BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Bridgeport Sound Tigers enjoyed a back-and-forth contest full of scoring chances and great goaltending on both sides at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night. The game was so evenly matched, that it required overtime, with Bridgeport emerging as the victor, 3-2.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (15-8-2-1) earned a crucial point in the standings by forcing overtime with a late goal from rookie forward Zach Aston-Reese, but couldn’t stave off the Sound Tigers during a man advantage in OT.

Greg McKegg got the Penguins on the board first, scoring on a wrap-around try 6:56 into the game.

Early in the second period, Bridgeport goalie Kristers Gudļevskis removed himself from the game with what was later announced as a lower body injury, and Christopher Gibson had to take his place in the Sound Tigers’ crease. Gibson performed well in his sudden relief appearance, denying the Penguins on all nine shots they threw his way in the second period.

While Gibson held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at bay for the majority of the middle frame, Devon Toews brought Bridgeport even with its opponent by scoring 1:14 prior to the second intermission.

The third period was spent with the two clubs trading power play opportunities, and Scott Eansor gave Bridgeport a 2-1 lead with a man advantage marker at 13:46 of the final frame. Zach Aston-Reese answered for the Penguins 1:54 later, sending the game to overtime.

Sebastian Aho earned Bridgeport the extra point by scoring on the backdoor during a carryover power play that spanned the third period and into overtime. Aho’s goal, the defenseman’s fourth game-winner this season, game the Sound Tigers the 3-2 win just 26 second into the extra period.

Casey DeSmith made 30 saves in the loss. Gudļevskis recorded seven saves before being replaced by Gibson, who turned aside 14 of 15 shots faced to earn the win.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Dec. 22 against the Binghamton Devils. Puck drop between the Penguins and Devils is scheduled for 7:05 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, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.



WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins battled back from a two-goal deficit, defeating the Springfield Thunderbirds, 6-3, on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (15-7-1-1) tallied five unanswered goals in the final two frames to earn its second win in a row. Rookies Daniel Sprong (2G-0A) and Zach Aston-Reese (0G-3A) led the offensive onslaught for the Penguins, and Patrick McGrath (1G-0A) scored the second AHL goal of his career and first on home ice.

Andrey Pedan put the home team on board first at 14:55 of the opening frame, but the Thunderbirds evened things up less than two minutes on a point shot by Maxime Fortunus. Springfield pulled ahead, 2-1, just 90 seconds later when Maxim Mamin used slick stickhandling in a tight space at Casey DeSmith’s netfront and lifted the puck over the goaltender.

The Thunderbirds’ lead increased to 3-1 at 8:43 of the middle frame when a strange bounce victimized DeSmith and the Penguins. Chase Balisy attempted a cross-slot pass that ricocheted off of a Penguins defenseman’s boot and then snuck through DeSmith.

Unfazed by the inopportune puck luck, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took over from there.

The Penguins’ run of five unanswered goals started with Greg McKegg scooped up a rebound floating around Samuel Montembeault for his first goal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 12:50 of the second period. Less than three minutes later, Sprong scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season by ripping a blistering one-timer to tie the game, 3-3.

The Penguins regained the lead at 5:07 of the final period as Sprong notched his team-leading 14th goal of the year. Following a wonderful forecheck, Aston-Reese set-up Ryan Haggerty 8:24 into the third stanza for a tally that extended Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s lead to 5-3.

McGrath, a Shavertown, Pennsylvania native, put the game away with an empty-netter with just 1:07 left in regulation, bringing the game to its final score of 6-3.

DeSmith turned aside 24 of the 27 shots he faced in his first game back with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after a two-week stint in Pittsburgh. Montembeault denied 30 of 35 for Springfield.

The Penguins’ next game is Friday, Dec. 15 when they trek up to Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next home game is Friday, Dec. 22 against the Binghamton Devils. Puck drop between the Penguins and Devils is scheduled for 7:05 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, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.


