PENGUINS WEEKLY – 4/17/18

 

Penguins finish season strong, prepare for first round series with Checkers

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (45-22-6-3) begins quest for Tom Kostopoulos’ first championship

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Apr. 13 – PENGUINS 3 at Springfield 2
Daniel Sprong set the franchise record for goals by a rookie with his 31st tally of the season. Sprong’s goal opened the game’s scoring, one of only a few bids that fooled Harri Säteri. The Thunderbirds’ goalie conjured 46 saves in the loss.

Saturday, Apr. 14 – PENGUINS 1 at Lehigh Valley 2 (SO)
The Penguins lost a shootout decision to the recently crowned Atlantic Division Champions. Both teams were held scoreless until the final two minutes of the third period, during which both teams found the back of the net. By getting to OT, the Penguins clinched the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division.

Sunday, Apr. 15 – PENGUINS 3 at Hershey 2
The Penguins remained unbeaten in regulation against the Bears in the two clubs’ final matchup of 2017-18, going 10-0-1-1 to notch the best single-season record in the rivalry’s 19-year history. Sprong scored again for goal 32, and Jan Drozg earned an assist in his pro debut.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Apr. 20 – PENGUINS at Charlotte – GAME ONE
Second-seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton travels to North Carolina to take on third-seeded Charlotte in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Penguins hope to avenge a 2011 playoff series loss handed to them by the Checkers in the teams’ only postseason meeting. Charlotte closed out the season on a 10-game point streak (9-0-1-0), and won 15 of its last 18 contests.

Saturday, Apr. 21 – PENGUINS at Charlotte – GAME TWO
The Penguins went 1-3-0-0 against the Checkers in their four-game regular season series, but both teams were evenly matched on the special teams front. Both were 16.7% on the PP and 83.3% on the PK when facing one another this season.

 

Ice Chips

– Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is going to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 16th consecutive season, the AHL’s longest active streak.

– Daniel Sprong’s 32 goals not only established a new franchise record for rookie scoring, but he also tied Janne Pesonen for the second-most goals in a season in team history.

– Sprong finished the season ranked in the AHL’s top five in three categories: third in goals (32), fourth in shots (214) and fifth in points (65). Sprong also led all rookies in goals and shots, while tying fellow first-years for tops in power play goals (11).

– Five of Michael Leighton’s six starts as a Penguin have gone past regulation. He is 4-0-1 in those games.

 

FINAL DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Lehigh Valley 76 47 19 5 5 104 .684
2. PENGUINS 76 45 22 6 3 99 .651
3. Charlotte 76 46 26 1 3 96 .632
4. Providence 76 45 26 3 2 95 .625
5. Bridgeport 76 36 32 5 3 80 .526
6. Hartford 76 34 33 6 3 77 .507
7. Springfield 76 32 37 5 2 71 .467
8. Hershey 76 30 37 4 5 69 .454

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 65 32 33 65
Jean-Sébastien Dea 70 18 32 50
Teddy Blueger 70 21 24 45
Garrett Wilson 69 17 25 42
Ryan Haggerty 47 16 21 37
GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith^ 27 16-8-3 2.73 .910 2
Anthony Peters 24 12-7-3 2.71 .907 1
Tristan Jarry 16 9-5-2 3.05 .901 0

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                           TIME    

Fri, Apr. 20        Charlotte         Bojangles’ Coliseum           7:00 p.m.

Sat, Apr. 21        Charlotte         Bojangles’ Coliseum           6:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Tue, Apr. 17      (LW) Sam Miletic                Reassigned from OHL

Tue, Apr. 17      (LW) Jan Drozg                       Released from ATO

Fri, Apr. 13        (G) Alex D’Orio                   Reassigned to QMJHL

Wed, Apr. 11    (C) Anthony Angello                       Signed to ATO

Wed, Apr. 11    (C) Cam Brown                                 Signed to PTO

PENGUINS LOSE CLOSE BATTLE WITH PHANTOMS IN SHOOTOUT, 2-1

 

BOXSCORE

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms traded goals in the last two minutes of regulation, but the Phantoms came out on top in a shootout, 2-1, on Saturday night at PPL Center.

