PENGUINS WEEKLY – 12/6/16

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Penguins prepare for Bears after successful St. John’s trip

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (14-4-3-0) takes three of four points against the IceCaps

 

Weekly Rewind

Saturday, Dec. 3 – PENGUINS 6 at St. John’s 2

The Penguins’ power play carried them to a convincing victory in the first game of a back-to-back set at Mile One Centre. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s man advantage struck for a season-high three times in the contest, including two scored 19 seconds apart. Jean-Sébastien Dea’s even strength marker with less than a minute left in the second period was his seventh of the season, making him the team’s active leader in goals.

Sunday, Dec. 4 – PENGUINS 2 at St. John’s 3 (OT)

After coming back from a 2-0 deficit and forcing overtime, the Penguins ultimately fell in the extra frame despite outshooting their opponent, 52-25. Oskar Sundqvist tied Dea for the team lead in goals with his seventh of the year. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s power play struck for the third-straight game, as well.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Dec. 9 – PENGUINS vs. Hershey

The Penguins return home and face a familiar foe in the Hershey Bears. These two squads have already met three times this season, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won twice. It is also the first Eyewitness News Fan Fridays game this year.

Saturday, Dec. 10 – PENGUINS vs. Hershey

The Pens and Bears square off for the second night in a row at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 7-0-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

Sunday, Dec. 11 – PENGUINS at Bridgeport

Wrapping up the three-games-in-three-days weekend for the Penguins is a contest with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Sound Tigers were bested by the Pens in a 1-0 game in Northeastern PA in their last meeting. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 3-0-0-0 in the third game of three-in-threes this year.

 

Ice Chips

– The Penguins are 10-0-1-0 in their last 11 games vs. St. John’s.

– The Penguins have allowed the fewest goals per game (2.00) of any team in the AHL this year.

– Of Dominik Simon’s four goals this season, three have been game-winners.

– Rookie Casey DeSmith’s .930 save percentage and 1.82 goals against average both rank first among all Eastern Conference goaltenders.

–  Oskar Sundqvist is one point shy of tying his total offensive output in 45 games played last season (17 pts). Sundqvist has appeared in 19 contests for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year.

– Chad Ruhwedel reached his 100th AHL point with an assist in Saturday’s game at St. John’s.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM                       GP       W         L        OTL     SOL     PTS         Pt%

1. PENGUINS          21         14         4          3          0         31           .738

2. Lehigh Valley      22         15         6          1           0        31           .705

3. Hershey               22         13         4          4           1         31           .705

4. Bridgeport           22         15         7          0          0        30         .682

5. Providence          22          9          6          4          3        25           .568

6. Springfield           21          8          8          3          2         21          .500

7. Hartford                21          7          11          3          0        17           .405

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS                    GP        G         A        PTS

Jake Guentzel*^          16         7         10        17

Oskar Sundqvist         19         7          9         16

Tom Kostopoulos       21         6         10        16

Carter Rowney            18         5          8         13

Kevin Porter                 19         5          7          12

 

GOALIES                  GP     W-L-OT      GAA        Sv%    Shutouts

Casey DeSmith*      7         5-0-2        1.82        0.930         0

Tristan Jarry              14        9-4-1          1.99        0.927          1

 

* = rookie

^ = currently with Pittsburgh

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                         TIME      

Fri, Dec. 9          Hershey              Mohegan Sun Arena            2:30 p.m.

Sat, Dec. 10      Hershey              Mohegan Sun Arena            2:30 p.m.

Sun, Dec. 11      Bridgeport         Webster Bank Arena             5:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Sat, Dec. 3         (LW)    Tom Sestito                 Reassigned on loan by PIT

PENGUINS FORCE OT, FALL TO ICECAPS IN EXTRA FRAME

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SCORESHEET

 

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit to force overtime, but Chris Terry’s second goal of the game with just 26 seconds left in the extra frame gave the St. John’s IceCaps a 3-2 victory on Sunday at the Mile One Centre.

The Penguins (14-4-3-0, 31 points) picked up at least one point for the fourth straight contest (2-0-2-0), while the IceCaps (12-11-1-0, 25 points) recorded their first home win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since December 6, 2013.

St. John’s tallied twice in eight power play chances to record their regulation goals, which came off of the sticks of Terry (4:51 of the first period) and Sven Andrighetto (11:42 of the second period).

