Monday's Catch Up & Links 12/15

Monday, December 15, 2014
Harry Zolnierczyk's return to Wilkes-Barre was last Friday night. He faced the Phantoms twice the week before.
It's Monday again, which in the American Hockey League (AHL) means recapping another busy three-in-three weekend for both the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who re-matched Saturday night in Allentown after the Penguins had their way with the Phantoms in Wilkes-Barre on December 5th.

Not much of a break for the Phantoms, who host the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday night before hosting rival Hershey Friday night and traveling to Hartford for a 5:00 p.m. face-off against the Wolfpack on Saturday.

The Penguins, meanwhile, don't play again until this weekend with a home game Friday against Albany and a Saturday road trip to Binghamton on their schedule.

You can follow up to the minute breaking AHL news on Twitter. Follow @H_P_Hockey for all the latest on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh), or @TonyAndrock_TCG for the latest scoop on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia).

Penguins Take Five of Six Points On Weekend

On Friday in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins capitalized on a pair of second period  power play chances led by rookies Bryan Rust and Derrick Pouliot in route to a 4-1 win over the Sound Tigers. Rust tallied two goals, including his team-leading 10th of the season, while Pouliot added a goal and an assist and continued his dominance on the man advantage.

Forwards Bryan Rust and Bobby Farnham were called up to Pittsburgh following the game, while Jayson Megna was re-assigned to AHL Penguins.

On Saturday in Allentown, the Penguins peppered Phantoms goaltender Anthony Stolarz with 45 shots, but only scored on one of them with 2:08 left in the 3rd period to force overtime and an eventual shootout. J-S Dea scored the lone WBS goal, while he and Josh Archibald also scored in the shootout. Matt Murray stopped 23 of 24 in the loss, but after allowing a rebound goal 1:15 into the game settled in with a strong effort in net.

Sunday against Hershey, the Pens were missing defenseman Scott Harrington - who later was officially called up to Pittsburgh Sunday evening (if you follow me on Twitter, you knew this was coming). Harrington was originally listed by the AHL Penguins as a healthy scratch.

As for the game, the Penguins scored goals 38 seconds apart from J-S Dea and Dominik Uher to turn a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 lead that they would hold until the final three seconds. With goaltender Philipp Grubauer pulled, the Bears got a goal from Chris Brown with 2.7 seconds left to force overtime. 

In the extra session, Conor Sheary and Adam Payerl teamed up for the game-winning goal - Payerl's 1st of the season - to lift the Penguins to a big win over their East Division rival in second place. The Penguins extended their first place lead over the Bears to four points.


Jeff Zatkoff (20 saves - 22 shots) was back in net for the Penguins on Sunday, with rookie Matt Murray backing him up.

Scott Harrington did not take warmups and was called up to Pittsburgh, allowing Alex Boak to slot back into the lineup. No other changes to the lineup. Alex Boak took the warmups and there were no healthy scratches.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins recalled defenseman Clark Seymour from Wheeling today.
Seymour made his AHL debut on December 6th, recording one assist. This is Seymour's 2nd AHL call up following six points (1G-5A) in 18 ECHL games with the Nailers so far this season for the rookie defender.


Conor Sheary - J-S Dea - Jayson Megna
Tom Kostopoulos - Carter Rowney - Adam Payerl
Tom Kuhnhackl - Sahir Gill - Josh Archibald
Pierre-Luc Leblond - Matia Marcantuoni - Dominik Uher

Taylor Chorney - Reid McNeill
Barry Goers - Derrick Pouliot
Nick D'Agostino - Alex Boak

Jeff Zatkoff - Matt Murray

WBS Scratches: Nick Drazenovic (lower body) and Anton Zlobin (out for season - shoulder surgery)

Phantoms Find Three of Six Points For Second Consecutive Weekend

In Binghamton, the Phantoms got off to a good start and took an early 1-0 lead but the BSens hot streak continued as they rallied for three straight goals and a 3-1 win for their 5th win in their last six games. Zack Stortini tallied the Phantoms lone goal, while goaltender Rob Zepp kept his team in it with 37 saves on 40 shots.

The Phantoms rebounded at home on Saturday night against the Penguins with a big shootout win over their East Division rival. Petr Straka gave the Phantoms a 1-0 lead just 1:15 into play, before he, Taylor Leier and Nick Cousins tallied goals in a four-round shootout to preserve the win and two points.

Sunday in Atlantic City, the Phantoms trailed the Albany Devils most of the afternoon in Atlantic City, but Taylor Leier jump started Lehigh Valley's offense in the third period and got the team to overtime to earn a point in a 4-3 overtime loss.


Rob Zepp (33 saves - 37 shots) got the start in net for the Phantoms on Sunday, with rookie Anthony Stolarz serving as the team's backup.

No changes on defense as Brett Flemming stayed in on the third pairing for Jesper Pettersson.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced they will re-assign defenseman Robert Hagg to Team Sweden on December 21st for the World Juniors Tournament, which is hosted in Toronto and Montreal and runs 12/26-1/5.

Up front, Blair Jones left the warmup skate early and was scratched with an apparent injury. Derek Mathers was a last second addition to the forward lines, causing the lines to again be jumbled.


Jason Akeson - Kevin Goumas - Andrew Gordon
Taylor Leier - Nick Cousins - Zack Stortini
Peter Straka - Kevin Goumas - Brett Hextall
Jay Rosehill - Austin Fyten - Derek Mathers

Brandon Manning - Mark Alt
Robert Hagg - Steven Delisle
Oliver Lauridsen - Brett Flemming

Anthony Stolarz - Rob Zepp

Scratches: Jesper Pettersson (healthy), Shayne Gostisbehere (ACL-injury) and Blair Jones (undisclosed)
Weekly Links

An interesting read by our friends at Pens Initiative tackling the "are the referees really out to get the Pittsburgh Penguins" debacle.

Friend Eric Majeski at Pensburgh had his weekly feature take a look into just how dominant Evgeni Malkin has been.

Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had an in-depth post about the Penguins' handling of disclosing injuries, management turnover & other points questioning the Penguins credability. A must read.

I caught up with St. John's IceCaps goaltender Conor Hellebuyck and second year pro defenseman Brenden Kichton for a feature for Hockey's Future about both players' adjustment to the pro game and how different each player's development process has been.

Last week's story for The Home News looked at the depth and balance up front that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are starting to build through the recent additions of Blair Jones and Jason Akeson. Stay tuned for this week's story for THN, which is on just how entertaining (and successful) the Phantoms have been on home ice in all capacities at the PPL Center.


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