PENGUINS WEEKLY – 10/31/17

Penguins carry five-game win streak into rivalry weekend

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (6-2-0-0) set for state supremacy skirmish

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Oct. 27 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Hershey 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton saw its I-81 rival erase a 2-0 deficit, but Dominik Simon’s third period power play goal gave the Penguins their fourth-straight win. Tristan Jarry turned aside 30 shots and stood tall amidst a late-game barrage from the Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also scored its first extra attacker goal of the season when Jean-Sébastien Dea found the back of the net during a delayed penalty in the first period.

Saturday, Oct. 28 – PENGUINS 5 at Bridgeport 2
The Penguins saw multi-point nights from a handful of players, but perhaps no performance was more key than that of Ryan Haggerty, who notched two tallies in his first game of 2017-18. Adam Johnson also scored his first goal as a pro while Jarry earned the “W” in back-to-back starts for the team’s fifth in a row.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Nov. 3 – PENGUINS at Lehigh Valley
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fell in its last visit to PPL Center, but still owns a daunting 13-4-1-1 all-time record in Allentown. The Phantoms recently saw a six-game winning streak come to an end, but their high-flying forward Danick Martel leads the league with 10 goals. Through two contests this season, the Penguins and Phantoms are deadlocked at 1-1-0-0 records.

Sunday, Nov. 5 – PENGUINS vs. Hershey
The Penguins return to home ice for a Sunday matinée with the Bears. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 13-6-0-0 in its last 19 games against Hershey, but 11 of those games were decided by a one-goal margin. This match-up will take place during the Penguins’ first-ever Harry Potter Day and is also a Kids Get In Free Sunday. Children aged 14 and under receive free admission to the game with the paid purchase of an adult ticket.

 

Ice Chips

– Daniel Sprong leads the AHL in power play goals (5) and is tied for the rookie lead in goals (7) and points (10).

– Including the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, seven of Sprong’s 12 AHL goals have come on the power play.

– Dominik Simon is currently on a four-game point streak (1G-4A).

– Saturday was Jean-Sébastien Dea’s 200th AHL game and thus his 200th game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He is the 29th player in team history to skate in 200 games with the Penguins.

– Saturday was Ryan Haggerty’s third multi-goal game with the Penguins and the fifth of his pro career.

– Tom Kostopoulos is two games away from his 700th AHL game.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Providence 8 6 2 0 0 12 .883
2. PENGUINS 8 6 2 0 0 12 .786
3. Lehigh Valley 10 7 2 0 1 15 .714
4. Charlotte 9 6 3 0 0 12 .667
5. Hartford 10 4 5 0 1 9 .500
6. Hershey 9 3 5 0 1 7 .333
7. Bridgeport 8 3 5 0 0 6 .250
8. Springfield 10 1 8 1 0 3 .143

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 8 7 3 10
Dominik Simon 8 2 7 9
Christian Thomas 8 2 4 6
Kevin Czuczman 8 0 5 5
four players tied 5

 

GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith 3 3-0-0 0.98 .965 1
Tristan Jarry^ 5 3-2-0 3.18 .897 0

* = rookie

^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                 OPPONENT        LOCATION                           TIME    

Fri, Nov. 3          Lehigh Valley      PPL Center                            7:05 p.m.

Sun, Nov. 5       Hershey               Mohegan Sun Arena           3:05 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Mon, Oct. 23      (G)     Casey DeSmith                     Recalled by PIT

Wed, Oct. 25      (G)     Colin Stevens                         Signed to PTO

Mon, Oct. 30      (G)     Casey DeSmith               Reassigned by PIT

Mon, Oct. 30      (G)     Tristan Jarry                           Recalled by PIT

HAGGERTY, PENGUINS SOAR PAST SOUND TIGERS WITH 5-2 WIN

BOXSCORE

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins earned their first road win of the season and extended their winning streak to five games with a 5-2 triumph over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (6-2-0-0) saw multi-point nights from a handful of players, but perhaps no performance was more key than that of Ryan Haggerty, who scored twice in his season debut.

Bridgeport wasted little time getting the scoring started, notching the game’s first goal just 1:19 into the contest. Steve Bernier took a breakaway pass from Ryan Bourque and fought off the Penguins’ backcheck to give the home team an early 1-0 lead.

