JARRY PERFORMS LIGHTS OUT AT PPL CENTER IN ALL-STAR CHALLENGE

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – All-Star games are typically known for their comically high scores and porous defensive displays. The Atlantic Division bucked that trend at this year’s AHL All-Star Challenge in large part because of the play of its two goalies.

The Atlantic All-Stars ultimately fell in the Championship game to the central Division, 1-0 in a shootout, but the squad only allowed two goals in regulation in four contests. Only one puck got past Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.

“I think I did pretty well,” Jarry said in an understatement. “Obviously, it gets tough out there with all the two-on-ones and breakaways you can face, but it was fun to be out there with those caliber players.”

After his first stint in net saw not a single puck thrown his way, he had to contend with a two-man break for the Pacific Division in Game 2 for his first shot against. Completely unfazed, Jarry turned aside the shot just the same way he did when he went a perfect three-for-three during the Pass and Shoot portion of the Skills Competition the night before.

The 21-year-old goaltender is never the person whose nerves will get the best of him, and he showed it time and time again on Monday night at PPL Center.

“I’m not really one to get too nervous or get too pumped up,” Jarry said. “So I was just my usual self, and I played the way I regularly play.”

How does Jarry regularly play? Well, Penguins fans know that the cool-mannered netminder has been a stalwart between the pipes all season long, earning a lowly 2.21 goals against average, .921 save percentage, and a league-leading 19 win total.

Jarry’s intensity didn’t stay back in Wilkes-Barre when he packed his things for a quick All-Star break road trip.

“If you’re a goalie, you hate being scored on,” Jarry said. “You’re trying your hardest to stop every shot. That’s our approach, and that’s the way I took it tonight.

“For goalies, [All-Star games are] different, because players want to show what they can do with the puck. For us, it’s about what we can do without the puck. Can you stop the puck? I think it’s one of those things where you need to be prepared for every possibility and every shot.”

Zane McIntyre of the Providence Bruins was equally impressive in the four tournament games for the Atlantic, but was handed the loss in the championship game because he was in goal for all of the shootout attempts. That decision was inadvertently made before puck drop, when McIntyre and Jarry engaged in a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who would start the first half of the contest.

Jarry won the quick ro-sham-bo and kicked things off as the opening goalie in the tilt, which left McIntyre duty for the final two minutes. At the end of a scoreless regulation period, McIntyre just stayed in net for the shootout.

Jarry didn’t mind watching as the game was decided, though. At that point, he was just happy for the experience.

“It was a fun game,” Jarry said. “To go to a shootout in front of a sold out crowd, obviously that’s fun. You want to win, but it was cool to be a part of this.”

WARSOFSKY IMPRESSES IN HARDEST SHOT COMPETITION

 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – David Warsofsky stepped up to the blue line in preparation of his showcase event at the 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition, the CCM Hardest Shot. After a few strides used to reach a stationary puck, Warsofsky unloaded a slap shot at the empty net with radar guns positioned nearby.

He went through those same motions again for a second attempt. He uncorked another slapper, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd at PPL Center before his score registered on the big screen at center ice. When the result came in, it showed 98.4 mph.

Warsofsky’s slap shot was the second-strongest in the competition at the time, and ultimately finished fourth overall but just nine-tenths of a mile per hour behind the event’s winning score.

At all levels, the hardest shot event is usually dominated by the biggest players on the ice. The likes of Zdeno Chára and Shea Weber have legendary reputations for their record-setting slap shots, and Kyle Wood, tonight’s winner, was the biggest entrant in the competition. Warsofsky, on the other hand, impressed everyone with his score because he stands at five-foot-nine, 170 lbs.

Warsofsky’s showing at the Skills Competition and throughout this entire season has proven it’s not always the biggest guys that pack the biggest punch on their shots. It’s all about the technique.

“I think it’s just the way he releases it,” said Warsofsky’s partner at the Skills Competition, Tristan Jarry. “He’s a smart player, and he’s figured out how to get everything out of his shot even though he’s not that big. We’ve seen it many times this year, and he’s helped us out a lot with that shot.”

Warsofsky’s head coach – with both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and All Star weekend with the Atlantic Division – Clark Donatelli, offered his explanation for why the small-statured Warsofsky is able to get so much power on his shots by drawing comparisons to another sport.

“You know, it’s like that same thing with the bat speed and hitters in baseball,” Donatelli said. “It’s about the way you hit it. He’s got a great shot, and we all know it. Obviously, it’s less about how big and strong you are. It’s about where you make contact and how you transfer your weight. Bigger guys have an advantage in that they have more weight to move, but in [Warsofsky]’s case, it’s all about the technique and putting it all together for a great shot.”

That shot has helped Warsofsky add nine goals to his All-Star caliber résumé that includes 33 points in 30 games this season. Even if that stat line wasn’t convincing enough for opponents, he now has 98.4 reasons making sure no one will be underestimating this “little guy’s” big abilities any time soon.

 

NOTES

• Tristan Jarry had a good night, himself. He stopped five of 10 shots faced in the hellacious AHL Live Rapid Fire event, then improved to a perfect three-for-three in the Pass and Score. The Pass and Score featured three Western Conference opponents coming in on Jarry with one puck and no defenders in the way. It was perhaps the most impressive showing of all the eight goalies who took part in the event.

“It’s no fun to get scored on, so it’s always a competition,” Jarry said. “It’s one of those things where you can’t think too much and just follow the puck, read the play. We practice that a lot, actually. We do a lot of three-on-oh’s and five-on-oh’s, so the guys actually had me really prepared for that.”

• Unsurprisingly, the Penguins’ All-Stars were booed heavily when announced at PPL Center, home of the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Jarry couldn’t contain his smile when the crowd erupted with displeasure at the mention of his name. Clark Donatelli held his composure a bit better when the cameras cam his way, but said afterwards that that kind of hostility is part of what makes these events enjoyable.

“They’re rivals! They can’t take a night off to like us,” Donatelli said. “I think that makes it more fun, though. The rivalries in Pennsylvania, they’re good for the fans. And when the fans are into it, it’s more fun for the guys on the ice, too.”