With their point earned in the standings, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (44-22-6-3) was able to secure home ice in the first round of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Penguins will play as the No. 2 seed for the Atlantic Division in the postseason, even though their first round opponent is still to be determined.

The first period featured a strong defensive effort by both teams, keeping the game scoreless and without grade-A scoring chances for either side.

In the middle frame, the Penguins nearly doubled the Phantoms in shots. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earned a 11-6 shot advantage in the second period, but both goalies remained strong. Alex Lyon held down the fort for the Phantoms, while Michael Leighton came up with a series of solid stops for the Penguins.

The Phantoms nearly generated a breakaway opportunity midway through the second period, but defenseman Niclas Almari stepped in to neutralize the headman pass. Almari, making his AHL debut, was the last line of defense on the sequence for the Penguins, but calmly clogged up the passing lane that would have otherwise resulted in a clean chance for Lehigh Valley’s Cole Bardeau.

Leighton also helped power the Penguins to kill off a double minor penalty in the middle frame, too, making numerous key saves to keep the score even at 0-0.

The third period yielded the best scoring chances for both the Penguins and Phantoms, but time and time again, they were foiled by the opposing netminder. The game appeared poised for a scoreless regulation until Garrett Wilson cracked the goose egg for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton late in the contest. With 1:50 left in the third period, Wilson muscled a loose puck under Lyon’s pad for the game’s first goal.

However, the goal was not enough as Chris Conner came back a minute later, scoring for Lehigh Valley with the goalie pulled and extra attacker activated with 45.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

The tight defense continued through the overtime period, as each team only surrendered two shots and allowed no goals.

Nic Aubé-Kubel scored the only goal of the shootout in the fourth round, granting Lehigh Valley the victory in its last game of the season.

Leighton made 30 saves on the night and denied three Phantoms attempts in the shootout, while Lyon turned aside 26 shots in regulation and overtime and went four-for-four on saves in the shootout.

The Penguins have one more game left in the regular season. They’ll take on the Hershey Bears at Giant Center tomorrow, Sunday, Apr. 15, at 5:00 p.m. for both clubs’ regular season finale.

Ticket packages and individual game tickets for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

 

PENGUINS WIN BIG IN KOSTOPOULOS’ FINAL HOME GAME

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – It was an emotional night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday. Tom Kostopoulos was playing in his final regular season home game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and the emotion fueled the team to a 7-4 victory over the Binghamton Devils.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (42-22-6-2) also clinched a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs with Saturday’s results. This will be the Penguins’ 16th postseason appearance in a row, the American Hockey League’s active record.

Clearly running on adrenaline after pre-game ceremonies honoring Kostopoulos, the home team took a 4-0 lead in the first period starting with a power play goal 3:45 into the contest. Jean-Sébastien Dea pulled off a spinning move at the front of the net and tucked the puck around goaltender Cam Johnson, who was making the first start of his pro career. Nineteen seconds later, Tom Sestito beat Johnson down low to put the Penguins up, 2-0.

Jarrett Burton tacked on a goal by batting in his own rebound that came off the crossbar midway through the opening frame, and Zach Trotman unloaded a slap shot that navigated under Johnson with 3:24 left in the period.

Binghamton’s Jake Walman got the visitors on the board midway through the second period with a wicked wrist shot that whizzed past the blocker of Michael Leighton. Walman proceeded to set up the Devils’ next goal, too, tossing a shot towards the net that was tipped in by Blake Pietila at 18:05 of the middle frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wasted no time in re-establishing their four-goal lead, using goals from Daniel Sprong and Christian Thomas in the first 5:44 of the third period. Sprong’s 30th goal of the season arrived 35 seconds into the final frame of regulation, and Thomas notched his third point of the night with the tally that made it 6-2.