Penguins welcome uncommon foes for busy weekend

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (12-4-0-1) still holds first place in the Atlantic Division


Weekly Rewind

Wednesday, Nov. 22 – PENGUINS 4 vs. Lehigh Valley 2
Ryan Haggerty scored 31 seconds into the contest, marking the second game in a row that he gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game. The Phantoms struck twice before the Penguins rattled off three-straight goals to win. Haggerty, J.S. Dea and Zach Aston-Reese all had three-point nights.

Friday, Nov. 24 – PENGUINS 2 at Syracuse 5
The Pens saw their 12-game point streak end as the Crunch won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Dominik Simon scored for the visitors, continuing his career trend of registering at least one point in every trip to Syracuse (6GP; 3G-4A).

Saturday, Nov. 25 – PENGUINS 3 vs. Syracuse 4
The Penguins clawed their way back for another near-comeback against the Crunch, only to fall short by one tally. Freddie Tiffels scored his first AHL goal while Adam Johnson posted the third multi-point game of his career (0G-2A).


The Week Ahead

Friday, Dec. 1 – PENGUINS vs. Milwaukee
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hosts the Milwaukee Admirals for the first time since the 2004 Calder Cup Final. The Admirals have made the playoffs in 14 of their 16 AHL seasons, but are currently fourth in the Central Division and playing .500 hockey (5-5-0-0) over their last 10 games.

Saturday, Dec. 2 – PENGUINS vs. Rochester
The Penguins will see a lot of familiar faces come to town when the Americans visit Northeast PA for the first and only time this season. Rochester is led by former Pens assistant coach, Chris Taylor, and its roster is populated by five players who were in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year.

Sunday, Dec. 3 – PENGUINS at Hershey
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 2-0-1 against Hershey this season and is 7-2-0-1 in its last 10 trips to Giant Center.


Ice Chips

– With an assist on Saturday, Dominik Simon took over the Penguins’ team lead in points (15). This is the first time Simon has held sole possession of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s points lead since Jan. 8, 2016 of his rookie season.

– Casey DeSmith started every game for the Penguins in the month of November (6-2-1).

– Zach Aston-Reese is tied for the best plus-minus rating among active AHL rookies (+10).

– Chris Summers played in his 400th AHL game on Saturday.

– Christian Thomas is three games away from his 300th career AHL games.

– Garrett Wilson is four points shy of his 200th point as a pro.

– Lukas Bengtsson is four points shy of his 100th point as a pro.



1. PENGUINS 17 12 4 0 1 25 .735
2. Lehigh Valley 20 12 6 0 2 26 .650
3. Providence 18 10 6 2 0 22 .611
4. Charlotte 19 11 7 1 0 23 .605
5. Bridgeport 21 12 8 0 1 25 .595
6. Hershey 21 9 9 0 3 21 .500
7. Hartford 21 7 11 2 1 17 .405
8. Springfield 22 8 13 1 0 17 .386



Dominik Simon 14 3 12 15
Daniel Sprong* 17 9 5 14
Ryan Haggerty 10 9 4 13
Jean-Sébastien Dea 7 7 2 12
Kevin Czuczman 17 1 11 12


Casey DeSmith^ 12 9-2-1 2.29 .924 1
Tristan Jarry^ 5 3-2-0 3.18 .897 0

* = rookie
^ = currently with Pittsburgh



DATE                 OPPONENT     LOCATION                           TIME    

Fri, Dec. 1        Milwaukee      Mohegan Sun Arena              7:05 p.m.

Sat, Dec. 2       Rochester        Mohegan Sun Arena              7:05 p.m.

Sun, Dec. 3      Hershey           Giant Center                       5:00 p.m.



Wed, Nov. 22    (LW) Freddie Tiffels  Reassigned by PIT from WHL

Mon, Nov. 27    (G) Sean Maguire       Reassigned by PIT from WHL

Mon, Nov. 27    (G) Colin Stevens                    Released from PTO

Tue, Nov. 28      (G) Casey DeSmith                         Recalled by PIT


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ line of Ryan Haggerty, Jean-Sébastien Dea and Zach Aston-Reese put forth a dominant performance to take down the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 4-2, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday night.