Oskar Sundqvist cut the IceCaps lead in half with just four ticks left in the second period, tapping in his seventh of the season from the left side of the net.  And Chad Ruhwedel blasted home a power play goal of his own from the left point with 9:24 left in regulation to send the game to the extra frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton peppered netminder Yann Danis with 49 shots through regulation and another three in the extra frame, while Casey DeSmith turned aside 22 of 25 pucks he saw on the day.

The Pens return home on Friday, December 9 when they play the Hershey Bears at 7:00pm.  It’s an Eyewitness News Fan Friday, with $14 lower bowl tickets, select draft beers for just $2 from 6-7:30pm, and a post-game autograph session with two Penguins players.

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:  Ruhwedel led the attack for the Penguins with nine shots on the afternoon…  Only two Penguins (Jean-Sebastien Dea and Reid Gardiner) failed to register a shot in the game…Casey DeSmith suffered the OT loss, but has yet to drop a regulation decision this season (5-0-2)

OLEKSY, RUHWEDEL TO PITT; SESTITO TO WBS

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defensemen Steve Oleksy and Chad Ruhwedel from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Forward Tom Sestito has been assigned to WBS.

Oleksy, 30, and Ruhwedel, 26, have helped the WBS Penguins jump out of the gate to an 8-1-1 record that has the club at the top of the AHL standings.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Oleksy has suited up for all 10 games thus far for WBS, amassing four points (1G-3A), a plus-1 and 12 penalty minutes.

Last spring, Oleksy traveled with the Penguins during the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs following the injury to Trevor Daley, earning both a day with the Stanley Cup and a championship ring.

Oleksy has played in 62 career NHL games, all with the Washington Capitals, tallying 19 points (3G-16A) and a plus-15.

Ruhwedel, who stands 5-foot-11, 191 pounds, leads all WBS blueliners this year in goals (2), assists (5) and points (7) in 10 games. He has an active three-game assist streak (4 total).

A native of San Diego, California, Ruhwedel broke into the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres as an undrafted free agent, collecting two assists in 33 NHL contests over parts of four years.

During his three-year college career at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Ruhwedel was an NCAA First-Team All-American his final year, helped his school reach the 2013 Frozen Four held at PPG Paints Arena and was teammates with Scott Wilson for two seasons.

CALIFORNIA KID

By Nick Hart

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Take a trip down to sunny southern California and you’ll find a city that boasts sandy beaches, the colorful architecture of Balboa Park, as well as the stunning sights of Sunset Cliff. Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it “San Diego”, which, of course, in German means “ice hockey haven”.

No, there’s no way that’s correct. Scholars maintain the actual translation was lost thousands of years ago, but don’t tell that to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, whose love for hockey was born while he was growing up in San Diego. In fact, Ruhwedel is the first and only San Diego native to play in the NHL

While southern California might seem like a bizarre place for hockey to take root, Ruhwedel’s passion for the game started similarly to most kids who wind up cherishing the sport. He just strapped on some skates, stepped on the ice, and knew it was something he wanted to do time and time again.

“I just tried it out, tried skating, and I wanted to go back,” Ruhwedel said. “My parents did a good job of keeping me with it, letting me do whatever made me happy. I did a ‘learn to skate’ first, then actually learned how to play the game, and it all snowballed from there.”

Ruhwedel’s father is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and so work had the family bounce around different locations around the country until they finally settled in San Diego when Ruhwedel was young. Ruhwedel remembers being about five-years-old when he started skating regularly, and stayed in southern California for the entirely of his youth hockey career.

Today, the Penguins’ locker room has four players from the Greater Toronto Area, three from Minnesota and three from New England. So San Diego sort of really sticks out on the roster sheet compared to the more “traditional” markets. Even though the area isn’t perceived as a hockey hotbed, Ruhwedel contends that his hometown and the state as a whole shouldn’t be discounted.

“Hockey’s more popular in California than people think,” Ruhwedel said. “When I was young, I had three rinks within 15 minutes of my house. Now there are probably five. There are a lot of people interested, a lot of people skating. It’s still tough to get ice time.”

