PENGUINS WEEKLY – 12/27/16

 

Penguins in the midst of season-best six-game winning streak

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (20-5-3-0) still owns AHL’s No. 1 overall spot

 

Weekly Rewind

Wednesday, Dec. 14 – PENGUINS 6 at Hartford 2

Dominik Simon led an offensive onslaught of the Wolf Pack, racking up four assists in the Pens’ win. Simon, Kevin Porter, Tom Sestito and Oskar Sundqvist all had multi-point outings.

Friday, Dec. 16 – PENGUINS 4 vs. Rochester 1

Rochester was downed by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in its first and only visit to Northeastern Pennsylvania this season. Lukas Bengtsson scored his first AHL goal, and Casey DeSmith fell just 1:22 short of his first shutout of the season.

Saturday, Dec. 17 – PENGUINS 4 vs. Springfield 2

The Penguins finally got the best of the Thunderbirds by beating them 4-2 on Teddy Bear Toss night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Tristan Jarry earned his 12th win.

Monday, Dec. 26 – PENGUINS 5 at Binghamton 4

Four combined goals in 3:37 of game time highlighted this showdown, but the Pens pulled off the comeback and sixth-straight win thanks in large part to Jake Guentzel’s three points.

 

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, Dec. 27 – PENGUINS vs. Springfield

The T-Birds return to the Penguins’ home ice 10 days after their defeat before the holiday break. Springfield holds the season series edge at 2-1-0-0.

Friday, Dec. 30 – PENGUINS vs. Providence

Providence has only lost once in regulation (11-1-1-3) since falling to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in their last meeting on Nov. 12.

Saturday, Dec. 31 – PENGUINS at Binghamton

Before the calendar flips to 2017, the Pens drops the puck with the Sens in a New Year’s Eve clash. The Pens have won both meetings this season.

 

Ice Chips

– The Penguins’ current six-game win streak is the second-longest of Clark Donatelli’s head coaching tenure. Donatelli’s Pens won seven in a row from Jan. 2 – Jan. 13, 2016.

– Jake Guentzel leads all AHL rookies with 29 points (14G-15A) and a plus-16 rating.

– Guentzel’s 14 goals also put him in a four-way tie for the most in the league.

– Defenseman David Warsofsky has 12 points (3G-9A) in his last nine games.

– Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has scored four goals or more in every one of its victories over the course of its six-game win streak.

– Tristan Jarry’s 12 wins is the second-most in the league.

– Tom Kostopoulos is 13 points away from his 500th in the AHL.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM                       GP       W         L        OTL     SOL     PTS         Pt%

1. PENGUINS          28       20         5          3          0        43          .768

2. Lehigh Valley      29        20        8          1          0        41           .707

3. Hershey               29        17          6         4          2        40          .690

4. Providence         30        16          7         4          3        39          .650

5. Bridgeport          28         16         12        0          0        32           .571

6. Springfield          27         11         11          3          2          27         .500

7. Hartford              29          11        14         3          1           26          .448

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS                    GP        G         A        PTS

Jake Guentzel*           23        14        15         29

Oskar Sundqvist         26        13        14         27

Tom Kostopoulos       28         9         11         20

Garrett Wilson            28         6         12         18

David Warsofsky         19         5         13         18

 

GOALIES                 GP     W-L-OT      GAA        Sv%     Shutouts

Casey DeSmith*     10      8-0-2         1.97        0.925         0

Tristan Jarry             18       12-5-1         2.10        0.924           1

* = rookie

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT      LOCATION                                TIME      

Tue, Dec. 27     Springfield         Mohegan Sun Arena               7:00 p.m.

Fri, Dec. 30      Providence         Mohegan Sun Arena               7:05 p.m.

