PENGUINS PROSPECTS HIT THE ICE IN BUFFALO THIS WEEKEND

Jeff Taylor will be among the players who suited up for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins participating in the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo

Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese headline the 24-man roster (full roster and player bios) that the Pittsburgh Penguins will send to participate in the 2017 Prospects Challenge held at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York from September 8-11.

This year, the Penguins will compete against rookies from the host Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins. This is Pittsburgh’s first year competing in Buffalo after several years participating in a rookie tournament in London, Ontario.

Pittsburgh will play in the opening game of the Prospects Challenge on Friday, September 8 at 3:30 PM. The Penguins will also play on Saturday, September 9 at 3:30 PM against New Jersey, before concluding with a night contest against the Sabres on Monday, September 11 at 7:00 PM.

All three games will be broadcast live on penguins.nhl.com with Josh Getzoff handling play-by-play duties. Michelle Crechiolo and the Pens’ social media team will be on hand to provide coverage all weekend.

Prior to departing for Buffalo, the Penguins prospects will practice on Thursday, September 7 at 10:30 AM at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa. Players, coaches and members of the development staff will be available to the media immediately following practice.

During the Prospects Challenge, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli will be behind the bench for the Penguins, alongside his assistants, J.D. Forrest and Tim Army.

Sprong, 20, who skated in 18 NHL regular-season games for the Penguins as an 18 year old in 2015-16, has been a member of Pittsburgh’s ‘Black Aces’ taxi squad during the back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. Back in 2015, Sprong used a strong rookie tournament in London, Ontario to eventually make the NHL roster out of training camp, before returning to his junior club in Charlottetown of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Last year, Sprong’s season was delayed by offseason shoulder surgery, but when he returned to the ice, he was one of the most dominant skaters in the QMJHL. In just 31 games with Charlottetown, he produced 32 goals and 59 points, including four hat tricks and a four-goal game.

Aston-Reese, 23, joined the Pittsburgh organization as an undrafted free agent from Northeastern after leading the NCAA in goals (31) and points (63) in 2016-17. In a brief late-season cameo with WBS, Aston-Reese scored three goals and eight points in 10 games.

Here are some tidbits on the remainder of Pittsburgh’s Prospects Challenge roster:

*Five more players in addition to Sprong and Aston-Reese – defensemen Lukas Bengtsson, Ethan Prow and Jeff Taylor; and forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli – are prospects signed to NHL contracts that have also logged action with WBS.

*Rookie free agent forward Adam Johnson, who inked an entry-level deal with Pittsburgh following a strong showing at the team’s annual prospect development camp in July, will compete in his first game action in a Penguins jersey. Johnson was second on Minnesota-Duluth in goals (18) and points (37) as a sophomore last year.

*Three members of the Penguins’ 2017 draft class will suit up, including top pick Zachary Lauzon. The 18-year-old defenseman was chosen by the Penguins in the second round (51st overall). He will be joined by forward Jan Drozg, a fifth-round (152nd overall) pick, and fellow blueliner Antti Palojarvi, who was selected in the sixth round (186th overall).

*Freddie Tiffels, a 22-year-old 2015 sixth-round (167thoverall) draft pick, will be joining Johnson in seeing his first game action with Pittsburgh following a three-year collegiate career at Western Michigan.

*Of the 24 players attending the Prospects Challenge, 17 attended Pittsburgh’s prospect development camp in July.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2017 Prospects Challenge Schedule

Thursday, September 7

10:30 AM – Practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

Friday, September 8

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (KeyBank Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. Boston (Kaybank Rink)

Saturday, September 9

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. New Jersey (KeyBank Rink)

Monday, September 11

11:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

7:00 PM – Game vs. Buffalo (KeyBank Rink)

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

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rookies Casey DeSmith, Reid Gardiner, Jarrett Burton and Lukas Bengtsson are getting ready for the holiday.  Are you set for Christmas yet?

Here’s hoping you and yours get everything your heart desires this holiday season.  Merry Christmas!

DeSMITH DOMINANT IN 4-1 WIN OVER AMERKS


WILKES-BARRE, PA – Casey DeSmith came within 1:22 of recording his first regular season AHL shutout, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defeated the Rochester Americans, 4-1, on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  The win was the fourth in a row for the Penguins, whose 18-5-3-0 record is the top mark in the AHL.