Tom Sestito provided a response by beating Kristers Gudļevskis to the blocker side on a rebound at 13:27 of the first period.

The Sound Tigers tallied even earlier at the start of the second period, with captain Ben Holmstrom sneaking a sharp-angle shot through Tristan Jarry 52 seconds into the middle frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton received a pair of goals from players registering their first goal of the season to take a 3-2 advantage into the second intermission. Adam Johnson buried his first AHL goal on a power play at 7:33 of the second stanza, and Haggerty outraced the Sound Tigers defense to give the Penguins their first lead of the night with three minutes before the break.

The Penguins staved off a heavy press from the Sound Tigers late in the third period, and actually extended their lead to 4-2 off of a picture perfect passing play that culminated in a Christian Thomas tap-in at the crease with 2:52 left in regulation. Haggerty tucked an empty netter for his second of the night.

Jarry started between the pipes for the Penguins for the second night in a row, and made 18 saves for the victory. Gudļevskis turned aside 20 of the 24 shots he faced.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Friday, Nov. 3, when it faces off against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at PPL Center. The Penguins’ next home game will be on Sunday, Nov. 5, and they’ll take on their other in-state rival, the Hershey Bears. Puck drop for the Sunday matinée between the Penguins and Bears is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. 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.

PENGUINS BEAT BEARS, 3-2, AND WIN FOURTH-STRAIGHT

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won the first match-up of the season series in the I-81 rivalry as they beat the Hershey Bears, 3-2, on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Penguins (5-2-0-0) relied heavily an impressive 30-save performance from goalie Tristan Jarry to capture their fourth-straight victory.

BOXSCORE

After the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton penalty kill unit staved off three consecutive Hershey power plays, Jean-Sébastien Dea notched the game’s first goal on a delayed penalty, extra attacker situation at 13:05 of the first period. Dominik Simon notched his 100th AHL point by earning the secondary assist on Dea’s opening tally.

With 3:46 remaining in the second period, the Penguins doubled their lead when Teddy Blueger’s wrist shot dipped underneath Adam Carlson’s glove and found the back of the net. However, the Bears reduced the deficit back down to one a little over a minute later thanks to a shorthand goal from Jeremy Langlois.

Riley Barber netted a third period equalizer 6:34 into the final frame of regulation.

Simon scored the game-winning goal at 10:52 in the third period off a rebound from a Kevin Czuczman shot attempt. Despite a heavy press by Hershey in the final 10 minutes of regulation, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton never surrendered their 3-2 lead thanks to the stellar, crunch-time effort by Jarry.

The Penguins penalty kill ultimately denied the Bears on all seven of their man advantage opportunities throughout the contest. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s power play, on the other hand, went one-for-three.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 28, when it visits the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Penguins’ next home game will be on Sunday, Nov. 5, and once again they’ll take on the Hershey Bears. Puck drop for the Sunday matinée between the two bitter rivals is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. 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.

PENGUINS WEEKLY – 10/24/17

Penguins sweep weekend with two wins past regulation

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (4-2-0-0) used overtime to beat Laval and a shootout to dispatch of Hartford

 

Weekly Rewind

Friday, Oct. 20 – PENGUINS 6 vs. Laval 5  OT
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton emerged victorious in its first-ever meeting with Laval in thrilling fashion. Daniel Sprong netted his first AHL hat trick, but it was the overtime goal by Teddy Blueger that sent the Penguins home with their third victory of the season. Tristan Jarry saved 28 out of 33 shots he faced to earn his first win of the season.

Saturday, Oct. 21 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Hartford 2
The Penguins rallied back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime and won the best-of-three shootout on a lone goal by Jean Sébastien Dea. Gage Quinney extended his goal-streak to three games with a goal in the first period. Jarrett Burton’s first of the year tied the game on a bar-down slap shot. Casey DeSmith improved to 3-0-0 on the season.

 

The Week Ahead

Friday, Oct. 27 – PENGUINS vs. Hershey
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will try to extend its winning streak to four games when it welcomes the Hershey Bears to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for the first of 12 meetings this season. The Bears are off to an uncharacteristically slow start to the season (1-4-0-1) and have given up the most goals per game in the AHL (4.50).

