2018 PROSPECTS CHALLENGE PREVIEW


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The long, sweltering summer is almost over. Another hockey season is on the horizon, and just before the dawn of training camp comes the annual prospects tournament that the Pittsburgh Penguins like to participate in. Before the Bills Mafia starts jumping through flaming tables in the parking lot of New Era Field, Buffalo sports fans will converge on Harborcenter for the 2018 Prospects Challenge.

Like last season, this year’s Prospects Challenge will be played between the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh. For the most part, the mini-tournament acts as a tune-up for young players going into their NHL club’s camp, but it has demonstrated in the past to be a showcase for things like the arrival of Jake Guentzel two years ago, or intimated the progress of Teddy Blueger prior to his huge season last year. The Penguins roster has a bit of a different look than that of the 2017 Prospects Challenge (no more Blueger, Daniel Sprong, Thomas Di Pauli, Ethan Prow or Zach Aston-Reese,) but there’s still plenty worth keeping an eye on this weekend.

The Penguins’ full roster can be seen here, headlined by Adam Johnson, Anthony Angello and Jordy Bellerive.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans are already well-versed in what Johnson brings to the table. He posted 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points in his rookie AHL season last year, he’s fast, he’s shrewd, and he is expected to take a big step forward this upcoming season. Johnson went into the summer with plans to bulk up and add muscle to his slender frame to assist him in excelling in the grittier side of the pro game as well as introducing even more explosiveness to his fleet-footed stride. Buffalo’s 2018 Prospects Challenge provides an early look at what kind of progress Johnson made, plus he’ll have plenty of opportunity to make an impact as he’ll likely be allocated top-six ice time over the weekend.

Anthony Angello left a lasting impression with his two-goal outing in the Penguins’ final game of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Though it was far from the desired team result for the fans leaving Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Angello’s performance rightfully stuck out in a lot of people’s minds. They’ll want more of the same from Angello this season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and he can start his season off on the right foot this weekend. Look for the big power forward to impose himself physically on the forecheck and generate countless scoring chances at the net-front for the Penguins prospects.

Jordy Bellerive was the breakout star for the Penguins at last year’s Prospect Challenge, leading the team in points despite playing in a fourth-line role. The undrafted, 1999-born forward earned a contract from Pittsburgh thanks to his performance, but his career hit a bit of a speed bump earlier this summer. An accident at a campfire gathering resulted in Bellerive and several of his friends ending up in a hospital after sustaining severe burns. What was surely the most frightening moment of Bellerive’s life briefly brought his hockey future into question, but he has since healed and will take the ice for the Penguins in Buffalo once again. He’s still a year away from AHL eligibility, but he’ll be leaned on by Clark Donatelli to contribute on the forecheck, penalty kill and maybe chip in a few goals along the way, too.

Other players to keep an eye on for the Penguins are two more guys expected to be with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season: Linus Ölund and Freddie Tiffels. Ölund joined the Penguins late in their most recent playoff appearance and had coaches excited based on what he showed in practice, but he never got in a game. He flashed similar instances of intrigue earlier this summer at development camp, and now this weekend serves as his black and gold game-action debut. Tiffels went back and forth between Wheeling and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year. If the speedy German wants to graduate to more full-time duty in the AHL, he has an early chance to stamp an impression with his coaching staff this weekend.

The Penguins prospects’ order of operations this weekend is as follows…
Friday, Sept. 7 – Pittsburgh vs. Boston, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 – Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey, 3:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 10 – Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo, 12:30 p.m.

 

OPPONENTS TO WATCH

BOSTON: Ryan Donato

After scoring more than 20 goals and eclipsing 40 points for the second year in a row for Harvard University, Ryan Donato left college and played 12 games in the NHL for the Boston Bruins at the end of last season. He also managed to find the back of the net five times in those 12 contests and racked up a goal and two assists for three points for quite an impressive NHL debut.

The son of long-time NHLer and Harvard head coach Ted Donato, Ryan is ready to embark on his first full professional season. Based on his offensive production in college as well as the show, he could prove to be a key piece if Boston can improve upon its 2017-18 and win a crowded Atlantic Division.


