DEADLINE DEALS, HEALTHY PLAYERS COULD HELP WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

Frank Corrado was acquired from Toronto on March 1.

The National Hockey League trade deadline has come and gone, and a handful of moves made by the Pittsburgh Penguins could pay dividends in Wilkes-Barre.

Pittsburgh made a pair of trades on Wednesday afternoon, acquiring Mark Street from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a fourth round draft pick in 2018, and sending Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy and 2017 fourth round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Fran Corrado.

Corrado, a 23-year old puck-moving blueliner, was immediately assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, giving the AHL Penguins another offensive threat.

Pittsburgh also reassigned defenseman Cameron Gaunce to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who has 13 points and a plus-15 rating in 47 games with the AHL club this season.

Additionally, Pittsburgh made a series of ‘paper transactions’ at the deadline, reassigning Carter Rowney, Jake Guentzel, and Derrick Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre and quickly recalling them.  Those moves make that trio eligible to suit up for the AHL Penguins during the remainder of the regular season and the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Those reinforcements could prove significant in the long run, as could the imminent returns of a pair of Penguins skaters.

Forward Thomas Di Pauli appeared in just eight games at the start of the season before suffering a long-term injury on November 26.  the highly-touted scorer out of Notre Dame has been practicing with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this week, and could return to game action as soon as this weekend.

And Garrett Wilson was in the midst of a career-year when he suffered an upper body injury against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Valentine’s Day.  His return seems to be a little further away, but add his double-digit goal scoring into an already formidable lineup, and the Penguins could receive a late-season infusion of offense.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Saturday, Mar. 4, and it will take on the Hershey Bears at Giant Center. Puck drop between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Wednesday, Mar. 8, and its opponent will be the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Individual game tickets for Mar. 8’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 12-game, and 10-voucher flex packs, are available directly through the Penguins offices by calling (570) 208-7367.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON LOSES TO LEHIGH VALLEY, 4-1

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BOXSCORE

 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The PPL Center has been a home away from home for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins since the building opened its doors a little over two years ago, but they couldn’t find the same road magic on Wednesday night in a 4-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

It was just the second regulation loss that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton suffered in 13 all-time visits to PPL Center. The loss dropped the Penguins to 10-3-1-0 on the season and extended the Phantoms’ (9-3-1-0) current winning streak to seven games.

The first period concluded in a scoreless tie, thanks in large part to the stellar performance of Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Jarry turned aside 16 shots in the opening frame, including one on Scott Laughton from point-blank range.

With the puck loose amidst a net-front scramble, Thomas Di Pauli went diving to the ice to jam it across the goal line. The goal was Di Pauli’s first as a pro and put the Penguins up 1-0 2:23 into the second period.

The Phantoms answered back when Danick Martel beat out an icing call and set up a tic-tac-toe passing play that finished with Corban Knight banging in a rebound at 17:29 of the middle frame.

Lehigh Valley ended up with three consecutive goals in the third period to end up with the win, starting with Greg Carey knocking in a loose puck at 5:57 for a 2-1 Phantoms lead. Fifty-four seconds later, a fortuitous bounce put the puck right on Taylor Leier’s stick around the crease, who lifted it into the top of the Penguins’ net, making it 3-1. A long-range empty net goal by T.J. Brennan with 25.5 seconds left in the contest sealed the 4-1 victory for Lehigh Valley .

Jarry finished the game having made 32 saves. It took until Lehigh Valley’s 28th shot for Jarry to allow his first of the night. Alex Lyon successfully fended off 30 shots in the win for the Phantoms.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Nov. 18 when they play host to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Individual game tickets for Friday 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.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 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.

DI PAULI DEBUTS TO GOOD REVIEWS

It was a minor coup when the Pittsburgh Penguins signed free agent forward Thomas Di Pauli this past August.  Some of that had to do with Di Pauli originally being drafted by Pittsburgh’s arch rivals, the Washington Capitals, back in 2012.  But Di Pauli’s impressive NCAA stats over the past two seasons at Notre Dame (a combined 22+39=61 in 78 games for the Irish).

Penguins fans were eager to see the speedy center in action as the curtain lifted on the 2016-17 season.  But a lower body injury suffered in Pittsburgh’s training camp delayed the start of Di Pauli’s pro career until this past weekend.

