New On Tuesdays - The Week Ahead 10/21

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Binghamton Senators goalie Andrew Hammond lays out to block a second chance effort in a game against the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday. Both the Penguins and Phantoms face the BSens this weekend. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
Now that the season is in full-swing, I'll provide a weekly look at what lies ahead for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms as well as what games I'll be attending that week. Be sure to let me know what you think of a weekly update like this and what you would like to see more of below in the comments and on Facebook/Twitter.

Both teams have a busy weekend ahead of themselves as both play their first three games in three nights weekend of the season. The Penguins also play tonight, finishing their three game road trip with a rare Tuesday night game. Penguins rookie Derrick Pouliot will make his 2014-15 debut in an AHL Penguins uniform up in Albany, New York.

I'll have in-game updates of tonight's AHL Penguins game against Albany on Twitter -> @H_P_Hockey (or the top left side of the website). Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Friday, I'll be live from Allentown as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms host East Division rival Hershey. Follow @TonyAndrock_TCG on Twitter for season-long coverage of the Phantoms for The Home News.

The Pens host the Springfield Falcons on Friday night, and I'll have AHL Penguins coverage on Twitter this season too @H_P_Hockey.

Saturday, I'll be in Binghamton covering Phantoms/BSens and I should be in Wilkes-Barre Sunday afternoon to catch BSens/Pens as well.

Looks like it's going to be a busy weekend for everyone involved.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
2-2-0-0, 4 points - Tied Second Place, East Division

Up Next

Tuesday (10/21)  - @ Albany, 7:00 p.m. ET
Friday (10/24) - vs. Springfield, 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday (10/25) - @ Hershey, 7:00 p.m. ET
Sunday (10/26) - vs. Binghamton, 4:05 p.m. ET.


The lineup was the same for both road games, though the top six forwards saw a small tweak swapping wingers Scott Wilson and Tom Kostopoulos on the top line with Nick Drazenovic and Jayson Megna. Though everything is about to change:

Kostopoulos - Drazenovic - Megna
Wilson - Torquato - Payerl
Kuhnhackl - Dea - Rust
Uher - Marcantuoni - Farnham

Dumoulin - Chorney
Goers - Samuelsson
McNeill - Boak

Zatkoff - Murray

Scratches: Nick D'Agostino, Harrison Ruopp, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Conor Sheary (lower body) and Josh Archibald (upper body)

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins re-assigned defenseman Derrick Pouliot to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL) this morning, meaning he has been medically cleared and released from the IR in Pittsburgh so he could be re-assigned to the AHL. Pouliot's re-assignment makes an already deep blue even more talented. It will be interesting to see how the pairings shake out and if Pouliot's regular season starts this weekend. EDIT: Pouliot will be in the AHL Pens' lineup tonight per his former head coach with Portland and current NHL Pens head coach Mike Johnston.
    • With Pouliot in the lineup, I'd expect rookie Alex Boak will be the 7th defenseman and perhaps something like this:
      • Dumoulin-Samuelsson
      • McNeill-Harrington
      • Chorney-Pouliot
  • The Pens also re-assigned Scott Harrington and forward Andrew Ebbett to AHL Pens on Monday. With their re-assignments, the AHL Penguins now have 10 healthy defensemen and 17 forwards (15 healthy) on the roster.
  • Forwards Conor Sheary (lower body) and Josh Archibald (upper body) are on the team's injured list. Both are expected back within a week or two.
  • With three games in three nights coming up, rookie goaltender Matt Murray could make his first start of the season sometime this weekend. 
  • Jeff Zatkoff allowed nine goals on 34 shots in the Penguins' opening weekend losses at home, but rebounded with back-to-back wins in St. John's this past weekend - stopping a combined 49 of 51 shots in those two games.
  • Rookie forward Bryan Rust has been a pleasant surprise for the Penguins thus far. The former Notre Dame standout tallied a goal in each of the AHL Pens' preseason games and has scored two goals in four games to start the regular season as well.
  • Second year pro Anton Zlobin has been a healthy scratch at forward the past two games up in St. John's after going pointless with a minus two rating in the team's opening two games.
With so many extra bodies on the AHL roster, moves could be coming to send a few guys to the Pens' ECHL affiliate in Wheeling. I would expect you'll see two defensemen and one forward in the first group of re-assignments coming soon, possibly as soon as after tonight's game up in Albany at 7:05 p.m. ET. If I had to guess, I would say it's Alex Boak, Nick D'Agostino and Zach Torquato heading to Wheeling in the near future.

Lehigh Valley Phantoms
2-1-0-0, 4 points - Tied Second Place, East Division

Up Next

Friday (10/24) - vs. Hershey, 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday (10/25) - @ Binghamton, 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday (10/26) - @ Hershey, 5:00 p.m. ET.


The lineup was the same for both games of the home-and-home series with the Adirondack Flames last weekend, except that both goaltenders - Robb Zepp and Anthony Stolarz - got one game in net.

Leier - Laughton - Gordon
Powe - Goumas - Alderson
Straka - Cousins - Stortini
Rosehill - Fyten - Hextall

Ghostisbehere - Manning
Alt - Hagg
Lauridsen - Pettersson

Zepp - Stolarz

Scratches: Steven Deslisle and Andrew Johnston 
  • Scott Laughton tallied two goals in both games of a home-and-home series with the Adirondack Flames over the weekend. His four goals were enough to earn the AHL's Player of the Week award for the week ending on October 19th.
  • Goaltender Rob Zepp has been solid, winning both of his starts this season. Rookie Anthony Stolarz was impressive in his pro debut Saturday in Glens Falls despite getting the loss, stopping 32 of the 35 shots he faced and stopping several Grade A scoring chances from the opposition.
  • Rookies Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg have looked as good as advertised through three games, and a third rookie in Jesper Pettersson has shown a solid two-way game on the third pairing.
  • The big games in the first month continue for the Phantoms, with three East Division games on the schedule this weekend - two of which are against rival Hershey.
  •  I caught up with Andrew Gordon after Friday's home-opening night win in Allentown and he talked about the importance of instilling a winning atmosphere:
    • “Winning is a habit,” Gordon said. “You work hard and see results and that becomes what you do the next day. Winning breeds more success and I think if you nurture it, work hard and you make sure you’re rewarding guys for doing the right things and we’re getting the results, it’ll take care of itself.”
  • More from Gordon coming in this week's issue of The Home News. I'll post the link after it becomes available to read online. Here's last week's issue with my Phantoms preview for those who missed it. It's on page 10.
  • Also stay tuned for a chat I had with Scott Laughton about his recent goal-scoring surge, what he needs to work on and Phantoms head coach Terry Murray's input on what he's seen in Laughton's development. I'll link that feature on Hockey's Future as soon as it's posted.
With the season just a handful of games in, everyone in the East Division is obviously bunched up in the standings. Getting off to an early head start could prove to serve the Phantoms well later on when points are at a premium. They have a chance, with three division games against two different opponents, to create some distance between themselves heading into November with a successful three game weekend.


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