FEBRUARY 7: WBS 3 @ Springfield 1
Expected #WBSPens Lines— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 7, 2018
Expected #WBSPens D-Pairings:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 7, 2018
Starting Gs: #WBSPens - Casey DeSmith— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 7, 2018
(12-5-2, 2.53 GAA, .915 sv%,
SPR - Evan Cowley
(5-3-0, 2.78 GAA, .913 sv%, 1 SO)
The week started out well enough for WBS, as they used a power play goal by Thomas DiPauli in the dying seconds of the second period to break a 1-1 tie with the Springfield Thunderbirds, then scoring an extra-rare power play empty net goal off the stick of Garrett Wilson to seal a 3-1 victory and extend their winning streak to four games. Gage Quinney scored the first goal of the game for WBS, who also got 23 saves off 24 shots from Casey DeSmith, returning to the WBS net after his demotion from Pittsburgh on Sunday. His counterpart, Evan Cowley, saved 37 of 39 WBS shots to earn third star honors on the night, so take a bow, Mr. Cowley. Quinney’s opener earned second honors, while DiPauli’s winner earned top honors.
FEBRUARY 9: WBS 0 @ Providence 4
Expected #WBSPens Lines— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 9, 2018
Expected #WBSPens D-Pairings:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 9, 2018
Starting Gs:#WBSPens - Casey DeSmith— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 9, 2018
(13-5-2, 2.45 GAA, .917 sv%,
PRO - Zane McIntyre
(15-10-3, 2.70 GAA, .904 sv%,
Ah, nothing like a trip to Providence to throw a big wall in front of the charging WBS train. Everything broke the way of the Bruins on Friday night, as Zane McIntyre stopped all 22 WBS shots he faced and Providence put up 43 shots of their own, beating Casey DeSmith with four of them. Defending AHL MVP Ken Agostino opened the scoring with his 13th of the year 8:53 into the game, with Colton Hargrove’s 11th, Tommy Cross’s 7th, and former WBS Penguin Adam Payerl’s third of the season providing the rest of the offense. Jordan Szwarz assisted on the Agostino and Cross goals for third star honors; McIntyre’s shutout earned second honors; Agostino’s game-winner earned top honors.
FEBRUARY 11: WBS 3 @ Providence 2 (SO)
Expected #WBSPens Lines— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 11, 2018
Expected #WBSPens D-Pairings:— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 11, 2018
Starting Gs:#WBSPens - Casey DeSmith— Mike O'Brien (@MikeOBrienWBS) February 11, 2018
(13-6-2, 2.53 GAA, .916 sv%,
PRO - Zane McIntyre
(16-10-3, 2.61 GAA, .907 sv%,
Crucially, while WBS enjoyed their final Saturday off of the season this weekend, Providence had to hit the road to visit Bridgeport on Saturday night. Even though the Bruins won that game 3-1, it still meant they had to retreat back to the Dunkin Donuts Center for their third game in 48 hours while WBS was able to regroup.
The likely rest advantage on the part of the Penguins showed itself as the game progressed, as even though Providence outshot WBS 13-5 in the first period and got goals from Tommy Cross and Adam Payerl to take a 2-0 lead, WBS took a complete 180 in the second, outshooting Providence 16-7 and getting their first goals at the Dunk all season from Gage Quinney and Jarred Tinordi.
Both the third period and OT went scoreless despite a Bruins PP in the extra session; overtime ended with 34 shots fired by each team, which led to a shootout.
Jordan Szwarz took third star again (according to theahl.com’s box score; live reports from Providence had Dea as the announced third star) for assisting on Tommy Cross’s power play goal in the first period. Cross took second star for that goal, while the top honors on the night went to Jarred Tinordi for his equalizer.
The sum total is a four-point weekend for the Penguins and maintenance of their top spot in the Atlantic, with three games in hand over Lehigh Valley, two over Providence, and three over fourth-place Charlotte.
