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WBS Weekly: Ethan Prow Named All-Star

WBS takes four out of six points this week, as AHL All-Star Rosters are announced.

Photo by Acme Sports

It feels like Ethan Prow has been with the WBS Penguins forever. Turns out, this is his third full season with Pittsburgh’s top AHL affiliate, in addition to spending the end of his 2015-16 season with WBS after his Hobey Baker finalist-worthy senior season at St. Cloud State. After posting one goal and 15 assists in 59 games in his first full season in 2016-17, then four goals and 13 assists in 40 games during the 2017-18 campaign, Prow has begun to fully blossom, reaching double digits in goals (10) and assists (13) in just 37 games so far this year.

It is therefore not a surprise to these eyes to see the American Hockey League, on Thursday, recognize Prow as an All-Star.

Provided that Prow does not pick up an injury or a promotion, he will be defending the blue line for the Atlantic Division in Springfield for the All-Star festivities on January 27 (Skills competition) and January 28 (All-Star Challenge) alongside his fellow Atlantic All-Stars:

  • Bridgeport: Sebastian Aho, Michael Dal Colle
  • Charlotte: Trevor Carrick, Janne Kuokkanen, coach Mike Vellucci
  • Hartford: John Gilmour
  • Hershey: Vitek Vanecek
  • Lehigh Valley: Greg Carey, captain Colin McDonald
  • Providence: Ryan Fitzgerald
  • Springfield (hosts): Henrik Borgstrom, Sam Montembeault

On its face, it might be a bit surprising to see that WBS’s Teddy Blueger is not on the All-Star list, with his 16 goals at week’s end tying All-Stars Carey and Dal Colle for tops in the Atlantic Division and joining the group of players tied for 10th in the entire AHL, but give it time. There are three weeks until All-Stars...plenty of time for the AHL to announce event replacements due to callup or injury. With Dal Colle currently still promoted to Bridgeport and Kuokkanen recently returned to Charlotte after a promotion, rosters in the AHL are so fluid that by the time All-Stars come around, three or even four of the names listed above might not be available, making plenty of room for folks like Blueger, Hershey’s Mike Sgarbossa, or even Springfield’s captain Paul Thompson or Anthony Greco to get chosen to the team.

In any event, many congratulations are in order for Prow, who I could easily see joining the Pittsburgh blue line in the near future if his development continues along its current path.

Taking a quick look back at the week that was for WBS...

Monday, December 31: WBS 5 @ Binghamton 2

With Joseph Cramarossa sitting out a mandatory one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of last Saturday’s 7-3 win in Lehigh Valley, Cam Brown made his WBS debut for the season.

WBS conceded the first goal at 4:13 of the first through Ryan Schmelzer’s 6th of the season, but WBS scored four of the next five game goals to take a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes. Garrett Wilson, Teddy Blueger, Ben Sexton, and Anthony Angello all tallied for the Penguins, who also enjoyed an empty netter from Blueger with 46 seconds to go to send 2018 away on a happy note. Tristan Jarry in goal stopped 23 of 25 shots for the victory, as the power play went scoreless in 5 chances and the penalty kill dispatched 6 of 7 Devils power plays, allowing Colton White’s game-tying power play goal at 8:52 of the second.

Angello’s insurance goal was good enough for third star honors. Ben Sexton’s game-winner earned second honors, while Teddy Blueger’s two goals earned top honors.

The game did feature its fair share of nastiness, though, as captain Garrett Wilson was given a match penalty at 2:48 of the third for a check to the head. The AHL would later suspend Wilson for two games, meaning WBS would be without its captain for its pair of home games this past weekend against Grand Rapids and Springfield.

Friday, January 4: Grand Rapids 2 @ WBS 3 (SO)

Cramarossa back in, Brown stays in to replace Wilson.

WBS stormed out of the gates on Friday, with Ryan Haggerty scoring just 17 seconds into the game. Grand Rapids answered at 3:45 with Matthew Ford’s 7th of the year.

Haggerty scored again at 6:24 of the second to put WBS ahead again, but Turner Elson scored his 11th of the year at 10:23 of the second to tie the proceedings again.

