PENGUINS DROP OPENING NIGHT DECISION TO CHECKERS, 5-2

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Daniel Sprong notched his first regular season goal with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but the team ultimately fell, 5-2, in their 2017-18 season opener to the Charlotte Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (0-1-0-0) surrendered back-to-back shorthanded tallies to Charlotte (2-0-0-0) rookie Warren Foegele, who has kicked off his pro career with four goals and two game-winning goals in his first two games.

The Penguins’ first goal of the season came from Sprong on the power play when he scorched a wrist shot past the blocker side of Jeremy Smith at 7:40 of the opening frame.

Valentin Zykov notched a goal for Charlotte with only 1:59 remaining in the first period, evening the score at 1-1.

The second period became a special teams fest for both clubs, with Charlotte and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton combining for seven power play opportunities in the middle stanza. Thomas Di Pauli used a shorthanded goal at 14:46 of the second period to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead, but that was taken away three minutes later by a man advantage marker from the Checkers’ Phil Di Giuseppe.

Foegele gave Charlotte its first lead of the contest, 3-2, with a shorthanded tally with less than a minute left before the second intermission. Foegele found the back of the net again with yet another shorthanded goal 9:37 into the third period, making it 4-2, Charlotte.

Di Giuseppe nailed a long-distance empty-net goal in final two minutes of regulation, bringing the game to its final score of 5-2.

Tristan Jarry posted 31 saves in net for the Penguins. Smith stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Oct. 13 at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza against the Lehigh Valley 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th 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.

CHARLOTTE vs. WBS – OCTOBER 7, 2017

TONIGHT’S GAME

The Penguins and Charlotte Checkers face-off for the first of four season meetings, but tonight is their first game against one another since 2011. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had a commanding 7-1-0-0 record in the two clubs’ 2010-11 regular season series, but Charlotte got the better of them in six games during the second round of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Penguins’ hope to capitalize with a new-look power play unit that will feature offensively inclined rookies like Zach Aston-Reese, Adam Johnson and Daniel Sprong as well as the team’s leading scorer from last season, veteran Tom Kostopoulos. However, they may not have many opportunities to make an impact, as the Checkers were the second-least penalized team in the AHL the previous year (10.88 PIM per game).

Charlotte’s power play came up clutch late last night, scoring a tying goal in the third period. Tonight, the Checkers’ man advantage must contend with the Penguins’ penalty kill, which was best in the AHL last season with a 86.9 percent success rate.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is well-rested, prepared for its first game of the season, whereas Charlotte in playing in the second game of a back-to-back this weekend. Last season, the Checkers were 16-12-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs last season.

RECENT ACTION

The Charlotte Checkers kicked off the 2017-18 season and their Atlantic Division residence with a dramatic 5-4 victory spearheaded by rookie Warren Foegele while visiting the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Charlotte started off behind the eight ball when Hartford’s Cole Schneider struck 54 seconds into the game. Foegele, last year’s OHL Playoffs MVP, evened things up in the first period with his first pro goal.

The Wolf Pack popped back on top, 2-1, with a tally courtesy of Ryan Gropp at 2:25 of the middle frame. Hartford’s Joe Whitney and Charlotte’s Lucas Wallmark traded goals less than two minutes apart, and the game headed to the second intermission at a 3-2 score in the home squad’s favor.

Adam Tambellini extended his team’s lead to two goals at 2:42 of the third before Aleksi Saarela chopped it right back down t o one midway through the period.

The Checkers’ power play unit found a 4-4 equalizer from Valentin Zykov 13:06 into the final period of play. Foegele shocked the opening night crowd at XL Center with his second goal of the night, the game-winner, with one minute left in regulation.

ICE CHIPS…

– Tom Kostopoulos begins his 19th season of professional hockey tonight, a career that started in 1999 during the inaugural season of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

– Penguins forward Teddy Blueger not only had the best plus/minus of all AHL rookies last year (+23), but also set Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s franchise record for rookie plus/minus rating.

– In his final year of junior hockey, Daniel Sprong failed to record a point in only nine of his 43 games played, including playoffs.

– Last season’s Penguins were the fifth team to reach the 50-win plateau since the AHL adopted a 76-game schedule in 2011-12.

CHECK MATES…

– Charlotte posted a record of 15-3-3-0 (.785) when Lucas Wallmark scored a goal last season. – The Checkers allowed the fewest shorthanded goals in the AHL last season (3).

