Taking a Look at the Most Notable WBS Penguins Rivalries

WBS Penguins Rivalries Blog
13 Jun, 24

Rivalries have shaped the passionate ice hockey culture in North America. The National Hockey League (NHL) is famous for some rivalries that go back years, like the classic rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. This rivalry, which led to a bench-clearing brawl in 1979, dates back to the 1920s.

NHL’s minor league affiliate, the American Hockey League (AHL) is no exception to rivalries. The WBS Penguins have etched their name in the history of legendary AHL rivalries. The team has never failed to bring the drama and excitement to the ice. Every WBS Penguins playoff and matchup against their arch-rivals adds a new chapter to their legacy. If you are a die-hard fan, you want to know about these rivalries.

A Quick Roundup of WBS Penguins

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, or the WBS Penguins, became part of the AHL in 1999. They are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. As their affiliate, WBS Penguins have produced many talented hockey players season after season.

The team has always been a strong contender in the AHL. It quickly distinguished itself as a team with a remarkable drive, entering the Calder Cup finals in 2001, just two years after its founding. Although they haven’t clinched a championship, the WBS Penguins have reached the Calder Cup finals three times. This outstanding journey witnessed many legendary WBS Penguins playoffs.

The Top WBS Penguins Rivalries

WBS Penguins rivalries are steeped in history and intensity. While the WBS Penguins have garnered many rivalries during their journey, the following three have come to define their identity as a team.

1. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms Rivalry

The WBS Penguins have had a long-standing rivalry with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It began when the latter was named the Philadelphia Phantoms. It’s one of the most talked about rivalries in the AHL. While the regular WBS Penguins matchups with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have been a treat for fans, their playoff games have often turned intense.

The first WBS Penguins playoff game with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, then known as the Philadelphia Phantoms, was in the 2000-01 season. The deep-seated hostility between the teams became evident in this playoff match. The WBS Penguins won this match 4-2, which cleared their path for the Calder Cup finals.

The teams met again in the playoffs of the 2003-04 season. Yet again, the WBS Penguins beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4-2. Both teams have faced each other four times in the playoffs, with the WBS Penguins winning three games.

2. The Hershey Bears Rivalry

Another notable rivalry is with the Hershey Bears. Thanks to their physical proximity, these two teams have confronted each other more frequently on the ice than anyone. Over the years, this rivalry has witnessed many dramatic encounters, particularly in the playoffs, and these WBS Penguins matchups have been nothing less than decisive in the championship outcomes.

In the first playoff game, which took place in the 2000-01 season, the WBS Penguins clinched a landslide victory with 4-0. It remains one of the best WBS Penguins playoff games, which also cemented their place in the Calder Cup finals. Penguins have played eight times against the Hershey Bears in the AHL playoffs, with a 50% winning streak.

3. The Binghamton Devils Rivalry

This is another noteworthy rivalry. The Binghamton Devils, formerly known as the Binghamton Senators, have been a fierce competitor of the WBS Penguins. Each clash between the two teams has turned into a memorable game for Penguins fans.

The first WBS Penguins playoff game with the Senators was in the 2004–05 season. The stands were packed for this game. It was a tension-filled, winner-takes-all game that the WBS Penguins won 4-2. However, the WBS Penguins lost their next game to the Hershey Bears, ending their race for the Calder Cup finals.

The two consecutive WBS Penguins matchups with the then Senators took place in the first round of playoffs for the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons. The WBS Penguins won the playoff game with a clean sweep (3-0) in the 2021-13 season. In the 2013-14 season, the WBS Penguins conceded one goal but still won the game 3-1.

In the 2021–22 season, the Devils returned as Utica Comets, becoming one of the newest teams in the AHL.

Three Cheers for the WBS Penguins

The WBS Penguins’ journey has seen many iconic rivalries. Their most revered hockey rivals include the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Hershey Bears, and the Binghamton Devils. These rivalries have had historic moments, intense stand-offs, and a passion for the game. Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading about these rivalries. As a hockey fan, which AHL rivalries do you think are the best? Tell us in the comments.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to catch the next WBS Penguins match. Check our schedule and get tickets for next season today!

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