Haggerty, Dea and Aston-Reese all racked up three-point nights as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (12-2-0-1) extended their league-best point streak to 12 games.

The Penguins wasted little time getting on the board when Haggerty scored just 31 seconds into game. This was the second game in a row that Haggerty found the back of the net in the first minute of play.


Corbin Knight evened things up for the Phantoms at 5:29 of the opening frame, taking a pretty cross-crease feed from Alex Krushelnyski and lifting the puck over a diving Casey DeSmith. Less

than two minutes later, Lehigh Valley took a 2-1 lead when Greg Carey gathered a rebound and sneak it across the goal line.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied things up again as Haggerty and Dea connected on a two-on-one rush at 6:57 of the middle stanza. Haggerty soared out of the Penguins’ defensive zone with the puck, gained access into the Phantoms’ zone and fed the puck to Dea, who then beat a sprawling Alex Lyon.

The Penguins gained a 3-2 lead at 15:54 of the second period with Colin Smith fired a wrist shot between Lyon’s legs for his second goal of the season.

DeSmith and the Penguins held off the Phantoms throughout the third period, and in the very last moments of the third period, Haggerty battled through the Lehigh Valley defenders guarding an empty net and record his second goal of the night. The empty netter not only sealed the 4-2 victory for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but also tied him for the team lead with nine goals this season.

Haggerty completed the contest with two goals and one assist, while Dea had one tally and two helpers, and Aston-Reese notched three assists throughout the game.

DeSmith turned aside 31 of the 33 shots he faced to remain unbeaten in regulation through his first 10 starts this season (9-0-1). Lyon stopped 34 shots in the loss for Lehigh Valley.

The Penguins’ next game takes place on Friday, Nov. 24 when the team travels to upstate New York for the first half of a home-and-home set against the Syracuse Crunch. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton returns to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to face Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Season ticket packages for the 19th season of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey, including 22-game12-game and Flexbook plans, are available by contacting the Penguins directly at (570) 208-7367.


Photo courtesy Just Sport Photography

HERSHEY, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins extended their point streak to 10 games (9-0-0-1) with a 5-1 win over the Hershey Bears on Sunday evening at the Giant Center.

The Penguins (10-2-0-1, 21 points, first place in Atlantic Division) saw 10 different players pick up points, as they downed the Bears (6-7-0-2, 14 points, fifth place in Atlantic Division) for the second time in three tries this season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s impressive offensive performance came despite the team mustering just 13 shots on the afternoon, its lowest total on the season.

Jarred Tinordi opened the scoring for the visitors, potting his second goal in as many games just 2:39 into the first period.

Zach Aston-Reese extended the lead to 2-0 five minutes later, tucking a puck between the pads of Vítek Vaněček during the Penguins first power play of the afternoon.

The 2-0 advantage lasted until the 11:58 mark of the second frame, when Dustin Gazley capitalized on a strange bounce to beat Casey DeSmith for his first goal of the 2017-18 campaign.

The Penguins answered back quickly, with Thomas Di Pauli picking the upper right corner 58 seconds after Gazley’s goal to make it a 3-1 game.  And Daniel Sprong followed suit exactly one minute later, notching his team-leading ninth goal of the season from a seemingly impossible angle to make it 4-1.

Colin Smith iced the game with an empty net goal – his first tally in a Penguins uniform – with 3:07 to play in regulation.

DeSmith made 31 saves, upping his record to 7-0-1 on the season, while Vaněček stopped just eight attempts in his season debut.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has now won three straight games after dropping a shootout decision to the Bears on November 5, and has picked up 19 of a possible 20 points in its past 10 games.

The Penguins next game takes place on Friday, November 17 when they travel to face the Binghamton Devils at 7:05 p.m.  The team returns him for a Thanksgiving eve contest with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday, November 22.

Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at, 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.