– Andrew Poturalski ranked third in rookie scoring last season with 52 points (19G-33A).

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

PENGUINS REVEAL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE FOR 2017-18

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The full 2017-18 American Hockey League regular season schedule was announced this afternoon, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will officially begin their 19th season on Saturday, Oct. 7, when they face off with the Charlotte Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

SYNC SCHEDULE | COLOR PDF | B&W PDF | TEXT LIST PDF

The Penguins will play a 76-game regular season schedule (38 home/38 road) featuring games against every team in the Eastern Conference and an additional three opponents from the Western Conference. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton remains a member of the now eight-team Atlantic Division, along with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Charlotte Checkers, Hartford Wolf Pack, Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Providence Bruins and Springfield Thunderbirds. The Penguins will meet division foes 50 times (25 home/25 road) with their remaining 26 games coming against clubs in the North Division (10 home/10 road) and Central Division (three home/three road).

The puck will drop on weekend evenings or afternoons for 30 of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 38 home games. The Penguins will be bringing back promotions such as $14 Fan Fridays and Kids Get In Free Sundays for the 2017-18 season. Starting in December, lower level tickets for Friday night home games are just $14 while supplies last in addition to $2 select beers available from 6:00-7:30 p.m. For the Penguins’ five Sunday home games, children age 14 and under can attend free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket, and four of those games will feature a postgame skate with select players. Information on other promotions for the season will be announced at a later date.

The Penguins begin the season with nine of their first 12 games taking place on home ice, but their longest homestand of the season lasts only four games. The Penguins will play four-consecutive home games on three separate occasions this season, once in October, December, and another split between March and April. Likewise, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has four different four-game road trips on the schedule, their longest of the season. Those stretches of road games are slated to take place in January, February, March and April.

The Penguins will play seven teams during this upcoming season that did not appear on the team’s 2016-17 schedule: the Milwaukee Admirals, Rockford IceHogs, Grand Rapids Griffins, Laval Rocket, Belleville Senators, Binghamton Devils and Charlotte.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has never played a regular season game against Rockford, Laval or Belleville. Grand Rapids last visited Northeastern Pennsylvania during the 2008-09 season, and Milwaukee hasn’t played a regular season game in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since 2001-02. The Penguins last took on the Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza during the 2010-11 campaign. Binghamton is playing its first season under a new NHL affiliation.

The Penguins’ full 2017-18 schedule is listed below.

GAMES BY DAY OF THE WEEK   GAMES BY MONTH
Home Road Total Home Road Total
Monday 0 0 0 October 6 2 8
Tuesday 1 2 3 November 5 4 9
Wednesday 7 4 11 December 8 6 14
Thursday 0 0 0 January 5 6 11
Friday 11 14 25 February 5 6 11
Saturday 14 9 23 March 6 10 16
Sunday 5 9 14 April 3 4 7

 

GAMES vs. OPPONENTS (Home/Road)  
Atlantic Division North Division Central Division
Bridgeport (3/3) Belleville (1/1) Grand Rapids (1/1)
Charlotte (2/2) Binghamton (3/3) Milwaukee (1/1)
Hartford (3/3) Laval (1/1) Rockford (1/1)
Hershey (6/6) Rochester (1/1)
Lehigh Valley (6/6) Syracuse (2/2)
Providence (3/3) Toronto (1/1)
Springfield (3/3) Utica (1/1)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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

PENGUINS ANNOUNCE HOME OPENER FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced the date and time of their home opener for the upcoming 2017-18 season. The Penguins will officially begin their 19th season on Saturday, Oct. 7, when they face off with the Charlotte Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza at 7:05 p.m.

This summer, Charlotte was added to the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division as a part of offseason realignment around the American Hockey League. The Penguins’ home opener will mark the first visit from the Checkers since 2011.

Last season, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished with the best record in the AHL (51-20-3-2, 107 points) and captured the franchise’s second-ever MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy. The league-leading Penguins were led in scoring by 38-year-old captain Tom Kostopoulos, who was already re-signed with the Penguins for the 2017-18 season.

Charlotte was the last Western Conference team to qualify for the 2016-17 Calder Cup Playoffs, squeezing into the postseason picture with a point earned on the final day of the season. The Checkers finished with a 39-29-7-1 record (86 points), the team’s third-highest win total since joining the AHL in 2010. It was their first season under the tutelage of head coach Ulf Samuelsson, who has since moved on to an assistant coaching job with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Checkers Assistant General Manager Mike Vellucci will step behind the bench as head coach for the 2017-18 season.