Saturday, Oct. 28 – PENGUINS at Bridgeport
Bridgeport finished 25-13-0-0 at home last season, and are looking to make it two-straight victories on home ice when it welcomes the Penguins for the first time this season. The Pens went 5-0-1-0 in their season series with the Sound Tigers last year, outscoring them 23-12. However, Bridgeport has added the scoring prowess of rookie Scott Eansor to its arsenal, who is tied with Daniel Sprong for the AHL lead in goals.

 

Ice Chips

– Daniel Sprong’s five-game goal streak tied Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s franchise record for goal streak to start a season, set by Tomáš Surový in 2003.

– Sprong leads the AHL in power play goals (5), is tied for the league lead in goals (7) and shots (29), and is tied for second in points (10).

– Including the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, seven of Sprong’s 12 AHL goals have come on the power play.

– Casey DeSmith still has not allowed a goal at even strength this season, a streak that has lasted 117:45.

– Tom Kostopoulos is three games away from his 700th AHL game.

 

DIVISION STANDINGS

TEAM GP W L OTL SOL PTS Pt%
1. Providence 6 5 1 0 0 10 .883
2. Lehigh Valley 7 5 1 0 1 11 .786
3. Charlotte 7 5 2 0 0 10 .714
4. PENGUINS 6 4 2 0 0 8 .667
5. Hartford 7 3 3 0 1 7 .500
6. Bridgeport 6 2 4 0 0 4 .333
7. Hershey 6 1 4 0 1 3 .250
8. Springfield 7 1 6 0 0 2 .143

 

TEAM LEADERS

SKATERS GP G A PTS
Daniel Sprong* 6 7 3 10
Gage Quinney* 3 3 2 5
Dominik Simon 6 1 4 5
Lukas Bengtsson* 6 0 5 5
Kevin Czuczman 6 0 5 5

 

GOALIES GP W-L-OT GAA SV% Shutouts
Casey DeSmith^ 3 3-0-0 0.98 .965 1
Tristan Jarry 3 1-2-0 3.96 .883 0

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh

 

UPCOMING GAME SCHEDULE

DATE                    OPPONENT     LOCATION                            TIME    

Fri, Oct. 27           Hershey            Mohegan Sun Arena             7:05 p.m.

Sat, Oct. 28         Bridgeport        Webster Bank Arena             7:00 p.m.

 

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

Tue, Oct. 17         (D)     Chris Summers               Reassigned by PIT

Thu, Oct. 19        (D)     Zach Trotman                       Recalled by PIT

Mon, Oct. 23      (G)     Casey DeSmith                    Recalled by PIT

 

COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN PENGUINS’ 3-2 LOSS TO PHANTOMS

BOXSCORE

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used a late-game surge to make things interesting between them and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but ultimately fell short, 3-2, at PPL Center on Saturday night.

Daniel Sprong kick-started Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s (1-2-0-0) comeback effort by scoring for the third-straight game, only for him and his teammates to see the Phantoms hold on in the final seconds of regulation.

Lehigh Valley notched the game’s opening goal, converting on a power play for the team’s first man advantage marker of the season. Matt Read was credited with the go-ahead tally at 16:30 of the first period.

The Phantoms added another goal when Mike Vecchione rifled in his first goal as a pro midway through the middle frame, and Greg Carey extended their lead to 3-0 in the first two minutes of the third period.

Sprong pulled the Penguins within two by registering his third power play goal of the season 5:05 into the third period. Garrett Wilson cut the deficit to only one when he shoveled in a rebound lingering around the Phantoms’ net with 3:07 remaining in regulation.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton never found the late-game equalizer, losing its first road game of the season.

Tristan Jarry made 32 saves while manning the pipes for the Penguins, including a penalty shot save on the Phantoms’ Danick Martel when it was still a two-goal game. Alex Lyon bounced back from a loss the day before to rack up 27 saves for the win.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 15, against the Syracuse Crunch at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop between the Penguins and Crunch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. 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.

PENGUINS FALL IN PRESEASON FINALE, 3-1

BOXSCORE

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped a 3-1 decision to the Binghamton Devils at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Sunday night in both teams’ final exhibition game.

Penguins forward Jean-Sébastien Dea scored for the second-straight game, but the Devils pulled away from their opposition with two goals in the third period.

Nathan Bastian put Binghamton on the board first with his second goal of the preseason, a power play tally at 12:44 of the opening frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton answered back with a man advantage marker of its own 4:32 into the second stanza. Dea took a cross-crease pass from Cody Wydo, was initially denied by Mackenzie Blackwood until Dea popped his own rebound over the Devils goalie’s pad and across the goal line.

