Penguins Shutout Binghamton, Head Into Break Atop East Division

Saturday, December 20, 2014
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were without arguably their top four defensemen tonight - Brian Dumoulin, Taylor Chorney, Scott Harrington and Derrick Pouliot - but the remaining blue liners for the Pens stepped up their game and they got a stellar performance in net from Jeff Zatkoff too in route to a 3-0 shutout win over the Binghamton Senators.

As a team, the Penguins have allowed just 14 goals in their 10 games.

It was a night of firsts for rookie defenseman Alex Boak, who was credited with his first career AHL goal after a scoring change on the first goal of the game. Boak also tallied an assist on the Pens' 2nd goal for his first career multi-point game at the pro level.

Nick Drazenovic and Conor Sheary tallied goals less than a minute apart to break open the game early and Zatkoff stopped all 35 shots that came his way to help preserve the win and two more points in the standings.

The win, coupled with an overtime loss by Hershey, gives the Penguins (17-10-1-2) a five point lead in the East Division heading into the holiday break.

Saturday's Morning Skate 12/20

The Phantoms' recent wins this week have them tightening the East Division standings.
Not only were all five teams in the East Division in action on Friday night, but the entire Eastern Conference was active last night. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms did well for themselves, defeating rival Hershey in regulation & being the only team in the division to earn any points in the standings.

Last night I took in the Phantoms/Bears game from PPL Center. Tonight, it's a 90-mile trek up to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena for another East Division battle as the Binghamton Senators host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Stay tuned here for full coverage of tonight's game with live in-game updates on Twitter -> @H_P_Hockey (left hand side of this website).

BREAKING: The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defensemen Taylor Chorney and Derrick Pouliot from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL). Subsequently, the AHL Penguins signed defenseman Paul Cianfrini to a professional tryout contract from their ECHL affiliate in Wheeling. Also, goaltender Eric Hartzell was re-assigned to Wheeling.

East Division Standings (through 12/19's games)

1. WBS Penguins (16-10-1-2) - 35 points
2. Hershey (14-11-2-1) - 31 points
3. Lehigh Valley (13-10-3-1) - 30 points
4. Binghamton (12-12-2-1) - 27 points
5. Norfolk (11-17-0-0) - 22 points

Stolarz Stars in Phantoms Shutout Win Over Rival Hershey

Friday, December 19, 2014
With Rob Zepp recalled by the Flyers, rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz will shoulder the load in net.
In another East Division match up for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate got another big win - riding rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz and his 32-save shutout to the bank to cash in two more points in the standings.

Stolarz was going to start tonight regardless of whether or not Rob Zepp got called up by the Flyers, per head coach Terry Murray. The rookie made the most of his opportunity.

"Stolarz was really good," Murray said. "He's the reason why we won the game."

The regulation win over Hershey moves the Phantoms to within one point of the Bears for second place in the East Division. The Phantoms have a game in hand on the Bears, while also having two games in hand on the division leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins despite trailing the Pens by five points.

The Phantoms finish their weekend in Connecticut with a 5:00 p.m. ET face-off against Hartford before enjoying a five-day break from Sunday December 21st through Christmas Day Thursday.

Fast Start Propels Phantoms Past Binghamton

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Petr Straka and Andrew Gordon got things started for the Phantoms tonight in an eventful first 36 seconds. 
Tonight at the PPL Center, fans and media alike witnessed history in the opening minute of the first period. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms came out and scored three goals in the first 36 seconds of play (in a span of 21 seconds) to put the home team ahead 3-0 before some fans made it to their seats.

The Phantoms' three goals 21 seconds apart at least ties the AHL record for the fastest three goals scored by one team. The AHL cannot confirm or deny if it is in fact the record for a single team, but the record for the fastest three goals by two teams is three goals in a 20-second span that occurred an AHL game between Springfield and Worcester in 1997.

"I've never even done it in a video game," Andrew Gordon said with a laugh when asked about the wild start to the game. "It's crazy. Maybe I'll watch the first 30 seconds of tape tomorrow and try to  squeeze this for all it's worth."

If you want to see each of the three goals four times in a row (from all angles), the AHL put this up on YouTube.

The fast start propelled the Phantoms (12-10-3-1) to a 5-3 win over Binghamton (12-11-2-1), while also leapfrogging the Phantoms ahead of the BSens to 3rd place in the East Division.

Monday's Catch Up & Links 12/15

Monday, December 15, 2014
Harry Zolnierczyk's return to Wilkes-Barre was last Friday night. He faced the Phantoms twice the week before.
It's Monday again, which in the American Hockey League (AHL) means recapping another busy three-in-three weekend for both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who re-matched Saturday night in Allentown after the Penguins had their way with the Phantoms in Wilkes-Barre on December 5th.

Not much of a break for the Phantoms, who host the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night before hosting rival Hershey Friday night and traveling to Hartford for a 5:00 p.m. face-off against the Wolfpack on Saturday.

The Penguins, meanwhile, don't play again until this weekend with a home game Friday against Albany and a Saturday road trip to Binghamton on their schedule.

You can follow up to the minute breaking AHL news on Twitter. Follow @H_P_Hockey for all the latest on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh), or @TonyAndrock_TCG for the latest scoop on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia).