NAILERS NEWS – NOVEMBER 13, 2017

NAILERS NOTES

The Wheeling Nailers are off to a solid start in ECHL action, posting a 7-2-2-0 mark through 11 games, good for the fourth-best points percentage in the league.  The Nailers took two of three contests this past weekend, and currently sit in second place in the North Division standings.


RECENT ACTION

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 VS. TOLEDO (4-3 OT WIN)

Reid Gardiner netted his league-leading fourth game-winning goal – this one coming in overtime – to lead the Nailers to a 4-3 win against the Walleye at WesBanco Arena.  Wheeling took a 2-0 lead into the third frame thanks to goals by Hunter Fejes and Gardiner before Toldeo got on the board.  Cody Wydo reestablished the two-goal cushion before the visitors scored twice in a 1:06 span late in the game to force OT.  Sean Maguire made 30 saves in net.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 AT TOLEDO (5-3 LOSS)

Derek Army had a goal and an assist, while Gardiner posted a pair of helpers in the second game of the home-and-home series.  Freddie Tiffels, reassigned to Wheeling from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier in the week, recorded his first pro goal in the defeat.  Cody Wydo netted his fourth goal of the season.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 VS. NORFOLK (5-3 WIN)

Cody Wydo extended his goal streak to three games, picking up the game-winning goal, in the home win over the Admirals.  Garrett Meurs recorded his third multiple-goal game of the season, Cam Brown had three points (1+2) in the win, and Tiffels chipped in with two assists.  Goaltender Will King stopped 39 shots for his first professional win.


LEAGUE LEADERS

REID GARDINER is tied for second in the ECHL with 10 goals and 17 points, is tied for fourth with three power play goals, and leads the league with four game-winning goals.  He had his 10-game point streak snapped on Sunday against Norfolk.

CODY WYDO is tied for second in the ECHL with 17 points and 12 assists.

CAM BROWN is tied for second in the ECHL with 12 assists.

HUNTER FEJES is tied for second in the ECHL with four power play goals.


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ next game takes place on Friday, November 17 when they travel to face the Binghamton Devils at 7:05 p.m.  The team returns him for a Thanksgiving eve contest with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, November 22.

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 full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

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

PENGUINS REDUCE ROSTER BY EIGHT

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have reduced their roster with three players under AHL contracts being assigned to the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers, and five more being released from their tryout agreements with the team.

Forwards Riley Bourbonnais, Cam Brown, Reid Gardiner, Nick Sorkin and Cody Wydo as well as defenseman Craig Skudalski and goalies Will King and Colin Stevens will all report to Wheeling for the start of Nailers training camp.

The Penguins have 33 players remaining in camp following today’s transactions. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s roster can be viewed by clicking here.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opens up the 2017-18 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Mohegan Sun Arena against the Charlotte Checkers. 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 full season22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

FASTER, SMARTER GARDINER RETURNS TO PENGUINS


Reid Gardiner was always a standout in the Western Hockey League. Then he became a standout at the Penguins’ rookie tournament in London, Ontario last summer. Shortly thereafter, he became a standout at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton training camp. Gardiner turned a ton a success in a short period of time into an American Hockey League contract with the Penguins last year, and was expected to be a rookie standout for the eventual Kirkpatrick Trophy winners.

When the season started though, Gardiner found that he wasn’t the same beast he was in the WHL. He didn’t have the same open spaces he found in London. The confidence he gained at training camp slowly waned.

Despite showcasing his jaw-dropping shot and pure scoring ability on occasion with the Penguins in 23 games, he decided it would suit him better to utilize his final year of eligibility and return to juniors. The Penguins obliged and returned him to the WHL where he had a unique career opportunity. Gardiner suited up alongside his younger brother, Erik.

“It was special for me and my family,” Reid said. “It was lots of fun, [Erik] being a young guy on the team and me wanting to teach him a few things especially after my pro experience in Wilkes-Barre. I thought we had moments where we maybe didn’t like each other so much, but most of the time we got a long. That’s brother stuff, I guess. I loved every second of it.”