NEW JERSEY: Marian Studenič

Those in the New Jersey Devils organization are excited about their 2017 mid-draft grab because of his incredible sniping ability. Marian Studenič provided reliable depth scoring for the OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs, using his twisted wrister to pot 20 goals. He also tied for the team lead with two goals during the most-recent Memorial Cup tournament.

Studenič will have to round out his game a bit more to each full-time NHL duty some day, but in the interim, he’ll likely be handed a similar depth scoring role for the Binghamton Devils this season. Depending on how quickly he can adjust to the pro game, the Slovakian’s shooting talent will be a welcome addition to a Binghamton team that scored the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference last season (193). That adjustment process starts in Buffalo.


BUFFALO: Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt

The Buffalo Sabres are the hosts of the 2018 Prospects Challenge, so they were going to have big crowds at Harborcenter regardless of what the team looked like. Once they released their roster, they were almost guaranteed sellouts thanks to the names Dahlin and Mittelstadt.

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt are being heralded along with Jack Eichel as the future of the Sabres. Dahlin was this past year’s No. 1 overall pick, and they hype surrounding him has had the young man spoken in the same breath as fellow Swedes Nicklas Lidström and Erik Karlsson. Mittelstadt was the Sabres’ first round selection the year before, and the former Minnesota high school hockey prodigy made a name for himself as a dominant offensive force for the United States at the 2018 World Juniors.

Dahlin and Mittelstadt are both likely to go straight to the NHL this season, making this tournament an early taste of perhaps what’s to come in Buffalo as well as a unique opportunity for Penguins prospects to see how they stack up against players of Dahlin and Mittelstadt’s caliber.

JUMP TO THE PROS WAS AN ADJUSTMENT FOR JOHNSON

By Katherine McVeagh

Shifting from the life of a collegiate athlete to that of professional can be quite an adjustment, both on and off the ice. Those coming out of the college ranks, where all players are in relatively the same age group and experience level, have quite an adjustment when it come to playing against older, more experienced and, sometimes, more skilled opponents.

Adam Johnson went through this trial first-hand during the 2017-18 season, his first professional campaign after competing at the collegiate level for two years. It didn’t take him long to recognize the difference amongst opponents and teammates.

“The biggest thing was it just seemed like the guys are a lot stronger [at the pro level],” Johnson said. “It’s obviously a little bit faster and it’s a tougher league. I think college gets you well-prepared, but it’s still a big jump here.” 

Before he even knew there were professional pastures ahead of him, the undrafted forward wasted no time establishing himself against collegiate competition. Johnson experienced great success in his time at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Across 81 collegiate games, he notched 55 points (24+31). As a member of the Bulldogs, Johnson played in two NCAA tournaments, making it to the national championship game in his sophomore season.

Johnson’s impressive résumé earned him a two-year entry level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he passed up his final two years of NCAA eligibility. And after falling short in the 2017 championship, Johnson was able to cheer on his former team as they won the 2018 NCAA men’s title this past April.

“I was pretty happy for them,” Johnson said. “Actually, I still have a lot of good buddies on the team so I was pretty pumped for them.

“Obviously it would have been nice to win one with them, but we had a good season here and I was having fun here. Overall it was great to see those guys do it.” 

In his first professional season, Johnson registered 11 goals and 20 assists in 70 games for the Penguins. Looking back on his first year of with the team, Johnson referenced his confidence as something he seeks to develop.  

“I think it was a little up and down, but overall I’m trying to improve on that category,” he said. “I think toward the end it got a little better. So I’ve just got to keep that going and improve it for next year and just play with confidence.”

As he worked to find consistency in his on-ice self-esteem during the season, Johnson found he had a lot more time to stew in his thoughts than he had before. He noted the amount of free time players have as another big difference when adjusting from college to the pros. 

“There’s a lot more down time,” Johnson said. “You don’t have school to take care of, and you’re not around your buddies all of the time when you’re away from the rink, so it’s a little bit different. You’ve got to find something to do with your time.”

Even though he’s made the jump from college to the pros on the ice, he still has some work to do to finish his collegiate schooling.  This offseason, Johnson has the opportunity to wrap up some classes he still has on the docket to complete his finance degree from UMD.

