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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!

Penguins Fall to Admirals 5-2

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Nick Petersen was the best WBS Penguin tonight. He tallied assists on both Penguins goals.
The lack of depth on defense showed tonight. With Robert Bortuzzo and Alexandre Picard called up late this afternoon, the defense was paper thin.

I actually thought Cody Wild played a good game tonight, but the Admirals offense was too much for the Pens tonight. Admirals win 5-2 and are now tied with the Penguins for first place in the East Division. At least Hershey lost in regulation and didn't gain ground on the Pens in the division race.

That was the last game of November and I will start the monthly grades on all of the WBS Penguins players and have November's grades posted very soon. Stay tuned for that!

It was Scott Munroe vs. Dustin Tokarski in net. Ryan Schnell and Matt Rust were the healthy scratches along with Zach Sill, who missed his second straight game with an undisclosed upper body injury.

Recap after the jump.

WBS Penguins Take On Admirals

Tonight's game is at the Norfolk Scope at 7:15 p.m. EST
The Penguins battle the Admirals tonight for another East Division rivalry. The Norfolk Admirals trail the Pens by two points so another important divisional game tonight at 7:15 p.m. EST.

Big news just announced as Pittsburgh recalls defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Alexandre Picard. This leaves the AHL Penguins with Carl Sneep, Simon Despres, Joey Mormina, Philip Samuelsson, Cody Wild and Alex Grant on the blue line tonight.

With a paper thin and young defensive core tonight it is going to be important for the forwards to get back and help out, while also providing some early offense against the probable Admiral starter - Dustin Tokarski. Scott Munroe will get the start in net tonight for the Penguins.

As for the Penguins, they are coming off a 3-2 win over the Binghamton Senators up in New York. That win snapped a five game streak without a "W" while also improving the Pens' road record to 9-1-0-2. Hopefully they can get win #10 on the road tonight.

Full game coverage on Twitter @H_P_Hockey with a recap shortly after the conclusion of tonight's game.  GO Penguins!

WBS Penguins End Five Game Skid

Saturday, November 26, 2011
Brandon DeFazio was the hero for the Penguins tonight.
After going 0-2-0-3 in their last five games, the WBS Penguins are now 9-1-0-2 on the road for the season after defeating the defending champion Binghamton Senators 3-2 tonight in another tight game.

Paul Thompson, Niko Dimitrakos and Brian Gibbons all returned after being healthy scratches last night. Matt Rust and Ryan Schnell were scratched and Zach Sill was listed as having an upper body injury by Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie. Scott Munroe got the start in net.

The Penguins took an early 1-0 lead 4:37 into the game after Philip Samuelsson's shot from the point was knocked in on a rebound by Bryan Lerg. Colin McDonald got the second assist and the Pens really came out ready to play early in the first.

David Dziurzynski tied the game with a nice individual effort and toe-drag move on Robert Bortuzzo less than three minutes later and the Senators controlled the pace in the middle of the period until they began a parade to the penalty box which gave the Pens 24 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey.

And the Penguins made no mistake about it and notched a power play goal, with McDonald getting his 5th of the season from Street and Dimitrakos with 6:21 left in the opening period. Overall, a quick pace for the first 20 minutes and a 2-1 lead for the Pens.

Good back and forth action but no goals in the second period. Alexandre Picard took a penalty near the end and the Senators would start the third with a power play.

The Pens killed off the power play to begin the period but Joey Mormina closed his hand on the puck in the crease and the Senators were awarded a penalty shot. Luckily, Nikita Filatov's breakaway was stopped by a nice save by Munroe.

Picard would take another penalty just 1:44 into the period and the Senators would tie the game at 2 with a power play goal from Josh Godfrey. The Senators came out flying in the 3rd period and surpassed their first period shot total (6) in about the first five minutes.

The Penguins weathered the storm in the third period and with 3:07 left Samuelsson took another good shot from the point and the puck found its way past Robin Lehner off of Brandon DeFazio's leg. The Penguins battled tonight and end the five game winless streak.

WBS Penguins @ Senators 11/26

Matt Rust is making the most of his time in the lineup.
After a tough shootout loss last night and frustration showing, the WBS Penguins travel to Binghamton tonight in need of a win to end a five game winless streak (0-2-0-3). The Senators lost 4-1 to the Syracuse Crunch so they will also be looking to bounce back.