However, the Devils stormed back in the second half of the third period, as tucks by Jacob MacDonald and Jan Mandát reduced the deficit to two goals once again.

Binghamton elected the pull the goalie for an extra attacker with over three minutes left in regulation. Thomas put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to close out the scoring at 7-4, his fourth point of the game.

Leighton denied 26 Devils shots as he improved to 5-0-0 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Johnson made 29 saves in his pro debut.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Apr. 8, when they travel to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers for the final time this season.

Ticket packages for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

Individual game tickets for the postseason will go on sale on Monday, Apr. 9 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, TicketMaster.com, or also by calling the Penguins’ offices at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 3/27/18

 

Well-traveled Penguins come home for big showdowns with P-Bruins

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (38-20-6-2) hosts Providence in potential playoff preview

 

Weekly Rewind

Tuesday, Mar. 20 – Penguins 3 at Toronto 4 (OT)

The Penguins gave the top team in the league all it could handle, throwing 40 shots on net and coming back from down 2-0, but fell short in extra minutes against the Marlies.

Friday, Mar. 23 – Penguins 4 at Utica 5 (OT)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s resiliency was on display once again, this time erasing a 3-0 deficit to force overtime. However, an early OT marker gave Utica the win. With two points (1G-1A), Daniel Sprong reached the 50-point plateau.

Saturday, Mar. 24 – PENGUINS 5 at Binghamton 4 (SO)

For the third game in a row, the Pens required extra time. In the eighth shootout round, Garrett Wilson scored so the team remained undefeated in five contests against the Devils.

Sunday, Mar. 25 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Bridgeport 6

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s penalty kill was put to the test, having to defend 11 man advantages for Bridgeport. Despite two power play goals early in the final period, the Pens were unable to construct a comeback to force OT again.

 

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Mar. 28 – PENGUINS vs. Providence

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will face Providence for the fifth time this season. The Penguins look to gain the lead in the season series, which is tied at two wins apiece.

Friday, Mar. 30 – PENGUINS at Hartford

The Penguins travel to Hartford for the final time this season. The Pens are 10-1-1-0 at XL Center over the past five years.

Saturday, Mar. 31 – PENGUINS vs. Providence

Big points are on the line as the Pens and P-Bruins compete for a potential four-point swing for the second time in four days.

 

Ice Chips

– By scoring on Saturday, defensemen Jarred Tinordi (4) and Andrey Pedan (8) both established new career highs in goals.

– With his goal on Sunday, Pedan totaled 22 points (9G-13A) this season, surpassing his previous career-best 21 points in 2015-16.

– Daniel Sprong is currently ranked in the top four in three different categories among AHL rookies. He’s placed second in goals (24), third in shots (164) and is tied for fourth in power play goals (9).

– Michael Leighton is 3-0-0-0 in his time with the Penguins with all three wins coming beyond regulation against the Binghamton Devils.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Lehigh Valley 68 42 17 4 5 93 .684
2. Providence 66 40 21 3 2 85 .644
3. PENGUINS 66 38 20 6 2 84 .636
4. Charlotte 68 39 26 0 3 81 .596
5. Bridgeport 66 32 26 5 3 72 .545
6. Hartford 68 30 30 5 3 68 .500
7. Hershey 68 28 31 4 5 65 .478
8. Springfield 67 28 33 5 1 62 .463

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 55 24 27 51
Jean-Sébastien Dea 61 15 27 42
Teddy Blueger 61 17 21 38
Ryan Haggerty 38 16 19 35
Garrett Wilson 60 15 19 34

 

GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith^ 27 16-8-3 2.73 .910 2
Anthony Peters 22 10-7-3 2.78 .902 1

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                           TIME    

Wed, Mar. 28   Providence       Mohegan Sun Arena         7:05 p.m.

Fri, Mar. 30      Hartford            XL Center                             7:15 p.m.

