KOSTOPOULOS, CHIODO EXPRESS EXCITEMENT FOR NEW ROLES, WBS MEMORIES

 

Tom Kostopoulos and Andy Chiodo both spent the start of their careers basking in the adoration of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans. Both players quickly earned the favor of the team’s supporters and became fan favorites, but it was the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs that the two cemented their legacies with the team.

As Kostopoulos and Chiodo were winning over Penguins fans with their play on the ice, that was around the same time that the fans carved out a special place in the players’ hearts, too. Chiodo says he can still hear the earth-shaking cheers of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton faithful ringing in his head.

“Those are the kind of memories that you just can’t forget,” Chiodo said. “It’s hard to describe. The fans were so engaged. They were so loud, and the energy that we got to experience from the crowd pushed us through those playoffs.”

Their careers eventually veered in different directions following that run to the 2004 Calder Cup Final, but Kostopoulos and Chiodo are back together again on the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey operations staff. On Wednesday, the long-time Penguins captain, Kostopoulos, was hired by Pittsburgh as Player Development Coach, and Chiodo was named Goaltending Development Coach.

“I think this development role will be good for me,” Kostopoulos said. “I’m learning a lot about it already, plus I’m really excited that [Chiodo] is coming in at the same time as me. Being able to work with him after playing with him and being good friends with him for a long time, I think it will be good for us.”

In a way, Kostopoulos was an extension of the Penguins’ development staff for years. Wearing the “C” in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while playing on an American Hockey League contract, Kostopoulos and Pittsburgh had a mutual understanding that even though the veteran still wanted to score as many goals and win as many games as he could while his playing career was still active, he was to mentor the younger players and help prepare them for the next step in their careers. By all accounts, Kostopoulos thrived in that role as a leader (and his offensive production rarely waned during that time, too.) Current Pittsburgh stand-outs such as Jake Guentzel, Matt Murray, Conor Sheary in addition to likely future studs like Dominik Simon and Teddy Blueger all have been vocal advocates of Kostopoulos.

Given his success with helping talented players reach the National Hockey League as a locker room leader, it’s easy to understand why everyone in Pittsburgh felt that Kostopoulos would be a perfect fit as a development coach. The man himself agrees with that assessment, too.

“My role kind of evolved to where I was trying to do everything I could to help those younger players while at the same time competing,” Kostopoulos said. “Pittsburgh has drafted really good players, but to say something like I had even a small role in helping them get to the NHL means a lot. Now, I pick up off that, I get to be on the other side of it.”

Chiodo’s playing career didn’t last quite as long as Kostopoulos’ epic 19 seasons, but he had already carved himself out a niche as a broadcaster in Toronto before stepping into a coach’s role last year. After one season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s, Chiodo departed to rejoin the organization that gave him his start in pro hockey. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fan darling plans on using his experience as goaltending coach with the 67’s in his new role with the black and gold.

“Every time I was in Ottawa, I felt like I learned something,” Chiodo said. “I had a great staff in Ottawa. Whether it was during individual meetings, the way they handled their video, the way they prepared for games, the way we all responded after games, I was absorbing it all. I think it was an ongoing process that I really enjoyed and I am grateful for.”

Kostopoulos and Chiodo’s jobs will take them across the continent, following draft picks and other prospects in the professional, collegiate and junior hockey ranks. Part of the appeal of the position is that you’re not quite as fully inundated in as season as one would be as a player. This made it attractive to Kostopoulos, who has made it perfectly clear that he wants to spend time with his family in retirement.

Furthermore, Kostopoulos, Chiodo, and Pittsburgh’s other development coach, Jarrod Skalde, are all based out the greater Toronto area. They won’t have to go far to congregate and discuss Penguins prospects and their progress, and Kostopoulos can still be close to home for his kid’s soccer game or a family movie night.

“Once my kids are finished with school in Dallas, (Pennsylvania,) we’ll be settling back in Ontario,” Kostopoulos said. “I think it’s a hub to travel and see Penguins prospects, but also get my kids back around their grandparents. It’s an exciting position for my whole family, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Of course, the job also requires frequent visits to Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Wheeling. Kostopoulos and Chiodo will mostly be confined to the press box and coaches’ offices, but if you happen to cross paths with one of them in the halls of Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, feel free to say hello. Even though they’re hockey ops now, they still feel the connection made as players with Penguins fans.

“I have such fond memories of the fans, the organization and that time period in my career,” Chiodo said. “The time that I had in Wilkes-Barre is something that I really remember in a fond way, and I’m excited to go back.”