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

PENGUINS FALL SHORT TO CHECKERS IN ELIMINATION GAME

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins saw their 2018 Calder Cup Playoff run come to an end with a 7-3 loss in Game Three to the Charlotte Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Thursday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored the game’s first two goals, including the first of Anthony Angello’s professional career, but their opening push was not enough as Charlotte came back with five consecutive tallies to earn enough separation to win the series, 3-0.

The Penguins got things going early as Angello collected a rebound five minutes into the opening frame. Niclas Almari, making his Calder Cup Playoffs debut, earned the secondary assist on Angello’s first pro goal.

Angello’s line combined to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-0 lead at 7:29 of the first period. Teddy Blueger delivered a pass to Zach Trotman, whose booming slap shot was tipped in by Adam Johnson.

The Penguins were firmly in control of the contest until the Checkers turned the tide late in the opening period. First, Lucas Wallmark found the back of the net behind a screened Tristan Jarry at 16:41 of the first period, and Greg McKegg converted on a breakaway 21 seconds later. Suddenly, the game was tied, 2-2.

The second period produced scoring chance after scoring chance for both sides, but no goals until the Checkers got a favorable bounce late. Aleksi Saarela threw the puck into the slot crease, where it deflected off a Penguin’s stick, then his skate and into the net. The pinballing puck granted Charlotte a 3-2 lead with 2:14 left before the second intermission.

Charlotte poured on the offense in the final frame, scoring two goals in as many minutes as Clark Bishop and Andrew Miller both capitalized to extend the Checkers’ lead to 5-2.

Angello scored his second goal of the game when he stole the puck from Alex Nedeljkovic and snuck it past the goaltender, giving the Penguins life at 13:31 of the third period.  However, the Checkers tacked on two empty netters to end any hopes of a comeback and bring the game to its final score, 7-3.

Jarry made 25 saves on the night while Nedeljkovic stopped 26 shots thrown his way.

The Penguins finished the regular season 45-22-6-3, good enough for second place in the Atlantic Division and the fifth-best record in the American Hockey League. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 16th season in a row, the longest active streak in the AHL.

FOUR-GOAL FIRST PERIOD GIVES PENGUINS 5-2 WIN AT BRIDGEPORT

 

BOXSCORE

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins exploded with offense in the first period and leaned on their goaltender in the second half of the game to secure a 5-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday.

Anthony Peters recorded 41 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (43-22-6-2) to ensure its opponent couldn’t stage a dramatic comeback.

For the second night in a row, the Penguins built themselves a 4-0 lead before the first intermission. Adam Johnson scored twice 1:17 apart midway through the opening frame, but the Penguins weren’t satisfied with a two-goal cushion. Christian Thomas and Patrick McGrath tacked on tallies at 12:41 and 16:03 of the first period, respectively.

Patrick McGrath redirects his second goal of the season to give the Penguins a four-goal cushion.

McGrath missed the previous 23 games for the Penguins, but in his first game back in the lineup, he drove to front of the net and tipped in a shot by Zach Trotman for his second goal of the season.

Bridgeport got on the board when John Stevens scored at 11:47 of the middle frame, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton still had a commanding lead heading into the third period. Peters posted 16 saves in the second period with the Stevens goal being the only shot to get past him.

Gage Quinney earned a tap-in on the backdoor following a defensive zone turnover in the Sound Tigers’ zone, but roughly two minutes later, Steve Bernier cut Bridgeport’s deficit back down to three.

Peters continues to make some great saves on the Sound Tigers who hacked and whacked at any puck they could get their sticks on near the Penguins’ net. Peters’ strong play in net until the final buzzer helped the visitors maintain their lead and bring the game to a 5-2 final score.

Eamon McAdam recorded 10 saves in the first period before being replaced by Kristers Gudļevskis at the start of the second period. Gudļevskis ended up with 12 saves on 13 shots faced.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Apr. 13, when they trek to MassMutual Center and attempt to complete the season sweep of the Springfield Thunderbirds.

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.

PETERS HOLDS DOWN THE FORT, PENGUINS OUST GRIFFINS, 2-1

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Goaltender Anthony Peters had a stellar night between the pipes for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, leading them to a 2-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Peters recorded 32 saves in the victory and played a big role in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (34-17-4-2) going a perfect five-for-five on the penalty kill against one of the league’s top power plays.

