clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AHL Penguins Set to Begin 2nd Round Tonight

The WBS Penguins begin Round 2 tonight!
The WBS Penguins begin Round 2 tonight!

While the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run is over after the first round, the organization's top minor league affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, continue their push toward the franchise's first championship. The WBS Penguins have made the Calder Cup Finals three times in their 12 year history, but haven't been able to win it all.

The Pens ousted the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL team, the Norfolk Admirals, in six games in the opening round and host the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina - NHL) in the East Division Finals with game 1 tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

You can listen to the game live from 102.3 - The Mountain.

Let's go Pens!! Follow the action and turn this post into tonight's WBS Penguins Game Thread.

Earlier this week I broke down the two teams quite thoroughly in three segments. I broke down the forwards core on Tuesday here.

The Penguins, who managed only nine goals in their first five playoff games, rattled off six goals in Game 6's series clinching 6-3 win over the Admirals. Sure two of those goals on Saturday night were empty net goals, but it was a good sign to see the forwards in the first period of that game really make a statement. They really controlled the play in that period because they played their game. All four lines were hitting, playing well in their own zone and creating offense. They'll need much of the same every night if they want to continue forward in the playoffs.

Yesterday I talked about the defense and goaltenders. That full story is here.

Offensively, Andrew Hutchinson was shut out by the Checkers in the regular season. Hutchinson has three points (all assists) in six playoff games this year. Bortuzzo and Strait are the shutdown pair and usually get a pass when it comes to offensive production. Strait's goal and assists are a bonus in my book. They need to be at the top of their game defensively against the likes of a Drayson Bowman, Zac Dalpe or Zach Boychuk. The second pairing of Wagner-Potter needs to stay consistent in both ends and Joey Mormina needs to keep playing a strong defensive game.

Goalies: Brad Thiessen is the netminder for the playoffs. His 4-2 record is not from any mishaps on his part. He has only allowed more than 2 goals one time and that was after the Penguins had a big six goal game in Game 6. Both Thiessen and John Curry have played well this season against the Checkers.

This morning I took a stab at what you might see in the second round. That story here.

I picked the Penguins in six games last round, like many others before the series started, although I don't think most had the Penguins losing the first two and winning four straight. I think the Checkers forward depth will surprise some in Wilkes-Barre in the first two games. With another 2-3-2 series format, the Checkers know if they steal one of the first two games on the road that they gain the home ice advantage. I see the two teams splitting the first two in Wilkes-Barre and again see the Penguins spoiling the Checkers party in North Carolina. They win two of three in Charlotte and finish off another opponent at home in another Game 6. This is how it was supposed to happen last round right?

My pick: The Penguins defense will be able to hold off the Checkers attack enough to win four games. Penguins in six games over the Checkers. Let's hope I'm right again.

So now you're all caught up for AHL Penguins playoff hockey. They begin the series tonight. There's only one thing left to do. That is follow the action and turn this post into tonight's game thread.

You can listen to the game live from 102.3 - The Mountain.

Let's go Pens!!