TOM KOSTOPOULOS AND ANDY CHIODO HIRED BY PITTSBURGH


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players Tom Kostopoulos and Andy Chiodo have been hired to player development roles within the organization. Kostopoulos was named player development coach, and Chiodo was named goaltending development coach.

Both Kostopoulos and Chiodo will work closely with Penguins’ director of player development Scott Young and player development coach Jarrod Skalde.

Kostopoulos, 39, and Chiodo, 35, rank among the most popular players in the history of the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins, and both made their NHL debuts with Pittsburgh in the early 2000’s.

A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Kostopoulos recently wrapped up a 19-year professional career that included a combined 1,468 NHL and AHL regular season and playoff games. He is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s all-time leader in games played (658), goals (187), assists (282) and points (469), and he is one of only four players in hockey history to have logged 600 games at both the NHL and AHL levels. Kostopoulos served as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain for the final five seasons of his career.

Although he was playing in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Kostopoulos played an instrumental role in Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017. As Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain, Kostopoulos helped assimilate several of the young players who played starring roles for Pittsburgh to the professional ranks, a group that included Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary and Tom Kühnhackl.

Kostopoulos, the Penguins’ seventh-round selection (204th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, broke into the NHL with Pittsburgh during the 2001-02 campaign. He skated for Pittsburgh through the 2003-04 season, before playing with Los Angeles, Montréal, Carolina, Calgary and New Jersey. He totaled 157 points (61G-96A) in 630 NHL regular season games and five points (3G-2A) in 16 postseason contests.

Chiodo hails from Toronto, Ontario and the goaltender enjoyed tremendous success with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the outset of his professional career in 2003-04, helping the Penguins reach the 2004 Calder Cup Final. Chiodo led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 18 wins in the regular season that year, then tacked on three shutouts during the team’s playoff run.

Chiodo, who was selected by the Penguins in the seventh round (199th overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft, saw his only NHL action with Pittsburgh that season. He sparked a late season revival after joining the club in February. His first NHL win came on February 25, 2004, a 4-3 overtime defeat of the Phoenix Coyotes. Not only was that Chiodo’s first win, but that victory ended the Penguins’ franchise-record-tying 18-game winless stretch. Chiodo posted a 3-4-1 record in eight games with Pittsburgh, as the Penguins went on a 12-5-3 run to close the season after winning just 11 of their first 62 games.

Following his three-year run in the Pittsburgh organization, which included time with the Wheeling Nailers as well, Chiodo continued to play professionally in North America and Europe through the 2016-17 campaign. His 14 seasons included stops in Russia, Finland and Austria. In 2007-08, his Finnish team, Kärpät, won the SM-liiga championship.

Chiodo spent the 2017-18 season as the goaltending coach for the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League.

Season ticket packages for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 20th season, including full season, 22-game, 12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

2018-19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

COMEBACK KIDS? THE PENS HAVE A HISTORY

Dropping the first two contests of a best-of-five playoff series isn’t the ideal situation for any team.

But it’s not the end of the world, either.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are no strangers to playoff comebacks, including those times when their backs have been firmly against the wall.

But two series stand out above the other 36 they’ve participated in entering the 2018 postseason.


2004

Back in 2004, the Penguins dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven East Division Semifinal against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, with both losses coming in overtime, before winning a Game Three in the extra frame.

But a 4-2 loss in Game Four had the Penguins fighting for their playoff lives.

Jeff Hamilton gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead 6:17 into the second period, before Tom Kostopoulos beat Dieter Kochan to even the score before the end of the middle frame to complete the regulation scoring.

The teams traded shots in the extra frame before TK set up Tomas Surovy for the winning goal to extend the series.

Game Six saw the series shift back to Wilkes-Barre, and the home cooking paid off for the Pens, who posted a 5-0 win. Matt Hussey opened the scoring midway through the first period and added another goal in the third, while Konstantin Koltsov, Shane Endicott and Kris Beech also tallied. Kostopoulos had two helpers in the win, and Andy Chiodo made 23 saves for the shutout.

Game Seven goes down as one of the most memorable road games in team history, as busloads of the Wilkes-Barre faithful made the trip to Bridgeport, where they saw Koltsov tally the decisive goal in overtime, giving the Penguins a 3-2 win to cap a remarkable series comeback.


2013

Five years ago, the Penguins and the Providence Bruins faced off for the first time in the AHL playoffs, with the clubs meeting in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. And the early results were not good for the Pens.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton dropped an 8-5 decision in the opening game, which included a four-point effort (1+3) from noted Penguin killer, Chris Bourque.

Game Two saw the Penguins jump out to a 1-0 lead 4:40 into the contest, thanks to Warren Peters’ shorthanded goal. But the Bruins rattled off four goals in fewer than 14 minutes to close out the opening frame, and the Bruins held on for a 4-2 victory.