After taking a few games to re-acclimate to a more wide-open style of hockey played at the junior level, Gardiner found his scoring touch again with the Kelowna Rockets. He posted 37 points (18G-19A) in 28 games before unloading a whopping 15 playoff goals and 28 playoff points in only 17 contests during the WHL postseason.

Once the offseason rolled around, Gardiner made the decision to turn pro once again. While there were presumably many suitors for his services after the offensive flair he showed in Kelowna, one team made the most sense: the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Penguins’ upcoming training camp will serve as the first chapter in Gardiner’s second term with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and he’s determined to show them that he’s better than he was when they allowed him to return to juniors and play alongside his younger brother.

“I want to show management and coaches and the like that I’ve made huge strides over the summer,” Gardiner said. “I am a better player. Over first few weeks of the season, maybe my role gets more defined, but right now I’m just trying to put my best foot forward.”

What’s the biggest difference between last year and the Gardiner 2.0 model he’s been advertising? He says he more mature and knows what to expect from the pro style now, and he catered his training around those traits.

“I think I can maybe hang onto the puck for a half a second longer and keep my head up to make a play,” he said. “I know the pro game now. There won’t be as much as a learning curve. I like to think my skating has improved, too. So people can expect to see a faster player, and hopefully more points come from that.”

The Penguins coaching staff is expecting more points to come from Gardiner, too. At the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo, New York earlier this month, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli discussed Gardiner’s return to the black and gold and what he thinks the stocky sniper can accomplish.

“We want him shooting the puck,” Donatelli said. “[Gardiner] is a player with a really nice shot, he’s a goal scorer. Hopefully, he learned from his pro experience with is last year and can use that to attack the play more. If he’s shooting, he’s always going to be dangerous.”

The danger of Gardiner 2.0 will be unleashed starting this weekend at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins training camp.

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

PENGUINS REVEAL 2017 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER & SCHEDULE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today the schedule and roster for their 2017 training camp. Players will report to camp on Saturday, Sept. 23 and begin on-ice sessions the following day at 10:30 a.m. at the Toyota SportsPlex at Coal Street.

The Penguins’ initial training camp roster consists of 28 players: 17 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies.

Player Pos. Height Weight Birthday (Age) Birthplace
BOURBONNAIS, Riley C L 5’11” 195 8/8/1993 (24) Rochester, NY
BURTON, Jarrett C L 6’0″ 190 12/30/90 (26) Echo Bay, ON
BROWN, Cam C L 5’7″ 156 3/25/1993 (24) Natick, MA
FEJES, Hunter LW L 6’1″ 192 5/31/1994 (23) Anchorage, AK
FICK, Danny D R 6’0” 200 8/21/1991 (26) Marine on Saint Croix, MN
GARDINER, Reid RW R 5’11” 180 1/19/1996 (21) Humboldt, SK
HAGGERTY, Ryan RW R 6’0” 200 3/4/1993 (24) Stamford, CT
JOSEPHS, Troy C L 6’0″ 194 5/9/1994 (23) Whitby, ON
KOSTOPOULOS, Tom RW R 6’0” 197 1/24/1979 (38) Mississauga, ON
LEAVENS, Daniel C R 6’2″ 200 6/26/1993 (24) Toronto, ON
McGRATH, Pat RW R 5’10” 200 3/17/1993 (24) Wilkes-Barre, PA
MELE, Tom LW L 6’0″ 176 2/23/1986 (31) Bronx, NY
MILAN, Dan D L 6’3” 190 4/14/1992 (25) Detroit, MI
O’DONNELL, Shawn RW R 6’1″ 192 5/28/1988 (29) Halifax, NS
PARIZEK, Justin RW R 6’1″ 200 6/5/1992 (25) Lakeville, MN
PETGRAVE, Matt D L 6’2” 195 1/29/1992 (25) Brampton, ON
QUINNEY, Gage C L 5’11” 190 7/29/1995 (22) Las Vegas, NV
RYAN, Kenny RW R 6’0″ 209 7/10/1991 (26) Franklin, MI
SCHULZE, Kevin D L 5’10” 174 4/29/1993 (24) White Bear Lake, MN
SKUDALSKI, Craig D L 6’6” 215 5/25/1995 (22) Wyoming, PA
SORKIN, Nick LW L 6’3″ 209 6/3/1991 (26) Rockville, MD
SPINOZZI, Kevin D L 6’2” 200 5/23/1996 (21) Granby, QC
TAYLOR, Jeff D R 6’0” 185 4/13/1994 (23) Clifton Park, NY
WYDO, Cody LW L 5’11” 185 3/28/1991 (26) Allen Park, MI
ZINK, Dylan D L 6’0” 180 10/8/1992 (24) Madison, WI
Goalie Catches Height Weight Birthday (Age) Birthplace
MAGUIRE, Sean R 6’2” 202 2/2/1993 (24) Powell River, BC
KING, Will L 6’3” 196 6/13/1994 (23) Valencia, PA
STEVENS, Colin L 6’2” 181 6/30/1993 (24) Niskayuna, NY