On the Penguins’ second penalty kill of the night, Joseph Cramarossa fed Adam Johnson for a breakaway chance. Johnson deked goaltender Tom McCollum, sliding the puck across the goal line for a shorthanded goal that opened the scoring at 12:45 of the first period.

The Griffins proceeded to out-shoot the Penguins, 11-5, in the first period and kept the barrage of shots coming through the second stanza, firing 13 shots in the middle frame. Peters was up to the challenge, turning away every puck he faced.

Late in the second period, the Penguins were assessed a bench penalty for too many men on the ice. Then they immediately saw Thomas Di Pauli called for a delay of game face-off infraction, giving the Griffins a full two-minute five-on-three man advantage. The Penguins’ penalty kill was brilliant once again, and Peters made two jaw-dropping stops on cross-crease one-timers orchestrated by Grand Rapids.

Eventually, the Griffins solved Peters and tied the game when Ben Street knocked in a rebound from a blocked shot at 7:58 in the third period.

The Penguins came right back and responded three and half minutes later, as Kevin Czuczman fired the puck through a mass of humanity and past a screened McCollum.

Grand Rapids never truly tested Peters with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, and so Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held on for the 2-1 win.

McCollum stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced in a losing effort.

The Penguins’ next game is Tuesday, Mar. 13, when they travel to North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Checkers. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is the team’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration as they face-off against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday, Mar. 17.

Puck drop between the Penguins and Wolf Pack is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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PENGUINS WEEKLY – 2/27/18

Penguins trek to the Midwest for the first time in 10 years

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (32-16-4-1) hasn’t been to Grand Rapids since 2008, Milwaukee since 2004

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Feb. 23 – PENGUINS 6 vs. Rockford 3
The Penguins were victorious in their first meeting with the IceHogs in franchise history. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton erupted for three tallies in the first period, and six different players recorded goals throughout the game.

Saturday, Feb. 24 – PENGUINS 1 at Syracuse 3
Special teams did not go the Penguins’ way as they dropped their fourth and final contest against the Crunch this season. Freddie Tiffels scored five minutes into the game, but Syracuse used shorthanded and power play goals to earn the win.

Sunday, Feb. 25 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Hershey 2
Rookie Adam Johnson shined bright, notching two of the Pens’ three goals. The home team scored once in every period to knock off Hershey and improve to 7-0-1-1 against its I-81 rival this season.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Mar. 2 – PENGUINS at Grand Rapids
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will take on Grand Rapids for the first time this season in the Penguins first visit to Van Andel Arena in a decade. Both teams own second place in their divisions.

Saturday, Mar. 3 – PENGUINS at Rockford
The Penguins face the IceHogs for their second meeting in eight days. Rockford owns the worst penalty kill in the league (75.8%), which Wilkes-Barre/Scranton victimized once on its only power play in their last clash.

Sunday, Mar. 4 – PENGUINS at Milwaukee
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will close out their road trip by taking on the Admirals for the second and final time this season. In their previous contest, Garrett Wilson led the Penguins with a hat trick, but Jean-Sébastien Dea closed out the 5-4 overtime victory.

Ice Chips

– Friday’s contest marked Tom Kostopoulos’ 700th AHL game.

– The Penguins are undefeated against Central Division teams so far this season (2-0-0-0). They have defeated Rockford and Milwaukee, two of the three teams they will take on in their upcoming road trip.

– With two assists on Sunday, Daniel Sprong recorded his team-leading 12th multi-point game this season.

– At Monday’s NHL trade deadline, Pittsburgh dealt Greg McKegg in exchange for Josh Jooris, who was then assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Jooris has skated in 31 NHL games this season and has also accumulated three points in five AHL games.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Lehigh Valley 57 35 15 3 4 77 .675
2. PENGUINS 53 32 16 4 1 69 .651
3. Providence 55 32 18 3 2 69 .627
4. Charlotte 57 31 23 0 3 65 .570
5. Bridgeport 55 25 22 5 3 58 .527
6. Hartford 58 26 25 4 3 59 .509
7. Hershey 57 23 26 4 4 54 .474
8. Springfield 56 25 28 2 1 53 .473

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 43 21 23 44
Jean-Sébastien Dea 48 12 20 32
Ryan Haggerty 33 16 15 31
Zach Aston-Reese*^ 41 9 20 29
Teddy Blueger 48 12 16 28
GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith^ 27 16-8-3 2.73 .910 2
Anthony Peters 15 7-4-2 2.85 .901 1

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                             TIME      

Fri, Mar. 2        Grand Rapids  Van Andel Arena                  7:00 p.m.