The Devils popped back on top, 2-1, courtesy of Blake Pietila midway through the third period. Chris Calnan tacked on an insurance marker with 6:44 remaining in regulation.

Tristan Jarry denied the Devils on 26 of the 29 shots turned his way over the course of the game. Blackwood notched 25 saves in the win for Binghamton.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opens up the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza 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.

PENGUINS SEASON IN REVIEW

It’s never easy to see your season come to an end.  It’s even more difficult when you have high expectations.  And after a 51-win regular season, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins certainly thought they had the ability to advance deep into the Calder Cup Playoffs.

But a 2-1 Game Five defeat at the hands of the Providence Bruins on Sunday ended the Pens’ hopes for a run at a postseason championship.

“I thought we did absolutely everything in our power [Sunday] to try to win that game,” said forward Oskar Sundqvist.

Falling in the first round is undoubtedly disappointing.  And when you take into account that the Atlantic Division featured four of the top eight teams in the entire league, any opening series matchup was going to present challenges – on both sides of the puck.

“Overall, yeah, we’re disappointed we’re not in the playoffs. We’re disappointed that we have a   good enough team here that we could of made a good run,” said head coach Clark Donatelli.  “If you look at the whole broad picture of what we did as a group, there are a lot of positives that came out of it.”

So before we close the book for good on the 2016-17 season, let’s take a look back at some of those positives and high points for the Penguins.


GREAT GUENTZEL

Jake Guentzel’s first goal of the season was among the best in the AHL this season.
Jake Guentzel wasted little time in establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the AHL, recording four points (1+3) in the Penguins’ season-opening 6-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on October 15.
The rookie forward recorded 17 points (7+10) in his first 16 games of the season, before receiving his first recall by the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 21.  He made his NHL debut that night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers, and announced his arrival with authority, scoring goals on his first two shots in a Pittsburgh uniform.

Guentzel returned to Wilkes-Barre in early December, recorded his first career hat trick on December 27 against the Springfield Falcons, and posted 42 points (21+21) in just 31 teams with the AHL club.  He was recalled once again on January 16, and has been a fixture in the Pittsburgh lineup ever since.


SUNNY RISING

Oskar Sundqvist capped his hat trick with a fourth goal against the Hershey Bears

Oskar Sundqvist’s second season can’t be considered anything except a success.  The native of Sweden recorded his sixth goal of the campaign in his 16th game, eclipsing his mark from the 2015-16 season.  He had 16 points by December 4 (one fewer than his entire tally from last year), and blew past his first-year total on December 10, when he tied a team record with four goals in a game against the Hershey Bears.

Sundqvist hit the 20-goal mark on April 7, one of just three Penguins skaters to see that total this season, and his 46 points (20+26) in 63 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied him for third on the team.

Additionally, he saw action in 10 games with Pittsburgh this season, giving him 28 NHL contests in his first two years in North America.


ARCHIE ON THE ATTACK

Josh Archibald tied for the AHL lead with four short-handed goals this season, a total which included this beauty.

Josh Archibald came into his own this season, setting new career highs in goals (16), assists (13) and points (29).  He also paced the AHL with four short-handed tallies, and finished sixth in the league with a plus-25 mark in 61 games.  The fourth-year pro also thrilled with Pittsburgh, scoring his first two NHL goals in his first game of the season, February 11 against the Arizona Coyotes.


MILESTONE MAN

Tom Kostopoulos picked up his 500th AHL point with this tally against the Binghamton Senators

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton captain Tom Kostopoulos showed few signs of slowing down in his 18th season of professional hockey, leading the Penguins with 24 goals and 54 points while appearing in a team-high 74 games.

Along the way, TK hit memorable marks by recording his 400th point with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (November 4); hitting the 500 point plateau in the AHL (January 28); appearing in his 600th game with the Pens (February 4); and recording his 200th AHL goal (February 10).


DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE

The Penguins goaltending duo of Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith posted the lowest goals against average in the league at 2.15, earning the tandem the Harry ‘Hap’ Holmes award.

