Ryan Segalla and the Wheeling Nailers wrapped up a thrilling, 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Elmira Jackals on Wednesday night just across the PA-NY border.
Twelve hours later, Segalla was on the ice in Wilkes-Barre, taking part in his first regular season practice as a member of the Penguins.
The rookie defenseman was recalled by the AHL club after the Nailers’ game against Elmira, which finished up at about 9:30pm last night. Just about three hours later, he was checking into a hotel in Luzerne County.
“It’s been pretty exciting. Coach pulled me aside [after the game] and said ‘Congratulations, you’re going up,’” said the 22-year old Segalla, who made the trip to NEPA with Wheeling teammate Brett Stern, who was signed to a third pro tryout contract by the Penguins on Thursday morning. “We just hopped in a car and drove up here. Got here about 12:45.”
Selected by Pittsburgh in the fourth round (119th overall) of the 2013 NHL draft, Segalla spent three years at the University of Connecticut, where he recorded 21 points (3+18) in 86 games with the Huskies over three seasons.
Segalla, who has 10 points (3+7) in 56 games with the Nailers this season, knows what’s expected of him at the next level.
“You have to find a way to help your team produce,” he said. “I have to play hard in the corners, just keep it simple, make the first outlet pass, just play defense.”
NOTES: Forward Garrett Wilson, who has been out of the lineup since suffering an injury against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on February 14, returned to practice with the team today, although he was sporting a red no ‘no contact’ jersey…The AHL puts out a daily Playoff Primer, which shows upcoming schedules for all teams, who is in playoff position and who is not, magic number to clinch a playoff spot and other variables. This season the league is including a Strength of Schedule column, which shows the combined points percentage of all remaining opponents for any team. According to the AHL, the Penguins have the third-toughest remaining schedule in the league at .589. They trail only the Hartford WolfPack (.605), who has already been eliminated from playoff contention, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (.619). The Pens and Phantoms meet five more times over the last month of the season, starting with a home and home this weekend.