By the numbers
WBS Penguins: 20 games played, 10-5-1-4, 25 points - 1st Place East Division
Binghamton: 20 games played, 7-11-1-1, 16 points - 5th Place East Division

Injuries have taken their toll on the Senators who were already without last year's AHL MVP in Corey Locke. They are now also without Mark Parrish and Jim O'Brien. The Penguins need to take advantage of a thinner lineup.

For the Penguins, Brian Gibbons, Paul Thompson and Niko Dimitrakos were the forward scratches. All three are healthy, but coach John Hynes has been unhappy with their play. It'll be interesting to see who is scratched up front tonight.

Full game coverage with live in-game updates on Twitter @H_P_Hockey and a recap shortly after the game.

Go Penguins!

Penguins Lose in Shootout, Tempers Flare

Friday, November 25, 2011
Braden Holtby's end of game antics brought this meeting at center ice.
This game perfectly describes what a rivalry between two teams is. The WBS Penguins and Hershey Bears do not like each other. And now Braden Holtby is at the center of attention for his celebration at center ice after the Bears beat the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout.

Here's the clip of the celebration and center ice meeting courtesy of Kyle Mace.

Ryan Schnell in particular was irate about Holtby's antics and it showed when the benches cleared and the teams met at center ice (as shown above). Bears beat writer Tim Leone caught up with Holtby after tonight's game and he had this to say about what he did:
“It’s just the heat of the battle and obviously our biggest rival, I think.”
Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie got reactions from Zach Sill and Ryan Craig post game as well.
“We were just upset, just the showboating,” center Zach Sill said. “We showed we weren’t happy with it. In our own barn, you don’t want that happening.”
“I don’t think our guys would react like that, but everyone reacts differently to winning,” Craig said. “We just want to go about our business and take care of our own business.”
The two teams next play each other on December 10th at Giant Center in Hershey, before a home-and-home series on Dec. 27th-28th. The rivalry has certainly been refueled for the time being.

The real stat of the night has to be this: WBS was 1-for-9 on the power play while Hershey was 2-for-5.

The Penguins had a 5-on-3 power play and three minutes of 5-on-4 after Boyd Kane's major penalty for elbowing. Kane was also given a game misconduct and could be facing suspension for his illegal hit on Robert Bortuzzo after Bortuzzo drilled Keith Aucoin late.

Hershey got on the board first courtesy of a Ryan Potulny rebound goal on the power play 12:26 into the game. Potulny also got the Bears only other goal in regulation and added one in the shootout as well. He was far and away the best player on the ice tonight.

The Penguins tied the game back up after Hershey scored twice tonight. The first was a beautiful tic-tac-toe pass play between Williams, Lerg, Despres and Street who scored his 5th goal of the season on a highlight reel goal.  Then Nick Petersen tied up the game with 1:16 to play to send it to overtime.

The Penguins get a point, but their win-less streak reaches five games (0-2-0-3). John Hynes coached in his 100th AHL game tonight and has 68 wins in that time, winning 71% of his games. Those are great numbers for a great coach. There's no surprise he won the AHL's Coach of the Year award last season.

Penguins head to Binghamton tomorrow night to hopefully salvage the weekend and get back in the win column. The Senators lost 4-1 to Syracuse tonight. The loss tonight by the Pens draws the Bears within two points of the first place Penguins. With Norfolk and Syracuse both winning tonight the Division race looks like this:
WBS (25 pts), Hershey (23 pts), Norfolk (23 pts), Syracuse (21 pts), Binghamton (16 pts)

Hershey @ WBS Penguins 11/25

Colin McDonald has been the best offensive weapon the Penguins have had against the Bears this season.
The Penguins are back in action tonight in a matchup of the top two teams in the East Division. A big proverbial "4 point game" tonight as the Penguins currently have a three point lead on Hershey for first place. A win could extend the lead to five, but a regulation loss closes the gap to one point and the Bears still have played two less games.

WBS Penguins: 19 games played, 10-5-1-3, 24 pts - 1st Place East Division
Hershey Bears: 17 games played, 8-4-3-2, 21 pts - 2nd Place East Division

For the Bears, they look to close in on first place in the division coming off a 4-3 over Providence in their last game. They lost by the same score to the Penguins when they last played and are looking for a better effort tonight.

For the Penguins, the team really needs to have a strong start to the game. The Pens gave up four goals in the first period in Wednesday's 7-5 loss to Syracuse and can not afford to put themselves in a similar hole against a team with the depth of the Bears. Big test tonight for the players to bounce back after a disappointing performance in their last game.

