STERN EMERGES AS QUALITY D-MAN DURING FIRST AHL SEASON


Fans of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have grown accustomed to seeing undrafted, unheralded players work their ways up from the ECHL and solidify themselves in the American Hockey League. Barry Goers falls into that category, as does Sahir Gill. Carter Rowney is perhaps the most notable example of these type of players, not only becoming a team MVP in the AHL, but now holding  a roster spot in the NHL.

Now, Brett Stern is trying to add his name to that list.

After spending the first season and a half of his pro career with the Wheeling Nailers, Stern played 17 regular season contests and one playoff game with the Penguins. All of those games came while on a professional tryout agreement.

Despite playing without an AHL contract, Stern left a big impression on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s coaching staff.

“Stern played terrific,” said head coach Clark Donatelli. “When he came in, too, his first few games were all division games. Hershey, Lehigh, he was thrown right into the fire… He showed he could play. He’s an AHL player.”

Stern’s emergence was made all the more impressive considering who his colleagues were once he made it up from the ECHL. He wasn’t handed ice time on team bottoming out in the standings, he was making waves on the eventually MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy-winning club. Furthermore, the Penguins’ defense boasted the likes of Tim Erixon, Cameron Gaunce, Frank Corrado and Derrick Pouliot, who have all logged significant time in the NHL at one point in their careers or another.

There weren’t exactly a lot of open spots on the Penguins’ blue line, and yet Stern continued to stick around.

“This group is a special group of players,” he said. “Just looking around the rest of the defensemen in this locker room, it’s pretty surreal to think you’re playing with them.”

The transition straight to the AHL wasn’t an easy on for Stern, though. While his strong, shut-down defense was turning heads right from the get-go, there was a lot going on beneath the surface.

“It’s hard at first,” Stern said. “You don’t feel comfortable, but at the same time, you want to play with confidence and the mindset that you’re there for a reason. It was tough at first, but I got settled in eventually. And I think I got better and better as the year went on.”

That gradual improvement has been a hallmark of Stern’s game since he turned pro following four seasons of unprecedented success with Minnesota State University’s hockey program. Stern claims that biggest steps he’s made from the start of his first pro season, is shaking the “college hockey mentality” that didn’t necessarily cater to his style of play.

“Because you only play 40 games in a season and mostly on weekends, college hockey is a little bit easier to just go, go, go,” he said. “It’s a lot of running around and hitting and guys ending up out of place. It’s not as structured. The pro game, you can’t be running around. If you’re out of position, they’ll expose you in a heartbeat. It’s a thinking game. You want to outsmart the other team a lot of the time as a defenseman, so it’s like a game of chess. It took me a while to adjust to that, but I think the pro game suits me more.

It’s more think then react, whereas the college game is more react then think.”

When he’s not hunting, fishing or visiting his relatives north of the border, Stern will spend most of his summer thinking about what the next move is for him in his career and then reacting accordingly.

“Hopefully, I see more time in the AHL next year,” Stern said. “But if not, I’m going to keep working. That’s not a reason to stop. I just need to take the lessons I learned from this year and apply them to getting better moving forward.”


Season Ticket Memberships for the 2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins season are on sale now.  Call the Penguins directly at 570-208-7367 to get yours, or fill in the form below, and a Penguins account executive will reach out to you.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PENGUINS RECALL RYAN SEGALLA, SIGN BRETT STERN TO PTO

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have recalled defenseman Ryan Segalla and signed defenseman Brett Stern to a professional tryout agreement. Both Segalla and Stern come to the Penguins from the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.

Segalla, playing in his first season of pro hockey, has posted three goals and 7 assists for 10 points in 56 games with the Nailers. The Hanover, Mass. native signed an American Hockey League contract with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton following three seasons at the University of Connecticut.

Segalla was drafted in the fourth round (119th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Stern made his AHL debut earlier this season as a member of the Penguins on Monday, Jan. 16 at Syracuse, and went on to appear in four games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton throughout the month of January. He later played in two more games with the Penguins on a second PTO in February. The 25-year-old second year pro earned no points and no penalty minutes in that time.

Stern has played in 45 games with Wheeling this season, posting six goals and 18 assists for 24 points, as well as a plus-two rating. Last year, Stern finished the season with seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points, the second-highest total among Wheeling defensemen.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Friday, Mar. 17, when it travels down the turnpike to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Puck drop for the Penguins’ clash with the Phantoms is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at PPL Center. The Penguins’ next home game is Saturday, Mar. 18, and once again they’ll face the Phantoms.

