This weekend, it’s a game at home to 2017’s playoff opponents Providence on Saturday night then an away game with the always eager Hershey Bears on Sunday evening. Troy Josephs and Tom Kostopoulos are still on the injured list, with Josephs week to week and Kostopoulos day to day.
Saturday Night (11/11/2017)
Providence Bruins (Home) – 4-3 OT Win
Ethan Prow, Kevin Spionzzi, Christian Thomas, Patrick McGrath and Jarrett Burton are the scratches. The same lineup as Wednesday with the same lines. In what is becoming quite the theme, the Baby Penguins went down early 2-0 to the Bruins, and never really recovered in the game. The game itself may have been in the favor of the Bruins, but it took the Bruins scoring with 29 seconds left to take it to OT. However, the depth of the WBS team was once again shown, with the Zach Aston-Reese – JS Dea – Ryan Haggerty line once again coming up huge for the Penguins. Haggerty himself had a 3 point night, assisting on two goals, and adding the winner in overtime. Casey DeSmith put in a good showing for himself coming up with 33 saves on 36 shots.
Sunday Evening (11/12/17)
Hershey Bears (Away) – 5-1 Win
Changes from Saturday night are Prow in for Lukas Bengtsson, who misses due to illness. Gage Quinney takes a seat for Burton and Tom Sestito was scratched in favor of a season debut for the professional annoyance McGrath. A bright start for WBS off the back of Jarred Tinordi’s 2nd goal in as many games and an Aston-Reese powerplay marker. The Baby Penguins built their way to victory off a very peculiar 2nd period in which Hershey had 3 powerplay opportunities, failing to convert on any thanks to marvelous work from DeSmith appearing in his 2nd game of the weekend. In the 2nd, Wilkes-Barre only registered 4 shots on net, but 2 of them resulted in goals with Daniel Sprong potting only his 2nd goal in 8 games and Thomas DiPauli scoring immediately after Hershey’s first/only goal of the night. Colin Smith added his first goal in a Penguins uniform with the empty netter.
1) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are on an AHL best streak of getting points in 10 straight games. That is mightily impressive. They’ve been lucky to have avoided a big rash of injuries that would normally deplete them at this point, with not having to have had any of their forwards called up and they have the luxury of placing a guy like Reid Gardiner in the ECHL, who’s currently rocking a 10 goal and 7 assists in 10 games stat line right now. WBS are on track for an exceptional season right now
2) The defense has finally contributed, with Andrey Pedan and Kevin Czuczman popping in goals on Wednesday and Saturday respectively, and Tinordi going back to back over the weekend. They’d contributed with a plethora of assists up to this point, but had been somewhat absent in the goal scoring department. This has now changed with the Penguins forwards, specifically their two bottom 6 lines, generating a significant amount of offensive zone time. Expect this trend to continue with Zach Trotman and Bengtsson getting more opportunities to score some goals.
3) Thomas DiPauli, while being part of the Penguins incredibly effective bottom 6, potted 4 goals over the course of the 3 games this week. This season has shown quite the comeback for DiPauli who missed significant periods of time last year for a shoulder injury and then a back surgery while only managing 2 goals and no assists through 21 games. While some (including myself) had questioned exactly where his disastrous first pro season left him as a prospect, he’s rebounding exceptionally well and is showing his value not only at even strength, but on the penalty kill, where he’s regularly out on the first unit with regular linemate Teddy Blueger.