Sat, Dec. 31      Binghamton       Veterans Memorial Arena     6:05 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Sat, Dec. 17         (D)      Chad Ruhwedel         Recalled from loan by PIT

PENS DEFEAT SENS, 5-4, IN OFFENSIVE SHOWCASE

BOXSCORE

 

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins extended their season-high winning streak to six games with a 5-4 victory against the Binghamton Senators on Monday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Penguins (20-5-3-0) became the second team this season to reach the 20-win threshold and maintained the No. 1 overall spot in the American Hockey League with the win.

Jake Guentzel not only capped off a three-point (2G-1A) night on his behalf with the game-winning goal in the third period, but also rounded out the scoring in what was an all-around wild, offensively-charged match-up.

Binghamton struck first with a power play goal from Mike Kostka just over five minutes into the game.

Tom Kostopoulos answered for the Penguins, knocking a puck past a fallen Matt O’Connor after being set up beautifully at the side of the Senators’ cage by Guentzel. Kostopoulos’ ninth tally of the season came at 13:07 of the first period.

The Penguins came out strong in the second period, testing O’Connor with multiple shots early in the frame. However, the Senators’ Mike Blunden reestablished a one-goal lead for Binghamton on his team’s first shot of the period 6:07 into the middle frame.

Madness reigned supreme after Blunden’s goal, as the teams combined for two goals each in a mere 3:37 span. Chris Carlisle scored for Binghamton only to see Guentzel respond for the Penguins 24 seconds later. A fortuitous bounce ended up behind Casey DeSmith, resulting in a goal for Jack Rodewald, but Oskar Sundqvist answered back for the Penguins less than a minute after that.

When the dust settled from the four-goal outburst, the Senators held a tender 4-3 lead.

The third period began with a flash reminiscent of the offensive eruption of the second, as Garrett Wilson wired a wrist shot into the top corner to tie the game, 4-4, just 11 seconds into the final frame of regulation.

Guentzel scored his second of the game and team-leading 14th of the season giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton its first lead of the night and a 5-4 advantage on a power play marker at 3:35 of the third.

The Penguins weathered a late storm by the Senators and held on for the victory.

DeSmith recorded 28 saves in his eighth win of the season, while O’Connor ended up with 39 stops to his name.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 27, as they’ll face-off against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got the better of Springfield in the last meeting, 4-2, in both squads’ final contest Puck drop between the Penguins and T-Birds is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Individual game tickets for tomorrow 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.

STAR WARS NIGHT RETURNS JANUARY 7


He’s one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, and fans of Star Wars have been clamoring about the return of Darth Vader to the silver screen since the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in August.

And while the Sith Lord doesn’t return to the frozen world of Hoth in the stand alone Star Wars tale, he will be making an appearance on the ice in northeast Pennsylvania when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins host Star Wars Night on Saturday, January 7 against the Binghamton Senators.

Penguins players will be wearing specially produced Star Wars jerseys for the game, featuring a unique rendering of Darth Vader incorporated with the team’s familiar yellow triangle crest.  The jersey was designed by Dave Filoni, executive producer of Star Wars Rebels and the head of Lucasfilm Animation Ltd. LLC.

The jerseys will be auctioned off during the game against the Senators, with all proceeds going to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Inc.

Additionally, approximately 50 members of the 501st Legion Garrison Carida and Rebel Legion Ghost Base groups will be on hand in full costumes, depicting favorite heroes and villains from the Star Wars saga.   Ewoks, wookies, jawas and stormtroopers, among other characters, will be available for photos and fun throughout the night.

Tickets for the Penguins Star Wars Night are available now by visiting TicketMaster.com or by calling 570-208-7367.

PENGUINS FOUR-GOAL GAMES

Oskar Sundqvist joined some elite company on Saturday night, becoming just the third Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins player to record four goals in a game.  But Sundqvist’s hat trick plus one came under different circumstances than the first two times the feat was accomplished.
OCTOBER 5, 2005 – Erik Christensen wasted no time in opening his scoring account, picking up four goals and leading the Penguins to an 8-1 win in the season opener against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

This outcome of the game was never in doubt, as Matt Hussey opened the scoring at 2:58 of the first frame, before Christensen got on a roll.  The second-year pro recorded the next two Pens goals, and completed the hat trick before the game was halfway over.  He topped things off with his fourth of the night at 13:36 of the third period to finish off the night’s scoring.

