DI PAULI LOOKING FORWARD TO RETURN TO ACTION

 


It’s been more than three months since Thomas Di Pauli last laced up his skates in a game for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  So you could forgive the first-year forward if he was a little reticent at practice on Friday morning.

“Keep it simple here,” laughed Di Pauli.  “I’ve been out of commission for a while.”

The thing is, Di Pauli wasn’t talking about his skating or stick handling being rusty.  Rather he was cautioning the assembled media members who had gathered to pepper him with questions on his imminent return to the lineup.

It’s been a frustrating start to a career for the 22-year old Di Pauli.  The highly-touted scorer out of Notre Dame signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins over the summer, and figured to be a big part of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton offense headed into the 2016-17 season.  But a back injury in training camp delayed his pro debut for nearly a month, and he appeared in just eight games before suffering a lower body injury on November 26 against Bridgeport.

 

Di Pauli rejoined his teammates at practice this week, and is a good bet to see his first action of the new year Saturday night when the Penguins travel to face the Hershey Bears.

 

“Obviously these three, couple of months have been pretty hard.  But I’ve worked hard…to get back as soon as possible,” he said after practice at the Toyota SportsPlex this morning.  “I feel great out there.  It’s nice to be back out there, full contact, skating around with the guys.”

 

The re-introduction of Di Pauli to the Penguins lineup is just as good as – if not better than – the Penguins acquiring a forward at the trade deadline according to head coach Clark Donatelli.

“We’re glad to get a fresh pair of legs in the lineup,” said Donatelli.  “He was playing well when he got hurt.

“He’s an energy guy, he can kill penalties.  He’s really hard on pucks.  So we’re expecting him to go out there and play like he was playing before. He can bring some energy, get in on offense.”

Di Pauli, who was skating on a line with Oskar Sundqvist and Josh Archibald at practice Friday, also said he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder after missing so much time this season.

“I’m definitely going to be out there to try to prove something, to management, to the team, to some of the guys.  I mean, a lot of these guys have been playing hockey, pro hockey, for a lot of years,” he said.  “This is my first year, so I feel like I have to prove something to the team that has been playing so well while I’ve been out.”

NOTES:  Frank Corrado, acquired by the Penguins at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs, has yet to arrive in Wilkes-Barre due to immigration issues.  Donatelli was waiting to hear about the defenseman’s status as of noon on Friday.  If his paperwork isn’t approved this weekend, he could make his Penguins debut during the team’s three-game homestand next week.

“I hear good things [about Corrado],” Donatelli said.  “He’s a right side defenseman, he moves the puck.  He should fit in well with our style of play.

“We think he’s going to help us.”

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Saturday, Mar. 4, and it will take on the Hershey Bears at Giant Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is 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.

PENGUINS PRACTICE REPORT – FEBRUARY 21, 2017

For the first time this season, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins experienced what might be considered a setback of sorts, as the team dropped three consecutive games during a three-in-three road trip over weekend.  It was just the second time all year the Penguins (37-14-3-0, 77 points, first place in the Atlantic Division) dropped consecutive games.

But head coach Clark Donatelli isn’t losing any sleep over the subpar record on the road.

“No reason to hit the panic button,” said Donatelli following Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota SportsPlex.

The Pens dropped decisions in Albany (4-0 on Friday), Springfield (2-1 on Saturday) and Providence (3-2 on Sunday afternoon).  Still, Donatelli continued to show faith in his club, which has been at the top of the American Hockey League standings all season.

“It was a tough road trip for us.  We didn’t get the results that we wanted.  The first game against Albany (on Friday night), I didn’t think we played that well.

“I thought the next two games…I thought we played really well, some of our best hockey.  We just came up short.  That’s going to happen some of the time.”

In recent weeks, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has seen several players summoned by the Pittsburgh Penguins, including the likes of Carter Rowney, Josh Archibald, Steve Oleksy and Cameron Gaunce, just to name the most recent recalls. But Donatelli is quick to downplay the notion that player movement had anything to do with this past weekend’s results.

