Another season kicking off, and here we go...
October 13th: Lehigh Valley Phantoms 0 @ WBS Penguins 5
Not going to lie to you all...I would have liked very much to have been in a place to listen to, tweet along with, or otherwise follow the first game of the 3 in 3 weekend for WBS this past weekend, the first of 12 they will contest against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but...
...for as beautiful and awe-inspiring as Zion National Park in Utah is, it doesn’t have a HINT of phone reception.
So I was forced to catch the post-mortem on the way back to the hotel, only to pleasantly see that WBS put a stomping on their PA Turnpike rivals 5-0. The big man, Tom Sestito, opened the scoring at 6:21 of the first, and that would be all that WBS would need on the evening. For good measure, though, Daniel Sprong, Frank Corrado, Jean-Sebastien Dea, and Dominik Simon added goals (all first-of-season goals except for Sprong, his second of the season). Casey DeSmith took his first start of the season in goal, and he did not allow any of the 33 shots he faced to beat him. For the Phantoms, Alex Lyon started the game, but after allowing Dea’s goal, his fourth on 15 shots, he was removed in favor of the newly-acquired Dustin Tokarski, who allowed 1 goal on 9 attempts to mop up the damage.
The Phantoms did not convert on any of 7 power play opportunities they were awarded, while WBS converted on 2 of their 6 attempts. Simon took third star with a goal and an assist; Sestito’s game-winner was enough for second-star, and DeSmith took deserved top honors with his first win and first shutout of the season.
October 14th: WBS Penguins 2 @ Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3
The return game, unfortunately, did not progress nearly as well for your Penguins, as Lehigh Valley improved to 2-0 at home on the young season with a 3-2 decision. Lehigh Valley was able to convert on its second PP of the night, as Matt Read scored his first of the season at 16:30 of the first against Tristan Jarry. Mike Vecchione extended the lead to 2 at 9:18 of the second, then Greg Carey scored his second of the season at 1:40 of the third to expand the Phantoms lead to 3.
To WBS’s credit, though, they did not surrender easily, as Sprong scored his third goal in as many games at 5:05 of the third on a power play, then Garrett Wilson opened his season account at 16:53 to bring the final margin to 1 before time expired. Both teams finished 1 for 6 on the power play.
Jarry finished with 32 saves on 35 shots to take his second loss in as many starts, while Alex Lyon recovered well from his prior night’s effort to save 27 of 29 WBS shots for the victory and third star honors. Read’s goal was good for second star honors, while Vecchione took top honors.
October 15th: Syracuse Crunch 1 @ WBS Penguins 6
To close out the weekend, WBS welcomed last year’s Eastern Conference champions from Syracuse into town. Syracuse has stumbled somewhat coming out of the gate, with a 1-2-1 record in four games entering their first against WBS this year, and WBS did not welcome them kindly to Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday.
It started early, with Jean-Sebastien Dea stuffing home the rebound of a Lukas Bengtsson slapshot just 34 seconds into the game. While the first period ended only 1-0 to the home side, the second is where things started to unravel, as Wilson, Thomas DiPauli, and Christian Thomas all scored in the middle session. Former AHL MVP Cory Conacher scored at 12:04 of the second to represent Syracuse’s only offense of the afternoon, and the proceedings concluded with Sprong’s fourth goal in as many games at 9:47 and Gage Quinney scoring his first AHL goal in his first AHL game at 14:42 of the third.
Syracuse converted one of its 8 power plays for goals, while WBS converted one of its 7. DeSmith was back in net for the Sunday matinee and delivered 24 saves on 25 shots for his second win of the season. Connor Ingram for Syracuse took the loss, saving only 25 of 31 WBS shots. Thomas’s goal was good for third-star honors; Sprong’s goal, combined with two assists, earned second honors; but Gage Quinney was the man of the hour, scoring three points in his AHL debut, including his first goal, to take top honors.
Standings (through the games of October 15th)
- Atlantic Division: Charlotte 3-1-0, .750; Hartford 3-1-0, .750; Lehigh Valley 3-1-1, .700; Providence 2-1-0, .667; WBS 2-2-0, .500; Bridgeport 1-2-0, .333; Hershey 0-2-1, .167; Springfield 0-4-0, .000
- North Division: Binghamton 2-0-1, .833; Toronto 4-1-0, .800; Laval 3-1-0, .750; Rochester 2-1-0, .667; Utica 2-2-0, .500; Syracuse 1-3-1, .300; Belleville 1-3-0, .250
- Central Division: Milwaukee 3-0-0, 1.000; Rockford 2-1-0, .667; Manitoba 2-2-0, .500; Grand Rapids 2-2-0, .500; Chicago 1-1-1, .500; Cleveland 1-2-0, .333; Iowa 1-3-0, .250
- Pacific Division: Texas 3-1-0, .750; Stockton 2-1-0, .667; San Diego 2-1-0, .667; San Antonio 2-1-0, .667; Tucson 1-1-0, .500; San Jose 1-2-0, .333; Bakersfield 1-2-0, .333; Ontario 0-3-0, .000
Statistics (through the games of October 15th)
- GOALS: Daniel Sprong - 4; Thomas DiPauli, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Garrett Wilson - 2; Gage Quinney, Dominik Simon, Frank Corrado, Tom Sestito, Christan Thomas - 1
- ASSISTS: Lukas Bengtsson, Kevin Czuczman - 3; Gage Quinney, Teddy Blueger, Adam Johnson, Tom Kostopoulos, Dominik Simon, Daniel Sprong, Zach Trotman - 2; Tristan Jarry, Dylan Zink, Frank Corrado, Thomas DiPauli, Tom Sestito, Christian Thomas - 1
- GOALIES: Casey DeSmith 2-0-0, 0.50 GAA, 98.3% save percentage, one shutout; Tristan Jarry 0-2-0, 3.53 GAA, 90.0% save percentage
- SPECIAL TEAMS: Power Play 5 of 25 for 20%, 14th in AHL, two shorthanded goals allowed; Penalty Kill 24 of 27 for 88.9%, tied for 9th in AHL, one shorthanded goal forced
The Week Ahead
Just two games on the docket for WBS this weekend, both at home. On Friday, October 20 at 7:05 pm, WBS will be visited for the first time by the new affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the Laval Rocket. Then on Saturday, October 21 at 7:05 pm, WBS will entertain the Hartford Wolf Pack. Be advised, readers in the WBS radio coverage area: Saturday’s game goes up against Penn State football’s home game against Michigan, so there will likely be no over-the-air radio coverage on Saturday.