Sat, Mar. 3       Rockford          BMO Harris Bank Center    7:00 p.m.

Sun, Mar. 4      Milwaukee      UW-Milwaukee Panther     6:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Mon, Feb. 26    (RW) Josh Jooris   Traded by CAR to PIT; Assigned to WBS

Mon, Feb. 26    (LW) Greg McKegg                             Traded by PIT to CAR

Mon, Feb. 26    (C) Dominik Simon                              Reassigned from PIT

Mon, Feb. 26    (G) Tristan Jarry                                   Reassigned from PIT

Mon, Feb. 26    (RW) Zach Aston-Reese                                Recalled by PIT

Mon, Feb. 26    (RW) Zach Aston-Reese                      Reassigned from PIT

Mon, Feb. 26    (G) Casey DeSmith                                         Recalled by PIT

JOHNSON’S TWO GOALS PUSH PENGUINS PAST BEARS, 3-2

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Adam Johnson delivered one of the finest performances of his rookie season to propel the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 3-2 victory in a tight, back-and-forth match-up with the Hershey Bears on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Johnson found the back of the net twice as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (32-16-4-1) received one goal in each period.

Hershey struck first just 2:06 into the contest when Travis Boyd whipped a behind-the-back, backhand pass from below the goal line to Riley Barber who fired a one-time shot past Casey DeSmith. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wasted little time to respond, as team captain Tom Kostopoulos blasted in a feed from Gage Quinney.

The Penguins eventually grabbed their first lead of the afternoon with a power play goal at 15:56 of the middle frame. Ethan Prow fired a shot from the point which Johnson tipped past goaltender Pheonix Copley. Once again, there was a swift answer to a go-ahead goal, this time with Hershey’s Tyler Graovac completing a tic-tac-toe passing sequence 1:12 after Johnson’s man advantage marker.

Teddy Blueger got loose for a breakaway midway through the third period thanks to a sliding effort from Daniel Sprong, and Johnson gathered the rebound, allowing the Penguins to regain the lead.

Hershey pulled Copley for an extra attacker with 1:50 left in regulation, but couldn’t manage to get another puck past DeSmith.

The Penguins special teams shined bright on the afternoon, going a perfect three-for-three on the penalty kill and capitalizing on one of their two man advantage opportunities.

DeSmith made 23 saves, while Copley stopped 22 shots thrown his way.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Mar. 2, when they trek to the Midwest and face-off against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is also against Grand Rapids on Saturday, Mar. 10. The Griffins’ first trip to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza since 2009 also serves as the Penguins’ Star Wars Night.

Puck drop between the Penguins and Griffins is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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.

PENGUINS USE OFFENSIVE OUTBURST TO BEAT ICEHOGS, 6-3

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ offense shined to defeat the visiting Rockford IceHogs, 6-3, on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (31-15-4-1) received goals from six different players throughout the course of the game, and Tom Kostopoulos recorded two assists in his 700th AHL game.

Joseph Cramarossa got the Penguins on the board first when he collected a rebound and fired it into the IceHogs’ net at 5:36 of the opening period. It marked Cramarossa’s fourth point (2G-2A) in his fourth game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since being acquired in a trade on Feb. 14.

Kostopoulos delivered a nifty pass to Daniel Sprong and then set the screen on Jeff Glass as the rookie sniper whipped home a power play goal to put the Penguins up, 2-0, at 8:04 of the first period. The IceHogs struck back a little over two minutes following Sprong’s team-leading 21st tally of the season, cutting their deficit in half. John Hayden spun a shot towards the Penguins’ cage, and Tyler Sikura got just enough of it on a redirect for the puck to slip through Casey DeSmith and make it 2-1.

