On the morning of September 21, 2019, a mere four days away from the first of their two home preseason games, the WBS Penguins announced their training camp schedule for the 2019-20 season and their starting camp roster of 20 players.
New head coach Mike Vellucci’s first WBS training camp opens with a split practice on Tuesday, September 24, with the players designated as “Group A” practicing at the Toyota SportsPlex at 10:00 am, and the players designated as “Group B” practicing at 11:15 am. This schedule is duplicated on Thursday, September 26. The remainder of the training camp schedule is comprised of the team’s four preseason games:
- Wednesday, September 25 vs. Lehigh Valley, 7:05 pm start
- Friday, September 27 vs. Hershey, 7:05 pm start
- Saturday, September 28 at Hershey, 7:00 pm start
- Sunday, September 29 at Lehigh Valley, 3:00 pm start
So, camp consists of two practice sessions and four games.
Of the 20 players that will comprise the initial training camp roster, 14 of them played for the WBS Penguins at some point last season. The camp roster, along with prior season’s statistics, are as follows. Prior year statistics are provided courtesy of The Internet Hockey Database, found at hockeydb.com:
- Jordy Bellerive, center; 3 games played for WBS last season, no points; 68 regular season games played for Lethbridge of the WHL last season, 33 goals, 50 assists; 7 playoff games, 2 goals, 6 assists
- Chase Berger, center; 6 games played for WBS last season, one goal, one assist; 39 games played for Penn State last season, 14 goals, 15 assists
- Chris Brown, center; 3 games played for WBS last season, no goals, one assist; 39 games played for Boston College last season, 7 goals, 9 assists
- Jamie Devane, left wing; 27 games played for Ontario of the AHL last season, 2 goals, 1 assist, 79 penalty minutes
- Brandon Hawkins, right wing; 5 games played for WBS last season, two goals; 39 games played for Northeastern University last season, 12 goals, 21 assists
- Yushiroh Hirano, right wing; 1 game played for WBS last season, one assist; 67 games played for Wheeling of the ECHL last season, 19 goals, 38 assists
- Renars Krastenbergs, left wing; 62 games played for Wheeling of the ECHL last season, 19 goals, 25 assists
- Myles Powell, center; 57 games played for Cincinnati of the ECHL last season, 31 goals, 35 assists; 7 games played for Rochester of the AHL last season, no points
- Ryan Scarfo, center; 10 games played for Brampton of the ECHL last season, 1 goal, 1 assist; 6 games played for Belleville of the AHL last season, no points; 25 games played for WBS last season, 1 goal, 6 assists
- Ben Sexton, right wing; 17 games played for Belleville of the AHL last season, 9 assists; 26 games played for WBS last season, 7 goals, 3 assists
- Matt Abt; 63 games played for WBS last season, 12 assists
- Macoy Erkamps; 21 games played for Brampton of the ECHL last season, 1 goal, 5 assists; 24 games played for WBS last season, four assists
- Michael Kim; 2 games played for WBS last season, 1 assist; 39 games played for Boston College last season, 3 goals, 12 assists
- Jon Lizotte; 3 games played for WBS last season, 1 goal, 1 assist; 39 games played for St. Cloud State last season, 1 goal, 8 assists
- Blake Siebenaler; 17 games played for Cleveland of the AHL last season, 1 goal, 1 assist; 1 game played for WBS last season, no points; 7 games played for Wheeling of the ECHL last season, 2 assists
- Craig Skudalski; 37 games played for Wheeling of the ECHL last season, 2 goals, 6 assists (hails from Trucksville, PA, which is approximately 9 miles away from the Mohegan Sun Arena)
- Aaron Titcomb; 44 games played for Wheeling of the ECHL last season, 1 goal, 3 assists
- Alex D’Orio; 5-17-1 for Saint John of the QMJHL in 26 games, 4.48 GAA, .883 save percentage; 16-6-1 in 21 games for Baie-Comeau of the QMJHL last year, 2.55 GAA, .899 save percentage; 28 saves, 5 goals allowed, and a loss in his only WBS start
- Dustin Tokarski; 10-8-0 in 21 games for Hartford of the AHL last season, 3.10 GAA, .901 save percentage; 7-0-0 in 7 games for Charlotte of the AHL last season, 1.14 GAA, .956 save percentage; 5-0-0 in 5 playoff games for Charlotte last season, 1.74 GAA, .935 save percentage, one (1) Calder Cup Championship (Tokarski has won the Calder Cup twice in his AHL career, holding a 183-115-14-26 career AHL record, a career 2.52 GAA, and a career .911 save percentage in 343 regular season games; his playoff record is 20-7 in 30 appearances, with a 1.85 GAA and a .932 save percentage in the playoffs
It is extremely important to note that this is merely a starting roster for camp. Looking at the Pittsburgh training camp roster as of their first round of cuts, Pittsburgh still has to cut at least half of its 46-player camp roster (28 forwards, 14 defense, 4 goalies). I can reasonably expect 6-7 defenders, 14-15 forwards, and two goaltenders to join WBS camp between the initial camp announcement today and the first regular season game October 5 at Hershey. Of the initial camp roster, I can see as few as 5 or 6 making WBS to start the season based solely on who is still to come down to WBS camp.
It’s good to be back. Hockey is finally on the horizon after a much longer spring/summer than we in WBS have had in 17 years.
UPDATE AS OF 12:50 pm EDT: Pittsburgh announced 19 more training camp cuts today (as summarized here), reducing the camp roster to 27 in advance of its final preseason games. Of the 19, Nathan Legare and Sam Poulin were returned to juniors, and the other 17 were sent to WBS as follows:
- Waiver-exempt: Forwards Justin Almeida, Anthony Angello, Kasper Bjorkqvist, Sam Lafferty, Jake Lucchini, Sam Miletic and Oula Palve; defenders Niclas Almari, and Pierre-Olivier Joseph; goaltender Emil Larmi.
- Requiring waiver clearance: Forwards Andrew Agozzino, Joseph Blandisi, Joseph Cramarossa, Thomas Di Pauli, and Ryan Haggerty; defenders Kevin Czuczman and David Warsofsky