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.

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

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON SENDS CHRISTIAN HILBRICH, BRETT STERN TO WHEELING

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have reassigned forward Christian Hilbrich to the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) and released defenseman Brett Stern from his professional tryout contract. Stern will also report to the Nailers.

Hilbrich has appeared in five games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, earning no points or penalty minutes in that time. The six-foot-seven forward made his AHL debut on Feb. 17, 2017 while the Penguins were visiting the Albany Devils.

In 51 contests with the Nailers this season, Hilbrich has posted 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points and 32 penalty minutes. The 24-year-old rookie has a team-best plus-20 rating, and was named Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week for his efforts during the period of Jan. 9 – 15 after collecting nine points (5G-4A) in four games during that span.

Stern has played in 42 games with Wheeling this season, posting six goals and 15 assists for 21 points, as well as a plus-six rating. He made his AHL debut with the Penguins on Monday, Jan. 16 at Syracuse, and has appeared in six games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tonight, Saturday, Mar. 11, and its opponent will be the Providence Bruins. Puck drop between the Penguins and P-Bruins is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

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.

Penguins ticket packages, including 12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS SIGN DEFENSEMAN BRETT STERN TO PTO

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Brett Stern to a professional tryout agreement. Stern comes to the Penguins from the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.

Stern made his AHL debut earlier this season as a member of the Penguins on Monday, Jan. 16 at Syracuse, and went on to appear in four games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton throughout the month of January. He recorded no points in those games and was released from his PTO on Feb. 1 with an even plus-minus rating.

Stern has played in 42 of Wheeling’s games this season, posting six goals and 15 assists for 21 points, as well as a plus-six rating. On Dec. 31, 2016 and Jan. 6, 2017, the Lino Lakes, Minn. native recorded the first back-to-back multi-point games of his career by earning two assists on both nights.

Last year, Stern finished the season with seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points, the second-highest total among Wheeling defensemen.

Before turning pro, Stern spent four years at Minnesota State University and captained the Mavericks in his senior season. Three of those four years were played alongside current Penguins forward Teddy Blueger.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tonight, Saturday, Feb. 18, when they take on the Springfield Thunderbirds. Puck drop between the Penguins and Devils is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game isn’t until Wednesday, Mar. 8, and its opponent will be the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Individual game tickets for Mar. 8’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 12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

BRETT STERN RELEASED FROM PTO

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have released defenseman Brett Stern from his professional tryout contract. He will report back to the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.

Stern made his AHL debut on Monday, Jan. 16 at Syracuse, and went on to appear in four games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton throughout the month of January. He recorded no points in those games and leaves with an even plus-minus rating.

The Lino Lakes, Minn. native returns to Wheeling having played 34 ECHL games this season, posting 19 points (6G-13A) and a plus-seven rating. The second-year pro put up seven points (2G-5A) in the six games with the Nailers prior to signing the PTO with the Penguins on Jan. 16.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday night, Feb. 3, when they welcome the St. John’s IceCaps to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for their first game since the All-Star break.  It’s another Eyewitness News Fan Friday, with $14 lower bowl tickets, select draft beers available for just $2 from 7-8:30pm, and postgame autographs from two Penguins players.

Individual game tickets for the game on Friday 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 SIGN DEFENSEMAN BRETT STERN TO PTO

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Brett Stern to a professional tryout agreement. Stern comes to the Penguins from the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers.

Stern has played in all 34 of Wheeling’s games this season, posting six goals and 13 assists for 19 points, as well as a plus-seven rating. The second-year pro blue liner has put up seven points (2G-5A) in his last six games and scored in both of the Nailers’ past two contests.

On Dec. 31, 2016 and Jan. 6, 2017, the Lino Lakes, Minn. native recorded the first back-to-back multi-point games of his career by earning two assists on both nights.

Last year, Stern finished the season with seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points, the second-highest total among Wheeling defensemen.

Before turning pro, Stern spent four years at Minnesota State University and captained the Mavericks in his senior season. Three of those four years were played alongside current Penguins forward Teddy Blueger.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Monday afternoon, Jan. 16, when they face off once again with the Syracuse Crunch at 1:00 p.m. at Onondaga County Oncenter War Memorial Arena. Monday’s broadcast will be available exclusively online with WILK Newsradio’s web stream in addition to AHLLive.com.

The Penguins’ next home showing is Saturday, Jan. 21, and their opponent will be the Hershey Bears.

Individual game tickets for the game on Jan. 21 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.