As for the lineup, expect most of the guys who were healthy scratches on Wednesday to be back in the lineup. I would definitely pencil in Brian Gibbons and Carl Sneep back into the lineup for Ryan Schnell and Alex Grant. After Munroe allowed three goals on his first three shots, I would think you'll see Brad Thiessen between the pipes.

Players to Watch

Hershey: Kieth Aucoin leads all players in the league with 20 assists. The Penguins need to take away his time and space and play disciplined to avoid sending guys to the box. Aucoin doesn't take well to the physical play so taking the body will be important, though Aucoin tends to be light on his skates and easily knocked down.

WBS: Bryan Lerg scored two goals last night, his first two goals of the month. Hopefully he's back on track. Colin McDonald has six points (2G-4A) in four games against Hershey this season. Simon Despres scored the game winner in overtime in the last meeting between the two teams.

WBS Penguins Drop Another Game, 7-5

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Lerg got back on track with two goals tonight but it wasn't enough.
The score really doesn't do justice for how poorly the Penguins played tonight. The Syracuse Crunch scored on their first three shots of the game, chasing Scott Munroe. They scored four more on Brad Thiessen. At one point it was a 5-0 hole for the home team.

The team was frustrated, as evidenced by four fights tonight. The most impressive was Zach Sill's in the third period, where he took care of business. The other three weren't as one sided for the Pens.

Recap after the jump.

Syracuse Crunch @ WBS Penguins 11/23

Scott Munroe will start in net tonight for the Penguins.
The Penguins return home after a weekend road trip through New England for an East Division showdown with the Syracuse Crunch. The Penguins are 1-2-0-2 in their last five games and need to get back on track to maintain their first place lead. The Crunch are currently in fourth place and seven points behind the Pens but also have two games in hand.

WBS: 18 games played, 10-4-1-3, 24 pts - 1st place East Division
SYR: 16 games played 7-6-2-1 17 pts - 4th place East Division

Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie reports that Scott Munroe will get the start tonight and that Carl Sneep, Geoff Walker, Brian Gibbons and Paul Thompson will be healthy scratches. Apparently head coach John Hynes isn't happy with their play. So it looks like Matt Rust and Ryan Schnell will play tonight.
More updates of in-game action on the blog's Twitter feed. Follow the blog on Twitter if you aren't already. Approaching 500 followers on there. Appreciate all of the readers though! You can also follow along on Facebook with the Highland Park Hockey page too.

Go Penguins!

WBS Penguins Practice UPDATE 11/22

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Picard is on his way back to WBS.
A few notes on today's practice at the Coal Street Rink:
  • Robert Bortuzzo was not on the ice today for practice. He blocked a shot late in the third period of Saturday's game in Manchester and didn't play Sunday in Worcester. It's safe to say he won't be in the lineup tomorrow and that Picard will likely take his place.
  • Three forwards were wearing red no-contact jerseys today and those three are Geoff Walker, Brian Gibbons and Paul Thompson. All three played on Sunday, so hopefully its just bumps and bruises for those guys. They figure to be game time decisions as they at least practiced today.
Other than that, just another day at the office for the Penguins at Coal Street today. A few things I wonder are who will be in goal tomorrow night, as I didn't have a chance to talk to head coach John Hynes today. Also, with Boris Valabik practicing in a regular jersey for two weeks now, what is his timetable for a return to game action and make his WBS debut.

The team is definitely banged up from this past weekend's road trip but will have to continue to press on with games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Go Penguins!

Penguins End Road Trip With 3-1 Loss

Sunday, November 20, 2011
Tangradi spoiled the shutout bid in a 3-1 loss today.
A tired group of WBS Penguins fell behind 2-0 to the Worcester Sharks only 7:10 into the game and weren't able to recover and drop a 3-1 game this evening.

Robert Bortuzzo was a late scratch for Cody Wild, and Nick Petersen returned to the lineup in place of Brandon DeFazio. Bortuzzo appeared to be hurt after blocking a shot late in the third period of Saturday's game in Manchester. Hope he is okay.

Brad Thiessen got the start for the second straight night but after allowing two goals on seven shots, he was replaced by Scott Munroe. Munroe finished with 20 saves on 21 shots.

Eric Tangradi broke the shutout bid with 25 seconds remaining in the game on a late power play, with Niko Dimitrakos and Colin McDonald getting the assists.