 

Like in years past, all practices at Toyota SportsPlex are free and open to the public. The full training camp schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 23    
5:00 p.m. Intro Meeting Toyota SportsPlex
5:30 p.m. Physicals
Sunday, Sept. 24
10:30 a.m. Practice Toyota SportsPlex
Monday, Sept. 25
10:30 a.m. Practice Toyota SportsPlex
Tuesday, Sept. 26
10:30 a.m. Practice Toyota SportsPlex
Wednesday, Sept. 27
10:00 a.m. Pre-Game Skate Mohegan Sun Arena
7:05 p.m. Game vs. Hershey Bears
Thursday, Sept. 28  
10:00 a.m. Group A Practice  Mohegan Sun Arena
11:30 a.m. Group B Practice  Mohegan Sun Arena
Friday, Sept. 29
10:00 a.m. Pre-Game Skate Mohegan Sun Arena
7:05 p.m. Game vs. Binghamton Devils
Saturday, Sept. 30
10:00 a.m. Pre-Game Skate Mohegan Sun Arena
7:00 p.m. Game at Hershey Bears
Sunday, Oct. 1
10:30 a.m. Practice Mohegan Sun Arena
5:00 p.m. Game at Binghamton Devils

* – Players assigned to Group A and Group B will be determined the day of practice.
** – All dates and times subject to change

The Penguins take the ice for their first preseason game when they host the Binghamton Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7:05 p.m. The Penguins will battle the Hershey Bears in their second home contest of the exhibition schedule on Friday, Sept. 29 at 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 all Ticketmaster outlets, or by contacting the Penguins offices at (570) 208-7367.

Season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly.

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

PITTSBURGH ASSIGNS SEVEN TO WILKES-BARRE

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned eight players, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Forwards Tom Kostopoulos, Ryan Haggerty, Reid Gardiner, Gage Quinney; defensemen Dylan Zink and Jeff Taylor; and goaltender Sean Maguire have all been re-assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League.

Forward Jordy Bellerive, an 18-year-old undrafted free agent who signed his entry-level contract with Pittsburgh during training camp, has been returned to his junior club, the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

The Penguins have 47 players remaining in camp (28 forwards; 15 defensemen; 4 goalies). Attached is an updated roster.

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

PENGUINS SIGN FORWARD REID GARDINER

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed forward Reid Gardiner to an American Hockey League contract for the 2017-18 season.

Gardiner, 21, spent the first half of his last season with the Penguins before returning to his junior club, the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. He was quickly traded by Prince Albert to the Kelowna Rockets, were he was able to spend his final season of junior hockey skating alongside his brother, Erik.

