The Week Ahead 11/11

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Editor's note: 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.

This week, the Penguins and Phantoms have a week of practice separating themselves from their third meeting of the season on Friday night, the second in Wilkes-Barre. 

I'll have full coverage of Friday night's Lehigh Valley Phantoms game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, with live in-game updates on Twitter -> @H_P_Hockey and a post-game recap online shortly following the game.

Saturday night, it's the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. as the Phantoms return home after a four-game road trip and host the Toronto Marlies. Follow @TonyAndrock_TCG on Twitter for live in-game updates, and stay tuned online for a recap of Saturday night's action.

After the jump, a look back at last week for both the Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The two teams meet for the third time this season in Wilkes-Barre on Friday night.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
8-5-1-0, 17 points - First Place East Division

Weekend Sweep

The Penguins are happy with how they played this past weekend, coming from behind to beat Hershey in overtime on Friday, taking care of Binghamton Saturday and completing the weekend sweep on Sunday against Syracuse - another OT win. 

The three wins in a row have the Penguins looking to separate themselves from the rest of the East Division, with another three game weekend looming - including two games against divisional opponents.

Up Next

11/14 - Friday vs. Lehigh Valley (5-5-1-0), 7:05 p.m. ET 

The Phantoms come into Mohegan Sun Arena at the tail end of a four-game road trip. With a record of 1-2 on their swing through New England, it's a pivotal game for Lehigh Valley. Win and a 2-2 road trip doesn't sound too bad. Lose to a division opponent and go home 1-3 on the road trip. As if the AHL affiliates of the Penguins and Flyers really needed a backstory before what looks to be another exciting matchup between the two teams.

Leading Scorers: Nick Cousins (three goals, seven assists), Scott Laughton (five goals, three assists), Petr Straka (three goals, four assists) and Robert Hagg (one goal, six assists)

Goalies: Rob Zepp (5-2-1, 2.69 GAA, .919 SV%, 0 SO) and Anthony Stolarz (0-3-0, 3.05 GAA, .909 SV%, 0 SO)

11/15 - Saturday vs. Syracuse (5-4-3-0), 7:05 p.m. ET 

The Penguins defeated the Crunch in overtime Sunday, but the Pens allowed the Crunch to score twice in the third period and tie the game. The Crunch might have moved to the Northeast Division, but the two teams still play a gritty physical game as if it was a division opponent.

Leading Scorers: Jonathan Marchessault (five goals, six assists), Dalton Smith (six goals, no assists), Tanner Richard (three goals, three assists) and Joel Vermin (three goals, three assists)

Goalies: Kristers Gudlevskis (4-2-0, 2.97 GAA, .900 SV%, 0 SO) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (1-2-3, 3.25 GAA, .890 SV%, 0 SO)

11/16 - Sunday @ Hershey (7-5-1-0), 5:00 p.m. ET 

The Penguins finish the weekend with a trip to Hershey to take on the Bears at Giant Center, a very difficult building to play in. The Bears want to avenge last Friday's loss to the Penguins and keep pace atop the East Division.

Leading Scorers: Kris Newbury (eight goals, ten assists), Casey Wellman (seven goals, five assists), Tomas Kundratek (no goals, 11 assists) and Tim Kennedy (one goal, eight assists)

Goalies: Philipp Grubauer (4-3-1, 2.39 GAA, .908 SV%, 1 SO) and Pheonix Copley (3-2-0, 1.97 GAA, .920 SV%, 2 SO)


Jeff Zatkoff resumed skating as he inches closer to a return, possibly this weekend. Matt Murray and Eric Hartzell have been playing well since Zatkoff's absence, so I don't think the Pens need to rush Zatkoff back.

On defense, Scott Harrington was returned to the AHL and played for the Pens on Sunday against Syracuse. His return bolsters the depth on the blue line as he joins Brian Dumoulin, Taylor Chorney, Philip Samuelsson, Derrick Pouliot and Reid McNeill in what is a well rounded unit.

Up front, the rookie forwards are leading the way. Bryan Rust leads all rookies in the AHL with six goals. Jean-Sebastien Dea's two overtime goals are the most among all players in the AHL. Matia Marcantuoni tallied a hat trick for the Wheeling Nailers in his first game in the ECHL after being re-assigned last week.

Beau Bennett was recalled by the Pittsburgh Penguins today, meaning the lineup heading into this weekend could be very similar to what we saw in Sunday's game against Syracuse, minus Bennett and Hartzell.

Lines from Sunday:

Bennett - Ebbett - Megna
Wilson - Dea - Kostopoulos
Sheary - Rowney - Rust
Farnham - Payerl - Archibald

Dumoulin - Chorney
Harrington - Samuelsson
Pouliot - McNeill

Hartzell - Murray

Injury list: Jeff Zatkoff, Nick Drazenovic, Anton Zlobin and Barry Goers
Healthy scratches: Alex Boak, Tom Kuhnhackl, Dominik Uher, Nick D'Agostino and Pierre-Luc Leblond

Lehigh Valley Phantoms
5-5-1-0, 11 points - Third Place East Division

On The Road Again

The Phantoms finish up their first extended road trip Friday night against rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before returning home to host the Toronto Marlies Saturday night at the PPL Center. The Phantoms are battling adversity and are 1-2 on their road swing, with their most recent game a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Portland Pirates. To say that the Phantoms want to end the road trip on a positive note is an understatement.

Up Next

11/14 - Friday @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (8-5-1-0), 7:05 p.m. ET 

Leading Scorers: Jean-Sebastien Dea (four goals, six assists), Andrew Ebbett (three goals, seven assists), Bryan Rust (six goals, three assists) and Jayson Megna (six goals, two assists)

Goalies: Matt Murray (4-2-1, 2.28 GAA, .908 SV%, 1 SO) and Eric Hartzell (2-0-0, 2.92 GAA, .882 SV%, 0 SO)

11/15 - Saturday vs. Toronto (5-5-1-0), 7:05 p.m. ET 

Leading Scorers: Connor Brown (three goals, five assists), Spencer Abbott (three goals, four assists), Greg McKegg (three goals, four assists) and Viktor Loov (two goals, three assists)

Goalies: Christopher Gibson (3-3-0, 2.46 GAA, .928 SV%, 0 SO) and Antoine Bibeau (2-2-0, 1.68 GAA, .943 SV%, 1 SO)


Veteran netminder Rob Zepp has kept the Phantoms competitive through the first month and a half of the season. Rookie Anthony Stolarz has yet to win his first pro game at 0-3, but he has also kept his team in games in his limited action thus far.

The injuries on defense continue to pile up. The big news is that promising defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere tore his ACL and is out indefinitely. He's scheduled to have surgery later this week. Mark Alt is still out with an upper body injury suffered in Binghamton three weeks ago. Steven Delisle returned for the Phantoms, but with Luke Schenn going down in Philadelphia the AHL club could lose another guy to the NHL before the weekend.

Scott Laughton didn't practice yesterday but his absence wasn't due to injury or a call up. Colleague Gary Blockus reported Laughton was held out for a maintenance day. Darroll Powe served his two game suspension and is ready to return to the lineup.


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