Jarry finished the season with 28 wins, third most in the league and the fourth-highest single season total in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton history.  The AHL All-Star moved into a tie for fourth place on the team’s all-time wins list with Matt Murray (45) by year’s end, and his three shutouts this season evened Jeff Zatkoff’s career total of eight, tied for fifth in the Pens record book.

DeSmith posted an impressive 21 wins in 29 appearances, and led the entire AHL with a 2.01 goals against average. He stopped 26 shots to record his first AHL shutout on April 1 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of his final 11 regular season appearances.

Additionally, David Warsofsky proved to be one of the most reliable defenseman in the league, finishing third overall with a plus-30 ranking, ranking seventh among blue liners with 47 points, and tied for fourth among defensemen with nine power play goals.  A member of the Atlantic Division squad at the AHL All-Star Classic, Warsofsky’s totals of 16+31=47 established new career highs across the board for the seventh-year pro.


FANTASTIC FIRSTS

Nine different Penguins skaters recorded their first career AHL goals during the 2016-17 season:

Reid Gardiner – November 5 at Bridgeport

Thomas DiPauli – November 16 at Lehigh Valley

Teddy Blueger – December 11 at Bridgeport

Lukas Bengtsson – December 16 vs Rochester

Ethan Prow – February 3 vs St. John’s

Zach Aston-Reese – March 21 vs Hartford

Troy Josephs – April 1 vs Lehigh Valley

Pat McGrath – April 8 at Hartford

Cody Wydo – April 9 at Providence

Also, goaltender Sean Maguire picked up his first AHL victory with a22 save performance against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the Pens regular season finale on April 15.


GOING TO THE SHOW

In addition to Guetnzel, three other Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins made their NHL debuts with Pittsburgh this season.

Carter Rowney, suited up for the big club for the first time on January 31 against the Nashville Predators, and netted his first NHL goal on March 17 against the New Jersey Devils.

Tristan Jarry and Jean-Sebastien Dea both appeared in Pittsburgh’s regular season finale on April 9 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.


ADDITIONAL HONORS AND AWARDS

Jake Guentzel captured the CCM / AHL Rookie of the Month honors for December with 17 points  (11+6) in 10 games during the month.

Guentzel and DeSmith were named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team at season’s end.

Warsofsky earned All-AHL Second Team honors.

The Penguins clinched their 15th consecutive playoff appearance – the longest current stream in the AHL – on April 2.

The Penguins laid claim to the Emile Francis (Atlantic Division Champion) and Frank Mathers (Eastern Conference Champion) trophies following a 2-1 win over the Providence Bruins on April 9.

The Penguins finished the season with a record of 51- 20-3-2 (107 points) and captured the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the league’s regular season champion on April 15.

SECOND TIME AROUND SIMILAR FOR DESMITH

Casey DeSmith’s rise from ECHL backup to AHL postseason starter last year was somewhat unexpected.  After all, the rookie out of Rochester, New Hampshire, didn’t even crack the Wheeling Nailers lineup until December of 2015.

But as the 2015-16 regular season ran down, DeSmith found himself firmly planted in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton crease.

Injuries and circumstances led to DeSmith’s initial rise up the organizational depth chart.

First, Matt Murray received a permanent promotion to Pittsburgh in early March, freeing up a space in Wilkes-Barre’s goaltending corps.  Tristan Jarry subsequently assumed the regular starter role for the AHL club, with veteran Brian Foster serving as the backup.

But Foster faltered, and DeSmith leap-frogged Wheeling regular Frank Palazzese to move into the second position on the Penguins roster.

Jarry experienced a bit of a late-season slump, and DeSmith stepped in to hold down the goaltending duties during the final week of the campaign.

He kept the crease as the Penguins moved into the postseason, helping the team to a pair of wins on home ice to start the best-of-five series against the Providence Bruins.

But the contest that seemingly cemented DeSmith’s standing in the organization was Game Three, which took place in Providence on April 23.  DeSmith turned aside an astounding 59 shots – a new team record – as the Penguins posted a 5-4, double overtime victory to sweep the Bruins from the postseason.

“It’s a game I’ll never forget, that’s for sure,” said DeSmith.  “Double overtime and winning in the fashion that we did to sweep the series, was really special, one of the most exciting times of last year.”

The Penguins were ousted by the Hershey Bears in overtime of Game Seven in the Atlantic Division Final, but by that time DeSmith had solidified his stature as a regular in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lineup.  He went from playing on a tryout contract in the playoffs to inking an AHL deal in early July, essentially guaranteeing himself a spot in northeast PA for the 2016-17 season.