The Penguins loss wasn't because of a lack of effort, but the result of playing in two shootout losses on Friday and Saturday night and traveling from Portland to Manchester to Worcester in about two and a half days.

All in all, a good effort from the Penguins this weekend despite an 0-1-0-2 showing in the standings. They got two out of a possible six points and will need to regroup at home this upcoming week. They still hold a three point lead for first place in the East Division and the difference right now is the three shootout losses the Penguins were able to get points from.

I'm sure the Penguins will have the day off tomorrow and resume practice on Tuesday, so the next update will come when the team practices at Coal Street before Wednesday's game.

WBS Penguins End Weekend Road Trip

The Penguins finish their weekend road trip in New England with a 4 p.m. EST Sunday tilt against the Worcester Sharks.  After losing in shootouts in both Portland and Manchester on Friday and Saturday, the WBS Penguins want to end the road trip with a win.

This game should be another battle as the Penguins not only played the last two nights on the road, with travel, etc. but also played two long games since both went all the way to the shootout. The tank has to be nearing empty. Add in the fact that Worcester was off last night, and it could be a long afternoon.

It will be interesting to see who gets the start in goal today, as Hynes alluded earlier in the week that Brad Thiessen had started all those games in a row (ten, I believe) because he was winning and that he was going to ride the hot goaltender. Well after Scott Munroe got the shutout on Tuesday, he started Friday and lost. Thiessen lost last night so do the Penguins go back to Munroe?

I would expect Cody Wild to be back in the lineup for Alex Grant, as Grant looked out of place at times and had some bad first touches on the puck in his own zone.  As for Nick Petersen, who was scratched in favor of Paul Thompson last night, he should re-enter the lineup today but possibly for a different forward depending on if anyone is banged up or sore from the past two games.

By the Numbers

WBS Penguins: 17 games played, 10-3-1-3, 24 points - First Place East Division
Worcester: 13 games played, 5-4-2-2, 14 points - Fifth Place Atlantic Division

Expected Starters

Scott Munroe: (1-1-2), 1.83 GAA, .923 SV% vs. Harri Sateri (3-3), 2.79 GAA, .906 SV%

News and Notes
  • Ben Street has been on a tear since Ryan Craig has returned to the lineup. Street has 11 points (4G-7A) in his last six games. He was named the AHL's Player of the Week this past week.
  • Jason Williams has points in his last four games (1G-4A) and will look to extend his points streak to five games today. 
  • The month of November has not been kind to Bryan Lerg, who is pointless in his last three games and only has two points (0G-2A) in eight games this month.

Another Game, Another Shootout Loss

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Another loss for the Penguins.
The Penguins come away with another point tonight, but only one as the Pens lose another shootout, this time to the Manchester Monarchs.

After the first two rounds went scoreless, the Monarchs last three shooters all scored and only Jason Williams got one past Jeff Zatkoff.

The Penguins had to battle back most of the night after seeing their 1-0 lead disappear. They were able to score quick counter goals after Manchester would take one goal leads but were unable to regain the lead themselves.

Niko Dimitrakos, Ben Street and Robert Bortuzzo scored for the Penguins tonight. Brad Thiessen stopped 25 of 28 shots.

Interesting to see which goalie gets the start tomorrow when the Penguins take on the Worcester Sharks in Massachusetts at 4 p.m. EST.

WBS Penguins Take on Monarchs

Last night the Penguins lost 3-2 up in Portland in a shootout. The Monarchs beat Worcester in overtime, and at home last night. The Penguins play in Worcester on Sunday.

By the numbers:
WBS Penguins: 15 games played, 10-3-1-1, 22 points - First Place East Division
Manchester: 18 games played, 8-9-0-1, 17 points - Second Place Atlantic Division

Expected starters
Brad Thiessen (9-3, 2.17 GAA, 0.914 SV%) vs. Jeff Zatkoff (3-2-1, 2.45 GAA, 0.923 SV%)

Full in-game coverage on the blog's Twitter feed @H_P_Hockey as I will be watching on the AHL Live. You can listen to tonight's game here and carry on game conversation in the comments. Recap of the game shortly after the conclusion of tonight's game.

Highland Park Hockey is keeping you informed throughout this weekend's road trip and following the WBS Penguins all season long. Go Penguins! 

WBS Penguins Lose 3-2 in Shootout

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Penguins fall to Portland 3-2 in a shootout, despite out shooting and for the most part outplaying the Pirates tonight.