The AHL will announce the entirety of its league schedule tomorrow.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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

AHL ANNOUNCES NEW DIVISION, OPPONENTS FOR PENGUINS IN 2017-18


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The American Hockey League announced its alignment for the 2017-18 season today reflecting changes to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ division and opponents.

More Info:  AHL Release

The Charlotte Checkers have been added to the Eastern Conference and will join the Penguins in the Atlantic Division. The AHL’s eight-team Atlantic Division now includes the following teams:

Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Charlotte Checkers
Hartford Wolf Pack
Hershey Bears
Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Providence Bruins
Springfield Thunderbirds
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Including the Checkers, the Penguins will play seven teams during this upcoming season that did not appear on the team’s 2016-17 schedule: the Milwaukee Admirals, Rockford IceHogs, Grand Rapids Griffins, Laval Rocket, Belleville Senators and Binghamton Devils.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has never played a regular season game against Rockford, Laval or Belleville. Grand Rapids last visited Northeastern Pennsylvania during the 2008-09 season, and Milwaukee hasn’t played a regular season game in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since 2001-02. The Penguins last took on the Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza during the 2010-11 campaign. Binghamton is playing its first season with a new affiliation.

In addition to Bellville, Binghamton and Laval, the Penguins will also play the remaining teams from the North Division (Rochester, Syracuse, Toronto, Utica).

The Penguins will play all teams listed both at home and on the road.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.  Or fill out the contact form below, and a Penguins account executive will contact you.

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

AHL SLAP SHOTS – FEBRUARY 1, 2017

There weren’t any American Hockey League games played yesterday, but it was still one of the busiest news days that the AHL has seen this season.  Here’s a rundown of the big ticket items from Tuesday, January 31.

Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

CONGRATS CARTER – The piece of news that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans will be happiest about is the NHL debut of Carter Rowney.  The undrafted fourth-year pro was originally recalled by Pittsburgh last week when Evgeni Malkin was sidelined due to injury, but he didn’t crack the lineup in his first stay with the team.

After being returned to NEPA and helping the Pens to wins over Utica and Binghamton last week, Rowney was recalled again by Pittsburgh on Monday, and suited up for the club in its 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. He logged 9:24 of ice time in the victory while skating alongside Bryan Rust and Carl Hagelin.

Rowney was among the hottest players on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton roster headed into the AHL All-Star break.  After missing about a month and a half due to injury, Rowney returned to the Pens lineup on January 13 in Rochester.  He recorded eight points (5+3) during the next eight games, and posted a four-game goal streak from January 13-18, a career best for the 27-year old center.


Photo courtesy Rocket de Laval – http://www.rocketlaval.com

ROCKET LAUNCH – The Rocket de Laval, who will hit the ice next year serving as the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate, unveiled their logo and uniforms yesterday afternoon.

The team’s uniforms feature the familiar red, white and blue of the parent club, and the team name pays homage to Maurice ‘the Rocket’ Richard, who played 18 seasons with the Canadiens, won eight Stanley Cups, and became the first player to record 50 goals in a season and 500 in a career.

The Rocket will play their home games at Place Bell, a 10,000 seat facility currently under construction.


ADIEU ALBANY – The New Jersey Devils announced that they will move their AHL club out of Albany and into Binghamton next season, and they signed a deal to keep hockey in New York’s lower tier for the next five seasons.

The Ottawa Senators announced earlier this year that they would be relocating their minor league operations to Belleville, Ontario for the 2017-18 season, leaving the future of hockey in Binghamton in limbo for several months.

“After evaluating multiple scenarios and obtaining the approval of the AHL Board of Governors, we have agreed to partner with a local operating group in Binghamton, NY to relocate the franchise for the 2017-18 season,” said Hugh Weber, President of the New Jersey Devils. “The new arrangement will allow the organization to focus its efforts on developing our player prospects, while leaving the business operations to those with expertise in the market.”

Albany has been home to an AHL team since 1993, when the Capital District Islanders moved from nearby Troy, New York and became the Albany River Rats.  The River Rats were affiliated with the Devils (1993-2006) and the Carolina Hurricanes (2006-10) during their tenure, with the Colorado Avalanche splitting the affiliation with Carolina in 2006-07.

When the Hurricanes relocated their AHL club to Charlotte, New Jersey moved it’s minor league operations back to the capital city and dubbed them the Devils.