NOTES:  Thomas Di Pauli now has goals in three consecutive games…Daniel Sprong’s nine goals are tops among AHL rookies, and his 14 points are second among first-year players…Jarred Tinordi has three points (2+1) in four games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season…Pat McGrath made his season debut in the contest…Zach Trotman and two assists in the contest.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information



WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – In this season’s second chapter of the I-81 Rivalry, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fell to the Hershey Bears in a shootout, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (7-2-0-1) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, but the team was still able to secure a point in the standings and remain tied for first place in the Atlantic Division.

The Penguins got the scoring started just 1:18 into the game when Daniel Sprong tallied his team-leading eighth goal of the season with a backdoor deflection on a shot-pass by Kevin Czuczman.

Hershey evened things up as Wayne Simpson fired a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net past Casey DeSmith with 2:09 left in the opening frame.

The Bears used a power play goal to take a 2-1 lead at 9:26 in the middle frame. Travis Boyd fought off the outstretched stick of a Penguins penalty killer and released a wrist shot into the back of the net.

Zach Aston-Reese pulled the Penguins back even with the Bears with his first goal of the season. Colin Smith, playing in his first game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, pried a puck loose from a battle behind the Bears’ net and Aston-Reese pulled off the slam sunk wrap-around at 11:39 of the third period.

Three periods wasn’t enough in this rivalry game, and the teams headed to 3-on-3 overtime.

DeSmith stood tall in the overtime, stopping all five shots he faced in the extra frame and went post-to-post to absolutely rob Hershey’s Chris Bourque of a game-winning goal.

Simpson notched the lone goal of the shootout, giving the Bears the win.

DeSmith turned aside 29 of the 31 shots and allowed one shootout goal on two attempts. Copley stopped 25 shots in regulation and overtime and denied all three Penguins’ bids during the shootout.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s next game is Wednesday, Nov. 8, when it takes on the North Division-leading Toronto Marlies at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Puck drop between the Penguins and Marlies is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets for all Penguins home games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza box office, online at, 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.


At the 2017 Prospect Challenge, there was only one team without a single player selected in the first round on it’s roster. It was the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team with the most undrafted players on its roster was the Pittsburgh Penguins. Which team had the most points at the end of the tournament? The Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite their opponents boasting arguably more attractive depth charts, the Penguins organization proved its dominance once again with its tremendous showing at the Prospects Challenge. The efforts of the scouts, coaches, and most importantly the players culminated in a 5-3 victory in the final game against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

“This group was pretty special because we didn’t have too many practices,” said coach Clark Donatelli. “We showed them some video, we told them what to do, and they responded. They played really well. I think it gets contagious once they know they have success doing it, they want to do it more.”

Donatelli went on and spoke at length about the organizations philosophy when it comes to not just drafting and signing good players, but “good humans”, as he put it. There is an added emphasis on work ethic, too, and when those personalites all combine in one space, unique things can happen.

“When people come to us, they want to get better,” Donatelli said. “Every single person works so hard on the ice and off the ice. When you’re working in that kind of environment and you have people around you that are willing to pay the price to win and pay attention to details and practice habits, it’s contagious. Fortunately for us right now, that’s our culture. It’s a tribute to the organization and how they draft players.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first round or a second rounder or undrafted. Once you’re a Penguin, you’re a Penguin. Once you’re part of the family, you’re part of the family.”

New assistant coach Tim Army has only been part of the family for a hot second, being hired by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton one month ago. However, he now has first-hand experience with what the Penguins organization is capable of, even when they have limited resources at the draft.

“I think the evaluation of players and brining in the right group is a credit to all of the scouting staff,” Army said. “You know, they get out there and they watch a lot of games. They’re all over North America and they’re all over Europe. We have some draft picks here, but there are also some unsigned players that are really battling. They bring in the right pieces.”

Those scouts found Teddy Blueger, who wore the “C” as a young leader on this team and was a beacon of light on defense.

Those scouts found Daniel Sprong, whose constant threat of offense kept opposing teams on their heels.