The Italian-born forward made his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton debut in the team’s Friday night contest against the Toronto Marlies, and also suited up on Sunday in Hartford.  He didn’t record a point in either of those games, but head coach Clark Donatelli was still happy with his performance, and his potential.

“He’s going to bring energy, he can play top six,” Donatelli said after Tuesday’s practice at the Toyota SportsPlex.  “Right now we have him playing with [Oskar Sundqvist], he’s going to be a penalty killer, bring energy.  He’s got a really good stick, he’s going to get a handful of goals also.”

For his part, Di Pauli was just happy to get into a game situation and begin the acclimation process to the pro game.

“You’ve got to come back and feel it out first before you go full speed,” he stated. “These past couple of games definitely were nice to get that under my belt.

“The most important thing to get to where I want to be is practice at full speed.  I think that’s going to be big.  That’s going to help me transition into playing at full speed during the game, instead of coasting and waiting for pucks.”

The Penguins return home on Friday night to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:05pm.  Tickets for Friday night’s game 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.

PREVIEW: Sound Tigers vs Penguins – November 18, 2016

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins return home to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday night, November 18. This is the second meeting between the club’s this season, after the Penguins picked up a 7-1 win in Connecticut on November 5. The two clubs will square off in a home-and-home series to close out November, facing off in Bridgeport on Friday, November 25, and returning to northeast Pennsylvania on Saturday, November 26.

DATE:  Friday, November 18, 2016
TIME:  7:05pm
PLACE:  Mohegan Sun Arena
WATCH:  AHLLive.com
LISTEN:  WILK News Radio (103.1) | bit.ly/WBSWILK
GIVEAWAY:  December Schedule Magnet Featuring Jake Guentzel
POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS:  Tristan Jarry and Reid Gardiner (approximately 15 minutes after the game ends)

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

RECORD 8-4-0-0 (16 pts) | Third in Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS

GOALS  Bracken Kearns & Michael Dal Colle 7
ASSISTS  Bracken Keanrs 7
POINTS  Bracken Kearns 12
PIM  Kyle Burroughs 34
WINS  Christopher Gibson 6
GAA  Christopher Gibson 2.52

WHO’S HOT:  Goaltender Christopher Gibson is a perfect 6-0-0 in seven games played this season. After winning his first six contests to start the season, Gibson made a relief appearance against the Penguins on November 5, allowing two goals in the final period of a 7-1 loss. He missed last weekend’s action due to injury, but could make an appearance this weekend as the Sound Tigers play a three-in-three starting Friday night.

NEWS AND NOTES:The Sound Tigers are perfect when a game goes past regulation, winning once in overtime this season (Nov. 4, 5-4 at Hartford) before winning back-to-back road shootouts this past weekend against Syracuse (3-2) and Hershey (4-3)…The Sound Tigers have the best road record in the league at 5-1-0-0 (10 pts, .833 win percentage)

ABOUT THE PENGUINS

RECORD  10-3-1-0 (21 pts) | First in Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS

GOALS  Jake Guentzel  6
ASSISTS  Jake Guentzel & Carter Rowney  7
POINTS  Jake Guentzel  13
PIM  Patrick McGrath  37
WINS  Tristan Jarry  6
GAA  Casey DeSmith  1.00

WHO’S HOT:  Oskar Sundqvist has four points (1+3) in his past three games, and has points in seven of the past eight Penguins contests (4+5=9). His five goals through 14 games this season already equals his total in 41 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year.

NEWS AND NOTES:  Thomas DiPauli recorded his first professional goal in the Penguins 4-1 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday night…The Penguins are undefeated (3-0) in games following a loss this season…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has allowed a league-low 24 goals through 14 games this season…Casey DeSmith continues to lead the AHL in goals against average (1.00) and save percentage (.963)…Tristan Jarry is fifth in the league with a 1.88 goals against average, and sixth with a .932 save percentage…Jake Guentzel is tied for first among rookies with six goals and second with 13 points…The Penguins continue to lead the league with a 91.1% penalty kill rate (5 goals in 56 times shorthanded)

Individual game tickets for Friday 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.

Season ticket packages for the 2016-17 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.

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

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.