JANUARY 17: Lehigh Valley 1 @ WBS 4
Starting Gs:#WBSPens - Anthony Peters— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 17, 2018
(5-2-1, 2.83 GAA, .900 sv%)
LV - Dustin Tokarski
(11-3-3, 3.12 GAA, .902 sv%,
Expected #WBSPens Lines:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 17, 2018
Expected #WBSPens D-Pairings:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 17, 2018
Fresh off their perfect weekend in Canada accompanied by their dads and Andrey Pedan being named Player of the Week for last week following a hat trick and two assists, the WBS Penguins make a quick stopover at home on Wednesday night for yet another contest against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms without the services of Jean-Sebastien Dea, who was recalled to Pittsburgh in advance of Pittsburgh’s trip to the West coast.
Lehigh Valley struck first, as Phil Myers scored his third goal of the year on a power play goal at 15:11 of the first. WBS recovered very strongly in the second period, with goals by Gage Quinney at 5:32 of the second; Olympian Christian Thomas at 13:09 of the second; and Teddy Blueger at 16:34 of the second. Zach Aston-Reese put a bow on it at 14:58 of the third with his 6th of the year into an empty net for WBS’s eighth straight victory.
Starting goaltender Anthony Peters finished with 22 saves on 23 shots for his 6th win for WBS on this season. Quinney took third star with his goal; Aston-Reese added two assists to his goal for second honors; Thomas’s game-winner stood tallest of all for first star.
JANUARY 19 - WBS 0 @ Providence 1
Starting Gs:#WBSPens - Anthony Peters— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 19, 2018
(6-2-1, 2.61 GAA, .906 sv%)
PRO - Zane McIntyre
(11-8-3, 3.02 GAA, . 896 sv%, 1 SO)
Expected #WBSPens Lines:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 19, 2018
Expected #WBSPens D-Pairings:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 19, 2018
WBS made four roster moves prior to its first visit to Providence of the season, mostly among the scratches and backups. Waiting for the Penguins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, though, was a familiar, frustrating adversary: Zane McIntyre.
The same McIntyre who put up 49 saves to eliminate the Penguins last season.
The same McIntyre who, on this night, reverted back to his brick-wall self to stop all 28 shots WBS put on him on the night.
To his credit, WBS starter Anthony Peters put up a stellar 42 saves, but he missed one.
Check out Tommy Cross' beautiful power play goal followed by a sweet cele!!! pic.twitter.com/WnrDeDqKmY— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 20, 2018
That’s all it takes sometimes. You’d gladly take 42 saves on 43 shots every night of the week, but sometimes you run into the brick wall on the other end.
Peters got third star for his efforts, with McIntyre’s shutout earning second honors and Tommy Cross getting top honors for his power play goal, the only one of the night as Providence ended WBS’s streak at 8.
JANUARY 21: WBS 0 @ Hartford 1 (OT)
Starting Gs:#WBSPens - Anthony Peters— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 21, 2018
(6-3-1, 2.45 GAA, .917sv%)
HFD - Alexandar Georgiev
(5-11-5, 3.43 GAA, .891 sv%)
Expected #WBSPens Lines:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 21, 2018
Expected #WBSPens D-Pairings:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) January 21, 2018
After a rare Saturday off, WBS concluded the weekend on Sunday in Hartford with their first 11 forward/7 defender lineup of the season. The story of this game, though, just like two nights earlier, was the goalies, as both Peters and his counterpart Alexandar Georgiev put up fully clean sheets throughout regulation (Peters 21 saves, Georgiev 41). Each team was able to force two shots in OT; Georgiev stopped both he faced, but Vince Pedrie scored his third goal of the year at 2:25 of OT to put WBS not just on a two-game losing streak, but a two-game shutout streak.
Once again, Peters took third star honors with his 22 save on 23 shot performance. His shutout counterpart Georgiev finished with 43 saves for second star honors. Pedrie took top honors on the night.