Despite the late-season success he enjoyed, DeSmith was tabbed to hold down the backup role in Wilkes-Barre, with Jarry figuring to receive the bulk of the playing time.  During most of the season, DeSmith saw one start for every two that Jarry played.

But as the season wound down, DeSmith once again found himself thrust into the limelight as the team’s regular starter.

With their playoff seeding already set in stone, the Pittsburgh Penguins recalled Jarry on April 9, giving him his first NHL start that night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.  And when Matt Murray came up injured prior to the Pens first playoff game, Jarry moved into the backup role for Pittsburgh.

With a week left in the regular season, DeSmith found himself back in familiar territory for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

“It’s kind of funny how that worked out again,” said DeSmith. “You never want to see Murray or anyone go down.  But I’m really happy to have this kind of opportunity to take over like I did last year.  Playoffs is a really fun time, and to be involved in it, to be able to play playoff games is a privilege for anybody.”

And just like last year, DeSmith is peeking at a good time. Since March 5, he’s gone 7-1-1 while allowing just 12 goals in that span.  His 2.01 goals against average during the regular season was the best in the AHL, and his .925 save percentage put him in a tie for second place.

“I felt like I was playing my best hockey of the season at the end [of 2015-16],” DeSmith said.  I think this year’s kind of the same thing. The past three or four weekends, I felt like I played my best hockey of the season.  It’s kind of coming at the perfect time here.”

The Penguins and Bruins begin their best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinal series this Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, and the teams face off in Game Two in Rhode Island on Sunday afternoon.

The series switches to Wilkes-Barre for Game Three on Thursday, April 27 at 7:05pm.  Individual tickets for Game Three are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, by calling 570-208-7367, or online at TicketMaster.com.

For information on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins playoff packages, which include a $6 food voucher for every game, just fill out the form below and we will get back to you shortly.

FINAL NIGHT BRINGS ADDITIONAL AWARDS TO PENGUINS

Well, the 2016-17 regular season has come to a close, but before we move on to our first round playoff matchup with the Providence Bruins, let’s take a quick look back at some of the big moments from the final night (and immediately after) of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 18th campaign in the American Hockey League.


FANTASTIC FINAL NIGHT

The Penguins entered Saturday’s action with 105 points in 75 games, good for a .700 points percentage, and trailing the San Jose Barracuda by .0015 percentage points for the top spot in the AHL standings.  A loss of any kind by the Pens or a win by the Barracuda would give the coveted MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy to the team from the west coast.

And when Carter Verhaeghe picked up his second goal of the night to give the Bridgeport Sound Tigers a 4-2 lead over the Penguins with 6:40 into the third period, it look like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton would be relegated to the number two spot in the league table.

The league title probably wasn’t on Adam Krause’s mind as the puck dropped after that goal.  He was undoubtedly more focused on helping the Pens snap a two-game losing streak.

And he did just that – almost singlehandedly.

Just 91 seconds after the Sound Tigers took a two-goal lead, Krause got a stick on a loose puck and bounced it back to Jarrett Burton, who pumped home his seventh goal of the season from the top of the crease.

Krause was far from done though, as he gathered up a loose puck in the neutral zone, then rocketed by Devon Toews before stuffing a shot behind Eamon McAdam at 9:27 to tie the score.

Then, with the Pens killing a late penalty, Ryan Haggerty hit Krause with a breakout pass, and the second year pro beat McAdam low on the glove side for what turned out to be a shorthanded, game-winning goal.

That win moved the Pens to 107 points and a .704 points percentage at the season’s end, giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a slight and at least temporary edge in the race for the AHL regular season title.

But it would be two more hours until a champion was crowned.

The Bakersfield Condors had little to play for on Saturday as they hosted the Barracuda, having been eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the week.  The Barracuda entered the game with a 24-point advantage on the Edmonton Oilers farm club.

What figured to be a lopsided outcome for the Pacific Division leaders turned into a back-and-forth contest, with San Jose’s Buddy Robinson and Nick DeSimone sandwiching goals around a pair of Josh Currie scores for the Condors.

Picking up the extra point in overtime would give the Barracuda a .001 advantage over the Penguins in the league standings, and guaranteed home ice throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs.