There was no scoring in the third period, and despite three straight breakaways in the overtime session, WBS could not break the tie in overtime, so a shootout was required to break the tie. Goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped Chris Terry, Axel Holmstrom, and Dominic Turgeon in the shootout, and Joseph Cramarossa scored in the third round of the shootout to give WBS the extra point.

Jarry finished with 28 saves on 30 shots for the victory. The power play went scoreless in four attempts, while the penalty kill dispatched all six Griffins power plays.

Turner Elson for Grand Rapids took third star with his equalizing goal. Haggerty took second star with his two goals, and Cramarossa took top honors for his shootout winner.

Saturday, January 5: Milwaukee 5 @ WBS 3

Brown out, Linus Olund back in.

This one started out well enough for WBS, with Anthony Angello scoring his 11th of the year on a power play at 13:39 of the first, but things went sideways quickly and extremely hard in the second period, as Milwaukee scored three straight goals through Emil Pettersson (shorthanded), Nicholas Baptiste (cleanup of a breakaway right after the expiration of a penalty), and former WBS defender Jarred Tinordi.

Milwaukee expanded the lead 1:04 into the third period on a power play, but WBS did not go away quietly, bringing the game back to 4-3 through Jean-Sebastien Dea’s third of the year and Teddy Blueger’s 16th of the year. Milwaukee wisely called for time after Blueger’s goal, and it paid off with Pettersson’s 9th of the year just 37 seconds after the timeout to give the final score despite WBS’s changing tactics to always have a forward up on the blue line for stretch passes and outshooting Milwaukee 16-9 in the third period.

WBS goalie Anthony Peters took the loss, stopping 25 of 30 shots. The power play converted on 1 out of 4 chances, while the penalty kill stopped 5 of 6 chances. Milwaukee’s Tanner Jeannot took third star for his goal at the start of the third period, the eventual game-winner. Anthony Angello took second star for his goal and assisting on Blueger’s goal at 5:01 of the third. Milwaukee’s Emil Pettersson scored two goals and assisted on a third for top honors.

WBS has now played exactly half of its games this season. At the halfway mark, their record is 18-15-4-1, worth 41 points and a .539 points percentage. By points, they are fourth in the Atlantic Division, but by points percentage, they are fifth. Teddy Blueger leads the Penguins with 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points; going down from there are Sam Lafferty (5 and 19), Ethan Prow (10 and 13), Adam Johnson (9 and 10), Anthony Angello (11 and 7), Garrett Wilson (8 and 10 in just 18 games), and Ryan Haggerty (6 and 12). Tristan Jarry is starting to separate himself from Anthony Peters for first choice of goaltenders with a record of 10-6-3, a 2.80 GAA, and a .910 save percentage; Peters is 6-7-2 with a 3.19 GAA and a .892 save percentage. The power play hums along at a 16.4% conversion clip, good for 22nd in the AHL, while the penalty kill continues to improve, now at a 79.3% kill percentage good for 23rd in the AHL.

Week-end standings in the Atlantic Division are as follows:

  1. Charlotte Checkers - 27-8-3-0, 57 points, .750 percentage
  2. Bridgeport Sound Tigers - 21-11-4-2 48 points, .632 percentage
  3. Lehigh Valley Phantoms - 20-12-1-2, 43 points, .614 percentage
  4. WBS Penguins - 18-15-4-1, 41 points, .539 percentage (percentage puts WBS in fifth place)
  5. Springfield Thunderbirds - 16-12-5-3, 40 points, .556 percentage (percentage puts Springfield in fourth)
  6. Hartford - 17-16-2-2, 38 points, .514 percentage
  7. Providence - 16-16-5-0, 37 points, .500 percentage
  8. Hershey - 15-19-0-2, 32 points, .444 percentage

WBS will open the second half of its season this weekend with probably the most difficult assignment you can imagine...their annual regular season trip to Charlotte to take on the league’s best team, the Checkers. The two game set opens Friday night, January 11, at 7:00 pm EST, then concludes Saturday night, January 12, at 6:00 pm EST.