Game Three, held back in Wilkes-Barre, was a much tighter contest, with Jared Knight and Trevor Smith trading goals in the second period. Brad Thiessen stopped 20 of 21 shots in regulation, but couldn’t stop Carter Camper’s attempt just 31 seconds into OT, giving the Bruins a 2-1 win and a seemingly unsurmountable 3-0 lead in the series.

But things were about to get interesting.

Camper gave the visiting Bruins a 1-0 lead just seven and a half minutes into the game, but that was the only goal Thiessen would surrender, as Peters, Riley Holzopfel and Chad Kolarik scored for the Penguins to give them their first win of the round.

Game Five, also in NEPA, saw Brian Dumoulin’s power play goal give the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 10:55 of the first. Tempers began to flare a short time later, as Bobby Robbins and Adam Payerl dropped the gloves at 14:29. But it was a scuffle behind the play between Christian Hanson and Joey Mormina that gave the Penguins another chance on the man advantage at 16:20. It took Smith just 27 seconds to double the Wilkes-Barre lead with his second goal of the series.

Payerl picked up a goal of his own in the second period, and the game degenerated into a slugfest in the third, with 72 penalty minutes being assessed in the final 5:23. Paul Thompson also added a goal during that time, making the final score 4-0.

Back in Providence, the Bruins poured on the offensive onslaught in Game Six. But Thiessen proved to be too much for the home squad, stopping 46 of 47 shots to lead the Penguins to a 2-1 overtime victory. Dumoulin scored for the second straight game on the power play, while Smith netted the winner 3:26 into OT.

That performance seemed to suck the wind out of the Bruins’ sails, as the Penguins scored four times in the second period of Game Seven, en route to a 5-0 win and an astounding comeback to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.


So sitting in a 2-0 hole isn’t the best place to be for the Penguins. But it’s also not an impossible hole to climb out of.

Game Three of the series with the Charlotte Checkers is this Thursday night at 7:05pm.  Games Four and Five, if necessary, will be held on Saturday at 7:05pm and Sunday at 3:05pm.

Individual game tickets and ticket packages for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367, or fill in the form below to be contacted by a ticket representative.

Penguins Playoff T-Shirts are available now at the Penguins Team Store on Coal Street, via the Penguins online store, and at the Igloo Store inside the Mohegan Sun Arena during Thursday night’s game.

THE TK FILE

Tom Kostopoulos appeared in the final regular season game of his American Hockey League career this past Saturday, when the Penguins faced off with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown.  

And while we are very hopeful that TK still has about two months worth of games ahead of him, we thought the end of the regular season would be a good time to take a look back at some of the names and numbers from his time in the AHL.

So sit back and enjoy these statistical oddities and fun facts that we put together about TK as we get ready for the postseason.


Tom Kostopoulos’ first AHL game on October 12, 1999, against the St. John’s Maple Leafs, and his final game on April 14, 2018 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, were 6,760 days apart.

First Goal:  October 13, 1999 at St. John’s Maple Leafs, a 2-2 tie.  Assisted by Martin Sonnenberg.  Goaltender was Jimmy Waite.  Even strength.

First Assist:  October 15, 1999 at Saint John Flames, a 4-4 tie.  Goal scorer was Tyler Wright. Additional assist to Martin Sonnenberg.

Final AHL Goal:  April 6, 2018 vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 4-3 loss.  Assists to Daniel Sprong and Kevin Czuczman.  Christopher Gibson in goal.  A power play goal.

Final AHL Assist:  April 8, 2018 at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 5-2 win.  Goal scorer was Christian Thomas.  Additional assist to Jarrett Burton.

Kostopoulos played parts of 12 season in the AHL (1999-2005; 2012-18), appearing in 722 total games (658 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton; 64 with the Manchester Monarchs).

Kostopoulos’ first stint with the Penguins ran from 1999-2004, and he appeared in 318 games during that time, recording 97 goals, 149 assists, 246 points and 527 penalty minutes.

His second stay in Wilkes-Barre (2012-18) saw him suit up in 341 games, while he netted 89 goals, 134 assists, 223 points and 364 penalty minutes.

Kostopoulos appeared in more games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton than the next two closest players on the team’s all-time list combined (Rob Scuderi – 305; Tim Wallace 304).

His 186 goals with the Penguins are also more than the next two players combined (Tomas Surovy – 89; Tim Wallace – 75).

Kostopoulos’ 469 points for the Pens are nearly 300 more than the two players tied for second place on the team’s all-time list (Toby Petersen and Tomas Surovy – 177 each).