Colin McDonald was the lone scorer in the shootout for the Penguins, Ryan Duncan and Brett MacLean lit the lamp for the Pirates. The loss ends the Penguins perfect road record, which is now at 8-0-0-1.

The Penguins are back in action tomorrow night when they take on the Manchester Monarchs in New England.  Full recap of tonight's game after the jump.

The Weekend Starts in Portland

Munroe will need to keep his crease clear tonight against Portland.
Facing three straight games this weekend, starting tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST in Portland, the WBS Penguins will have to play fundamental road hockey and stick to the system if they want to continue their early road success.

Expect Scott Munroe and Curtis McElhinney to start in net tonight for their respective teams. For the Penguins, the lineup gets a boost with the return of Eric Tangradi from the NHL Penguins. Tangradi was a point per game player in October, notching five goals and four assists in nine games.

For the Pirates, rookie center Andy Miele leads the team in all offensive categories, with five goals and eight assists in nine games. Former WBS Penguins Marc Antoine Pouliot is now on the Portland Pirates and has seven points (3G, 4A) through his first nine games.

By the numbers:
WBS Penguins: 15 games played, 10-3-1-1, 22 points - First Place East Division
Portland Pirates: 14 games played, 6-7-0-1, 13 points - Fifth Place Atlantic Division

Starting goaltenders:
WBS: Scott Munroe - 3 games played (1-1-1), 1.82 GAA, .928 SV%
Portland: Curtis McElhinney - 9 games played (2-6), 3.82 GAA, .884 SV%

Full in-game coverage on the blog's Twitter feed @H_P_Hockey as I will be watching on the AHL Live. You can listen to tonight's game here and carry on game conversation in the comments. Recap of the game shortly after the conclusion of tonight's game.

Highland Park Hockey is keeping you informed throughout this weekend's road trip and following the WBS Penguins all season long. Go Penguins!

Munroe Blanks Senators 3-0

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Munroe played a perfect game tonight.
After not playing in the past ten games, Scott Munroe held his own tonight, shutting out the Binghamton Senators and stopping all 25 shots that came his way.

The Penguins tallied all their goals in the second period, where they fired 19 shots on Mike McKenna. First, it was Nick Petersen scoring his third of the season from Matt Rust and Jason Williams. Petersen had been a scratch while awaiting his newborn child. Good to see him get right back in the lineup and get on the scoresheet.

Paul Thompson netted his third of the year with another primary assist to Rust and Petersen with the secondary late in the period. Only 82 seconds later, Brian Gibbons absolutely smoked a shot past McKenna with 10.4 seconds left in the period to give the Penguins the 3-0 lead.

Other than that it was all Munroe. He played an excellent game. Expect him to start again on Friday when the Penguins start a three game road trip to New England.

If the Penguins practice tomorrow, I'll be there to get an update. If not, the next post will be Friday's pregame report. Since all three games this weekend are on the road, Highland Park Hockey will be your best bet for full coverage of the WBS Penguins all weekend long.

Go Penguins!

Penguins Look To Get Back On Track

WBS Penguins look to get back to their winning ways tonight at 7:05 p.m.
Following a third period letdown against Norfolk on Saturday, the Penguins get their chance for redemption tonight against the defending champion Binghamton Senators at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Scott Munroe will get the start in net tonight, according to Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie who spoke to Hynes after Monday's practice at the Coal Street.

Thiessen had started nine straight games and Munroe hadn't played in over a month, but it looks like it's win and you're in. We'll see if Munroe can get a hot streak of his own started tonight. His first WBS Penguins start was a shutout in a 1-0 shootout loss so he's definitely capable of picking up where Thiessen left off.

As for the rest of the lineup you should expect a similar lineup. Colin McDonald was given a maintenance day and Dustin Jeffrey had an off-ice workout which Hynes said was part of his conditioning stint in Wilkes-Barre. Dustin Jeffrey was recalled to Pittsburgh this morning. Geoff Walker was in a red no-contact jersey, and won't be ready. Boris Valabik is still practicing in a regular jersey but is also no ready for game action.

So my best stab at tonight's lineup:
Colin McDonald - Bryan Lerg - Jason Williams
Nick Petersen - Brian Gibbons - Niko Dimitrakos
Ryan Craig - Ben Street - Paul Thompson
Brandon DeFazio - Zach Sill - Steve MacIntyre

Robert Bortuzzo -Cody Wild
Carl Sneep - Simon Despres
Joey Mormina - Philip Samuelsson

Scott Munroe

Follow in-game updates with full coverage tonight on the blog's Twitter feed: @H_P_Hockey

Go Penguins!

