DEADLINE DEALS, HEALTHY PLAYERS COULD HELP WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

Frank Corrado was acquired from Toronto on March 1.

The National Hockey League trade deadline has come and gone, and a handful of moves made by the Pittsburgh Penguins could pay dividends in Wilkes-Barre.

Pittsburgh made a pair of trades on Wednesday afternoon, acquiring Mark Street from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a fourth round draft pick in 2018, and sending Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy and 2017 fourth round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Fran Corrado.

Corrado, a 23-year old puck-moving blueliner, was immediately assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, giving the AHL Penguins another offensive threat.

Pittsburgh also reassigned defenseman Cameron Gaunce to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who has 13 points and a plus-15 rating in 47 games with the AHL club this season.

Additionally, Pittsburgh made a series of ‘paper transactions’ at the deadline, reassigning Carter Rowney, Jake Guentzel, and Derrick Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre and quickly recalling them.  Those moves make that trio eligible to suit up for the AHL Penguins during the remainder of the regular season and the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Those reinforcements could prove significant in the long run, as could the imminent returns of a pair of Penguins skaters.

Forward Thomas Di Pauli appeared in just eight games at the start of the season before suffering a long-term injury on November 26.  the highly-touted scorer out of Notre Dame has been practicing with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this week, and could return to game action as soon as this weekend.

And Garrett Wilson was in the midst of a career-year when he suffered an upper body injury against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Valentine’s Day.  His return seems to be a little further away, but add his double-digit goal scoring into an already formidable lineup, and the Penguins could receive a late-season infusion of offense.

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.”

PENGUINS ALUMNI REPORT

Pittsburgh Penguins forward CONOR SHEARY is on quite the hot streak lately, recording nine points over the past four games, and earning the NHL’s First Star of the Week award.

Sheary has picked up six goals and three assists during the Penguins’ current four-game winning streak.  He has three two-goal games and points in every contest, giving him his first four-game point streak at the NHL level.

The former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton skater has eight games during the month of January, tied for the most in the league, and currently ranks fourth on the Penguins with 34 points and third with 17 goals.

Sheary spent parts of three seasons playing in NEPA, recording 81 points (27+54) in 90 regular season games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  As of Monday, the Winchester, MA native had totaled 44 points (24+20) in 83 games with Pittsburgh.

Here’s a look at WBS alumni currently on the Pittsburgh Penguins roster:

BRYAN RUST:  Currently skating on a line with Sheary and Sidney Crosby, Rust has put up 24 points (12+12) in 43 games with Pittsburgh.  The speedy winger is creeping up on 100 games with the NHL club (he currently sits at 98), and has produce 37 points (17+20) in parts of two seasons in the Burgh.

Rust totaled 33 points (16+17) in 63 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over parts of three campaigns.

SCOTT WILSON:  Wilson has 13 points (5+8) in 43 games this season with Pittsburgh, and 19 points (10+9) in 68 career games with the big club.

In parts of three seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Wilson recorded 77 points (41+36). His 22 goals last season ranked third in the team, despite his appearing in only 34 games with WBS.

JAKE GUENTZEL:  The rookie forward has shown he’s ready for the bright lights of the NHL with seven points (4+3) in nine games with Pittsburgh.  He made an immediate impression, scoring on his first NHL shot during his debut on November 21 against the Rangers, and following that up with another tally later in the game.

Guentzel joined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after his college schedule came to an end last year, and all he did was lead the Pens in playoff scoring (5+9=14 in 10 games).  He currently ranks second in the AHL with 21 goals and 42 points despite an extended stay with Pittsburgh.

TOM KUHNHACKL:  The German-born Kuhnhackl has found it difficult to crack the Pittsburgh lineup recently, appearing in just two games since December 16.  He has five points (2+3) in 25 games this season to go with 20 (7+13) in 67 games last year.

In parts of four seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Kuhnhackl picked up 59 points (29+30) in 154 games.

ON THE BLUELINE

STEVE OLEKSY has one assist in nine games with Pittsburgh this season, and has brought a physical edge to the blue line with 22 penalty minutes.  He has 23 points (3+20) in 73 career games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and led the club with 123 penalty minutes last year.