TK’s 211 AHL goals came against 109 different net minders.  He recorded the most goals against his current teammate – Michael Leighton – putting seven behind his goal line (five while TK was with the Penguins, two while a member of the Manchester Monarchs).  Second on the list was Neil Little, who surrendered six goals to Kostopoulos.  Six others were tied at five goals against (Peter Budaj, Anthony Stolarz, Kristers Gudlevskis, Jason LaBarbera, Matt O’Connor and Mike Minard).

Kostopoulos recorded just one empty net goal in his AHL career, that one coming on February 26, 2003 against the Norfolk Admirals.  It was the third goal in his only AHL hat trick.

No Penguin teamed up with Kostopoulos more when it came to goal scoring than Martin Sonnenberg.  Sonny assisted on 23 of TK’s goals, and was the recipient of 18 helpers from Kostopoulos.

There were 107 different skaters who assisted on Kostopoulos goals, and the Penguins captain dished out helpers to 95 different players during his time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Manchester.

PLAYER  ASSISTS ON TK GOALS  PLAYER  TK ASSISTED GOALS 
 Martin Sonnenberg  23 Martin Sonnenberg  18
 Shane Endicott 15  Tomas Surovy 17
 Carter Rowney 12  Toby Petersen 15
 Tomas Surovy 11  Carter Rowney 13
 Rob Scuderi 10  Yanick Lehoux 11
 John Slaney 9  Shane Endicott 11
 Nick Drazonevic 9  Noah Clarke 11
 Conor Sheary 9  Jake Guentzel 9
 Tyler Wright 8  Sven Butenschon 8
Toby Petersen 8 Nick Drazenovic 8
Andrew Ebbett 8 Conor Sheary 8
Yanick Lehoux 8
Mike Cammalleri 8

Eight of Kostopoulos’ 211 goals were unassisted.

Kostopoulos played against 43 different teams during his AHL career (including same franchise in a different city, and name change in same city).

Adirondack Phantoms Albany Devils Albany River Rats
Binghamton Devils Binghamton Senators Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Charlotte Checkers Chicago Wolves Cincinnati Mighty Ducks
Cleveland Barons Connecticut Whale Grand Rapids Griffins
Hamilton Bulldogs Hartford Wolf Pack Hershey Bears
Houston Aeros Kentucky Thoroughblades Laval Rocket
Lehigh Valley Phantoms Louisville Panthers Lowell Lock Monsters
Manchester Monarchs Milwaukee Admirals Norfolk Admirals
Philadelphia Phantoms Portland Pirates Providence Bruins
Quebec Citadelles Rochester Americans Rockford Ice Hogs
Saint John Flames San Antonio Rampage Springfield Falcons
Springfield Thunderbirds St. John’s Ice Caps St. John’s Maple Leafs
Syracuse Crunch Toronto Marlies Utah Grizzlies
Utica Comets Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Worcester Ice Cats
Worcester Sharks

Kostopoulos appeared in more games against the Hershey Bears, netted more goals against the intra-state rival, and posted more points versus the chocolate and white, than against any other team – unless you combine his stat line against the Philadelphia/Adirondack/Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  In that case, his goal total against the Phantoms is more than against any other team.

 TEAMS GAMES  VS. (WBS/MCH) TEAMS (COMBINED) GAMES COMBINED (WBS/MCH)
 Hershey Bears 92 (90/2) Hershey Bears  92 (90/2)
 Syracuse Crunch 66 (66/-) PHIL/ADK/LV Phantoms  84 (82/2) | 41-37-6
Norfolk Admirals 49 (47/2) Syracuse Crunch 66 (66/-)
Philadelphia Phantoms 43 (41/2) Norfolk Admirals 49 (47/2)
Binghamton Senators 38 (38/-) Binghamton Senators 38 (38/-)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 37 (37/-) Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale 36 (29/7) | 35-1
Hartford Wolf Pack 35 (28/7) Providence Bruins 35 (26/9)
Providence Bruins 35 (26/9) Bridgeport Sound Tigers 30 (26/4)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 30 (26/4) Albany River Rats 25 (24/1)
Albany River Rats 25 (24/1) Rochester Americans 25 (25/0)
Rochester Americans 25 (25/0) Springfield Falcons 25 (16/9)
Springfield Falcons 25 (16/9) Portland Pirates 24 (16/8)

 

 TEAMS GOALS  VS. (WBS/MCH) TEAMS (COMBINED) GOALS COMBINED (WBS/MCH)
Hershey Bears 26 (23/3) PHIL/ADK/LV Phantoms  29 (29/0) | 13-13-3
Syracuse Crunch 18 (18/-) Hershey Bears 26 (23/3)
Norfolk Admirals 18 (15/3) Syracuse Crunch 18 (18-)
Philadelphia Phantoms 13 (13/0) Norfolk Admirals 18 (15/3)
Binghamton Senators 13 (13/-) Binghamton Senators 13 (13/-)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 13 (13/-) Springfield Falcons 9 (5/4)