WBS Penguins Return Home For Rematch

Saturday, November 12, 2011
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins are back in town for a rematch of their opponent on Wednesday, the Norfolk Admirals.

Wednesday's contest provided action both on the scoresheet and on the penalty list, with the Penguins coming away with a 4-2 win. Ben Street scored a goal and two assists and Eric Tangradi added two goals.

Tonight, the Penguins will again be without Tangradi, but look for the line of Ben Street, Ryan Craig and Paul Thompson to continue their surge. The three combined for two goals and five assists last night. Street has seven of his nine points on the season in his last two games.

Brad Thiessen has started nine straight games in net and tonight might be a chance for Scott Munroe to see some action. Not sure but Thiessen could still be the starter tonight.

Full game coverage with live updates on the blog's Twitter feed as always.

Go Penguins!

Despres Makes it 8-0-0-0 on the Road

Friday, November 11, 2011
Despres might lead the league in minor penalties, but all of his goals are game winners.
In a back-and-forth game tonight, the Penguins got the last punch with Simon Despres scoring the game winning goal 57 seconds into overtime. All three of his goals are game winners.

The win gives the Penguins eight straight wins and still a perfect record on the road (mentioned in title). At 9-2-1-1 the Penguins now have a three point edge over the Norfolk Admirals, who the Pens play at home tomorrow night. The Admirals lost in regulation tonight 2-1 to the Albany Devils.

Ben Street had a heck of a game tonight, registering an assist on all but one of the Penguins 5 goals tonight. The four assists combined with Wednesday's three point night (1G-2A) gives Street seven points in his last two games.

The entire line of Ryan Craig, Paul Thompson and Street were the difference makers tonight. They really turned the game around in the last minute of the 2nd period. Down 2-1 the Penguins got a lucky bounce goal from Paul Thompson after Carl Sneep's shot from the point ricocheted around a few bodies, hitting Thompson before going in. Just 16 after that Craig finished a play and got a goal of his own. And just like that a 2-1 deficit turned into a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

But the Bears didn't quit. They tied the game early in the third at three, then tied it again late in the third at four.

Brad Thiessen gets the win, his ninth of the season. Dany Sabourin was tagged with the loss.

The Penguins return home for a game tomorrow night against the Norfolk Admirals.

Go Penguins!

On The Road Again: WBS @ Hershey

Photo courtesy of Kyle Mace
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins will look for 8-0-0-0 on the road when they face off against the Hershey Bears at Giant Center tonight.

The biggest roster change for WBS will be the call-up of Eric Tangradi to Pittsburgh. So it looks like Nick Petersen will be back in the lineup tonight. Petersen was scratched on Wednesday for Dustin Jeffrey.

All in all should be a good game tonight. Most likely will be Brad Thiessen vs. Dany Sabourin in net tonight.  Maybe a fight is brewing between Steve MacIntyre and D.J King, the two heavyweights for each club.

The Penguins are in first place and would like to extend their East Division lead with a win over the Bears tonight. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m EST and as always we will have full in-game coverage with updates on the blog's Twitter feed. I highly suggest following @H_P_Hockey on Twitter if you aren't already.

Go Penguins!

WBS Penguins Beat Admirals 4-2

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Despres had his first multi-point night tonight as a pro.
The Penguins continued their dominance on the road with a 4-2 win in Norfolk tonight. That makes it 7-0-0-0 on the road along with seven straight wins. The win over the Admirals also puts the Penguins into first place in the East Division. All is well for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins right now.

Dustin Jeffrey and Steve MacIntyre, who were sent on conditioning assignments to the AHL Penguins, both played tonight. Jeffrey was a bit on the quiet side tonight but did have a few chances. MacIntyre was physical as ever, crushing guys with big hits and in the third period pummeling Scott Jackson in a fight.

A quick recap after the jump.

Penguins Look for 7-0 Road Start

The WBS Penguins are in Norfolk, Va. tonight to battle the Admirals at 7:15 p.m. EST.

For those who didn't catch it yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins made a few moves to adjust their roster. First, they traded forward Mark Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth round draft pick in 2012. They also sent forwards Steve MacIntyre and Dustin Jeffrey to the WBS Penguins on conditioning assignments, meaning they can play in the AHL for 14 days without having to clear waivers.

