KOSTOPOULOS EARNS 500TH AHL POINT IN PENGUINS’ 6-2 WIN

BOXSCORE

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins ended their schedule before the All-Star break on a high note by setting a franchise record, seeing their captain hit an historic milestone, and beating the Binghamton Senators, 6-2, on Saturday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Penguins (33-9-3-0) set a club record with their 12th win in the month of January, and Tom Kostopoulos became the 91st player in American Hockey League history to earn 500 points in his AHL career.

The Penguins struck first in the contest when Ryan Haggerty unloaded a fireball at the Senators net that burned past Chris Driedger at 10:52 of the opening frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton extended its lead when Teddy Blueger used his soccer skills to kick the puck over to a wide open Dominik Simon who wasted no time burying it. Simon’s tally was his sixth of the season and came at 15:32.

The Senators got on the board thanks to Nick Paul knocking in a rebound with 2:57 left in the first period. However, the Penguins quick reestablished their two-goal lead 1:05 later with a pinpoint pass from Blueger to Jean-Sébastien Dea. Twenty-one seconds after that, Blueger scored a goal of his own, making it 4-1 for the Penguins.

Chad Nehring tipped in a point shot and brought the Senators within two 6:04 into the second period. But once again, the Penguins responded. Derrick Pouliot danced his way through the neutral zone and fed Danny Kristo who brought the score to 5-2.

Kostopoulos achieved his 500th AHL point on a goal at 11:54 of the third period and put a bow on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s league-leading 33rd victory of 2016-17.

All-Star Tristan Jarry made 32 saves for his 19th win of the season, which is tied for most in the AHL. Driedger posted 10 stops on 14 shots before being replaced by Matt O’Connor at the start of the second period. O’Connor made 9 saves on 11 shots faced.

On deck for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the All-Star break, during which the Penguins’ David Warsofsky and Tristan Jarry will participate in the AHL All-Star Classic at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Feb. 3 for the first visit in 2016-17 by the St. John’s IceCaps to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual game tickets for Feb. 3’s game and 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.

Penguins ticket packages, including 22-game12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (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!

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 12/13/16

 

Sundqvist, Guentzel headline first-place Penguins through weekend

Big performances put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (16-5-3-0) atop the entire AHL

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Dec. 9 – PENGUINS 2 vs. Hershey 5
In his return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Jake Guentzel recorded a goal and an assist in the Penguins’ 5-2 loss to Hershey. Vítek Vaněček made 26 saves for the Bears.

Saturday, Dec. 10 – PENGUINS 6 vs. Hershey 2
The Pens bounced back to dominate the Bears, 6-2, led by the four-goal performance by Oskar Sundqvist. Sundqvist’s four tallies tied Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s franchise record for goals in a game. Guentzel posted a goal and an assist, as well.

Sunday, Dec. 11 – PENGUINS 4 at Bridgeport 1
For the second-straight game, the Penguins came back from an early deficit to go on an offensive tear as they defeated the Sound Tigers for the fourth time this season. Teddy Blueger scored his first career goal, Stuart Percy potted his first goal as a Penguin, and Guentzel put forth another one-goal, one-assist game.

 

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Dec. 14 – PENGUINS at Hartford
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton takes on the division’s last-place team, the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Pens have beaten the Pack twice this season, outscoring Hartford 9-2 in those two contests.

Friday, Dec. 16 – PENGUINS vs. Rochester
The Rochester Americans make their only trip to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this season, and they come in riding a 2-9-0-1 skid in their last 12 games.

Saturday, Dec. 17 – PENGUINS vs. Springfield
If any team has had the Penguins’ number this season, it’s been the Thunderbirds. Springfield is 2-0-0-0 against the Pens this season, but has only two regulation wins against teams over .500 since the end of October.

 

Ice Chips

– This is the second-consecutive season that the Penguins occupy the No. 1 spot in the AHL during the second week in December.

– Oskar Sundqvist became the third Wilkes-Barre/Scranton player in team history to record a four-goal game, joining Erik Christensen (Oct. 5, 2005 vs. Bridgeport) and Jean-François Jacques (Feb. 16, 2007 vs. Binghamton).

– Jake Guentzel has 10 points (4G-6A) in his last five AHL games and leads all league rookies with 23 points overall (10G-13A).

– David Warsofsky is currently riding a five-game point streak, tying a career-best.

– Warsofsky’s three-point game on Sunday (1G-2A) tied a career high set on Dec. 6, 2013 vs. Manchester.

– All three of Warsofsky’s goals this season are power play goals.

