4          2         3          5

Kevin Porter                           4          2         1           3

Carter Rowney                       4          1         2          3

four players tied                                                        2

 

GOALIES                  GP     W-L-OT-SO     GAA       Sv%       Shutouts

Casey DeSmith*        1          1-0-0-0         1.00       0.963           0

Tristan Jarry                 1          2-1-0-0          1.33        0.950           0

 

* = rookie

^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT      LOCATION                             TIME      

Fri, Oct. 26        Albany                  Mohegan Sun Arena          7:05 p.m.

Sat, Oct. 29       Springfield          MassMutual Center            7:05 p.m.

Sun, Oct. 30     Syracuse              Mohegan Sun Arena           3:05 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Sat, Oct. 22       ADD     (D) Ethan Prow           Reassigned from WHL

Fri, Oct. 21          DEL     (D) David Warsofsky               Recalled by PIT

Wed, Oct. 19     DEL      (D) Ethan Prow                Reassigned to WHL