Behind Enemy Lines: “What, Pens Worry?”

pens

der Eishockeyzuschauer

ALLENTOWN, Pa

 

Would Alfred E. Neuman be particularly concerned if, say, his favorite American Hockey League team lost its head coach, its joint top scorer, its all-star goaltender and its best defensive defenseman all in a short span of just four calendar days?

No, of course not! And neither will the top ranked club in the entire 30-team AHL be seriously troubled by recent events, either. The simple fact of the matter is that the Wilkes-Barre Scanton Penguins just have too much talent and depth for Pittsburgh’s well-oiled minor league machine to not keep on cranking out results.
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Because Matt Murray (14 ga, 1.84 avg, .938 svpct), both the AHL’s Rookie of the Year as well as the circuit’s Best Goaltender last season, was promoted to the NHL for the first time in his career on Tuesday, the Hamilton Street Heroes are all but certain to see Wilkes-Barre Scranton rookie Tristan Jarry (8 ga, 1.70 avg, .934 svpct) in between the pipes at the PPL Center in Allentown on Wednesday night. It is interesting to note that while Murray was the 3rd round pick (# 83 overall) of Pittsburgh at the 2012 NHL Draft, the Penguins organization selected Jarry 44th overall in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old Jarry has acquitted himself well in limited duty for the WBS Penguins thus far and posted the very first shutout of his professional career by stopping all 22 shots from the Albany Devils this pastSaturday night.
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Steve Oleksy (23 ga, 0 go, 7 pts, 49 pen, + 11 def), the always rather physical 29-year-old veteran out of Lake Superior State who signed as a free agent this past summer after three seasons with the Hershey Bears, has been lost to Wilkes-Barre Scranton with what is described as an undisclosed upper body injury and is listed as week to week. Clark Seymour (6’4″ 205 lbs), the second-year pro who was the 5th round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2012 NHL Draft and skated in a dozen AHL games (0 go, 1 as, 13 pen, – 1 def) for the WBS Penguins as a rookie last season, took Oleksy’s place in the line-up against Albany on Saturday night. Harrison Ruopp (6’3″ 192 lbs), the third-year pro who was the 3rd round pick (# 84 overall) of the Arizona Coyotes at the 2011 NHL Draft and has already skated in a combined total of 28 career AHL games (0 go, 0 pts, 43 pen, – 5 def) over the course of two seasons, has been summoned from the Wheeling Nailers of the East Coast Hockey League for the first time this season.
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The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins may very well ice the same exact defense pairings against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesdaynight as they did during the 4-0 victory over Albany Devils last Saturday night :
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Pouliot – Seymour
Erixon – O’Neill
McNeil – Andersen
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Conor Sheary (24 ga, 6 go, 25 pts, 4 pen, + 8 def), the small but skillful second-year right wing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who is currently tied for fourth place on the AHL scoring chart, has, like Murray, been promoted to the NHL for the very first time in his career and Kevin Porter (16 ga, 5 go, 9 pts, 4 pen, + 11 def), the fairly well traveled 29-year-old veteran center from the University of Michigan who already has 214 career NHL games (29 go, 56 pts) under his belt, was recalled by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, as well.
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Wilkes-Barre Scranton still have a formidable cast of forwards led by Dominik Simon (24 ga, 11 go, 25 pts, 16 pen, + 13 def), the exciting 21-year-old rookie right wing from the Czech Republic who is currently tied with his Penguins teammate Sheary for fourth place on the AHL scoring chart; Scott Wilson (23 ga, 14 go, 22 pts, 10 pen, + 8 def), the second-year pro from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who is well on his way to eclipsing last season’s total of 19 goals in 55 AHL games, is tied with a host of other players for 11th place on the league scoring chart.
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Jean-Sebastien Dea (24 ga, 7 go, 14 pts, 10 pen, + 9 def), the undrafted second-year pro who has been centering the fourth line for WBS but does get a lot of ice time with the Penguins’ second power play unit, could very end up taking Porter’s place on the second line. As far as Sheary’s spot on the top line is concerned, Wilkes-Barre Scranton’s new head coach Jay Leach might use Bryan Rust, the second-year pro out of Notre Dame University who was the 3rd round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2010 NHL Draft. Rust scored 13 goals in 45 AHL games and also skated in 14 NHL games as a rookie last season, has struggled skating on the fourth line since being sent down by Pittsburgh on November 30th but just might receive a boost from such a move.
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Wilkes-Barre Scranton are unlikely to break up their third line (read, checking unit) consisting of the Czech import Dominik Uher, the Swedish rookie Oskar Sundqvist and WBS Penguins veteran Canadian captain Tom Kostopoulos.  Matia Marcantuoni, the 21-year-old center who was the 4th round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2012 NHL Draft and had 14 points in 59 AHL games as a rookie last season, could very well slip into Dea’s place on the fourth line. Marcantuoni, who battled injury earlier this season and only just returned from a stint in the ECHL with Wheeling on December 10th, does have a goal and three points in three AHL games for the WBS Penguins this term.
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Wilkes-Barre Scranton have recalled a pair of players from Wheeling who each scored a goal against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL exhibition contest at the PPL Center earlier this season. Sahir Gill, the undrafted third-year pro out of Boston University, skated in a combined 37 AHL games (three goals, seven points) for the Hamilton Bulldogs and WBS Penguins last season. Ty Loney, the undrafted rookie winger from Denver University now in his first full season as a professional, also had a goal against the Phantoms on behalf of the Norfolk Admirals after initially leaving school last spring.


Categories: Phantoms Hockey

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  1. HOCKEY NIGHT IN ALLENTOWN 12/16/2015: “Beware the Wounded Penguin” |

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