The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are officially a quarter of a way through their season, as they have played the first 20 games of a 76-game season.
However, the milestone has brought some problems for the Penguins, and they are currently in the midst of a lengthy losing streak.
Find out what’s causing the Pens to struggle as they begin the second quarter and when they’ll have a chance to turn it around in this week’s edition of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins News and Notes.
Portland, Manchester Defeat Penguins in Road Shootouts
Brian Gibbons and Ben Street tried to help the Pens fight off 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, but they struggled in the shootout to suffer their first road loss of the season at the hands of the Portland Pirates last Friday. Portland defeated WBS by a score of 3-2 in the shootout.
Colin McDonald scored the Pens’ lone shootout goal in the first round, and four other Pens went scoreless on their attempts. Brett MacLean scored the fifth and deciding goal of the shootout to give the Pirates the win.
The Penguins traveled to Manchester, N.H. last Saturday night to take on the Monarchs and try to rebound from their loss in Portland.
Unfortunately, the Monarchs won 4-3, again in a shootout.
In regulation, Ben Street had a goal and an assist for Wilkes-Barre, while Niko Dimitrakos and Robert Bortuzzo also scored. Justin Azevedo and Dwight King each had two assists for Manchester.
Jason Williams was the only Penguin to score in the shootout. David Meckler, Marc-Andre Cliché and Jordan Nolan scored on the Monarchs’ last three shootout attempts to give the Penguins another loss and their second loser point of the weekend.
Worcester Gives Penguins First Regulation Road Loss of 2011-12
Benn Ferriero scored two goals 2:54 apart in the first period to chase Penguins netminder Brad Thiessen and give the Worcester Sharks a 3-1 victory last Sunday.
Thiessen was pulled after making just five saves on seven shots. Scott Munroe replaced Thiessen with 12:50 left in the first period, but allowed a goal from the Sharks’ Brandon Mashinter at 6:32 of the second.
Eric Tangradi scored a power-play goal for Wilkes-Barre with 25 seconds left in the game, but it was too little, too late. The Penguins dropped their third straight game and suffered their first regulation loss away from home.
Penguins Stumble At Home Against Syracuse and Hershey
The night before Thanksgiving, home cooking could not help the Penguins. They found themselves in a 4-0 hole after the first period and lost 7-5 to the Syracuse Crunch.
Munroe was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on the first three shots of the game. Peter Holland had two assists by the time Munroe was pulled, while former WBS Penguin forward Jean-Francois Jacques had a goal and an assist.
Thiessen replaced Munroe at 9:12 of the first, but allowed a goal from Kyle Palmieri at 17:19 of the first to give Syracuse a 4-0 lead going into the locker room.
Matt Kennedy scored at 4:16 of the second to give the Crunch a 5-0 lead, but Alexandre Picard scored 23 seconds later to cut the lead to 5-1. However, the Pens’ hope would be short-lived, as Nicolas Deschamps put the Crunch up 6-1 under a minute later at 5:24.
Bryan Lerg had two goals 2:41 apart in the second, and Zach Sill also scored to cut the lead again to 6-4.
In the third, Holland scored at 10:03 on the power play to put Syracuse up 7-4. Ryan Craig scored at 18:46 to again cut the deficit, this time to 7-5, but the Penguins could not find any more offense and suffered their fourth straight loss.
On Black Friday, Ryan Potulny scored for Hershey at 12:26 of the first period on a power-play goal to give Hershey an early lead. Street tied things up at 7:03 of the second on a power-play goal of his own, but Potulny scored at 15:20 of the third (again on the man advantage) for a 2-1 Hershey lead.
However, at 18:44 of the third, Nick Petersen forced overtime with his fourth goal of the season. Street had an assist to tally his second point of the night.
The game went to a shootout, but Lerg was the only Penguin able to put the puck past Hershey goaltender Braden Hotlby. Potulny and Keith Aucoin scored to give Hershey the win.
Picard Returned to Wilkes-Barre
Defenseman Alexandre Picard was sent down to Wilkes-Barre after spending some time in Pittsburgh due to an injury to Zbynek Michalek.
While in Pittsburgh, Picard went scoreless in six games and posted a plus-five rating. He has five points and a plus-10 through 11 games with WBS this season.
WBS Penguins Unveil 2011 Christmas Jersey
On Tuesday, the Penguins unveiled their Christmas jersey that they will wear on Dec. 17 against the Norfolk Admirals.
The jersey is primarily tan with red accents and the skating penguin logo. It is meant to be designed after an ugly Christmas sweater, and the jerseys will be auctioned off after the December 17 game. All proceeds will go to the local United Way.
Current Record and Upcoming Schedule
The Penguins currently sit in first place in the AHL’s East Division with a record of 10-5-5 with 25 points. They are in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Their next five games are as follows:
Saturday, Nov. 26: at Binghamton Senators, 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29: at Norfolk Admirals, 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 2: vs. Portland, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3: at Syracuse, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 7: at Binghamton, 7:05 p.m.
Watch and Listen
Fans can listen to all WBS games on the team’s flagship radio station, 102.3 the Mountain. Tom Grace will call the action with Mike O’Brien as color commentator.
Games can also be viewed on AHL Live for $6 per game. A variety of season packages are also available.