CHAD RUHWEDEL tallied his first NHL goal in his second game with Pittsburgh back on December 23, and has added two assists in nine games with the team.  His 16 points (4+12) in 28 games are second most among WBS defenders this season.

CAMERON GAUNCE picked up assists in his first two games after being recalled last week.  He had eight points (2+6) in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first 39 games this season.

BETWEEN THE PIPES:

MATT MURRAY:  Since returning from a two week stint on the medical report, Murray has appeared in five of the Penguins past six games, including each of the past four contests.  He’s posted a 4-1-0-0 mark in that time while allowing 14 goals.  Half of those came in an 8-7 OT victory against the Washington Capitals, and he’s only let in one goal in each of his past three appearances.  For the season, Murray has posted a 17-4-0 mark in 22 games with a 2.32 GAA and .923 save percentage.

Murray rewrote the AHL record books while with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 12 shutouts during the 2014-15 season, setting the league record for longest shutout streak (304:11) and earning the league’s top goaltender and rookie awards.  He posted a 45-20-4 mark in two-plus seasons.

MARC-ANDRE FLEURY:  The two-time Stanley Cup champion and former first overall draft pick has a 13-7-0 record this season, and holds a 370-213-67 mark with Pittsburgh all-time.

Fleury appeared in 71 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during parts of three seasons, posting a 39-23-4 record and 2.32 goals against average.

ON THE INJURY REPORT:

KRIS LETANG:  One of the NHL’s top puck moving defensemen, Letang had 23 points (4+19) in 30 games before suffering a lower body injury on January 14 against Detroit.   Letting has scored more points for Pittsburgh (375) than any other Wilkes-Barre/Scranton graduate.  He suited up for 10 games with WBS at the start of the 2007-08 season, recording seven points (1+6).

BRIAN DUMOULIN:  A fractured jaw has kept Dumoulin on the sidelines since December 27.  He had seven assists in 35 games prior to that this season.  He appeared in 188 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from 2012-15, posting 78 points (15+53).

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs MONTREAL CANADIENS


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ influence continues to be felt by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, on Wednesday night.

Eight players who have previously suited up for the AHL Penguins were in the lineup for Pittsburgh last night, with five of the seven skaters picking up points, and the eighth player – Matt Murray – securing the win in goal.

Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson both picked up assists for the Pittsburgh, while Olli Maatta (who played briefly with Wilkes-Barre in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs) netted his first goal of the season.

But the highlight for NEPA fans may have been seeing Cameron Gaunce ripping a shot that Jake Guentzel redirected home for his fourth goal with Pittsburgh.  The assist from Gaunce, who was appearing in his first game with the NHL Penguins, was his first ever NHL helper.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ next home game is Saturday, January 21, when they host the Hershey Bears at 7:05pm. Fewer than 600 tickets remain for Saturday night’s contest against the Bears.

Individual game tickets for Saturday’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.

GUENTZEL, RUHWEDEL RECALLED BY PITTSBURGH

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

Defenseman Kris Letang has been placed on injured reserve.

Guentzel, 22, has been one of the top offensive threats in the AHL this season, leading the league with 21 goals and ranking second overall with 42 points in just 33 games. His plus-21 is second overall behind only teammate David Warsofsky.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Guentzel played in five games with Pittsburgh earlier this year, netting three goals and four points. Since he was returned to WBS, Guentzel has points in 14 of 17 games, totaling 14 goals, 11 assists, 25 points and a hat trick against Springfield on Dec. 27.

Guentzel was tabbed alongside goaltender Tristan Jarry to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 29-30 at Lehigh Valley.

Ruhwedel, 26, has skated in five NHL games with Pittsburgh this year, tallying two points (1G-1A) and a plus-3. He scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 23 versus New Jersey.

At the AHL level, the 5-foot-11, 191-pound defender has four goals, 12 assists and 16 points in 28 contests.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Monday afternoon, Jan. 16, when they face off once again with the Syracuse Crunch at 1:00 p.m. at Onondaga County Oncenter War Memorial Arena. The Penguins’ next home showing is Saturday, Jan. 21, and their opponent will be the Hershey Bears.

