The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins continued their hot start to the season with a 4-1 win over the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers AHL affiliate. Like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the WBS Penguins also play again tonight and travel to Hershey to play against the Bears. This is the biggest game of the short season so far. The Pens have beaten the Bears twice already this season, but this will be the first time the two teams play in Chocolate Town. A look at what the lineup looks like now - a lot of changes - a recap of last nights game and a look ahead to tonight's game with an 8-0 start on the line.
Last Night's Lineup
1st Eric Tangradi - Dustin Jeffrey - Tim Wallace Brad Thiessen
2nd Chris Conner - Ryan Craig - Nick Johnson Corey Potter - Steve Wagner
3rd Keven Veilleux - Joe Vitale - Chris Collins Robert Bortuzzo - Brian Strait
4th Geoff Walker - Zach Sill - Jesse Boulerice Andrew Hutchinson - Carl Sneep
There were a lot of changes to the lineup during the week before this weekends road trip. As most of you know, Pittsburgh sent down Tangradi and Hutchinson. These moves made the WBS faithful very happy, even more happy than they arleady are with their team off to a 7-0 start.
With two guys coming down from Pittsurgh, the Pens had to make room. They released Drew Fata, the teams eigth defenseman, and sent rookie forward Nick Petersen to Wheeling, the Pens ECHL affiliate. Bryan Lerg is still on the team and will be the team's 13th forward for the time being.
The Pens continued their goalie schedule, alternating starters. Theissen (4-0) played well last night and John Curry (3-0) should be in goal tonight.
The Pens continued their early season dominance Friday night in route to a 4-1 win over the Phantoms. The Penguins were perfect on the penalty kill again tonight and their lone power play goal came at a crucial point in the third period. The team is playing really well right now and the recent additions to their team from Pittsburgh should have Pens fans even more excited.
Thiessen played well stopping 17 of 18 shots. He's now 4-0 on the season with 1.96 GAA and a .930 SV%.
Robert Bortuzzo continues to impress me. His shot roughly two minutes into the game was tipped past Johan Backlund by Ryan Craig. That was Craig's first goal of the season, in his fourth game. Bortuzzo now has four points in his first seven games.
Hutchinson played in his second game for WBS Pens last night and added two assists, giving him a goal and three assists in two games.
Steve Wagner's four game point streak is over. He's been the offensive defenseman that had filled in nicely for Hutchinson while he was in Pittburgh. Wagner has two goals and three assists in seven games this season.
Carl Sneep and Jesse Boulerice also notched their first goals of the season. For Sneep it's a little more memorable though. He got his first professional goal last night. For Boulerice its an added bonus and not something the Pens should be looking for out of Boulerice on a nightly basis. But good too see the fourth line grinders chip in offensively.
Nick Johnson scored his third goal, a power play goal, and added an assist last night. Johnson has gotten off to a good start as well with three goals and three assists in seven games.
Hershey Tonight at 7 p.m.
This will be the first time the Pens travel to Hershey and it should be a great game. The Bears (5-2) have beaten everyone else they have played except for the Pens. They came off a hard fought 4-3 overtime game with a win up in Syracuse. Former Penguin goalie Dany Sabourin stopped 37 of 40 shots for the Bears, Boyd Kane scored two goals including the game winner and Keith Aucoin continues to rack up assists as he added two helpers last night. Aucoin has 12 assists in the Bears first eight games. Hopefully the Bears had a long ride home and will be tired for tonight's game. But I don't think that will be the case. These two teams do not like each other. This will be a hard fought battle and probably be a close game. I will be in Beaver Stadium tonight for the Halloween night game between Penn State and Michigan so I won't have the recap up until later tonight.