“We’ve missed players all year,” he said.  “I don’t think we can say ‘we miss Jake anymore’.  He’s not here.  We have to move on from that.  Rowney’s not here, [but Oskar Sundqvist is] playing well.

“It’s not a personnel thing.  Guys are playing different roles, but the nucleus is still here and I don’t think that affected it one way or another.”

Archibald, who recorded his first two NHL goals on February 11 against the Arizona Coyotes, rejoined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the midst of the recent road swing.  He preferred to point to the positives over the weekend than any shortcomings.

“I didn’t think we played terrible as a team,” he said.  “Our power play was clicking (3 for 15 on the weekend), penalty kill was doing good (11 for 12). I think just five-on-five, if we can put a little more pucks on the net, that will help us out a lot.”

Donatelli gave some credit to the opposition as well, especially Springfield’s Reto Berra, who snuffed 37 of 39 shots thrown his way on Saturday, and Providence’s Zane McIntyre, who stopped 34 of 35 on Sunday afternoon to up his nearly unblemished record to 13-0-1 on the season.

“Sunday was just as good of a game as we’ve played all year,” Donatelli said.  “As long as we’re playing the right way, we’ll get the results we want.”

WARSOFSKY IMPRESSES IN HARDEST SHOT COMPETITION

 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – David Warsofsky stepped up to the blue line in preparation of his showcase event at the 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition, the CCM Hardest Shot. After a few strides used to reach a stationary puck, Warsofsky unloaded a slap shot at the empty net with radar guns positioned nearby.

He went through those same motions again for a second attempt. He uncorked another slapper, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd at PPL Center before his score registered on the big screen at center ice. When the result came in, it showed 98.4 mph.

Warsofsky’s slap shot was the second-strongest in the competition at the time, and ultimately finished fourth overall but just nine-tenths of a mile per hour behind the event’s winning score.

At all levels, the hardest shot event is usually dominated by the biggest players on the ice. The likes of Zdeno Chára and Shea Weber have legendary reputations for their record-setting slap shots, and Kyle Wood, tonight’s winner, was the biggest entrant in the competition. Warsofsky, on the other hand, impressed everyone with his score because he stands at five-foot-nine, 170 lbs.

Warsofsky’s showing at the Skills Competition and throughout this entire season has proven it’s not always the biggest guys that pack the biggest punch on their shots. It’s all about the technique.

“I think it’s just the way he releases it,” said Warsofsky’s partner at the Skills Competition, Tristan Jarry. “He’s a smart player, and he’s figured out how to get everything out of his shot even though he’s not that big. We’ve seen it many times this year, and he’s helped us out a lot with that shot.”

Warsofsky’s head coach – with both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and All Star weekend with the Atlantic Division – Clark Donatelli, offered his explanation for why the small-statured Warsofsky is able to get so much power on his shots by drawing comparisons to another sport.

“You know, it’s like that same thing with the bat speed and hitters in baseball,” Donatelli said. “It’s about the way you hit it. He’s got a great shot, and we all know it. Obviously, it’s less about how big and strong you are. It’s about where you make contact and how you transfer your weight. Bigger guys have an advantage in that they have more weight to move, but in [Warsofsky]’s case, it’s all about the technique and putting it all together for a great shot.”

That shot has helped Warsofsky add nine goals to his All-Star caliber résumé that includes 33 points in 30 games this season. Even if that stat line wasn’t convincing enough for opponents, he now has 98.4 reasons making sure no one will be underestimating this “little guy’s” big abilities any time soon.

 

NOTES

• Tristan Jarry had a good night, himself. He stopped five of 10 shots faced in the hellacious AHL Live Rapid Fire event, then improved to a perfect three-for-three in the Pass and Score. The Pass and Score featured three Western Conference opponents coming in on Jarry with one puck and no defenders in the way. It was perhaps the most impressive showing of all the eight goalies who took part in the event.