Individual game tickets for the game on Jan. 21 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 STAVE OFF CRUNCH FOR SEVENTH-STRAIGHT WIN

BOXSCORE

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tied their season-best winning streak by capturing their seventh win in a row as a result of a 3-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night at Onondaga County Oncenter War Memorial Arena.

The Penguins (28-7-3-0) went into the third period without any goals, but still emerged with the win thanks to contributions from their line of Carter Rowney, Dominik Simon and Jake Guentzel.

Syracuse defenseman Jake Dotchin jumped up from his usual position on the blue line and nabbed the game’s first goal at 15:34 of the opening frame.

The second period was a penalty-filled affair, with little time spent at five-on-five. The period began with two full minutes of four-on-four hockey, and the Penguins and Crunch followed that up by combining for 14 penalty minutes in the period.

However, with all the open ice and special team opportunities for both sides, the middle frame ended with no goals and the Crunch still clinging to their 1-0 lead.

Rowney tied it, 1-1, at 5:33 of the third period with his second goal in as many games since returning from injury. Three minutes later, the puck bounced around a web of legs in front of the Syracuse net and ended up sliding between the legs of goalie Kristers Gudļevskis. The goal was ultimately credited to Simon and put the Penguins on top, 2-1.

Another devolution saw Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Syracuse rack up 14 penalty minutes in a 24-second span. The sequence resulted in four players for both teams in their respective penalty boxes at the same time.

Despite all of the penalty time in the game, the Penguins and Crunch both went 0-for-6 on the man advantage in the game until Guentzel sealed the victory for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with an empty net, power play goal at 19:26 of the third.

Casey DeSmith posted 22 saves in net for the Penguins, while Gudļevskis stopped 20 of 22 shots faced.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Monday afternoon, Jan. 16, when they face off once again with the Syracuse Crunch at 1:00 p.m. at Onondaga County Oncenter War Memorial Arena. The Penguins’ next home showing is Saturday, Jan. 21, and their opponent will be the Hershey Bears.

Individual game tickets for the game on Jan. 21 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.

WESTERN NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ seven-game road trip rolls into western New York this weekend, with the league leaders set to take on a pair of North Division foes three times in a four-day span.

The action gets underway Friday night, when the Penguins (26-7-3-0, 55 points, first in Atlantic Division) face off with the Rochester Americans (16-20-0-1, 33 points, sixth in North Division) at 7:05pm.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton posted a 4-1 win over the Amerks back on December 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  Lukas Bengtsson notched his first AHL goal in that contest and added an assist; Jake Guentzel and David Warsofsky both matched Bengtsson’s point output; and Casey DeSmith stopped 27 shots for the victory.

The Americans, 2-2-0-0 since the start of the new year, are led by left wing Cole Schneider, whose 36 points puts him third in the league behind the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel (39 points) and Chicago Wolves winger Kenny Agostino (50 points).  Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Cal O’Reilly (7+26=33), also ranks in the top-10 in league scoring with the Americans.

This is the final meeting between the two teams this regular season.

Following Friday night’s contest, the Penguins travel 90 minutes east to Syracuse, where they’ll face off with the Crunch (18-9-2-5, 43 points, first in North Division) in games on Saturday night and Monday afternoon.

The Crunch enter a Friday night contest with the Toronto Marlies riding a six-game point streak, but only two of those six contests have been wins (2-0-2-2 in that time).   Syracuse has a league-high five shootout losses this season.

Matt Taormina paces Syracuse with 33 points (10+23) in 29 games, and ranks tied for sixth in the league in points.  Adam Wilcox has 13 wins in 20 appearances for the Crunch, placing him in a tie for sixth place in the AHL as well.

The Penguins and Crunch have met twice already this season, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton winning both contests on home ice.  Kevin Porter netted a pair of shorthanded goals in a 3-1 win  on October 22, then picked up two more goals in a 6-1 drubbing on October 30.  Porter claimed the game-winning goal in both contests.

After this set of games, the Pens and Crunch will meet two more times – January 25 in Wilkes-Barre and March 24 in Syracuse.