With the Rockets, Gardiner posted 18 goals and 19 assists for 37 points in 28 games. He then went on to lead Kelowna in points (28) during the WHL Playoffs and finished second in the postseason with 15 goals despite playing in five fewer games than the leader, Austin Wagner. The Humboldt, Sask. native wrapped up his WHL career with 257 points (124G-133A) in 290 career games.

Gardiner earned three goals and three assists for six points in 23 games while playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the start of the 2016-17 campaign. His first professional goal was the game-winning tally on Nov. 5, 2016 while the Penguins were visiting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season of Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

SESTITO’S THREE POINTS HELP PENGUINS DEFEAT BEARS, 5-1

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Tom Sestito led the way for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the latest chapter of their rivalry with the Hershey Bears, tallying three points to lead the Pens to a 5-1 victory on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Sestito scored two goals and added an assist on Teddy Blueger’s game-winning goal as part of his first three-point outing since Oct. 11, 2008.  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-7-3-0) maintained its league-best record with the team’s second straight win to start 2017.

It didn’t take too long for Sestito to get on the scoresheet, as he and Blueger set one another up for goals just nineteen seconds apart at 6:48 and 6:57 of the first period.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck for a third time to start the second frame, as Garrett Wilson grabbed a loose puck in the slot on a botched breakout attempt. Wilson’s goal – his eighth of the campaign – was his 20th point on the year, and also led to Hershey replacing starting goalie Vítek Vaněček with Joe Cannata three minutes into the second period.

Sestito soon struck again by popping a puck in the crease into the right side of Hershey’s net at 6:21 of the middle frame, making it 4-0.

The Penguins’ point run kept rolling when Jake Guentzel grabbed his league-leading 19th goal of the season as he tipped in a shot from the blue line from David Warsofsky.

With 11 minutes left to play, Hershey nixed Casey DeSmith’s chance at the shutout with a goal by Darren Dietz. Dietz’s tally may have foiled the rookie goalie’s bid for a clean sheet, but was all the offense the visitors could muster.

By the end of the contest, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had four players put up multi-point performances, including Sestito (2G-1A), Blueger (1G-1A), Wilson (1G-1A) and David Warsofsky (0G-2A).

The Penguins’ penalty kill was perfect throughout the contest, killing all five power plays it faced to maintain their Eastern Conference-leading penalty kill.

DeSmith finished the game having made 26 saves for his ninth win of the season. Vaněček made eight stops on 11 shots faced, and Cannata recorded 17 saves on 19 bids thrown his way.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 7, against the Binghamton Senators. Saturday’s contest is also Star Wars Night. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will wear specialty Star Wars-themed jerseys during the game that will be auctioned off to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of NEPA.

Individual game tickets for tomorrow 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.

NOTE:  Prior to the game, the Penguins announced that they and Reid Gardiner had mutually agreed to release the rookie forward.  He will report to the Western Hockey League for the second half of the season.

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!

GOALS JUST PART OF GARDINER’S GAME

Scoring goals was Reid Gardiner’s forte during his time with the Prince Albert Raiders.  The Humboldt, Saskatchewan native potted 106 of them during his four seasons with the junior club, including 43 last year, good for fourth overall in the Western Hockey League.

And after going scoreless in his first six games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Gardiner is starting to show that scorer’s touch in the American Hockey League as well.

The 20-year old right wing picked up his first pro tally – the game-winning goal – in the Penguins 7-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on November 5.  And his more experienced teammates made sure to let their young compatriot know they were award of his first tally.

“It was pretty cool,” Gardiner said of his first goal.  “Guys were giving me a hard time on the bench, so it was good.  I got lots of texts from my family and friends.  It’s something I won’t forget for a long time.”

Since that time, Gardiner has suited up in three more games for the Penguins, and put home two more goals.  But even when he’s not scoring goals, Gardiner knows there are other ways he can contribute to the team’s success.

“You want to play as much as you can and contribute in any way possible, he said.  “I think the key for me is when I’m not scoring to be productive in other ways, which is making good passes or making good plays in the D zone.

“Where the team needs me to play, hopefully I can then fill that role and fill it well.”

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