“It’s no fun to get scored on, so it’s always a competition,” Jarry said. “It’s one of those things where you can’t think too much and just follow the puck, read the play. We practice that a lot, actually. We do a lot of three-on-oh’s and five-on-oh’s, so the guys actually had me really prepared for that.”

• Unsurprisingly, the Penguins’ All-Stars were booed heavily when announced at PPL Center, home of the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Jarry couldn’t contain his smile when the crowd erupted with displeasure at the mention of his name. Clark Donatelli held his composure a bit better when the cameras cam his way, but said afterwards that that kind of hostility is part of what makes these events enjoyable.

“They’re rivals! They can’t take a night off to like us,” Donatelli said. “I think that makes it more fun, though. The rivalries in Pennsylvania, they’re good for the fans. And when the fans are into it, it’s more fun for the guys on the ice, too.”

 

WBS PENGUINS / AHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC HUB

Tristan Jarry and David Warsofsky prep for the AHL All-Star Skills Competition

David Warsofsky, Tristan Jarry and Clark Donatelli are in Allentown for AHL All-Star Classic festivities, and we’ve tagged along with them to bring you behind the scenes photos, interviews, videos, GIFs and more!

Be sure to bookmark this page for easy access to everything you’ll need from the Skills Competition and All-Star Challenge.  We’ll have you covered online and through social media throughout the two-day event.

WATCH:  ahllive.com

TWITTER: /wbspenguins

INSTAGARM:  /wbspenguins

FACEBOOK:  /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins

Penguins color commentator Nick Hart will have live updates on the team’s official blog – Skating on the Susquehanna – and we’ll have write ups and post event coverage here on the website.

We’ll also have a running links list below for easy access to all of our posts during the two days.

VIDEO – David Warsofsky Pre-Skills Interview

VIDEOTristan Jarry Pre-Skills Interview

BLOGJarry, Warsofsky Excited for All-Star Skills

BLOGLive Blog of Skills Competition

RECAPGo West, Young Men

WBS REACTIONWarsofsky Impresses In Hardest Shot

GUENTZEL, JARRY JOIN DONATELLI AT AHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The American Hockey League announced today that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins players Jake Guentzel and Tristan Jarry have been named to the Atlantic Division All-Star Team for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross.

Guentzel and Jarry join head coach Clark Donatelli, who was announced as coach of the Atlantic Division for the All-Star Classic earlier this week, as Penguins representatives headed to PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. for All-Star festivities on Jan. 29-30.

Full rosters for the All-Star Classic were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star (see the league release here).

Guentzel currently leads the entire AHL in goals (18) and stands ahead of all rookies in points (34). After a five-game stint in the NHL with Pittsburgh during which he nabbed four points (3G, 1A), the 22-year-old was named CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for December. During that time he racked up 11 goals and six assists for 17 points in just 10 games.

Guentzel is one of 13 rookie players selected to AHL All-Star rosters.

Tristan Jarry has stood out in his second season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, taking over the starting role in net an earning a .921 save percentage and 2.14 goals against average. Jarry is currently tied for most wins in the league with 14 victories through 20 games played.

Jarry has played in 53 career AHL games, compiling a record of 31-18-4 with six shutouts. The Delta, B.C. native appeared in two preseason games with Pittsburgh this year, in which he turned away 54 shots in back-to-back shutouts.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 6, when they face-off against the Hershey Bears at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Friday night’s 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 Ethan Prow and Stuart Percy.

Individual game tickets for Friday 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.

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 1/4/17

 

Penguins kick off 2017 with a victory, prepare for three-in-three

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (21-7-3-0) still owns AHL’s No. 1 overall spot

 

Weekly Rewind

Tuesday, Dec. 27 – PENGUINS 4 vs. Springfield 2

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton evened the season series (2-2-0-0) against the T-Birds and extended its season-high winning streak to seven games. Jake Guentzel had his first career hat trick.