Sat, Mar. 31      Providence       Mohegan Sun Arena         7:05 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Tue, Mar. 27     (G) Alex D’Orio                                 Signed to ATO

Tue, Mar. 27     (LW) Jan Drozg                                 Signed to ATO

Fri, Mar. 23       (RW) Josh Jooris                    Reassigned from PIT

Fri, Mar. 23       (D) Kevin Schulze                   Released from PTO

PENGUINS DOWN DEVILS IN SHOOTOUT, 5-4

 

BOXSCORE

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored early and often through the first half of the game, but still needed the shootout to nab a 5-4 win over the Binghamton Devils at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Saturday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (38-19-6-2) got a big game from Garrett Wilson, including the game-winning goal in the eighth round of the shootout, so it could remain unbeaten in five games against Binghamton this season.

The Penguins got off to a quick start by tallying the first goal of the night just 1:14 into the contest. Jarred Tinordi ripped a shot from the point that beat Mackenzie Blackwood over the shoulder for a career-best fourth goal of the season. The lead was short-lived though, as the Devils’ Jacob MacDonald scored just 2:10 later to tie it up, 1-1.

Joseph Cramarossa sniped a shot bar-down just before the halfway point of the first period to put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton back on top, 2-1.

The Penguins extended their lead to 3-1 and got a monkey off their back with a power play goal, their first in 18 attempts against the Devils. Andrey Pedan snapped one past Blackwood with Wilson setting a blinding screen in front at 6:38 of the second period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton added another goal at the 13:39 mark of the middle frame when another Pedan shot from the point was tipped in by Wilson.

With less than 30 seconds left in the second period, Binghamton cut their deficit down to two thanks to a man advantage marker set up by Bracken Kearns to Nick Lappin.

The Devils carried the momentum of the late power play goal through the intermission, reducing the Penguins’ lead to 4-3 a little over two minutes into the third period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Zach Trotman broke up a centering pass sent across the net-mouth, but the bouncing puck then hopped onto Blake Speers’ stick, and the rookie rifled it past Michael Leighton.

Binghamton finally pulled even at 10:29 of the third period as Mario Lucia came down the right wing on a two-on-one rush and ripped a shot into the Penguins’ net.

The Devils even had an opportunity to take their first lead of the game when Andrey Pedan was assessed a four-minute double minor for high-sticking with 5:59 left in regulation. However, the Penguins put forth a textbook penalty killing performance and forced the game to overtime for their third game in a row.

Daniel Sprong scored the shootout’s first goal on the Penguins’ third attempt, but with the game on the line, the Devils’ John Quenneville responded in kind immediately thereafter. Both teams were turned aside by the opponent’s netminder until round eight, where Wilson put one over Blackwood’s shoulder for the victory.

Leighton made 37 saves in regulation and overtime before denying the Devils on seven of their eight shootout bids. Blackwood turned aside 28 of the Penguins’ 32 shots on goal and made six stops in the shootout.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Mar. 25, when they take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Tomorrow’s tilt with the Sound Tigers is also a Kids Get In Free Sunday. Children aged 14 and under can attend the game free of charge with the paid purchase of an adult ticket.

Puck drop between the Penguins and Sound Tigers is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 3/13/18

 

Penguins play Checkers tonight, tomorrow, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (35-17-4-2) makes first visit to Bojangles’ Coliseum since 2011 playoffs

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Mar. 9 – PENGUINS 3 at Binghamton 2 (OT)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went to overtime with Binghamton for the third-straight meeting, and the Penguins came out on top once again. The Penguins are now 4-0-0-0 against the Devils this season thanks to Teddy Blueger’s fourth overtime game-winning goal of the year.

Saturday, Mar. 10 – PENGUINS 2 vs. Grand Rapids 1
The Penguins held on to beat the defending Calder Cup Champions in the Griffins’ first visit to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza since Mar. 25, 2009. Adam Johnson notched the first shorthanded goal of his career, while Kevin Czuczman scored the game-winner with 8:35 left in regulation.