 

 TEAMS POINTS  VS. (WBS/MCH) TEAMS (COMBINED) POINTS COMBINED (WBS/MCH)
Hershey Bears 79 (76/3) Hershey Bears 79 (76/3)
Syracuse Crunch 39 (39/-) PHIL/ADK/LV Phantoms 65 (65/0) | 32-27-6
Norfolk Admirals 36 (33/3) Syracuse Crunch 39 (39/-)
Philadelphia Phantoms 32 (32/0) Norfolk Admirals 36 (33/3)
Binghamton Senators 30 (30/-) Binghamton Senators 30 (30/-)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 27 (13/-) Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale 22 (16/6) | 22-0
Hartford Wolf Pack 22 (16/6) Albany River Rats 22 (20/2)
Albany River Rats 22 (20/2) Springfield Falcons 22 (13/9)
Springfield Falcons 22 (13/9) Portland Pirates 21 (8/13)

There were two teams Kostopoulos faced in the regular season that he failed to record a point against:  the Connecticut Whale and the Milwaukee Admirals.  He appeared in one game against both of those teams.

Kostopoulos appeared in two games against the Penguins during the 2004-05 season as a member of the Manchester Monarchs.  He recorded a pair of assists in both games (October 16, 2004 – a 7-3 win in Manchester; December 19, 2004 – a 3-1 win in Wilkes-Barre).

TOM KOSTOPOULOS – A CELEBRATION


Tom Kostopoulos’ final regular season home game was successful and exciting (a 7-4 win over the Binghamton Devils on April 7, 2018), as well as emotional and memorable, thanks to some of the events going following the captain’s announcement that this would be his final season.

We’ve collected some of the highlights of the night in photos and videos to share with fans.  Take a look back at TK’s big night, and celebrate the career of this Penguins legend.
First, our pregame tribute video to TK.


Here’s a look at some of the non-game events that occurred during the evening, including all of Tom teammates donning 29 jerseys in warm ups, the pregame awards ceremony, and postgame reaction from the Devils and Penguins.


And here’s a selection of photos from around the arena.  Click on the thumbnail below to reveal a larger look.


If you weren’t at the final regular season home game, you still have a chance to see TK in action, as the Penguins have clinched their 16th straight Calder Cup Playoffs appearance.  Dates and an opponent are still to be determined, but we’ve got playoff packages on sale now, which feature a $6 food/merchandise voucher for each home game.  If you’d like more information, just fill in your contact info in the form below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

PENGUINS WIN BIG IN KOSTOPOULOS’ FINAL HOME GAME

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – It was an emotional night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday. Tom Kostopoulos was playing in his final regular season home game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and the emotion fueled the team to a 7-4 victory over the Binghamton Devils.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (42-22-6-2) also clinched a berth in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs with Saturday’s results. This will be the Penguins’ 16th postseason appearance in a row, the American Hockey League’s active record.

Clearly running on adrenaline after pre-game ceremonies honoring Kostopoulos, the home team took a 4-0 lead in the first period starting with a power play goal 3:45 into the contest. Jean-Sébastien Dea pulled off a spinning move at the front of the net and tucked the puck around goaltender Cam Johnson, who was making the first start of his pro career. Nineteen seconds later, Tom Sestito beat Johnson down low to put the Penguins up, 2-0.

Jarrett Burton tacked on a goal by batting in his own rebound that came off the crossbar midway through the opening frame, and Zach Trotman unloaded a slap shot that navigated under Johnson with 3:24 left in the period.

Binghamton’s Jake Walman got the visitors on the board midway through the second period with a wicked wrist shot that whizzed past the blocker of Michael Leighton. Walman proceeded to set up the Devils’ next goal, too, tossing a shot towards the net that was tipped in by Blake Pietila at 18:05 of the middle frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wasted no time in re-establishing their four-goal lead, using goals from Daniel Sprong and Christian Thomas in the first 5:44 of the third period. Sprong’s 30th goal of the season arrived 35 seconds into the final frame of regulation, and Thomas notched his third point of the night with the tally that made it 6-2.

However, the Devils stormed back in the second half of the third period, as tucks by Jacob MacDonald and Jan Mandát reduced the deficit to two goals once again.

Binghamton elected the pull the goalie for an extra attacker with over three minutes left in regulation. Thomas put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to close out the scoring at 7-4, his fourth point of the game.