Those scouts found Jordy Bellerive, and undrafted, unsigned 18-year-old who ended up topping the tournament with seven total points (4G-3A) in three games.

Those scouts scoured the globe and found Slovenian Jan Drozg, who unloaded a wicked wrist shot on the rush for what became the game-winning and tournament-winning goal.

And on and on and on.

The Sabres opened the scoring with a first period power play goal by Brendan Guhle. The rowdy crowd at HARBORCenter thought that the hometown Buffalo squad would carry that 1-0 lead into the first intermission until Thomas Di Pauli slammed home a rebound in the waning seconds of the frame.

The second period was a back and forth affair, with the two teams trading goals in quick succession. Zach Aston-Reese made it 2-1 for the Penguins prospects with a goal on a five-on-three man advantage, but Buffalo’s Justin Bailey answered back with another power play marker. Antti Palojärvi, who checked in to the Penguins’ line-up for the first time on Monday, got the black and gold back on top, 3-2, before Buffalo’s third power play goal of the night (this time from C.J. Smith) evened things up again.

Drozg found his game-winner midway through the third, and then Zach Aston-Reese sealed it off with an empty netter.

They didn’t walk away with a trophy or gold medals or anything like that, but with the work put in by everyone with the Penguins this weekend, the organization showed its counterparts why its considered the best there is.

“There’s an expectation of winning here,” Army said. “And we told that to the guys before we bused out. We’re about winning here, so let’s go win a tournament. Well, we won the tournament.”


Jeff Taylor will be among the players who suited up for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins participating in the 2017 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo

Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese headline the 24-man roster (full roster and player bios) that the Pittsburgh Penguins will send to participate in the 2017 Prospects Challenge held at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York from September 8-11.

This year, the Penguins will compete against rookies from the host Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins. This is Pittsburgh’s first year competing in Buffalo after several years participating in a rookie tournament in London, Ontario.

Pittsburgh will play in the opening game of the Prospects Challenge on Friday, September 8 at 3:30 PM. The Penguins will also play on Saturday, September 9 at 3:30 PM against New Jersey, before concluding with a night contest against the Sabres on Monday, September 11 at 7:00 PM.

All three games will be broadcast live on with Josh Getzoff handling play-by-play duties. Michelle Crechiolo and the Pens’ social media team will be on hand to provide coverage all weekend.

Prior to departing for Buffalo, the Penguins prospects will practice on Thursday, September 7 at 10:30 AM at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa. Players, coaches and members of the development staff will be available to the media immediately following practice.

During the Prospects Challenge, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli will be behind the bench for the Penguins, alongside his assistants, J.D. Forrest and Tim Army.

Sprong, 20, who skated in 18 NHL regular-season games for the Penguins as an 18 year old in 2015-16, has been a member of Pittsburgh’s ‘Black Aces’ taxi squad during the back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. Back in 2015, Sprong used a strong rookie tournament in London, Ontario to eventually make the NHL roster out of training camp, before returning to his junior club in Charlottetown of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Last year, Sprong’s season was delayed by offseason shoulder surgery, but when he returned to the ice, he was one of the most dominant skaters in the QMJHL. In just 31 games with Charlottetown, he produced 32 goals and 59 points, including four hat tricks and a four-goal game.

Aston-Reese, 23, joined the Pittsburgh organization as an undrafted free agent from Northeastern after leading the NCAA in goals (31) and points (63) in 2016-17. In a brief late-season cameo with WBS, Aston-Reese scored three goals and eight points in 10 games.

Here are some tidbits on the remainder of Pittsburgh’s Prospects Challenge roster:

*Five more players in addition to Sprong and Aston-Reese – defensemen Lukas Bengtsson, Ethan Prow and Jeff Taylor; and forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli – are prospects signed to NHL contracts that have also logged action with WBS.