Friday, Dec. 30 – PENGUINS 2 vs. Providence 5

The Penguins fell 5-2 against the P-Bruins and saw their season-high winning streak come to an end in their last home game of the calendar year

Saturday, Dec. 31 – PENGUINS at Binghamton

Before the calendar flipped to 2017, the Penguins dropped a 3-2 New Year’s Eve contest to the Senators. Sahir Gill recorded his first goal of the year.

Tuesday, Jan. 3 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Hartford 2

Chad Ruhwedel had an assist and the game-winning goal in his return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Tristan Jarry made 25 saves, including 15 in the third period, helping the Pens hang on.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Jan. 6 – PENGUINS vs. Hershey

The Bears (18-7-5-2) return to the Pens’ home rink for the first part of a weekend home-and-home. The last time the Bears played the Pens, Oskar Sundqvist had four goals in a 6-2 win.

Saturday, Jan. 7 – PENGUINS vs. Binghamton

It’s Star Wars night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, as the Penguins try to strike back and avenge a 3-2 loss to the Senators suffered on New Year’s Eve.

Sunday, Jan. 8 – PENGUINS at Hershey

The Penguins start their season-long seven-game road stretch that lasts until Jan. 21. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 4-0-0-0 in the third game of three-in-threes this season

 

Ice Chips

– The Penguins’ seven-game win streak from Dec. 10 to Dec. 27 established a season-high.

– Clark Donatelli was named head coach of the Atlantic Division at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic. He is the fifth Penguins coach to lead a team at the AHL All-Star Classic (Joe Mullen, Todd Richards, John Hynes, Jay Leach).

– Jake Guentzel was named CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for December, a month in which he racked up 17 points (11G-6A) in 10 games.

– Guentzel leads the entire AHL in goals (18), and leads all rookies in points (34).

– Tristan Jarry’s 14 wins are tied four ways for the most in the league.

– Tom Kostopoulos is 11 points away from his 500th in the AHL.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM                       GP       W         L        OTL     SOL     PTS         Pt%

1. PENGUINS         32         22        7          3          0         47          .734

2. Lehigh Valley      31         21         8          2          0         44          .710

3. Providence          33        19        7          4          3         45          .682

4. Hershey               32         18        7          5          2         43          .672

5. Bridgeport           31          17       14         0          0        34          .548

6. Springfield          30         12      12         4          2          30          .500

7. Hartford               33          11       18         3          1          26          .394

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS                    GP        G         A        PTS

Jake Guentzel*           27        18        16        34

Oskar Sundqvist        30        14        16        30

Tom Kostopoulos      32         9         13        22

David Warsofsky        21         5         17         22

two players tied                                               19

 

GOALIES                GP     W-L-OT      GAA        Sv%    Shutouts

Tristan Jarry            20       14-5-1         2.14        0.921          1

Casey DeSmith*    12         8-2-2        2.38        0.911          0

* = rookie

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT      LOCATION                         TIME      

Fri, Jan. 6           Hershey             Mohegan Sun Arena          7:05 p.m.

Sat, Jan. 7          Binghamton      Mohegan Sun Arena          7:05 p.m.

Sun, Jan. 8         Hershey             Giant Center                       5:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Sun, Jan. 1        (D)   Chad Ruhwedel        Reassigned from loan by PIT

Sun, Jan. 1        (D)   David Warsofsky      Reassigned from loan by PIT

Sun, Jan. 1        (G)   Tristan Jarry               Reassigned from loan by PIT

Thu, Dec. 29   (G)   Doug Carr                                            Signed to PTO

SESTITO SET TO MAKE WBS SEASON DEBUT VERSUS BEARS

The rivalry between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Hershey Bears is always intense.

Insert Tom Sestito and Liam O’Brien into the equation, and the intensity level skyrockets.

Sestito, who began the 2016-17 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday, figures to make his NEPA debut when the Pens and Bears face off in a two-game tilt at the Mohegan Sun Arena this weekend.

