ST. JOHN’S A PLACE OF FIRSTS FOR KOSTOPOULOS, PENGUINS

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Tom Kostopoulos has played in a lot of cities during his pro hockey career.  But the first of those towns to see his skates hit the ice was St. John’s, Newfoundland.

TK made his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins debut in the team’s fifth ever game (he missed the first four due to a contract stalemate), which took place on October 12, 1999 against the St. John’s Maple Leafs at Memorial Stadium.  The Penguins dropped a 3-2 decision to the Maple Leafs that day, and Kostopoulos went scoreless with an even rating and one shot in the defeat.

The next day saw Kostopoulos post another first for his career, while he helped give the franchise a first of its own as well.

The Penguins entered the third period trailing the Maple Leafs, 2-0, before Greg Crozier scored to cut the deficit in half.  Then, with just 3:18 seconds left, Kostopoulos picked up his first career goal by beating net minder Jimmy Waite to tie the game at 2-2.  Martin Sonnenberg was awarded the lone assist.

The game ended in a tie, giving the Penguins their first point in the standings in team history.  Craig Hillier was in net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and stopped 31 shots on the night.

Kostopoulos ended the night with one goal on two shots and a plus-2 rating for the visitors.


The Penguins face off with the IceCaps on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm Eastern Time, in what could be the Pens’ final two games in St. John’s.  The IceCaps will relocate to Laval, Quebec next season.  You can follow the action between the Penguins and IceCaps by listening online via WILK News Radio, or watching on AHLLive.com.

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.

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: NOVEMBER 13, 1999

November 13, 1999 is one of the most historic dates in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins history.  That’s the day the team finally came home.

After starting the inaugural season on the road for the first 13 games while building construction was finished, the Penguins finally broke the ice in NEPA by hosting the Kentucky Thoroughblades at the then-named Northeastern Pennsylvania Civic Arena and Convention Center.

After posting a 1-9-3-0David Weninger m mark away from home, the Penguins thrilled a capacity crowd with big goals, big saves, and an even bigger hit that cemented Dennis Bonive’s legacy in his Luzerne County debut.

Some quick facts from the game:

  • Greg Crozier tallied the first goal at 3:24 of the first period.
  • Scott Hannan recorded the first opposition goal at 16:49 of the first period.
  • David Weninger picked up the win in net for the Penguins.  The 1999-2000 season was his lone year playing professional hockey.
  • Future Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Johan Hedberg was between the pipes for Kentucky.
  • Tom Kostopoulos wore #25 during his rookie season with the Penguins (captain Tyler Wright wore #29 that season), but wore #15 for the home opener with no name plate.  This was due to the future Penguins captain signing late with the team, and the club’s equipment staff ordering his home jersey late.