Tonight is a battle for first place as the Admirals hold the edge by one point over the Penguins. The Admirals have also played two more games than WBS. Should be an exciting game tonight as the Admirals have scored more goals than any other team in the AHL, while the Penguins have allowed the 2nd least goals. Should be a good test for both teams.

Go Penguins!

WBS Penguins Send Three To Wheeling

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Rust is on his way to the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers along with Chupp and Schnell.

We reported yesterday that Cody Chupp had been assigned to Wheeling, but it appears that Ryan Schnell and Matt Rust are also on their way to the ECHL, this according to Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie.

Pittsburgh's forward situation leaves them with 17 forwards as of right now with Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy out. The Pens are currently at the 23 man roster limit so it would appear that two forwards will need to be moved off the NHL roster before those two can return.

All the remaining forwards would have to clear waivers so there's no guarantee that WBS will add any bodies when Kennedy and Crosby return to the NHL lineup. Likely candidates would be Steve MacIntyre, Richard Park, Dustin Jeffrey and Mark Letestu. Letestu has been mentioned in trade rumors.

Right now the WBS Penguins have 13 forwards. They are (in no particular order):
  • Bryan Lerg, Colin McDonald, Jason Williams, Ryan Craig, Geoff Walker (injured), Eric Tangradi, Brian Gibons, Niko Dimitrakos, Ben Street, Paul Thompson, Nick Petersen, Zach Sill, and Brandon DeFazio
With Walker injured and probably not ready for tomorrow, the Penguins have the 12 forwards they need, which almost guarantees Ryan Craig will return to the WBS lineup in Norfolk on Wednesday.

I'll have a better idea tomorrow and will update the WBS roster situation in the pregame preview.

Go Penguins!

WBS Penguins Practice UPDATE 11/7

Monday, November 7, 2011
A few interesting notes about practice today:
  • Robert Bortuzzo was back at practice today, after making his NHL debut Saturday night in Pittsburgh's shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings. Bortuzzo saw 10:38 of ice time, registering two penalty minutes.
  • Ryan Craig skated today at the Coal Street Rink and was wearing a regular practice jersey. He should be back in the lineup this week.
  • Boris Valabik also wore a regular practice jersey. Both are day-today but Craig should be closer to returning than Valabik.
  • Geoff Walker didn't practice today. I actually got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes as he came out to watch his teammates practice. He said he's doing better and hopes to be back soon. I take that as he won't be in the lineup Wednesday but might be back this weekend.
  • Cody Chupp wasn't on the ice today and according to Penguins beat writer Jonathan Bombulie, it's because Chupp was on his way to the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers. He didn't play poorly in his time with WBS, just a victim of healthy bodies returning to the lineup.
    All in all, just another day at the office for the Penguins this morning at the rink.

    Another upbeat John Hynes practice with a physical 2-on-2 drill towards the end of the two hour session. Hynes was still lighting a fire under his team, mentioning that they'd have to do better and put out more effort. He also mentioned that Norfolk, who the Penguins travel to play on Wednesday, beat Binghamton 7-0.

    After the jump a few pictures from today's practice.

    WBS Penguins Edge Senators in Shootout

    Despite what I thought was a dominating performance by the WBS Penguins Saturday night, the game went to a shootout to decide the winner.

    Zach Sill gave the Penguins a lead in the second period, but a Joey Mormina interference penalty with 2:37 left in the game gave the Senators a chance to tie the game. Mike Hoffman's shot went off Carl Sneep's stick and into the net behind Brad Thiessen with 1:54 to play.

    The Pens held off a late surge by the Senators and after a scoreless overtime, went to work in the shootout.  Colin McDonald, Niko Dimitrakos and Bryan Lerg scored shootout goals for the Penguins and Brad Thiessen stopped three of five shots to preserve the 2-1 shootout victory.

    All in all a great weekend for the Penguins, beating Hershey 4-0 and Binghamton 2-1. The Penguins are now 6-0-0-0 on the road, while also winning six straight games and unbeaten in their last seven.

    A tough week ahead though with no time to bask in the glory of this past weekend, with games Wednesday in Norfolk, Friday in Hershey and Saturday at home against Norfolk again.