But Currie beat Troy Grosenick – the third-ranked goaltender in the league – for the third time on the night just 1:25 into the extra frame, giving the Condors the win and the Penguins the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy for the second time in the team’s history.


‘HAP’PY GOALTENDERS

Penguins netminders Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith combined to capture the Harry ‘Hap’ Holmes award, given to the goaltender or goaltenders who have played at least 25 games on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season.

The Pens allowed just 2.24 goals per game this season, which was .23 goals per game better than the second place Providence Bruins.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has dominated the award in recent years, with team goalies capturing the trophy five times in the past seven seasons and six times overall:

2016-17     Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith

2014-15     Matt Murray and Jeff Zatkoff

2013-14     Jeff Deslauriers and Eric Hartzell

2012-13     Brad Thiessen and Jeff Zatkoff

2010-11     Brad Thiessen and John Curry

2005-06   Dany Sabourin

Additionally, DeSmith finished the season with the lowest goals against average among qualified AHL goaltenders (minimum 1,440 minutes played) in the league at 2.01.  DeSmith entered the final day of the season trailing Providence’s Zane McIntyre by .02 goals per game, but the Bruins backstopper allowed three goals to the Hershey Bears on Saturday night and saw his GAA go from 1.99 to 2.03 on the season.


NOTES

Goaltender Sean Maguire recorded his first AHL victory with a 22 save performance on Saturday against the Sound Tigers.  Two other players – Kevin Schulze and Dylan Zink – made their AHL debuts in the contest.

The Penguins finished the season with a 51-20-2-3 record, good for 107 points.  The 51 wins ties the second-most in a single season in team history (58 in 2010-11; 51 in 2005-06 and 2006-07).  However the 51 victories is the most by the team since the AHL went from an 80-game to a 76-game schedule in 2011-12.  The team’s previous high for wins in a 76-game season was 45, established in the 2014-15 campaign.

The Pens’ .704 points percentage is the third-highest total in team history, behind only the 2010-11 (117 points, .73125 points percentage) and the 2005-06 (113 points, .7125 points percentage) seasons.

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

PENGUINS’ TRISTAN JARRY AND CASEY DESMITH WIN HARRY “HAP” HOLMES AWARD

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League announced today that Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are the recipients of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2016-17 season.

Since 1972, the award has been presented to the goaltender(s) with at least 25 games played on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season.

The Penguins allowed an average of 2.24 goals per game in 2016-17 and captured the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s overall regular-season champions with a record of 51-20-3-2 (107 points, .704). Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished with the fewest goals against in the AHL for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

Jarry, a second-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013, went 28-15-2 in 45 appearances for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2016-17. The 21-year-old native of Delta, B.C., ranked third in the league in victories, fourth with a 2.15 goals-against average and sixth with a .925 save percentage. Jarry also participated in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic and made his National Hockey League debut with Pittsburgh on Apr. 9.

DeSmith, who last week was named to the 2016-17 AHL All-Rookie Team, went 21-5-3 in 29 games with the Penguins and posted a league-best 2.01 goals-against average while ranking second with a .926 save percentage. The 25-year-old from Rochester, N.H., signed as a free agent with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on July 5, 2016, after helping the club reach the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs on a tryout contract last spring.

The Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, which was first awarded in 1948 to the goaltender with the best goals-against average in the AHL, is named for Hockey Hall of Famer Harry “Hap” Holmes, a prominent figure in early professional hockey and an outstanding goaltender of his time. Previous Penguins to win the award are Brad Thiessen (2011, 2013), John Curry (2011), Jeff Zatkoff (2013, 2015), Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (2014), Eric Hartzell (2014), Jeff Zatkoff (2105) and Matt Murray (2015).

The Penguins are preparing for the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, where they’ll take on the Providence Bruins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton kicks off its postseason schedule next Friday, Apr. 21, at Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will return for its first home game of the playoffs on Thursday, Apr. 27.

Individual game tickets for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton home playoff games go on sale this coming Monday, Apr. 17 at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, through all Ticketmaster outlets, or by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.

Penguins postseason ticket packages, which include tickets to every home contest during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, are on sale now.  With the purchase of a postseason ticket package, fans will receive a $6 food/merchandise voucher for every home game in the playoffs, as well as their same seat guaranteed. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fans can secure their seats for every home game on the Cup run by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.