STANDINGS (through the games of January 21, abstracted from theahl.com)
- Atlantic Division: 1) WBS 24-11-4, .667; 2) Providence 24-13-4, .634; 3) Lehigh Valley 24-13-5, .631; 4) Charlotte 24-17-1, .583; 5) Bridgeport 20-15-6, .561; 6) Hershey 17-18-7, .488; 7) Hartford 17-20-6, .465; 8) Springfield 19-23-2, .455
- North Division: 1) Toronto 30-11-1, .726; 2) Rochester 24-9-10, .674; 3) Syracuse 24-14-4, .619; 4) Utica 20-14-8, .571; 5) Laval 17-19-7, .477; 6) Belleville 18-22-3, .454; 7) Binghamton 12-22-7, .378
- Central Division: 1) Manitoba 26-10-5, .695; 2) Iowa 19-13-10, .571; 3) Chicago 21-15-7, .570; 4) Rockford 22-16-5, .570; 5) Milwaukee 21-16-4, .561; 6) Grand Rapids 21-18-5, .534; 7) Cleveland 12-21-6, .385
- Pacific Division: 1) Tucson 22-12-3, .635; 2) Texas 22-15-6, .581; 3) San Antonio 22-16-4, .571; 4) Stockton 19-14-5, .566; 5) Ontario 21-16-2, .564; 6) San Jose 19-16-2, .541; 7) San Diego 20-17-1, .539; 8) Bakersfield 17-15-7, .526
STATISTICS (through the games of January 21; abstracted from theahl.com)
- Goals: Daniel Sprong - 18 (currently promoted to Pittsburgh); Ryan Haggerty - 16; Teddy Blueger - 12; Christian Thomas - 11; Jean-Sebastien Dea, Thomas DiPauli - 9 (Dea promoted to Pittsburgh); Garrett Wilson, Gage Quinney - 7; Zach Aston-Reese - 6; Colin Smith, Andrey Pedan - 5
- Assists: Kevin Czuczman - 20; Zach Aston-Reese - 18; Adam Johnson, Jean-Sebastien Dea - 14; Dominik Simon, Ryan Haggerty - 13 (Simon promoted to Pittsburgh); Colin Smith, Garrett Wilson - 12; Andrey Pedan, Teddy Blueger - 11
- Points: Ryan Haggerty - 29; Daniel Sprong - 28; Zach Aston-Reese - 24; Teddy Blueger, Jean-Sebastien Dea - 23; Kevin Czuczman - 21; Christian Thomas - 20; Garrett Wilson - 19; Adam Johnson - 18; Colin Smith, Dominik Simon - 17
- Goalies (active on roster as of January 21); Anthony Peters 6-3-2, .919 save percentage, 2.30 GAA; Charles Williams no activity yet; Charles Willi
- Special Teams: Power play 14.0%, 25th in AHL, 8 shorthanded goals allowed; penalty kill 83.3%, 14th in AHL, 5 shorthanded goals forced
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Hard to ignore Anthony Peters lately. With the signing of Charles Williams to a PTO on Friday, that represents nine different goaltenders to suit up for WBS this season (Sean Maguire, Peters, Casey DeSmith, Michael Leighton, Tristan Jarry, Colin Stevens, Adam Morrison, Sebastien Caron). In the midst of an absolute maelstrom in net for WBS this season, Peters has emerged as yet another prospect to watch.
Prior to this season, Peters has only played in 8 AHL games in his career, with thoroughly dreadful numbers (GAA north of 4, save percentage under 90%). Peters started this season with Cincinnati of the ECHL, and through 16 games with the Cyclones, Peters has 10 wins, a 2.34 GAA, a .925 save percentage, one shutout, and (curiously) 15 penalty minutes. Peters was signed to a PTO on December 1 of this season by WBS, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite the two outstanding losing performances this weekend, Peters has provided a steadying presence in goal while the carousel revolves around him.
THE WEEK AHEAD
WBS has a busy week ahead this week, with a midweek visit to Hershey on Wednesday, January 24 at 7:00 pm EST, kicking off three games in four days. WBS will visit Lehigh Valley on Friday, January 26 at 7:05 pm EST, then they will conclude the unofficial first half of their season Saturday, January 27 at home against Binghamton, start time 7:05 pm.
The AHL’s best will then convene in Utica for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic. The skills competition will be held on Sunday night, January 28, at 8 pm EST, as the two Eastern Conference divisions face off against the two Western Conference divisions. The AHL All-Star Challenge will take place Monday, January 29th at 7 pm EST, as the four AHL divisions will play a round-robin series of 10-minute 3 on 3 games, with the best two divisions playing a 6-minute 3 on 3 title game to finish the night. Currently, the only two WBS players named to the Atlantic Division team are Daniel Sprong and Casey DeSmith, and one week out from All-Stars, both are promoted to Pittsburgh.
Keep in mind as we head into the All-Star break: As of the end of this week, WBS leads the Atlantic Division with 39 games played. They hold games in hand over every other team in the division; Providence and Bridgeport have played 41 games, while Lehigh Valley, Charlotte, and Hershey have played 42. Hartford has played 43, and Springfield has played 44. So not only does WBS inexplicably still have the division lead despite dressing nine different goaltenders, but there are plenty of points still available as the games-in-hand resolve.