DeSmith’s record remained unblemished in regulation contests this season at 7-0-2, while his goals against average dropped to 1.75, second best in the league this season.

Jake Guentzel opened the scoring for the Penguins, netting his team-leading 11th goal at 16:42 of the first period.  The goal was the fifth in Guentzel’s past six AHL contests, and tied him for the top spot among AHL rookies.

David Warsofsky and Josh Archibald padded the lead in the second period, with their fourth and fifth goals of the season respectively.

The Americans best chance to get back into the game came at the tail end of the second period, as Kevin Porter and Teddy Blueger were sent to the penalty box just 38 seconds apart, giving the visitors an extended five-on-three advantage.  But the league’s top penalty kill held tough, and a spectacular, sprawling glove save from DeSmith allowed the Pens to take a three-goal lead into the second intermission.

Lukas Bengtsson capped off the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scoring with his first AHL goal midway through the third period to make it a 4-0 advantage.

It looked like DeSmith was headed to his first clean sheet, before Kyle Bonis beat him with a one-timer glove side at 18:38.

The Penguins play their final game before the holiday break tomorrow night when they host the Springfield Thunderbirds at 7:05pm.  Good seats are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, or by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.

NOTES:  Guentzel, Bengtsson and Warsofsky each recorded a goal and an assist in the win…Guentzel now has 12 points (5+7) in his past eight AHL games dating back to November 18, and has only been held off the scoresheet once in that time frame (Dec. 14 at Hartford) …Warsofsky has nine points (2+7) in his past seven games, and like Guentzel, only failed to score in the win at Hartford…The Penguins have recorded 14 goals in their past three games, with 12 different skaters scoring.

PENS’ TOP LINE ROARS TO LIFE AGAINST SOUND TIGERS IN 4-3 WIN

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BOXSCORE

 

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got back to their winning ways on Friday night, as a big-time performance by the team’s top line lifted the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The win improves the Penguins’ record to 11-3-1-0 on the season, maintaining their lead atop the Atlantic Division with 23 points. A big reason why Wilkes-Barre/Scranton still stands tall in first place in the division is the showing by the Penguins’ top line of Garrett Wilson, Carter Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos. Wilson (0G-2A) and Rowney (1G-1A) both had two-point nights while Kostopoulos potted the game-winning goal.

After a scoreless first period, Oskar Sundqvist broke the deadlock at the 9:20 mark of the middle frame when he received a pass from Ethan Prow and fired a wrist shot that beat Sound Tigers’ goaltender Stephon Williams to his glove side.

Just over a minute later, Carter Rowney collected the rebound from his own shot and took advantage of Williams’ precarious positioning, rocketing a wrist shot top shelf for a 2-0 Penguins lead. Lukas Bengtsson recorded his first AHL point with an assist on the mid-second period marker.

Similarly to Rowney’s tally, Bracken Kearns collected his own rebound that sat loose in front of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s crease and fired the puck past an outstretched Casey DeSmith at 13:02 of the second period. Kearns’ team-leading sixth goal and 13th point of the season brought the score to 2-1.

At 15:12 of the second, Jake Guentzel took advantage of a turnover in the offensive zone and fired the puck from the corner and into the slot. The feed found Jean-Sébastien Dea who tipped it in, increasing the Penguins’ lead to 3-1.

Andrew Rowe closed out the scoring in the second when he capitalized on a scrum in front of DeSmith with only 27 seconds remaining period to cut the score down to 3-2.

At 4:34 of the third period, Williams was forced into a collision with one of his defensemen behind the Bridgeport net which allowed Kostopoulos to tap the puck into the empty net for his fifth goal of the season. Though the goal was strange, it gave the Penguins breathing room in the third with a 4-2 lead.

The Sound Tigers fought hard to claw their way back late in the third as Joshua Winquist converted a chance at the doorstep at 14:55 of the period. However, Bridgeport couldn’t find an equalizer and the game concluded, 4-3.