Sestito and O’Brien engaged in a war of words online last spring, as well as a few memorable matchups on the ice in both the regular season and playoffs.

So what can we expect from Tito’s return?

 

“I’m excited to be down here and get playing in some games,” Sestito said.  “I’m looking forward to contributing as much as I can, and hopefully that translates into some wins.”

That’s all well and good.  But what about facing off against your favorite foe, Tom?

“Hershey’s a big rival. It’s not going to be hard to get up for that game,” Sestito said, toeing the line.  “So it will be exciting on Friday, and we’ll see how many fireworks there are.”

Head coach Clark Donatelli knows what an imposing figure Sestito can cut on the ice, and he’s looking forward to getting the gritty forward into the lineup.

“He’s going to help us.  He’s a big guy with great hands, and he’s in really good shape,” said Donatelli.  “He’s a big asset for us.”


Donatelli also received word this morning that forward Jake Guentzel and defenseman Derrick Pouliot would be returning to the team in time for this weekend’s games.  Those two additions make an already formidable lineup even better.

Guentzell hasn’t suited up in the AHL since recording three points (1+2) against the Bears back on November 19.  Since that time, he’s make his NHL debut and tallied three goals (including two in his first game) with Pittsburgh.  Despite being in the show for more than three weeks, Guentzel still leads Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wth 17 points, while sharing the team lead in goals (7) and assists (10).  He also remains tied for second among AHL rookies in points.

Pouliot appeared in three games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on a conditioning assignment two weeks ago, and has now been declared healthy to play full time.  But a log jam on the Pittsburgh blue line means he’ll be getting in quality minutes in NEPA.

“Obviously they’re very good players, and we’ll inject them into the lineup for sure,” Donatelli stated.


The Penguins currently lay claim to first place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division by virtue of a .738 points percentage (31 of a possible 42).  But the Bears and Lehigh Valley Phantoms are close on the Penguins’ heels with .705 percentages (31 of a possible 44 points), while the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are just one point behind those two clubs.  That means the 2-5 ranked clubs in the AHL all reside in the division, and the Pens will face a pair of them in their three-in-three stretch this weekend (Friday & Saturday vs. Hershey; Sunday in Bridgeport)

“It’s a tough division, and head-to-head those teams are hard,” said Donatelli.  “We’ve got our hands full, but we’re just going to take it game-by-game.”


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.

DI PAULI DEBUTS TO GOOD REVIEWS

It was a minor coup when the Pittsburgh Penguins signed free agent forward Thomas Di Pauli this past August.  Some of that had to do with Di Pauli originally being drafted by Pittsburgh’s arch rivals, the Washington Capitals, back in 2012.  But Di Pauli’s impressive NCAA stats over the past two seasons at Notre Dame (a combined 22+39=61 in 78 games for the Irish).

Penguins fans were eager to see the speedy center in action as the curtain lifted on the 2016-17 season.  But a lower body injury suffered in Pittsburgh’s training camp delayed the start of Di Pauli’s pro career until this past weekend.

The Italian-born forward made his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton debut in the team’s Friday night contest against the Toronto Marlies, and also suited up on Sunday in Hartford.  He didn’t record a point in either of those games, but head coach Clark Donatelli was still happy with his performance, and his potential.

“He’s going to bring energy, he can play top six,” Donatelli said after Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota SportsPlex.  “Right now we have him playing with [Oskar Sundqvist], he’s going to be a penalty killer, bring energy.  He’s got a really good stick, he’s going to get a handful of goals also.”

For his part, Di Pauli was just happy to get into a game situation and begin the acclimation process to the pro game.

“You’ve got to come back and feel it out first before you go full speed,” he stated. “These past couple of games definitely were nice to get that under my belt.

“The most important thing to get to where I want to be is practice at full speed.  I think that’s going to be big.  That’s going to help me transition into playing at full speed during the game, instead of coasting and waiting for pucks.”

