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Penguins November Grades - Forwards

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Only one player more deserving of November's Highland Park Hockey Player of the Month Award than Philip Samuelsson. But who could it be?
Overall Team Record: 22 games played, 11-6-1-4, 1st Place (tied) East Division
November Record: 13 games played, 6-4-0-3

The month of November started off just as the end of October finished off - four straight wins.  The Penguins were winners of eight straight, with the last three wins all coming on the road. But things took a sudden turn for the worse.

Going into a Saturday night tilt with the Norfolk Admirals the spirits were high. The team was 9-2-1-1 and way ahead in the East Division. They lost to the Admirals and were sent in a downward spiral the rest of the month.

Since the eight game win streak, the Penguins finished the month of November 2-4-0-3 and have found themselves now in a first place tie with the Admirals, who beat the Penguins twice in that nine game stretch to begin and hopefully end the so called slump.

After the jump, Highland Park Hockey's player of the month award and grades for every forward on the AHL's Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Part two will be posted later tonight with the goaltenders and defensemen.

Think I went too hard (or too soft!) on anyone? Let me know in the comments!

Highland Park Hockey's Player of the Month Award for November goes to...

Ben Street
Season Stats: 19 games played, 6G, 11A, +6, 4 PIM
November Stats: 13 games played, 6G, 9A, +4, 2 PIM

Street had a heck of a month, to say the least. After missing three games in October due to injury, Street came out firing in November including eight points (2G,6A) in a three game span which earned him AHL Player of the Week honors. Even during the team's recent slide in the second half of the month, Street was consistently on the score sheet while most of his teammates slowed down offensively. He's currently third on the team in scoring, only one point behind Bryan Lerg and Colin McDonald. Great play from Ben Street lately.
Grade: A+

Forwards

Jason Williams
Season Stats: 17 games played, 3G, 12A, +5, 10 PIM
November Stats: 13 games played, 2G, 8A, +4, 10 PIM

After a slow start to the month (one goal in four games), Williams finished strong with nine points in his last nine games (1G, 8A). He's been playing the point on the power play and while the power play hasn't been clicking with a great rate of success, Williams adds a ton of experience and pure offensive skill to the power play unit.
Grade: A-

Colin McDonald
Season Stats: 21 games played, 5G, 13A, +6, 4 PIM
November Stats: 12 games played, 3G, 7A, +5, 2 PIM

McDonald is another player who didn't let the team's recent slump affect his on ice performance this month. Ten points in 12 games is nothing to laugh it, though he's not showing the pace for the 42 goal season he had last year.
Grade: B+

Eric Tangradi
Season Stats: 19 games played, 8G, 6A, -1, 26 PIM
November Stats: 10 games played, 3G, 2A, -2, 15 PIM

Tangradi started off hot in November, registering five points (3G, 2A) in his first six games of the month. But that was all for Tangradi, who is pointless in his last four games with a -4 rating. He's been catching a lot of flak lately that he isn't giving it his full effort after another demotion from Pittsburgh. If he wants to be recalled to the NHL again anytime soon, he's going to have to pick it up at the AHL level.
Grade: B

Bryan Lerg
Season Stats: 22 games played, 9G, 9A, +8, 14 PIM
November Stats: 13 games played, 3G, 3A, +2, 8 PIM

After 12 points (6G, 6A) in nine games during October, Lerg cooled off significantly in November registering only half of his offensive output despite appearing in four more games this month. Maybe teams began to take notice of Lerg after his great start and began to buckle down on him. Either way you expect more offensively out of the team's leading scorer and with four points in his last four games, hopefully we'll see the same Lerg we saw in October.
Grade: B


Niko Dimitrakos
Season Stats: 21 games played, 6G, 4A, +3, 20 PIM
November Stats: 12 games played, 3G, 3A, +2, 10 PIM

Dimitrakos had a slow start to the month, only registering one goal in the first seven games of November. He also found himself as a healthy scratch for one game, but finished the month on a five game point streak (2G, 3A).
Grade: B

Ryan Craig
Season Stats: 15 games played, 2G, 2A, +3, 18 PIM
November Stats: 11 games played, 2G, 2A, +3, 14 PIM