 

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, Mar. 13 – PENGUINS at Charlotte
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton made the trek to North Carolina and will face Charlotte at Bojangles’ Coliseum for the first time since the 2011 playoffs. Charlotte has been a tough opponent for the Penguins, winning both of the clubs’ earlier meetings.

Wednesday, Mar. 14 – PENGUINS at Charlotte
Game 2 of the Penguins’ set at Bojangles’ Coliseum takes place on Wednesday. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 8-7-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

Saturday, Mar. 17 – PENGUINS vs. Hartford
The Penguins host their annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The Pens are 2-2-0-0 against the Wolf Pack this season with the home team emerging victorious in all four contests.

Sunday, Mar. 18 – PENGUINS vs. Hershey
The Penguins welcome their bitter rival to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for a Kids Free Sunday matinée. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has a 7-0-1-1 record against Hershey this season.

 

Ice Chips

– Teddy Blueger leads the AHL with four overtime goals.

– Blueger’s four OT goals is also the most in a single season in Penguins history, and has him tied with Carter Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos for the franchise’s all-time lead.

– Jean-Sébastien Dea is on a three-game point streak and has 11 points (2G-9A) in his last 12 games.

– On Friday, Michael Leighton played in his first game since Dec. 22, 2017. He has won both of his starts with the Penguins, and both victories have come in overtime against Binghamton.

– Daniel Sprong currently ranks in a tie for third among all AHL rookies in goals (21), points (44) and shots on goal (146).

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Lehigh Valley 63 40 16 3 4 87 .690
2. PENGUINS 58 35 17 4 2 76 .655
3. Providence 61 36 20 3 2 77 .631
4. Charlotte 62 35 24 0 3 73 .589
5. Bridgeport 61 30 23 5 3 68 .557
6. Springfield 62 28 29 4 1 61 .492
7. Hartford 62 26 29 5 3 60 .476
8. Hershey 63 25 29 4 5 59 .468

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 48 21 23 44
Jean-Sébastien Dea 55 13 25 38
Teddy Blueger 53 14 18 32
Ryan Haggerty 55 16 15 31
Zach Aston-Reese^* 41 9 20 29
GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith^ 27 16-8-3 2.73 .910 2
Anthony Peters 18 9-5-3 2.63 .906 1

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                           TIME    

Tue, Mar. 13   Charlotte         Bojangles’ Coliseum           7:00 p.m.

Wed, Mar. 14 Charlotte         Bojangles’ Coliseum           7:00 p.m.

Sat, Mar. 17     Hartford           Mohegan Sun Arena         7:05 p.m.

Sun, Mar. 18   Hershey           Mohegan Sun Arena         3:05 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Thu, Mar. 8        (RW) Josh Jooris                             Recalled by PIT

Fri, Mar. 9          (D) Kevin Spinozzi                       Assigned to WHL

Mon, Mar. 12    (D) Dylan Zink                          Reassigned to WHL

BLUEGER REPRISES ROLE AS OVERTIME HERO IN 3-2 WIN AT BINGHAMTON

 

BOXSCORE

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Teddy Blueger scored yet another overtime game-winning goal as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins downed the Binghamton Devils, 3-2, at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night.

Blueger notched his league-leading fourth overtime-deciding tally of the season for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (34-17-4-2) to beat Binghamton for the fourth time in four meetings this season.

The Penguins got off to a hot start when Jean-Sébastien Dea used a shorthanded goal to give the team the first lead of the game at 4:41 of the opening frame. Gage Quinney tacked on another goal five and a half minutes later, shooting from an angle along the goal line and somehow snuck behind Eddie Läck.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton almost escaped the first period unscathed until Jacob MacDonald scores with 1.2 seconds left before the intermission. Binghamton lined up for an offensive zone face-off with 2.2 ticks remaining in the period when Michael Latta won the draw cleanly to MacDonald, who blasted a slap shot from the point into the Penguins’ net.