STANDINGS (through the games of February 11, as abstracted from theahl.com)
- Atlantic Division: 1) WBS 30-13-4, .681; 2) Lehigh Valley 30-14-6, .660; 3) Providence 28-16-5, .622; 4) Charlotte 27-20-3, .570; 5) Bridgeport 23-18-7, .552; 6) Hartford 24-20-7, .539; 7) Springfield 22-27-2, .451; 8) Hershey 19-25-7, .441
- North Division: 1) Toronto 37-11-1, .765; 2) Utica 26-14-9, .622; 3) Rochester 25-13-12, .620; 4) Syracuse 28-17-5, .610; 5) Laval 18-24-8, .440; 6) Belleville 20-27-4, .431; 7) Binghamton 13-26-9, .365
- Central Division: 1) Manitoba 32-11-7, .710; 2) Iowa 24-15-10, .592; 3) Chicago 24-16-8, .583; 4) Grand Rapids 26-18-7, .578; 5) Milwaukee 25-20-4, .551; 6) Rockford 25-20-6, .549; 7) Cleveland 15-25-7, .394
- Pacific Division: 1) Tucson 27-14-3, .648; 2) San Diego 26-17-1, .602; 3) Texas 25-18-7, .570; 4) Stockton 22-17-5, .557; 5) Ontario 23-18-4, .556; 6) San Antonio 24-19-6, .551; 7) San Jose 21-19-5, .522; 8) Bakersfield 19-18-8, .511
STATISTICS (through the games of February 11, as abstracted from theahl.com)
- GOALS: Daniel Sprong - 20 (T-9th in AHL, T-2nd among rookies); Ryan Haggerty - 16; Teddy Blueger - 12 (promoted to Pittsburgh on Friday morning); Christian Thomas - 12 (on leave for the Olympics); Jean-Sebastien Dea - 11; Thomas DiPauli - 10; Zach Aston-Reese, Garrett Wilson, Gage Quinney - 9 (Aston-Reese currently promoted to Pittsburgh); Andrey Pedan - 7
- ASSISTS: Zach Aston-Reese, Kevin Czuczman - 20 (Czuczman T-9th among defenders); Daniel Sprong, Jean-Sebastien Dea - 17; Ryan Haggerty - 15; Adam Johnson, Teddy Blueger - 14; Dominik Simon, Frank Corrado, Colin Smith, Garrett Wilson - 13 (Simon currently promoted to Pittsburgh)
- POINTS: Daniel Sprong - 37 (T-4th among rookies); Ryan Haggerty - 31; Zach Aston-Reese - 29; Jean-Sebastien Dea - 28; Teddy Blueger - 26; Kevin Czuczman - 23; Garrett Wilson - 22; Christian Thomas - 21; Gage Quinney, Andrey Pedan - 19
- GOALIES (on team as of February 11): Casey DeSmith 14-6-2, 2.50 GAA, .917 save percentage, two shutouts; Anthony Peters 7-4-2, 2.33 GAA, .916 save percentage, one shutout
- SPECIAL TEAMS: Power play 13.8%, 28th in AHL, 8 shorthanded goals allowed; penalty kill 83.6%, T-10th in AHL, 5 shorthanded goals forced
WBS AT THE OLYMPICS
The men’s Olympic hockey tournament finally opens for business on Wednesday of this week, Valentine’s Day. Across the SB Nation network, pages will be covering the men’s and women’s tournaments very closely. Please check out a full men’s Olympic ice hockey tournament preview from our friends over at Stanley Cup of Chowder, and please also stay tuned to The Ice Garden over the next two weeks for coverage of the women’s tournament.
For our purposes here, I’ve been very vocal in my excitement for current WBS forward Christian Thomas as he represents Team Canada in this tournament, but he’s not the only WBS connection to this tournament. As summarized here by the WBS Penguins team site, there may be as many as nine former WBS Penguins suiting up for as many as 7 countries in this Olympic tournament, led by the second-most-prolific goal scorer in WBS history Tomas Surovy skating for Slovakia, Canada’s alternate captains Andrew Ebbett and Chris Lee, and Team USA’s Chad Kolarik and Noah Welch. I will chronicle the efforts of all 10 current and former WBS Penguins in the Olympics over the next two recaps.
THE WEEK AHEAD
As the Olympics chug along, WBS will play three games in three days this weekend, starting with a Friday, February 16 date in Rochester, game time 7:05 pm EST. WBS will host the Utica Comets on Saturday, February 17, at 7:05 pm EST, then they head down to Lehigh Valley for yet another game against the Phantoms on Sunday, February 18, at 5:05 pm EST.