Captain Craig missed most of October and the first week of November after recovering from a knee injury. He managed four points this month but brings a lot more to the table than just offense. He kills penalties, plays good two-way hockey and isn't afraid to lead by example and drop the gloves to stick up for a teammate or to light a spark under his team. Everything you would want from a captain. The scoring will come with time.
Grade: B-

Zach Sill
Season Stats: 19 games played, 2G, 1A, +1, 16 PIM
November Stats: 11 games played, 2G, 0A, +1, 12 PIM


Sill has missed the last two games with an upper body injury but he is another guy who is good to have in the locker room. The two goals in November are an added bonus to what Sill brings to the rink every night, which is hard work and effort. Sill kills penalties, plays good in his own zone and isn't afraid of anyone. Just ask Garrett Mitchell. Apparently Sill likes fighting guys with the last name Mitchell.
Grade: B-

Brian Gibbons
Season Stats: 20 games played, 5G, 8A, +3, 8 PIM
November Stats: 11 games played, 2G, 2A, +2, 6 PIM

Gibbons is another forward who, after a hot start to the season, cooled off significantly in November. So much so that head coach John Hynes sat Gibbons as a healthy scratch for two games.  With no points in his last four games, he is certainly in the doghouse of late. I have a feeling he'll pick it up in December.
Grade: C+
  
Nick Petersen
Season Stats: 15 games played, 4G, 4A, +7, 11 PIM
November Stats: 10 games played, 2G, 3A, +5, 9 PIM


November was a big month for Petersen, who welcomed his first child into the world earlier in the month. On the ice he wasn't too bad either, finishing with five points in the last seven games.  Paired with Ben Street, someone he has chemistry with from Wheeling last season, should spark him to more offensive production.
Grade: C+

Brandon DeFazio
Season Stats: 20 games played, 3G, 1A, +1, 16 PIM
November Stats: 12 games played, 1G, 1A, Even, 4 PIM


DeFazio has been a fourth line grinder all season, and he doesn't really look out of place at all for an energy guy. He's good on the fore check and doesn't shy away from landing solid body checks regularly. Even the occasional offense can be expected from DeFazio, like his game winner against the Binghamton Senators last Saturday night.
Grade: C+

Paul Thompson
Season Stats: 17 games played, 3G, 4A, +6, 6 PIM
November Stats: 8 games played, 2G, 1 A, +3, 2 PIM

Thompson should also be in the proverbial doghouse after being in and out of the lineup this month. He had two strong games earlier in the month against Hershey and Binghamton, but the consistency every shift isn't quite there yet. This is to be expected from guys like Thompson however, who is playing in his first full AHL season after joining the team for the playoff run last year.
Grade: C

Geoff Walker
Season Stats: 15 games played, 3G, 3A, -2, 21 PIM
November Stats: 6 games played, 0G, 1A, -1, 17 PIM

Not a strong performance from Walker this month, who missed seven games with an upper body injury. Not sure if it's just taking some time to get back into game-to-game routines after missing time or if there is something more to it. He was recently placed back on the top line with Bryan Lerg and Colin McDonald so we'll see if that helps him.
Grade: D

Matt Rust
Season Stats: 5 games played, 0G, 3A, +2, 4 PIM

Rust is a guy who you can plug into the lineup when injuries hit the team or some guys need to be sent a message and benched. I'd like to see more of Rust in December as he put up three assists and a +3 rating in four games this month.
Grade: Incomplete

Ryan Schnell
Season Stats: 5 games played, 0G, 1A, +1, 20 PIM

Schnell appeared in four games in November but still isn't a regular in the lineup yet. He brings the physical toughness to the lineup and played in both games against Hershey. With what happened after the last meeting between the two teams, expect to see Schnell in the lineup when the Bears and Pens next meet.
Grade: Incomplete

Steve MacIntyre
Season Stats: 4 games played, 0G, 0A, -1, 14 PIM

MacIntyre appeared in a couple games for the WBS Penguins and made his presence felt, manhandling two opponents in fights, including this one with Norfolk's Eric Neilsen. All in all, a big guy who can throw 'em with the toughest guys in either league (AHL & NHL).
Grade: Incomplete

Dustin Jeffrey
Season Stats: 2 games played, 0G, 1A, Even, 0 PIM

Jeffrey appeared in two games while on a conditioning stint. Didn't get to see much of him, but enough to know that recovering from a major knee surgery during the off-season is going to take some time.
Grade: Incomplete

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