– Tom Sestito’s next game will be his 300th in the AHL.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM                        GP       W         L        OTL     SOL     PTS         Pt%

1. PENGUINS           24       16         5          3          0         35          .729

2. Lehigh Valley       25         17         7          1          0         35          .700

3. Hershey                25         15         5          4          1         35          .700

4. Bridgeport            24        16         8          0          0        32         .667

5. Providence           25         12         6          4          3        31          .620

6. Springfield           24         10         9          3          2        25          .521

7. Hartford               24          7         13          3           1         18          .375

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS                     GP        G         A        PTS

Jake Guentzel*             19        10        13        23

Oskar Sundqvist          22        11        10        21

Tom Kostopoulos        24         7        10        17

Kevin Porter                 22         5          9         14

Garrett Wilson             24         3         11         14

 

GOALIES                  GP     W-L-OT      GAA        Sv%      Shutouts

Casey DeSmith*      8         6-0-2        1.84        0.929            0

Tristan Jarry              16        10-5-1        2.12         0.921             1

 

* = rookie

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                  OPPONENT     LOCATION                         TIME      

Wed, Dec. 14     Hartford             XL Center                           7:00 p.m.

Fri, Dec. 16         Rochester           Mohegan Sun Arena        7:05 p.m.

Sat, Dec. 17        Springfield         Mohegan Sun Arena        7:05 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Wed, Dec. 7  (LW)  Jake Guentzel          Reassigned on loan by PIT

Wed, Dec. 7  (D)     Derrick Pouliot        Reassigned on loan by PIT

Wed, Dec. 7  (C)     Teddy Blueger             Assigned on loan by PIT

PENGUINS SCORE FOUR UNANSWERED IN 4-1 WIN OVER BRIDGEPORT

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins maintained their spot atop the Atlantic Division and the entire American Hockey League thanks to 4-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday evening.

David Warsosfky led the way for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (16-5-3-0), earning a goal and two assists as the Penguins scored four unanswered markers en route to victory.

Bridgeport struck first 6:18 into the game when a point shot from Kane Lafranchise navigated its way through a screen and past Tristan Jarry.

Teddy Blueger tied the game, 1-1, with his first career goal by redirecting a pass from Jake Guentzel into the Sound Tigers’ cage at 2:22 of the second period.

The Penguins’ power play stayed hot when Warsofsky rocketed a shot home at 18:44 of the middle frame, making it 2-1.

In the third period, Stuart Percy scored his first goal as a Penguin and Guentzel added another tally to his recent tear to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 4-1 lead.

Jarry turned aside 26 shots to earn his 10th win of the season. Stephon Williams recorded 32 saves while manning the crease for the Sound Tigers

The Penguins’ next home game is Friday, Dec. 16 as they’ll face-off against the Rochester Americans for the first and only time at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this season. The contest is also an Eyewitness News Fan Friday, with $14 lower bowl tickets, select draft beers for just $2 from 6:00-7:30 p.m., and a post-game autograph session with two Penguins players.

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.

INJURIES CAN LEAD TO OPPORTUNITIES

Injuries in Pittsburgh can often have a trickle down effect on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  And with AHL training camp only two days old, that already seems to be the case.

The NHL Penguins announced that forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli are both currently sidelined with lower body injuries that figure to keep them out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks each.

Blunger, Pittsburgh’s second round pick in the 2012 draft, made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, appearing in 20 total games (10 regular season and 10 playoff games) after finishing his college career at Minnesota State – Mankato.

Another 2012 draftee, Di Pauli finished his senior year at Notre Dame with a team-high 14 goals last season.  His professional debut will be put on hold now.

“It’s a tough break for those guys,” Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli said.  “Blueger came in and did an excellent job, he’s having a really good camp.  And DiPauli played really well in rookie camp and he was making an impression.

“But that’s hockey.  They’re out, I think they said about six weeks or so.  We can’t control that.”

But injuries up top could lead to extra chances for skaters down below, including a couple of skaters who already have some experience with the Penguins.

Derek Army led the Wheeling Nailers with 29 goals two years ago, and drew enough attention to be summoned by four AHL clubs on pro tryout contracts last season.  He spent the most time with the Penguins, tallying four points (2+2) in 13 regular season games.

Jarrett Burton put up 38 points (15+23) in 44 games with the Nailers before being signed to a PTO by the Penguins on February 6.  He went on to appear in 23 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, notching two goals and 10 penalty minutes.

Burton signed an AHL deal with the Penguins over the summer, and Army is in camp on another PTO.  But both could see significant time in NEPA this season.

“We put some time into these guys to develop them,” Donatelli said.  “They’re definitely right there in the running.”

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins take the ice for their first preseason game when they host the Albany Devils at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:05 p.m. The Penguins will also battle the Hershey Bears in exhibition action at home on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:05 p.m. before wrapping up their preseason schedule at Giant Center against the Bears on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5:00 p.m.

Individual tickets for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton home games can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, through Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including full season, 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.