Christensen’s first three tallies came against Wade Dubielewicz, who was eventually chased from the game following Tomas Surovy’s second goal of the game – the Penguins’ sixth of the night – at 8:11 of the second period.  Chris Madden was victimized for Christensen’s record-setting goal.

Christensen went on to record 20 more goals for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the season, and finished second on the team with 46 points (24+22) in just 48 regular season games.  He also saw significant playing time with the Pittsburgh Penguins that season, recording 13 points (6+7) in 33 games with the NHL club.

A dangerous force in shootouts (he’s tied for first on the team’s all-time list with 11 successful attempts), Christensen recorded 50 goals and 97 points in 141 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during parts of three seasons.  He appeared in 387 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Anaheim, the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild, posting 163 points (68+95).  He has spent the past five seasons playing in Europe, and is currently tied for the team lead with 10 goals for HV71 Jonkoping in Sweden (as of December 12, 2016).

FEBRUARY 16, 2007 – Jean-Francois Jacques didn’t need to score four goals against the Binghamton Senators to secure a win.  His tally 1:58 into the game provided all the offense the team would need thanks to a 17-save performance by Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers.  But the Edmonton Oilers prospect tacked on three more goals en route to a 7-0 shutout of the I-81 rivals.

Jacques spaced out his first two goals, scoring his second with just 18 ticks left in the second period to put the Penguins up 3-0 (Rob Schremp had a goal sandwiched between the two scores).  He completed his hat trick 23 seconds into the third period, then finished off his four-goal performance with 6:14 to play in the game.

Dan Carcillo and Jonathan Filewich also netted goals in the game against Jeff Glass, who stopped 31 of 38 shots he saw.

Jacques added just one more goal in nine further games with the club after his big night, and finished the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton portion of his career with 27 points (10+17) in 29 total games.

The Montreal native appeared in 309 AHL games with the six teams between 2005 and 2014, recording 187 points (89+98).  He also suited up in 166 games with Edmonton and Anaheim in the NHL, posting 17 points (9+8).  Like Christensen, Jacques is also currently plying his trade overseas, and has appeared in all 27 of Ingolstadt ERC’s games in Germany this season.

DECEMBER 10, 2016 – While the first two four-goal games came in Penguins blowouts, the third featured the hat trick hero providing a much needed spark.

The Hershey Bears jumped out a 2-0 lead 12:11 into the game.  It looked like the Bears, who posted a 5-2 victory on the same ice the night before, were steering this game in a similar direction.

But that’s when Sundqvist changed things.

The second-year pro picked up a loose puck in the slot and waisted home his eighth goal of the season at 16:59 of the first, tying the team lead for goals in the process.

His second goal came almost midway through the game off of a Josh Archibald rebound, and tied the contest at 2-2.

Jake Guentzel followed that goal up with his ninth of the season 29 seconds later, giving the Penguins their first regular season lead against the Bears in five contests this season.

Sundqvist redirected a Kevin Porter shot for his third of the game just two and a half minutes later, and picked up his fourth goal in style with a breakaway tally early in the third period.

The Swedish sniper may have led the scoring attack but, unlike Christensen and Jacques, Sundqvist did not record the game-winning goal in the 6-2 victory (that was credited to Guentzel).  But it’s safe to say that the Penguins wouldn’t have picked up the win without his record-tying effort.

The Penguins’ next home game is Friday, Dec. 16 as they’ll face-off against the Rochester Americans for the first and only time at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this season. The 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 tomorrow 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.

KOSTOPOULOS NETS HIS 400TH AS PENS BEAT SENS, 4-1

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had plenty of reasons to celebrate following their 4-1 victory over the Binghamton Senators on Friday night, but the moment that stole the show came when their captain reached yet another milestone in his decorated career.