Leighton denied 26 Devils shots as he improved to 5-0-0 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Johnson made 29 saves in his pro debut.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Apr. 8, when they travel to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers for the final time this season.

Ticket packages for the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every game played in the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

Individual game tickets for the postseason will go on sale on Monday, Apr. 9 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, TicketMaster.com, or also by calling the Penguins’ offices at (570) 208-7367.

PENGUINS DROP 4-3 CONTEST TO DESPERATE SOUND TIGERS

 

BOXSCORE

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a close matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.

Daniel Sprong put forth a goal and two power play assists to keep Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (41-22-6-2) within striking distance, but a Bridgeport team fighting to keep its slim playoff hopes alive had the extra vigor to hang on when it was all said and done.

The Penguins took the lead 4:48 into the game when captain Tom Kostopoulos cashed in on the man advantage. Sprong unloaded a one-timer towards the net, which Kostopoulos tipped past goaltender Christopher Gibson.

Shortly thereafter, Bridgeport answered back with a power-play goal of its own. Mitchell Vande Sompel picked the short side corner over the shoulder of Tristan Jarry, evening the game at one goal apiece.  Then Steve Bernier gave the visitors their first lead of the night at 11:45 of the opening frame.

Vande Sompel later scored his second goal of the night, once again beating Jarry to the short side and just inside post. Vande Sompel’s first career multi-goal game put the Sound Tigers up, 3-1, just under five minutes into the second stanza.

Sprong pulled the Penguins within one again by unloading a wicked one-timer on a set face-off play. Teddy Blueger won the draw clean to Sprong who blasted the puck into the opposite top corner at 7:50 of the second period.

Sprong’s goal nearly served as a turning point in the contest, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton began peppering Gibson with shot after shot following the rookie’s team-leading 29th goal of the season. The Penguins almost doubled the Sound Tigers’ shot total in the middle frame, throwing 13 pucks at the net. Gibson held down the fort with some dazzling saves so that his squad could enter the second intermission with the one-goal lead.

Ben Holmstrom tipped in a cross-crease pass from Kyle Schempp eight minutes into the third period, extending the Sound Tigers’ lead to 4-2.

The Penguins reduced the deficit down to one yet again when Blueger tipped in one of Sprong’s shots during a power play late in the final frame. Down by one and with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton couldn’t muster the equalizer, despite two great scoring chances for Sprong.

In the end, Jarry stopped 18 shots while Gibson recorded 25 saves on the night.

The Penguins’ next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 7, against the Binghamton Devils. Saturday’s game is also Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s final home game of the regular season and will serve as the team’s annual Fan Appreciation Night. Pre-game ceremonies prior to the contest between the Penguins and Devils are scheduled to begin 7:00 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Individual tickets for the final two home games of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 19th season of hockey are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

GAME PREVIEW: PENGUINS vs SOUND TIGERS – APRIL 6, 2018


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continue their final home stand of the year against their divisional foe, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Penguins (41-21-6-2, 90 pts, .643%) continue to seek points as they look to secure the second playoff position in the Atlantic Division, while the Sound Tigers (35-27-5-3, 78 pts, .557%) sit just outside of a playoff spot in the same division.

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

TIME: 7:05 p.m.
PLACE: Mohegan Sun Arena
WATCHAHLLive.com
LISTENWILK News Radio
TICKETS: 570-208-7367 or at the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office

SEASON SERIES

DATE HOME ROAD TIME/RESULT
Saturday, October 28 Bridgeport WBS/td> 2-5 WIN
Saturday, December 16 Bridgeport WBS 3-2 OT Loss
Wednesday, January 3 WBS Bridgeport  3-2 OT WIN
Sunday, March 25 WBS Bridgeport  3-6 Loss
Friday, April 6 WBS Bridgeport  7:05pm
Sunday, April 8 Bridgeport WBS  3:00pm

RECENT ACTION

The Penguins fended off a late comeback attempt by the Hershey Bears to defeat their I-81 rival, 5-3, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Tuesday night. Tristan Jarry backstopped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to victory and the Penguins improve to 9-0-1-1 against the Bears this season. The Penguins saw Teddy Blueger, Garrett Wilson, Sam Lafferty, Daniel Sprong, and Jean-Sébastien Dea all score, as Hershey had goals from Connor Hobbs, Anthony Peluso, and Mathias Bau. Jarry made 30 saves in the win for the Penguins.

The Sound Tigers scored twice on the power play Tuesday morning to earn a 3-2 win against the Providence Bruins at Webster Bank Arena. Travis St. Denis netted the game-winner midway through the third period, while Casey Bailey and Kellen Jones also beat goaltender Dan Vladar. Eamon McAdam made 23 saves to guide the Sound Tigers to their fourth win in the last five games. The Sound Tigers finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play, while its penalty kill went 1-for-1.