DeSmith finished with 25 saves on 28 shots, adding to his perfect record which now stands at 5-0-0. Williams saved 24 of 28 shots faced and falls to 2-5-0 on the season. The Penguins were unsuccessful on three power plays, but were also never forced to the penalty kill at any point during the game.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 19, when they travel to Giant Center to take on the Hershey Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Saturday, Nov. 26, and once again its opponent will be the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Individual game tickets for next Saturday 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.

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 WEEKLY 11/15/16

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Penguins still atop the AHL, first team to 10 wins

 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (10-2-1-0) proves its mettle with bounce-back performances

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Nov. 11 – PENGUINS 0 vs. Toronto 3

In a showdown of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams, Toronto shut-out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for just its second regulation loss of the season. Thomas Di Pauli made his pro debut for the Penguins.

Saturday, Nov. 12 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Providence 1

The Penguins bounced back from their Friday night loss with a gritty victory over the Bruins in which they spread their scoring over all three periods. Casey DeSmith made 28 saves between the pipes, improving his personal record to 4-0-0.

Sunday, Nov. 13 – PENGUINS 4 at Hartford 1

An excellent start stunned the Wolf Pack, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored three times in the first period. Dominik Simon and David Warsofsky both scored power play goals for the Pens, and Ryan Haggerty potted his first with the black and gold. Lukas Bengtsson made his AHL debut.

 

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – PENGUINS vs. Lehigh Valley

The Penguins take on their PA rival for the first time this season. The Phantoms come into the contest on a six-game win streak. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won the 2015-16 season series, 7-4-1-1, and is also 9-1-1-1 all-time at PPL Center.

Friday, Nov. 18 – PENGUINS vs. Bridgeport

Bridgeport comes to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for their first visit this season. The Sound Tigers have found back-to-back shootout wins since losing 7-1 to the Pens on Nov. 5.

Saturday, Nov. 19 – PENGUINS at Hershey

Giant Center hosts the Penguins-Bears rivalry for the second time this season. In their previous meeting this season, the Pens triumphed in overtime on a Dominik Simon penalty shot.

Ice Chips– The Penguins hold first place in the AHL and became the first team in the league to earn its 10th win with Sunday’s victory.

– Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s power play ranks as the league’s best, clicking at 90.6%.

– Jake Guentzel is tied for the AHL’s rookie lead in goals (6) and stands atop the entire league in plus-minus (+12).

– Rookie Casey DeSmith’s .962 save percentage and 1.00 goals against average rank first among all AHL goaltenders.

– Rookie Reid Gardiner has goals in three of his last four games.

– Kevin Porter’s next game with be his 300th in the AHL.

– Ryan Haggerty is on a three-game point streak (1G-2A).

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM                        GP       W         L        OTL     SOL     PTS         Pt%

1. PENGUINS           13         10         2          1          0         21          .808

2. Lehigh Valley        12         8          3          1          0          17          .708

3. Bridgeport             12         8          4          0         0          16         .667

4. Springfield             13         7          5          1          0          15          .577

5. Hershey                  13         6          4          2          1          15          .577

6. Providence            13         4          6          2          1          11           .423

7. Hartford                 13         3          8          2          0          8           .308

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS                    GP         G         A        PTS

Jake Guentzel*            13          6          7         13

Carter Rowney            13         3          7         10

Oskar Sundqvist          12         5         4          9

Kevin Porter                 11           4          5          9

Tom Kostopoulos        13         4          4          8

Chad Ruhwedel           13         2          6          8

 

GOALIES                  GP     W-L-OT      GAA        Sv%     Shutouts

Casey DeSmith*      4         4-0-0       1.00        0.963          0

Tristan Jarry               9         6-2-1         1.76         0.935          0

 

* = rookie

^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                         TIME      

Wed, Nov. 16  Lehigh Valley    PPL Center                        7:05 p.m.

Fri, Nov. 18      Bridgeport         Mohegan Sun Arena       7:05 p.m.

Sat, Nov. 19     Hershey             Giant Center                     7:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Wed, Nov. 9    ADD   (D) Chad Ruhwedel           Reassigned by PIT

Wed, Nov. 9    DEL     (LW) Tom Sestito                   Recalled by PIT

Thu, Nov. 10    ADD   (D) Lukas Bengtsson             Assigned by PIT

Thu, Nov. 10    ADD   (D) Thomas Di Pauli               Assigned by PIT