*Rookie free agent forward Adam Johnson, who inked an entry-level deal with Pittsburgh following a strong showing at the team’s annual prospect development camp in July, will compete in his first game action in a Penguins jersey. Johnson was second on Minnesota-Duluth in goals (18) and points (37) as a sophomore last year.

*Three members of the Penguins’ 2017 draft class will suit up, including top pick Zachary Lauzon. The 18-year-old defenseman was chosen by the Penguins in the second round (51st overall). He will be joined by forward Jan Drozg, a fifth-round (152nd overall) pick, and fellow blueliner Antti Palojarvi, who was selected in the sixth round (186th overall).

*Freddie Tiffels, a 22-year-old 2015 sixth-round (167thoverall) draft pick, will be joining Johnson in seeing his first game action with Pittsburgh following a three-year collegiate career at Western Michigan.

*Of the 24 players attending the Prospects Challenge, 17 attended Pittsburgh’s prospect development camp in July.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2017 Prospects Challenge Schedule

Thursday, September 7

10:30 AM – Practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex

Friday, September 8

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (KeyBank Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. Boston (Kaybank Rink)

Saturday, September 9

9:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

3:30 PM – Game vs. New Jersey (KeyBank Rink)

Monday, September 11

11:00 AM – Morning Skate (New Wave Energy Rink)

7:00 PM – Game vs. Buffalo (KeyBank Rink)

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information


Jeff Taylor will be one of the skaters with experience playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at this week’s prospect camp.

Thomas DiPauli, Jeff Taylor and Zach Aston-Reese are among the 2016-17 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who will be participating in the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect development camp, which runs from Wednesday, June 28 until Saturday, July 1 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pa.

This year’s roster (click here to see full roster) features 24 forwards, 12 defenseman and four goaltenders, and will include all six players selected in Saturday’s NHL Draft in Chicago, led by defenseman Zachary Lauzon, Pittsburgh’s top choice (2nd round; 51st overall).

Fans can attend all of the on-ice practices, including the 3-on-3 camp-concluding scrimmage on Saturday, July 1 at 3:00 PM. A complete camp schedule is listed below.

The first practice sessions will be on Wednesday, July 28. Team A will practice from 2:15-3:00 PM, followed by Team B from 3:15-4:00 PM.

Of the 40 players invited to camp, 21 were originally drafted by Pittsburgh, and two others, forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Thomas Di Pauli, were signed by the Penguins as college free agents. Ten of the 12 defensemen on the camp roster are Pittsburgh draft picks, with eight of them chosen within the past two drafts.

Lauzon, the reigning Kevin Lowe Trophy winner as the best defensive defenseman in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will be joined at camp by defenseman Clayton Phillips (3rd round; 93rd overall), fifth-round forwards Jan Drozg (152nd overall) and Linus Olund (155th overall), and defensemen Antti Palojarvi (6th round; 186th overall) and William Reilly (7th round; 217th overall).

Last week, it was announced that three of Pittsburgh’s top prospects, forwards Daniel Sprong and Aston-Reese, and goalie Filip Gustavsson, would be attending. Among the players joining that trio are Di Pauli, defenseman Jeff Taylor and forward Freddie Tiffels, all of whom are already signed to pro deals.

Di Pauli, 23, signed with the Penguins last August after being originally chosen by the Washington Capitals in the fourth round (100th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. Injuries limited Di Pauli to 21 games in his first professional season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. A four-year member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Di Pauli represented Team USA at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Taylor, 23, joined WBS late in the season following a stellar senior season at Union College, where he helped his team advance to the NCAA Tournament by setting career highs in goals (9) and points (33), while adding 24 assists and posting a plus-15, in 38 games. Taylor was an alternate captain for Union, and his performance earned him a berth on the All-ECAC Second Team. Taylor was drafted by Pittsburgh in the seventh round (203rd overall) in 2014.