PENGUINS NOTES
Daniel Sprong was named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team on Wednesday, and leads all rookies in goals scored (28) and is second in points (57). He is just four points behind Manitoba Moose forward Mason Appleton’s total of 61, despite playing in 12 fewer games.

Sprong’s 28 goals are tied for seventh among all AHL scorers, and his five game-winning tallies are tied for 11th.

Sprong now has points in ten of his past eleven games, totaling seven goals and six assists in that span.

Sam Lafferty recorded his first professional goal in the Penguins win over the Hershey Bears on Tuesday. Lafferty has three points (1+2) in eight games with the Penguins since signing an amateur tryout contract on March 7 after the completion of his senior season at Brown University.

The Penguins have lost only twice when leading after two periods and have a 25-1-1-0 record in that situation.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has the second-best home record in the AHL at 25-9-1-1 (.722%). Only the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have a better mark at 25-6-3-2 (.764%).

The Penguins lead the season series over the past five years with a 13-7-2-0 record against the Sound Tigers.

SOUND TIGERS NOTES
Travis St. Denis leads the Sound Tigers with 44 points (23+21)

Bridgeport also comes in with the division’s best penalty kill percentage (84.6%).

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have four players with over 400 games of AHL experience on their active roster
Bridgeport’s Power Play has gone 24% against the Penguins this season

CONNECTIONS
Penguins Defenseman Kevin Czuczman spent two seasons with the Sound Tigers from 2014-16 accumulating 22 points (5+17) and 151 penalty minutes.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Defenseman Andrey Pedan also spent time in Bridgeport from 2012-15 totaling 42 games for 15 points (5+10).

TOM KOSTOPOULOS TO RETIRE FOLLOWING 2017-18 SEASON


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos has announced that he will retire from playing following the 2017-18 season, his 19th season of professional hockey.

“I’ve been lucky to make a living playing the game I love for the past 19 seasons,” said the 39-year old Kostopoulos. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife, Lisa, and kids, Lily and Luc, away from the rink.”

“No player has meant more to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, or represented the organization better, than Tom Kostopoulos,” said team CEO Jeff Barrett. “His commitment to the team, his teammates, the fans and the local community make him a truly unique individual, and one we are extremely lucky to have known for almost 20 years.”

A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Kostopoulos was selected in the seventh round (204th overall) of the 1999 National Hockey League draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He made his professional debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on October 12, 1999 on the road against the St. John’s Maple Leafs.

Kostopoulos placed second on the Penguins with 26 goals, 32 assists and 56 points as a rookie during the team’s inaugural 1999-2000 campaign, and finished third on the club the following year with 52 points (16+36) while appearing in all 80 regular season games.

In his third season, Kostopoulos paced Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 27 goals and 53 points in 70 games, and was selected to the Canadian All-Star Team for the 2002 AHL All-Star Classic. He also appeared in 11 contests with the Pittsburgh Penguins, recording a goal in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators on December 29, 2001.

Kostopoulos led the team with 42 assists, and ranked second with 63 points, during the 2002-03 campaign, and appeared in eight games with the NHL Penguins. He spent the majority of the 2003-04 regular season with Pittsburgh, posting 22 points (9+13) in 60 games, while also putting up 20 points (7+13) in 21 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He then led the AHL club with 23 points (7+16) in 24 postseason games, guiding the Penguins to their second appearance in the Calder Cup Finals.

Kostopoulos suited up for the Manchester Monarchs during the 2004-05 NHL lockout season, recording 71 points (25+46) in 64 contests.

He spent the next seven years exclusively in the National Hockey League, suiting up for the Los Angeles Kings (2005-07), Montreal Canadiens (2007-09), Carolina Hurricanes (2009-10) and Calgary Flames (2010-12). He appeared in his 600th NHL game on March 6, 2012.

Kostopoulos returned to NEPA on January 23, 2013, singing a professional tryout contract with the Penguins. He recorded his 100th goal in a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton uniform on March 1 against the Hershey Bears.

Kostopoulos signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh after appearing in 17 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but was claimed off of waivers by the New Jersey Devils on March 6. He finished out the 2012-13 season by appearing in 15 games with the Devils, picking up one goal and 18 penalty minutes.

The following off-season, Kostopoulos signed an AHL only deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and has spent the past five seasons with the Penguins. He paced the team with 22 goals and 47 points in 2013-14; represented the Penguins at the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic in Utica, serving as team captain for the Eastern Conference; and again led the team with 54 points (24+30) during the 2016-17 season.