The Penguins return home on Friday night to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05pm.  Tickets for Friday night’s game 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.

PHANTOMS vs PENGUINS – November 16, 2016

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday afternoon not only gave the team back-to-back wins on the weekend, it also gave the Pens the distinction of being the first team in the AHL to hit double-digit wins on the season.  

That came as a bit of a surprise to head coach Clark Donatelli.

“I didn’t realize that, but it feels good,” Donatelli said after practice at the Toyota SportsPlex on Tuesday.  “The guys are playing hard, and it’s good to get a good practice in here.  We’re just taking it game-by-game, period-by-period.  We just try to get better every day.”

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is off to a 10-2-1-0 mark, good for 21 points an the top winning percentage (.808) in the league.

“It’s early.  We’re not 15 games into it,” Donatelli stated.  “But we’re off to a good start and we’re going to hopefully continue to do the same things.”

The Penguins are in the middle of a stretch that sees the team play six games in just nine games, including a Wednesday night matchup with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown.  The Flyers’ affiliate enters this week’s action riding a six-game winning streak which has them just four points behind the Penguins in the Atlantic Division standings.

“We’re going to have to be ready right off the bat,” Donatelli said. “I think that they’re going to come at us really quick.  We’re going to be on the road, and we’re going to have to have a good start.”


DATE:  Wednesday, November 16, 2016
TIME:  7:05pm
PLACE:  PPL Center
WATCH:  AHLLive.com
LISTEN:  WILK News Radio (103.1) | bit.ly/WBSWILK

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

RECORD 8-3-1-0 (17 pts) | Second in Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS

GOALS  Greg Carey & Colin McDonald 7
ASSISTS  Jordan Weal 11
POINTS  Jordan Weal 15
PIM  Danick Martel 25
WINS  Anthony Stolarz 6
GAA  Anthony Stolarz 2.39

WHO’S HOT:  Former Penguins forward Colin McDonald had a three-game goal streak (Nov. 5-12) snapped Sunday in Hershey, but is still tied for the Phantoms lead with seven tallies in just 12 games.

NEWS AND NOTES:Jordan Weal is tied for fifth in the AHL with 15 points (4+11)…T.J. Brennan is tied for second among AHL defensemen with 12 points (3+9)…Greg Carey leads all AHL skaters with six power play goals…The Phantoms are third in the Eastern Conference and fifth in the league with a 25.05 power play percentage (15 for 60)…

ABOUT THE PENGUINS

RECORD  10-2-1-0 (21 pts) | First in Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS

GOALS  Jake Guentzel  6
ASSISTS  Jake Guentzel & Carter Rowney  7
POINTS  Jake Guentzel  13
PIM  Patrick McGrath  37
WINS  Tristan Jarry  6
GAA  Casey DeSmith  1.00

WHO’S HOT:  Rookie forward Reid Gardiner has three goals in his past four games. He netted his first professional goal in a 7-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on November 5. It turned out to be the game-winning goal.

NEWS AND NOTES:  The Penguins have allowed just one goal in nine of their 13 games so far this season…Goaltender Casey DeSmith leads the AHL in both goals against average (1.00) and save percentage (.963)…Tristan Jarry isn’t far behind DeSmith in either category, ranking fifth in goals against average (1.76) and third in save percentage (.935)…A pair of Penguins rookies made their AHL and North American pro debuts last weekend. Center Thomas DiPauli suited up for the first time on November 11 against the Toronto Marlies, and also played in the Penguins win in Hartford on Sunday. DiPauli was signed as a free agent our of Notre Dame this past summer….Defenseman Lukas Bengtsson made his debut on Sunday in Hartford, going scoreless in the win. He spent last season with Frolunda in Sweden, winning the league championship before signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent…The Penguins remain the top penalty killing team in the league with a 90.6% success rate (48 of 53).

The Penguins return home on Friday night to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05pm.  Tickets for Friday night’s game 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 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.