The speedy Tiffels, 22, signed his entry-level contract with Pittsburgh last week after enjoying a successful junior season at Western Michigan this past year, scoring nine goals and setting personal highs with 12 assists and 21 points in 37 games played. He was named to the NCHC All-Academic Team each of his last two years in school. Tiffels was a 2015 sixth-round (167th overall) draft pick. He scored twice skating for Germany at the 2017 World Championship.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli will run this year’s camp, alongside WBS assistant coaches Chris Taylor and J.D. Forrest; Wheeling Nailers head coach Jeff Christian and his assistant, Riley Armstrong; and Pittsburgh Penguins goalie coach Mike Buckley and Penguins skills development professional Ty Hennes. Other Pittsburgh Penguins, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Wheeling Nailers hockey operations personnel will assist with off-ice activities throughout the week.

Below is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2017 Development Camp Practice Schedule:

Wednesday, June 28

2:15-3:00 PM – Team A Practice

3:15-4:00 PM – Team B Practice

Thursday, June 29

9:45 AM – Skills Session (Team A)

10:45 AM – Skills Session (Team B)

10:45 AM – Goalies Session (Rink 2)

Friday, June 30

9:45 AM – Practice (Team B)

10:45 AM – Practice (Team A)

Saturday, July 1

3:00 PM – 3-on-3 Scrimmage

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information


At first, Zach Aston-Reese was getting all the breaks. He scored in the first period of his first AHL game, he rattled off a franchise-best four-game point streak to start a pro career, and he was skating every night with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ top veterans.

Then, suddenly, his luck changed, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Aston-Reese suffered an upper body injury in the Penguins second-to-last game of the season.

He sought several second opinions from doctors in Pittsburgh. Every trip only garnered marginally better news, but nothing ground-breaking. One thing became painstakingly clear: there was no way he was going to be able to play in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

“I wish I could have kept going,” Aston-Reese said. “I really wish we could know how things would have went if I didn’t get this injury… I’m not sure if ‘disappointed’ is the right word, but it definitely doesn’t feel good.”

Aston-Reese was making progress towards a return as the postseason carried on, but he still wasn’t cleared to play in the Penguins’ decisive Game Five of their Atlantic Division Semifinal series against the Providence Bruins. He had to watch that game, and all of its prior contests, from suite level, a location that provided him with an excellent view of where he’d rather be.

The Hobey Baker finalist was left feeling powerless to the result playing out in front of him.

“It was tough, that last game, especially,” he said. “From up top, you see things from a different perspective. We totally outplayed them. [Providence] is not a bad team by any means, they cycle the puck really well and have some crazy good players. But a lot of our shots just couldn’t find a way in. It was tough because you get that feeling that you want to get out there and help, but you can’t.”

The sting from the loss was amplified by not only his lack of influence on the series, but by the fact that he quickly grew invested in the Penguins’ fortunes. Joining the club after his senior season of college hockey had come to an end, Aston-Reese might have never emotionally connected with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s goals. But he did, and it’s all thanks to the people he met when he first came in.

Greeted with nothing but compassion when he entered the fold in late March, Aston-Reese quickly integrated with the locker room and its many personalities.

“Coming to a team late in the season is tough,” he said. “You don’t know where you fit in, but everyone was really welcoming.

“I felt like part of the group.”

While Aston-Reese had to watch from afar while he and his new friends’ season came to an end, he ultimately gives his brief time in the AHL a positive review. In his eyes, the 10 games he played gave him the perspective necessary to thrive next year when he embarks on his first full professional season.

“I thought this was a really good experience for me,” Aston-Reese said. “You learn a lot about the whole three-in-three thing. The schedule change is such a huge difference, AHL vs. college. And the practices, too. The pace, the everyday grind; it was an eye-opening experience for me.”

Aston-Reese plans to spend the early portion of his summer healing properly, then working on the little details of his game in which he felt slightly insufficient now that he understands what pro hockey is all about. That being said, the adversity he faced at the end of his ATO run has him itching to start next season as soon as possible.

“I can’t wait to get after it next year, start from zero and work at another run.”

Season ticket packages for the 2017-18 season are on sale now, and available by calling the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 570-208-7367.

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2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information