Kostopoulos was named the recipient of the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey in 2016, and became just the fourth player all-time to appear in 600 games in both the AHL and NHL when he suited up against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on February 4, 2017.

Limited to 26 games so far this season, Kostopoulos appeared in his 650th game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on March 28 against the Providence Bruins.

Fans will have a chance to show Kostopoulos their appreciation, as the Penguins close out their 2017-18 regular season home schedule with games this Friday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Saturday against the Binghamton Devils. Tickets for both games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling the Penguins at 570-208-7367.

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

WBS 1999-2004

318

97

149

246

527

WBS 2013-2018

335

88

133

221

362

WBS TOTALS

653

185

282

467

879

MANCHESTER

64

25

46

71

99

AHL TOTALS

717

210

328

538

978

PIT TOTALS

79

10

16

26

76

LA TOTALS

152

15

29

44

173

MTL TOTALS

145

15

20

35

219

CAR TOTALS

99

9

16

25

136

CGY TOTALS

140

11

15

26

101

NJ TOTALS

15

1

0

1

18

NHL TOTALS

630

61

96

157

723

PRO TOTALS

1347

271

424

695

1701

FAN FRIDAY INFO

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PREVIEW: PENGUINS vs BEARS – APRIL 3, 2018

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins welcome their in-state rival Hershey Bears to Mohegan Sun Arena at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

The Penguins (40-21-6-2, 88 pts, .638%) continue to look to secure their playoff berth while holding second spot in the American Hockey League’s Atlantic Division, while the Bears (29-33-4-5, 67 pts, .472%) reside in seventh place in the same division and will miss the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Today’s game is the eleventh of twelve meetings between the clubs this season.

TIME: 7:05 p.m.
PLACE: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
WATCHAHLLive.com
LISTENWILK News Radio
TICKETS:  570-208-7367 or at the Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office

SEASON SERIES

DATE HOME ROAD TIME/RESULT
Friday, October 27 WBS Hershey  3-2 WIN
Sunday, November 5 WBS Hershey   2-3 SOL
Sunday, November 12 Hershey WBS   1-5 WIN
Sunday, December 3 Hershey WBS   4-3 OTL
Sunday, December 10 Hershey WBS   1-4 WIN
Saturday, December 30 Hershey WBS   1-2 OT WIN
Wednesday, January 24 Hershey WBS   0-4 WIN
Friday, February 2 WBS Hershey   4-1 WIN
Sunday, February 25 WBS Hershey   3-2 WIN
Sunday, March 18 WBS Hershey   6-4 WIN
Tuesday, April 3 WBS Hershey   7:05pm
Sunday, April 15 Hershey WBS  5:00pm

RECENT ACTION

The Penguins dropped a tenacious battle to the Providence Bruins, 3-1, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night. The Bruins scoring came from Adam Payerl, Trent Frederic, and Jordan Swarz. The Penguins only goal on the night came from Jean-Sébastien Dea. Tristan Jarry made 24 stops in the loss.

 

The Bears welcomed the Laval Rocket to Giant Center for the first time in franchise history and walked away with a 6-3 victory on Saturday evening. Mathias Bau tallied twice while Garrett Mitchell, Dustin Gazley, Jeremy Langlois, and Hampus Gustafsson also found the back of the net. Pheonix Copley stopped 20 of 23 attempts for the victory.

 

PENGUINS NOTES
The Penguins have gone 8-0-1-1 in the season series against the Bears, and have not lost in regulation to Hershey since April 14, 2017.

Daniel Sprong leads all AHL rookies in goals scored and is second in points with 55. He is just six points behind Manitoba’s Mason Appleton total of 61, despite playing in 13 fewer games.

Sprong’s 27 goals are tied for seventh among all AHL scorers, and his five game-winning tallies are tied for 11th.

Sprong now has points in nine of his past ten games, totaling six goals and five assists in that span.

Chris Summers is six games from 450 in his AHL career.

BEARS NOTES

Hershey’s Nathan Walker is one point from 100 in his AHL career

Mathias Bau scored for the first time in 23 games on Saturday night, tallying twice

Despite their record Hershey is 20-1-0-2 when they lead after 40 minutes

Chris Bourque leads the Bears in points with 50 (14+36)

Joe Whitney is one game away from 450 AHL games

CONNECTIONS
Penguins forward Christian Thomas spent the 2016-17 season with the Bears, and led the team in goals (24) and power play goals (12).  His goals, assists (25) and points (49) totals were all career highs.

Bears center Zach Sill spent parts of five seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and ranks sixth on the team’s all-time list with 277 games played. Sill recorded 73 points (33+40) and 315 penalty minutes with the Penguins between 2009 and 2014.

Compiled by Jonathan Kliment