PREVIEW: PENGUINS vs WOLF PACK – MARCH 17, 2018


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins welcome the Hartford Wolf Pack to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday for the third and final time this season. The home team has won all four previous matchups this season.

The Penguins (36-18-4-2, 78 pts, .650%) are ranked second the Atlantic Division of the AHL, while The Wolf Pack (27-29-5-3, 62 pts, .484%) sit in seventh in the same division.

Saturday’s game is the fifth of six meetings between the clubs this season.

TIME: 7:05 p.m.
PLACE: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
WATCHAHLLive.com and WBRE locally
LISTEN: WILK News Radio
PROMOTION: St Patrick’s Day Jersey Auction
TICKETS:  570-208-7367 or at the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office

SEASON SERIES

DATE HOME ROAD TIME/RESULT
Saturday, October 21 WBS Hartford  3-2 SO WIN
Friday, December 15 Hartford WBS  7-3 Loss
Friday, Decmber 29 WBS Hartford  5-1 WIN
Sunday, January 21 Hartford WBS  1-0 OTL
Saturday, March 17 WBS Hartford  7:05pm
Friday, March 30 Hartford WBS  7:15pm

RECENT ACTION
The  Penguins and Charlotte Checkers faced one another for the second night in a row at Bojangles’ Coliseum, but this time, the Penguins were on the losing end of a 3-1 final on Wednesday.  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pressed hard in the third period, but couldn’t muster the comeback, and suffered its first regular season loss in Charlotte in franchise history. Charlotte found scoring from Julien Gauthier and former Penguin Greg McKegg, who put in two for the Checkers.  The Penguins lone goal came off a Tom Sestito rebound through Nedeljkovic’s five-hole at 8:11 of the final frame. Anthony Peters recorded 27 saves.

The Hartford Wolf Pack welcomed the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to the XL Center on Friday night, as they snapped a six-game losing skid with a 4-3 shootout victory.  Hartford’s Filip Chytil, Cristoval Nieves, and Dan DeSalvo all tallied in the second frame. Lehigh Valley had goals from Cole Bardreau and Mark Friedman before Nicolas Aube-Kubel tallied the lone goal in the third to force overtime. Nothing could be decided in overtime and the skills competition decided the final point as Dan DeSalvo put one by John Muse to break the losing streak. Marek Mazanec stopped 28 of 31 in the victory.

PENGUINS NOTES

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.

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

WOLF PACK NOTES
The Wolf Pack are 2-1-0-1 in four meetings with the Penguins on the year, but have only a regulation loss and a shootout defeat to show for two previous trips to Wilkes-Barre.

Cole Schenider leads the Wolf Pack in points with 39 (14+25).

Scott Kosmachuk is in second on the team in scoring. Eight of those goals have come off of power play tallies.

CONNECTIONS

Penguins defenseman Chris Summers spent parts of three seasons (2014-17) with the Wolf Pack, recording 24 points (7+16) in 161 games with the team.

Penguins forward Ryan Haggerty broke into the AHL with Hartford in 2014-15, posting 33 points (15+18) in 76 games with the club.

Compiled by Jonathan Kliment

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BLOW BY BLOW – THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY MASSACRE


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have played 1,476 regular season games as of March 17, 2018, and quite a few of those hold memorable moments for players and fans alike.  But the one game that undoubtedly stands out among all of those in the crowd was played on March 17, 2002 in Wilkes-Barre.

Two years ago, we unearthed an old VHS tape of the “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” and converted it over to digital.  This is the cleanest copy of this game we can find, and although it doesn’t have an audio track, you’ll still get a good feel for what’s going on.

We’ve broken down all of the key moments of the 4-0 loss for you right here, to give you a glimpse of the most memorable game in team history.

It didn’t take long for the fists to start flying.

Syracuse’s Brad Wingfield, who had only recently joined the Crunch after posting 472 penalty minutes in just 49 games with the United Hockey League’s Elmira Jackals,   tangled with Darcy Verot in the slot.  Steve Parson’s didn’t take kindly to the Crunch tough guy picking on Verot, and stepped in.  Each was given a modest five minutes for this altercation:

The first period fireworks weren’t over though.  A Pens shot bounced off the back boards toward the front of the Syracuse net, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Jason MacDonald made a beeline toward the puck, which was gobbled up by netminder J.F. Labbe.  MacDonald was pulled down by Alex Johnston, and the duo dropped the gloves (Johnson also received two minutes for holding).

There were some minor incidents late in the first (a Brendan Walsh slash offset by an Andrei Srybko rough), and Steve Parsons picked up 14 minutes in one swoop with high sticking, unsportsmanlike conduct and 10-minute misconduct infractions at 5:40.

