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.

PENS RIDE THREE-GOAL FIRST TO 4-1 WIN IN HARTFORD

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GAME SHEET

A three-goal first period provided all of the offense the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins needed to record a 4-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday evening at the XL Center.

The win saw the Penguins improve to 10-2-1-0 on the season, making Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the first American Hockey League club to hit double digit wins this year.  Conversely, the loss stretched Hartford’s winless streak to eight games (0-6-2-0) and saw the Wolf Pack fall to 3-8-2-0 for the campaign.

The Penguins hardly looked like a team playing its third game in less than three days, pumping 14 shots on the Magnus Hellberg in the first period, and 40 on the afternoon.

Reid Gardiner wasted little time opening the scoring, blocking a shot in the neutral zone and then taking on Hellberg one-on-one.  His blocker-side shot beat the Hartford net minder 1:39 into the contest for his third goal of the season.

A Chris Summers tripping call gave the Penguins their first power play of the game 7:22 into the game, and Dominik Simon made sure the opportunity wasn’t wasted, scoring on a backhand 40 seconds into the advantage for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Marek Hrivik’s stick caught Lukas Bengtsson in the face and drew blood late in the first, sending the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer to the penalty box for a double minor.  David Warsofsky made the first half of the penalty count by blistering a shot from the point that beat Hellberg to the far corner for the defenseman’s second goal of the season at 19:30.

That score held until Hrivik finally solved Tristan Jerry 5:19 into the third for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.  But Ryan Haggerty, playing against his former club, notched his first goal as a Penguins with 3:10 to play to ice the game for the Penguins.

Jarry stopped 22 shots to raise his record to 6-2-1 on the season, while Hellberg fell to 3-3-2 for the Wolf Pack.  The Penguins finished the game 2-for-7 on the power play, and killed both Hartford chances they faced, raising their league-leading penalty kill rate to 90.6%.

The Penguins return to action Wednesday night, when they travel to Allentown to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at 7:05pm.  The Pens are back home next Friday, November 18, when they play host to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  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.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins season ticket packages, including 22-game, 12-game and 10-voucher flex packs, are available by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.

WOLFPACK vs PENGUINS – November 13, 2016

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are on the road to face the Hartford WolfPack Sunday afternoon at the XL Center.  This is the second meeting of the season between the two clubs, after the Penguins defeated the WolfPack, 6-2, in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s season opener back on October 15.

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DATE:  Sunday, November 13, 2016
TIME:  5:00pm
PLACE:  XL Center
WATCH:  AHLLive.com
LISTEN:  WILK News Radio (103.1) | bit.ly/WBSWILK

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

RECORD 3-7-2-0 (8 pts) | Seventh in North Division

TEAM LEADERS

GOALS  Marek Hrivik 5
ASSISTS  Marek Hrivik 6
POINTS  Marek Hrivik 11
PIM  Chris Brown 23
WINS  Magnus Hellberg 3
GAA  Magnus Hellberg 3.53

WHO’S HOT:  Marek Hrivik started the season with a six-game point streak (3+4=7), and has four points (2+2) in his past three games.

NEWS AND NOTES:  The Wolf Pack carry a seven-game (0-5-2–0) winless streak into this afternoon’s game…Rookie goaltender Brandon Halverson made his AHL debut on Friday night, stopping 14 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Rochester Americans…Hartford’s 9.8% success rate on the power play (6 for 61) is last in the Eastern Conference, and 29th of 30 teams in the AHL.

ABOUT THE PENGUINS

RECORD  9-2-1-0 (19 pts) | First in North Division

TEAM LEADERS

GOALS  Jake Guentzel  6
ASSISTS  Jake Guentzel & Carter Rowney  7
POINTS  Jake Guentzel  13
PIM  Patrick McGrath  35
WINS  Tristan Jarry  5
GAA  Casey DeSmith  1.00

WHO’S HOT:  Goaltender Casey DeSmith leads the AHL with a 1.00 goals against average and a .963 save percentage, and has allowed just one goal in each of his four starts this season.

NEWS AND NOTES:  Second-year pro Oskar Sundqvist tallied his fifth goal of the season in Saturday night’s win over the Providence Bruins, the Penguins 12th game of the campaign.  That total equals Sundqvist’s output from all of last season (45 AHL games)…Jake Guentel enters Sunday’s game ranked tied for first among rookies with six goals and second with 13 points.  Guentzel leads all skaters with a plus-12 rating…The Penguins 90.2% penalty kill rate (46 of 51) is tied for first in the league with the Tucson Roadrunners.

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.

BEST OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCES

By now you’ve probably seen Jake Guentzel’s highlight reel goal from Saturday night’s 6-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack (if not, take a gander here):

That tally was certainly the top moment of the night for the rookie forward. But it wasn’t his only contribution, as Guentzel picked up three assists to go along with the tally, making him just the third player to post four points in a season opener.

Here’s a look at the best opening night performances in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins history.

DATE PLAYER POINTS RESULT

DATE PLAYER POINTS RESULT
October 5, 2005 Erik Christensen 4+0=4 WBS 8 – BRI 1
October 15, 2016 Jake Guentzel 1+3=4 WBS 6 – HFD 2
October 5, 2005 Ryan Whitney 0+4=4 WBS 8 – BRI 1
October 3, 2007 Chris Minard 3+0=3 WBS 5 – HER 4
October 8, 2008 Ryan Stone 2+1=3 HER 8 – WBS 4
October 3, 2009 Wyatt Smith 2+1=3 WBS 4 – SYR 2
October 3, 2007 Tyler Kennedy 1+2=3 WBS 5 – HER 4
October 3, 2009 Chris Conner 1+2=3 WBS 4 – SYR 2
October 5, 2005 Michele Ouellet 0+3=3 WBS 8 – BRI 1
October 8, 2008 Jon D’Aversa 0+3=3 HER 8 – WBS 4

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is next Friday, Oct. 21 against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 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 season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS IMPRESS IN SEASON OPENER WITH 6-2 WIN

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BOXSCORE

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins opened the 2016-17 season on a high note, defeating the Hartford Wolf Pack, 6-2, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.

The Penguins received contributions from six different goal scorers, but perhaps none bigger than Jake Guentzel’s four points (1G-3A) to start the season 1-0-0-0.

Josh Archibald scored the Penguins’ first goal of the season and put his team into a 1-0 lead by converting on a mini-breakaway chance at 1:48 of the first period.

Moments after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton killed its first penalty of the game, Hartford’s Nicklas Jensen fired a shot bar-down over Tristan Jarry’s shoulder and tied the game, 1-1, at 15:17 of the first.

The Penguins went back ahead, 2-1, with a power play goal from Carter Rowney at 5:51 of the middle frame.

A tic-tac-toe passing play by Tom Kostopoulos, Stuart Percy and finish from Oskar Sundqvist put the Penguins up 3-1 at 13:49 of the second period.

Guentzel scored an unassisted, highlight reel goal 2:09 later, giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 4-1 lead.

Jean-Sébastien Dea and David Warsofsky both got in on the scoring for the Penguins in the final period of regulation, making it 6-1 in favor of the Penguins. Matt Carey tucked in a final goal for the Wolf Pack with 1:25 remaining in the game, bringing the contest to its final score of 6-2.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was perfect on the special teams front, going two-for-two on the power play and successfully killing off all six of Hartford’s man advantage opportunities.

Jarry finished the game with 24 saves for the Penguins, while Mackenzie Skapski ended up with 29 stops while manning the crease for the Wolf Pack.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is next Friday, Oct. 21 against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 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 season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.