The Penguins increased their lead back to two in the final minutes of the first period when Gage Quinney shot beat Glass.

After most of the second period came and went without a goal for either side, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored the lone tally of the middle frame with only 2:26 remaining before the intermission. Kostopoulos found Garrett Wilson who whistled a shot low along the ice and through Glass’ five-hole, bringing the score to 4-1.

Adam Johnson and Reid Gardiner tacked on goals in the final period, the latter of which notched his first of the season. Rockford fought back with goals by Chris DiDomenico and Anthony Louis in the third, but it was too little too late to combat the Penguins’ earlier offensive surge.

DeSmith denied 24 shots for the win, while Glass made 19 saves on the night.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 24, when they take on the Syracuse Crunch at Onondaga County War Memorial. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Sunday, Feb. 25, and its opponent will be the Hershey Bears. Sunday’s game is also a Kids Free Sunday, with all children age 14 and under can enter the contest free of admission with the paid purchase of an adult ticket.

Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS TAKE DOWN THUNDERBIRDS, 4-2


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continued their recent roll by earning their fourth win in a row in a 4-2 defeat of the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (20-10-2-1) used three tallies in the third period to take down Springfield, which had come into Friday’s contest having earned points in five of its last six games.

BOXSCORE

The Penguins scored the game’s first goal at 3:12 of the second period when Chris Summers’ point shot was redirected by Adam Johnson right to Greg McKegg, who put it into the Thunderbirds’ net.

Both teams were held at bay by excellent goaltending from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Casey DeSmith and Springfield’s Samuel Montembeault until Mark Fayne tied things up, 1-1, 1:03 into the third period.

Christian Thomas picked the top corner over Montembeault’s glove at 4:02 of the final frame of regulation, putting the Penguins back on top, 2-1.

Ryan Haggerty gave Wilkes-Barre/Scranton some breathing room with a goal at 13:09 of the third period, only to see Springfield’s Dryden Hunt strike back 21 seconds later.

With the score sitting at 3-2 in favor of the Penguins, the Thunderbirds pulled their goalie with 1:26 left in regulation. Despite the advantage of an extra attacker, they were never able to truly test DeSmith before the sound of the final buzzer, and Johnson sealed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s victory with an empty net tally when only one second was left in the game.

DeSmith finished the game with 20 saves, while Montembeault recorded 19 stops for the Thunderbirds.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 6, as the Belleville Senators make their first ever visit to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop between the Penguins and Senators is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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.

DANIEL SPRONG’S HAT TRICK LIFTS PENGUINS OVER WOLF PACK, 5-1

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 5-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on the back of Daniel Sprong’s hat trick at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.

Sprong’s second hat trick of the season and second four-point performance (3G-1A) of the year helped improve Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to 17-10-2-1 on the season.

BOXSCORE

The Penguins got the scoring started on a delayed penalty call midway through the first period. With the goalie pulled for an extra attacker and a six-on-five advantage, a slap shot by Sprong was tipped in by Colin Smith. Smith, who was playing in his 300th AHL game, gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 9:27 of the opening frame.

The Wolf Pack evened things up with under a minute to go in the first period as Joe Whitney ripped one from the top of the left circle. Whitney’s goal snapped a 16-game goalless drought, but it was the last time any member of the Wolf Pack found the back of the net on Friday.

Sprong scored his first of the night at 8:30 of the second period, accepting a drop pass from Adam Johnson and fired it by the blocker of Marek Mazanec, making it 2-1. Johnson set up Sprong again on a similar play with 4:16 before the second intermission to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.

With Hartford heading to its fifth man advantage of the game at 14:19 of the third, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Zach Aston-Reese stormed down the ice for a shorthanded goal seven seconds into the penalty kill.

Sprong completed the hat trick with an empty net goal at 18:05 of the third period. It marked the first time since the 2009-10 that a member of the Penguins recorded two hat tricks in a season (Chris Conner).

Anthony Peters posted his first win in a Penguins uniform stopping 27 shots, while Mazanec turned away 22 of the 26 bids Wilkes-Barre/Scranton threw his way.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 30, when they travel down I-81 to take on the Hershey Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game will be in the New Year, as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers visit Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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