As power play opportunities began to mount for the Devils in the second period, the Penguins’ penalty kill held the home team’s man advantage unit at bay. By the end of the contest, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton successfully killed off all five of its opponents power plays throughout the game.

Despite the penalty killing prowess of the Penguins, the Devils found another late period goal to pull even, 2-2. Latta found a puck that skittered into the slot, spun a backhand shot towards the cage and tied the game with 1:41 left in the middle frame.

Both clubs’ goaltenders shined in the third, with Michael Leighton and Läck both making 14 saves on 14 shots faced in the final frame of regulation. Leighton, who was making his first start since Dec. 22, 2017, showed no signs of rust while facing the pressure-packed situation of a tie game in the third period.

The strong performance of Leighton and Läck sent the game to overtime, where Blueger worked his magic once again. Dea danced around a defending player in the corner of the Devils zone and powered his way to the front of the net. He had the puck poked off his stick, but the loose biscuit went right to Blueger who buried it to give the Penguins the win four minutes into the extra frame.

Leighton made 27 saves total in his return to the lineup, while Läck turned aside 29 of the shots he faced.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 10, against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins’ first trip to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza since 2009 also serves as the Penguins’ Star Wars Night. Puck drop between the Penguins and Griffins on Star Wars Night is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

BLUEGER, BURTON BOTH SCORE TWICE IN PENS’ OT WIN OVER DEVILS

 


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins received two-goal performances from Teddy Blueger and Jarrett Burton to defeat the Binghamton Devils in overtime, 4-3, on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (16-8-2-1) survived a three-goal outburst by Binghamton from the first period, forced extra time, and eventually earned Michael Leighton his first victory in a Penguins uniform ( BOXSCORE ).

The Penguins started off the scoring when Adam Johnson raced up the ice to beat out an icing call, and then set up Blueger in the low slot with a beautiful pass at 4:19 of the first period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton added to its lead four minutes later with Burton redirecting a point shot from Kevin Czuczman past Binghamton goalie Ken Appleby.

The Devils got on the board on the power play as John Quenneville ripped one from the top of the circle and beat Leighton glove side at 12:37 of the opening frame. Nick Lappin evened the score at 15:31 of the first period.

Binghamton delivered a shorthanded goal from Michael Latta on a two-on-one rush with Tim Kennedy that granted the Devils a 3-2 lead with only 54 seconds before the first intermission.


After a scoreless, special-teams filled second stanza, the Penguins finally found an equalizer with one of the strangest goals of the season. Cody Wydo and Burton engaged in a battle for the puck with a Devils defender in the corner of the Binghamton zone, and when the puck hopped free, Burton swatted it up into the air. After roughly three seconds of hang time, the puck dropped off of Appleby’s back and across the goal line for Burton’s first multi-goal game of his AHL career. The tying goal came at 7:15 of the third period, and ultimately forced the contest to overtime.

With under a minute left to play in the extra period, Blueger tapped in his second tally of the night thanks to a tape-to-tape pass from Jean-Sébastien Dea, giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the 4-3 victory.

Leighton recorded 28 saves in his first career start with the Penguins, while Appleby turned aside 31 of 35 shots faced for the Devils.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 23 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Saturday’s game also serves as the Penguins’ Festivus Celebration, including a Festivus pole on the concourse and specialty Festivus jerseys to be auctioned off during the game. Puck drop between the Penguins and Phantoms on Festivus Night also has a special 5:05 p.m. start time. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

LEIGHTON LOOKING TO STOP PUCKS FOR, NOT AGAINST, PENGUINS


Michael Leighton is one of the most accomplished goaltenders in American Hockey League history, and most notably holds the league’s record for career shutouts with 50.

Much to the chagrin of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans, six of those clean sheets have come against the Penguins.

But after being acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins via trade this week, Leighton is now looking forward to stopping pucks for club instead of against it.