Walsh and Duvie Westcott raised the temperature a bit further when they tangled in front of the Crunch net.

But the night didn’t get really interesting until the third period was seven minutes old.

Wingfield laid out an unsuspecting John Jakopin in the neutral zone with a strong shoulder, which led to the Pens defenseman chasing after Wingfield.

Jakopin wasted no time in challenging Wingfield off of the ensuing faceoff.   And then, well, all heck broke loose.

There was a lot happening there, so let’s recap:

1) Jakopin and Wingfield square off, with each throwing punches while the other was on his back.
2) MacDonald grabs Winfield and lands a few blows of his own, before Parsons arrives on the scene.  That earned Parsons a third man in penalty.
3) Not to be outdone, J. F. Labbe entered the fray from his crease, and was also assessed a third man in penalty.
4) Darcy Verot heads over to take on Labbe, but is pulled away by Brett Harkins.
5) Parsons then turns his attention to Adam Borzecki, who was tied up with Bert Robertsson on the near boards.
6) Parsons reemerges, trying to get to Wingfield, who is at the bottom of a scrum with MacDonald and Jamie Heward on top.
7) Things appear to settle down momentarily, until Parsons sees Wingfield on the far side of the ice.
8) Parsons undoes his fight strap to slip the linesman, then throws off his shoulder pads (and undershirt), leading to the topples tussle with Wingfield at the red line.

Meanwhile, MacDonald and David Ling had been trading blows back where the initial penalties occurred.  As Ling began to back out of the fight (featuring yet another shirtless combatant in MacDonald), Sryubko jumps from the Syracuse bench to challenge the wiped-out MacDonald.

The tally, player by player, for just the above carnage:

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON (102 PIM)

John Jakopin – Fight (5 minutes)

Darcy Verot – Cross Checking (2 minutes)

Jason MacDonald – Fighting (5 minutes) / Game Misconduct (Secondary Altercation) / Fighting (5 minutes) / Game Misconduct (Secondary Altercation) / Game Misconduct (Aggressor) / Game Misconduct (Third Major In A Game)

Steve Parsons – Fighting (5 minutes) / Game Misconduct (Third Man In) / Game Misconduct (Aggressor) / Game Misconduct (Secondary Altercation) / Game Misconduct (Physical Abuse of Official)

SYRACUSE (80 PIM)

Brad Wingfield – Fighting (5 minutes) / Fighting (5 minutes) / Game Misconduct (Aggressor) / Game Misconduct (Secondary Altercation)

David Ling –  Fighting (5 minutes) / Game Misconduct (Secondary Altercation)

J. F. Labbe – Game Misconduct (Third Man In)

Andrei Sryubko – Game Misconduct (Leaving The Bench) / Fighting (5 minutes) / Game Misconduct (Secondary Altercation)

Parsons’ night came to an end with 64 PIMs next to his name, an American Hockey League record for penalty minutes in a game (two minors, two majors, 1 misconduct, 4 game misconducts).

Parsons probably could have had a few more minutes tagged on if the ref’s would have seen this:

While Parsons’ and MacDonald’s nights had come to early ends, Verot remained in the game.  But with less than five minutes left in the game, he found himself sent to the showers early as well for this fight with Jeremey Reich:

In addition to the fighting major, Verot was given a match penalty intent to injure.

The Penguins tallied 162 penalty minutes on the night (still a team record), while the Crunch piled up 124.  Subsequently, the AHL handed down suspensions for Parsons (12 games), MacDonald (six games), Verot (two games), Sryubko (six games) and Wingfield (two games).

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATION THIS SATURDAY NIGHT

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will have the arena sham-rocking this weekend when they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday night for our annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

The Penguins will be wearing special green and gold sweaters during the game, which fans can bid on during our silent auction on the concourse.

We’ve re-stocked with autographed Pot O’ Gold Pucks, which will be for sale on the concourse for just $10 apiece.  Each puck is signed by a Penguins player and wrapped up, so you don’t know whose treasure you’ll be taking home.  If you’ve got the luck of the Irish, you might find a puck with a special shamrock sticker, which means you’ll be taking home a game-used stick from one of your favorite Pens players.  Think of it as your own personal shillelagh if it helps you get in the holiday spirit.

Swing by the Igloo Store on the concourse during the game to pick up a 2017 Penguins St. Patrick’s t-shirt, sweatshirt or hat (or buy one online today), enjoy the sounds of our friends from the Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Band, and help cheer on the Penguins as they drive the Phantoms out of NEPA.

Tickets for Saturday night’s game are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling the Penguins directly at 570-208-7367.