Scoring a power play goal at 17:56 of the second period in front of a home crowd, Tom Kostopoulos recorded his 400th career point as a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin. Kostopoulos, the Penguins’ all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points is the first player in franchise history to reach that mark.

The game did not begin on as cheery of a note, though. Binghamton opened up the scoring with the lone goal of the first period when Mike Blunden found the back of the net with a wrap-around at 13:36 of the opening frame.

The Penguins responded with a strong second period, outshooting the Senators 15-6. Jake Guentzel put the Penguins on the board, tying the game the contest with a deflection at 15:56 of the second. Kostopoulos had an assist on Guentzel’s equalizer, point No. 399 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The 18-year pro and Penguin captain’s 400th point with the club broke the deadlock just two minutes later, bringing the score to 2-1.

Garret Wilson and Oskar Sundqvist each added to the Penguins’ lead in the third. Wilson’s first in a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton uniform came 5:23 into the third with a wrist shot that beat Binghamton goalie Matt O’Connor high blocker-side.  Sundqvist blasted a one-timer from the slot past O’Connor at 13:02 of the third, bringing the game to its 4-1 final.

Tristan Jarry finished the game with 20 saves on 21 shots while his counterpart, O’Connor stopped 26 of the 30 shots faced.

Friday night’s victory not only brought the Penguins to 6-1-1-0 (13 points, first in the Atlantic Division), but it was also the seventh-straight game in which they held their opponent to just one goal in regulation.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 4, against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 7:05 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 PRACTICE REPORT – NOVEMBER 2, 2016

Three weeks and seven games into the 2016-17 American Hockey League season, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have allowed a measly nine goals against – the lowest total in the 30 team league.  They’ve allowed just one goal in five of those seven contests, and have only allowed two goals in regulation once so far – that coming in a 6-2 opening night victory against the Hartford WolfPack.

It’s an historic start for a club that has become well known for stout displays of defense over the past decade.

But head coach Clark Donatelli isn’t necessarily figuring that the fantastically low GAA will hold up all season.

“It’s early.  Right now we’re playing well.  Our guys are paying attention to details,” he said following a nearly two hour practice on Wednesday at the Toyota SportsPlex.  “The D corps are playing very well, we’re getting good goaltending.  But I think overall it’s solid team defense.  Our forwards are coming back.  We work really hard at it in practice, and we pride ourselves in playing good defense.”

The Penguins are the only team to allow than 10 goals so far this season.  The San Jose Barracuda are close behind with just 11 against, but have played only four games to far.  The next closest teams after San Jose (Springfield, Tucson and Bakersfield) have allowed 15 tallies each to date.

And while the Pens have been less than generous in allowing goals, the work they’ve done in their own end is leading to tallies of their own.

“We try to create offense from all three zones,” said Donatelli.  “Guys are working really hard.  They’re blocking shots and winning one-on-one battles.  So so far so good.”

Kevin Porter provided a pair of prime examples of how defensive play can lead to offense when the Pens took on the Syracuse Crunch on October 22.  The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward tallied a pair of shorthanded goals in the 3-1 victory, becoming the first Penguin in nearly a decade to accomplish the feat.

The first goal came after Josh Archibald chipped a puck off of a Syracuse defender and fed Porter, who broke in alone on Crunch net minder Adam Wilcox.  The second goal saw Porter pressing the play at the Syracuse blue line, taking advantage of a defender’s miscue and sniping his second of the night.

“If you play good defense, it translates into the offense,” Porter stated.  “They’re going to have breakdowns offensively, then we chip it out and we go.  We have a good transition game.  Forwards are back-checking, D are standing up and making good plays.”

The Penguins will look to keep their opponents at bay again this weekend, when they play three games in three days.  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hosts the Binghamton Senators on Friday night at 7:05pm, before hitting the road for contests against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Saturday night) and Providence Bruins (Sunday afternoon).

Tickets for Friday night’s home contest are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.