    Penguins Travel to Binghamton Tonight

    Saturday, November 5, 2011
    Eric Tangradi has played well lately.
    After an impressive 4-0 shutout win over the Hershey Bears, the WBS Penguins look for a 6-0 road start when they play the Binghamton Senators tonight in the southern tier of New York. The Senators are coming off a 3-2 home loss to the Rochester Americans last night, so they will be looking to bounce back in the win column tonight.

    Brad Thiessen vs. Robin Lehner tonight in net, as Thiessen is coming off the shutout last night and Robin Lehner was announced as the starter according to Senators beat writer, Joy Lindsay.

    There shouldn't be any lineup changes tonight with the exception of maybe Matt Rust or Cody Chupp replacing Ryan Schnell as the 12th forward.

    All six defensemen from last night will be in the lineup again tonight, as Robert Bortuzzo is on recall to Pittsburgh along with Alexandre Picard. Brian Strait and Boris Valabik are still recovering from injury.

    I will be in attendance with in-game pictures, updates and insights on the blog's Twitter feed. This is my first road trip of the season, the first of many I will be making over the course of the season.

    Go Penguins!

    Penguins Blank Bears, Win 5th Straight

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    On a night where the defense was paper thin, thanks to a late Robert Bortuzzo call-up to Pittsburgh, the defense came ready to play. They held the Hershey Bears to 19 shots and shut them out 4-0 tonight. Guys like Simon Despres, Philip Samuelsson and Carl Sneep stepped up big defensively. One defenseman even provided some offense.

    The Penguins got things started in the first period with a whacky goal. Alex Grant made a nice play to get the puck to Colin McDonald but the play was broken up, or so it appeared to fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The puck actually bounced of Hershey's Patrick McNeill and into the back of the net. 1-0 Penguins just 2:47 into the game, just the start they were looking for.

    Late in the first period the Penguins got another goal. Brian Gibbons fed Eric Tangradi a great cross-ice pass and nearly connected for a goal, but a fore-checking Joey Mormina was able to bring the puck out from behind the net and stuff one past ex-Penguin Dany Sabourin to make it 2-0.

    Jason Williams continues to impress and he kept things going in the opening minute of the middle frame. McDonald and Bryan Lerg teamed up on the assists but the highlight reel goal was all Williams' doing.

    An absolute beauty on a mini breakaway, Williams went forehand to backhand and roofed a puck over a sprawling Sabourin. That would be the last shot Sabourin would face as Braden Holtby would enter the game after Sabourin allowed three goals on 13 shots.

    That would be all the scoring the Penguins would need, until the Bears pulled Braden Holtby for the extra attacker late in the third period while on a power play. Brad Thiessen shuffled one to Mormina who cashed in on the empty net, flinging the puck nearly 200 feet into the open cage. That was Mormina's 2nd goal of the game, matching his season total of two goals in 50 games all of last season.

    Brad Thiessen got the 19 save shutout, and the Penguins finally one their first home game of the season. The Penguins are now winners of five straight games and look to make it six in a row tomorrow night in Binghamton when they take on the Senators.

    Highland Park Hockey will be making the trip to New York and will have exclusive in-game coverage of tomorrow night's game. Tomorrow's game preview will be up early in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

    Go Penguins!

    WBS Penguins Search For First Home Win

    Bad blood between these two teams could boil over all season long.
    The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins return home after a 20 day break from the Mohegan Sun Arena to take on their most heated rival, the Hershey Bears. The Penguins are coming off four straight road wins and a perfect 5-0-0-0 on the season away from home, but are looking to win their first game in front of the home crowd tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST.

    Who: Hershey Bears @ WBS Penguins
    Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
    When: Friday, November 4th at 7:05 p.m. EST

    Things to watch for and the expected lineup for tonight's game after the jump.

    WBS Penguins Practice Update 11/3

    Thursday, November 3, 2011
    Captain Craig skated in a red no-contact jersey today.
    Interesting practice today at Coal Street. About halfway through the practice, head coach John Hynes lost his lid and really let his players have it. He wasn't happy with the effort the guys were putting into the drills and told the team to get off the ice, to put it nicely. The team gathered in the locker room where I'm sure Hynes let them have it and came back onto the ice and finished practice.

    You might be surprised at this outburst, since the team is currently on a winning streak. But with two big division games this weekend against Hershey and Binghamton, the Penguins need to stay hungry and not be satisfied with what they have done the past two weekends. The Pens are still searching for a win at home.

    Lots of news to update everyone on as the WBS Penguins get ready for two games this weekend.