Ruhwedel also grew up at a time when the game was booming in the region. Wayne Gretzky was playing for the Los Angeles Kings and, shortly thereafter, the San Jose Sharks were born and hockey came to Disney Land with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (Ruhwedel’s team of choice growing up). The NHL’s commitment to growing the game in the area paid off with a generation of hockey players from California infiltrating the top junior, collegiate and pro ranks, a movement Ruhwedel was a part of and he sees continuing through the next decade.

“California’s definitely coming in strong with a lot of good players and they keep coming,” Ruhwedel said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a lot of Division-I college hockey programs there in the next five to 10 years. It’s just getting so popular.”

He attended school all the way across the country at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, but if a college program in the Pacific Coast states had been an option at the time, he would have seen it as an easy choice to keep his talents in the region.

“It would have been tough to turn down, that’s for sure,” Ruhwedel said. “Arizona State has one now, and it won’t be long before USC, UCLA, Stanford and the like all get on the bandwagon and pick up hockey programs. I loved it in New England, but being from the west coast, it’d be pretty hard to turn down a Pac-12 conference team.”

Though he never did get to play at a school on his side of the country, he can still rest his laurels on the fact that he’s the one and only person from San Diego who has played in the NHL. While he doesn’t expect to hold that distinction for long, he’s excited that he can say he holds the title right now and led the way for future San Diegan hockey stars.

“I’m very proud of it, but I have to thank so many people that helped me get to [the NHL],” Ruhwedel said. “My parents, my coaches, friends and family that made it all possible. Without them, there’s no way it happens. But now that it did, yeah, it’s really cool. I’m really fortunate to have that honor.”

You stay classy, Chad Ruhwedel.

PENGUINS STOP DEVILS’ STREAK WITH 3-1 WIN

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BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton welcomed the American Hockey League’s only remaining undefeated team to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday night, and ended the evening as the only blemish on the Albany Devils’ record.

The Penguins (4-1-0-0) beat the Devils 3-1 with a scoring palette that consisted of a power play, shorthanded and even strength goal.

Chad Ruhwedel ripped a low shot past Devils defenders and goalie Scott Wedgewood on the power play at 18:10 of the first period, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton extended its lead to 2-0 when Josh Archibald scored shorthanded 5:34 into the second period. Archibald’s goal was the Penguins’ third shorthanded tally of the season, the highest total in the AHL.

Jake Guentzel and Sahir Gill combined for a give-and-go play off of a Devils turnover that turned into Guentzel’s third goal of the season and the Penguins’ third of the night.

Albany showed some life and spoiled Tristan Jarry’s shutout bid when Nick Lappin buried one on the doorstep at 8:05 of the third period.

The Devils pulled their goalie, but could not find the two goal necessary to tie the Penguins, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton became the lone loss on Albany’s record this season.

Wedgewood left the game after two periods having made 25 saves on 28 shots. Mackenzie Blackwood stepped in for the third period for the Devils and stopped all eight shots faced. Jarry finished the night with 19 saves on 20 shots.

Wednesday night marked the fourth-straight game that the Penguins only allowed one goal, and the team’s penalty kill is now 23-for-24 on the season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Saturday, Oct. 29, 7:05 p.m. at MassMutual Center against the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Penguins’ next home game is the following day, Sunday, Oct. 30, when they take on the Syracuse Crunch at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza with a 3:05 p.m. start time.

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.

PITTSBURGH ASSIGNS 17 TO WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

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Defenseman Steve Oleksy is among the 17 players assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

The Pittsburgh Penguins have assigned 17 players to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Players assigned to WBS include: goaltenders Casey DeSmith and Leland Irving; defensemen Tim Erixon, Ethan Prow, Stuart Percy, Cameron Gaunce, Reid McNeill, Steve Oleksy and Chad Ruhwedel; and forwards Oskar Sundqvist, Adam Krause, Ryan Haggerty, Sahir Gill, Josh Archibald, Dominik Simon, Garrett Wilson and Jean-Sebastien Dea.

Erixon, Percy, Gaunce, McNeill, Oleksy, Ruhwedel and Wilson all have to clear waivers on Tuesday at noon before they can join WBS.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins take the ice for their first preseason game when they host the Albany Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:05 p.m. The Penguins will also battle the Hershey Bears in exhibition action at home on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:05 p.m. before wrapping up their preseason schedule at Giant Center against the Bears on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5:00 p.m.

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 season, 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.