WBS BITS (all stats/streaks/standings are as of January 12, 2017) 

Tom Sestito has four goals in his past four appearances with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and has posted six points in that stretch of games dating back to January 6.

Derrick Pouliot has seven points (1+6) in his past five games after going without a point in his first nine games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.

Jake Guentzel picked up his 20th goal in his 31st game of the season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday night.

Tristan Jarry is tied for second in the league with 15 wins, one behind Lehigh Valley’s Alex Lyon.  Harry’s 2.09 goals against average is fifth overall, and his .923 save percentage is eighth.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 13, against the Rochester Americans. The Penguins’ next home showing is Saturday, Jan. 21, and their opponent will be the Hershey Bears.

Individual game tickets for the game on Jan. 21 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.

GUENTZEL, SESTITO TALLY THIRD PERIOD GOALS TO GIVE PENS WIN IN TORONTO

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins came from behind again for a 2-1 victory against the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Penguins (26-7-3-0) entered the third period down 1-0 to the Marlies, but tallies from Jake Guentzel and Tom Sestito powered them to their fifth-straight win.

An exciting first period brought with it many quality chances for both teams, yet no scoring by the conclusion of 20 minutes.

In the middle frame, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continued the press and almost had the game’s opening goal when Guentzel rocketed a shot off the crossbar at 13:27 of the second period.

The first tally of the game finally arrived at 15:37 of the second. Toronto’s Tony Cameranesi fired a high, sharp-angle shot past Tristan Jarry for his first goal of the season and giving the Marlies a 1-0 lead.

Guentzel, of course, would have a say in things before it was all said and done as he picked up a Toronto turnover and rifled the puck past Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks for an equalizer at 6:46 of the third period. The goal was Guentzel’s league-leading 20th of the season.

With 3:10 remaining in regulation, Sestito picked the top corner on an odd man rush and gave the Penguins the late 2-1 lead.

Jarry made 27 saves on 28 shots including several on a last-minute push by Toronto. Sparks recorded 32 saves on 34 shots faced.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Jan. 13 when they face the Rochester Americans at 7:00 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena. The Penguins’ next home showing is Saturday, Jan. 21, and their opponent will be the Hershey Bears.

Individual game tickets for the game on Jan. 21 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-game, 12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

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.

PLAYING ROSTERS ANNOUNCED FOR 2017 AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE ALL-STAR CLASSIC PRESENTED BY CAPITAL BLUECROSS

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today the playing rosters for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to be held January 29-30 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Each of the AHL’s four divisions will be represented by 12 players. Rosters (click here to view rosters) were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

The 2017 rosters feature 37 first-time AHL All-Stars, 12 rookies and seven former first-round draft choices. In addition, 27 of the All-Stars named have been recalled to the National Hockey League already this season, including standouts Jake Guentzel of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh), Zane McIntyre of the Providence Bruins (Boston), Juuse Saros of the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville) and Brendan Perlini of the Tucson Roadruners (Arizona).

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli, Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Todd Nelson and Ontario Reign head coach Mike Stothers will serve as coaches for the event.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Giant Food Stores and Velaspan on Jan. 29 (7:30 p.m. ET) will pit the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events.

In the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge on Jan. 30 (7 p.m. ET), the four teams will participate in a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each, played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.

Starting at just $26 each, single-event tickets are now on sale for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, featuring the AHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Giant Food Stores and Velaspan and the AHL All-Star Challenge. To purchase event tickets, please visit phantomshockey.com, call 610-347-TIXX or visit the PPL Center box office. The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross will be preceded by a Phan Fest on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by a Tailgate Party beginning at 6 p.m. Both events will take place at the PPL Center and tickets for both the Phan Fest ($5) and Tailgate Party ($10) are also available now at phantomshockey.com.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 93 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Jake Allen, Artem Anisimov, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan,

Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Martin Jones, Chris Kunitz, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, P.K. Subban and Mats Zuccarello, as well as former Lehigh Valley Phantoms representatives Nick Cousins, Brandon Manning and Anthony Stolarz.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, trainers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of NHL players last season were AHL graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2015-16, over 7.1 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America, the highest total attendance in league history.