“I always liked playing against this team and in the [Mohegan Sun Arena].  I always felt comfortable,” Leighton said after his first practice with the Penguins on Wednesday morning.  “Hopefully I can turn that around and help the team win.”

A well-traveled veteran, Leighton suited up for eight eight AHL teams, as well as four NHL clubs, between 2001 and the end of the 2016-17 season.  But his hockey odyssey this season has been nothing short of frustrating for the native of Petrolia, Ontario.

Leighton signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the summer, and was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch to start the 2017-18 season.

After appearing in nine games with the Crunch, Leighton was traded with forward Tye McGinn to the Arizona Coyotes on November 14.

But his travels didn’t stop in the desert southwest.

With the Coyotes’ minor league club, the Tucson Roadrunners, already with two goaltenders, Leighton was loaned out to the Chicago Wolves, who were short on pucks toppers due to a rash of injuries with their parent club, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Leighton filled a gap in Chicago, playing in five games with the Wolves between November 21 and December 10.  But, with Vegas’ goaltending situation returning to near normal, Max Legace was reassigned to Chicago, making Leighton the odd man out once again.

He was returned to Arizona, but never pulled on a game sweater for the Roadrunners.

“They were just looking to trade me the whole time,” Leighton said.  “I was doing a lot of sitting around, not practicing much, kind of just waiting for a trade to happen.”

That move finally came on Tuesday, when Pittsburgh sent Josh Archibald, second-year goaltender Sean Maguire and a sixth round draft pick to Arizona in exchange for Leighton and a future fourth-round pick.  That has opened the door for the 17th year pro to play a prominent role with the Penguins.

At 36-years old, Leighton would be the oldest player on most teams in the AHL.  But, with Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos clocking in at 38, Leighton is happy to deflect some of the ‘old man’ jokes from his teammates.

“I’m actually really excited.  I’ve been the oldest guy on my team for a little while now,” he laughed when the subject was brought up.  “I played with Tommy in Carolina a long time ago, so it’s good to see a friendly face.”

But Kostopoulos isn’t the only player Leighton is familiar with inside the Coal Street locker room.  He’s also played alongside Ryan Haggerty (Rockford IceHogs), Tom Sestito (Adirondack Phantoms), and even Penguins assistant coach J.D. Forrest (Albany River Rats) during his AHL career.

“It’s difficult coming in meeting 25 new guys,” he said. “So to have a couple of friendly faces you’ve played with or at least played against, they know you, it makes it a lot better.”


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Dec. 22 against the Binghamton Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop for the first meeting of the season between the Penguins and Devils is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.


2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

PITTSBURGH ACQUIRES GOALTENDER MICHAEL LEIGHTON

Photo Courtesy Chicago Wolves

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired goaltender Michael Leighton and a 2019 fourth-round draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Josh Archibald, goalie Sean Maguire and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick, it was announced today by Penguins executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The 2019 fourth-round draft pick acquired by the Penguins originally belonged to the Minnesota Wild.

Leighton, who is signed to a two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level, will report to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season.

Leighton, 36, has split this season between the Arizona Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning organizations, spending time at the AHL level with the Syracuse Crunch and Chicago Wolves. He has played in a combined 14 AHL games this year, going 4-4-4 with one shutout.

A native of Petrolia, Ontario, Leighton is a five-time AHL All-Star who broke into professional hockey with the Norfolk Admirals back in 2001-02. Since then, he has won 20 games at the AHL level six times. During the 2007-08 campaign, Leighton was named the AHL’s Goaltender of the Year while playing for the Albany River Rats.

Leighton has played in 110 career NHL games with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina. He played parts of three seasons with the Hurricanes from 2007-10 when Rutherford was Carolina’s GM.

Leighton backstopped the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2011 Stanley Cup Final appearance, going 8-3 with three shutouts in the postseason. He was originally drafted by Chicago in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 1999 NHL Draft.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Dec. 22 against the Binghamton Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop for the first meeting of the season between the Penguins and Devils is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for 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.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information