Monday's Catch Up & Lunch Links 10/20

Monday, October 20, 2014
Phantoms forwards Andrew Gordon (left) and Nick Cousins (middle) look on as rookie defenseman Jesper Pettersson (right) accepts a pass and takes aim for a shot during warmups at Friday night's home opener.
Now that the season has started, there is plenty of hockey to talk about. I'll look to beef up this weekly post on Monday's to give you guys more to read about!

This week, a recap of last weekend for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, links to almost 13,000 words of previews for all six AHL divisions and the prospects to watch for Hockey's Future, a Phantoms preview for The Home News and a new Tuesday feature to be on the watch for.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sweep St. John's

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rebounded from two losses on opening weekend at home with a successful weekend in Newfoundland against the St. John's IceCaps to even their record this season to 2-2-0-0.

The Penguins picked up their first win of the 2014-15 season over St. John's. Jayson Megna scored a game-tying third period goal and Reid McNeill scored off a point shot following a successful face-off win from Jean-Sebastien Dea in overtime to help the Penguins improve to 1-2 on the season.

Jeff Zatkoff got the start in net for the third straight game and after two rough games last weekend, bounced back to stop 21 of the 22 shots he faced. Anton Zlobin was a surprise healthy scratch for the Pens, while injured forwards Josh Archibald (upper body) and Conor Sheary (lower body) did not make the trip.

Zlobin was scratched again on Saturday night and the Penguins completed the weekend sweep with a strong 3rd period after being out shot 11-4 in the middle frame.

Scott Wilson got the Penguins on the board 2:59 into the contest on what was his first pro goal. Nick Drazenovic made it 2-0 moments later as the Pens got off to a fast start with two goals in the opening 5:01 of play.

The IceCaps dominated the 2nd period and cut the lead in half on a J.C. Lipon goal 4:09 into the middle period, but Zatkoff was strong again in back-to-back nights stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced to even his record to 2-2 on the season.

The Penguins took the game over at 3-1 after Bryan Rust tallied his second goal of the season. Recent call up Zach Torquato was impressive all weekend and he was rewarded with 1:57 left to play with an empty net goal that capped the scoring at a 4-1 win for the Penguins.

Lehigh Valley Phantoms Split Home-And-Home With Adirondack

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms gave a sellout crowd of 8,647 fans quite the show on opening night at the PPL Center Friday night, defeating the Adirondack Flames 4-3 in overtime.

Scott Laughton was the game's first star despite Brandon Manning scoring the game-winning goal 1:24 into overtime. Laughton opened the scoring in the first period and tied the game late in the 2nd period with a pair of power play goals.

Rob Zepp has been solid in both of his starts, now 2-0 on the season after stopping 29 of 32 shots that came his way. Phantoms head coach Terry Murray was quick to point out that Zepp's play in the 2nd period amidst the team's penalty troubles gave them a chance to win.

Laughton followed up Friday's performance with two more goals in the Phantoms' 4-2 loss to Flames on Saturday night up in Glens Falls. That's back to back two-goal games for the rookie forward, who I caught up with after Friday night's win. Be sure to check Hockey's Future for an upcoming feature on Laughton later this week.

The Flames spoiled rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz's pro debut, tallying three goals on 35 shots on him for the Phantoms' first loss of the season. Stolarz still made 32 saves and kept his team in the game, even following the Flames' goal with 3:28 left that give them a 3-2 lead.

Lunch Links

There haven't been many posts here in the last week, but it doesn't mean I haven't been writing. This season at Hockey's Future, I previewed every American Hockey League (AHL) team by division and ended up with 12,896 words on AHL teams and players spread out amongst six articles.

Be sure to stay tuned to Hockey's Future all season long for features on prospects and a monthly look at which prospects are excelling in the AHL this year. I was in Syracuse Saturday night for what turned out to be Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin's last AHL game on his conditioning stint. I caught up with Drouin after the game to talk about his first two pro games, overcoming his injury and more. There should be a story on that up later this week.

I have also been covering the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the Town & Country Gazette's sister paper - The Home News (THN). THN is a weekly paper in the Lehigh Valley and I will have plenty of stories over there this season as well. You can read last week's issue online here. My Phantoms preview is on Page 10.

The AHL Penguins play a rare Tuesday night game tomorrow up in Albany against the Devils, so tune in on Twitter @H_P_Hockey for in-game updates of that.

I'll also be debuting a new weekly feature on Tuesdays starting tomorrow, so be sure to check for that in the afternoon before the Penguns-Devils game at 7:05 p.m. ET.


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