Friday, November 11: Hartford 3 @ WBS 1
Prior to his star turn against the New York Rangers in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, goaltender Louis Domingue played in 22 games for the WBS Penguins. He finished with a 10-9-2 record, a 2.41 GAA, and a .924 save percentage. Domingue signed for the Rangers in the offseason and was sent to their AHL affiliate Hartford on October 2. He made his return to Mohegan Arena at Casey Plaza on Veteran’s Day as Hartford visited WBS for their first matchup of the year.
Tim Gettinger, New York’s fifth round draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and in his fifth season with Hartford, opened the scoring with his third goal of the season after finishing a 2 on 0 shorthanded breakaway with Tanner Fritz. Penguins forward Drew O’Connor, freshly returned to WBS following a stint in Pittsburgh, matched the goal at 7:35 of the second period with a power play goal, his thirrd of the season. Drake Caggiula and Xavier Ouellet provided assists.
How about a little top cheddar from OC to light the lamp pic.twitter.com/siXvzAJ0YM— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) November 12, 2022
Hartford broke the tie early in the third period, as Lauri Pajuniemi scored his fifth of the season at 1:54 of the third. That proved to be the difference, as despite outshooting Hartford 12-11 in the third period, WBS could not get the equalizer. The Penguins were even whistled for two penalties 20 seconds apart inside the final 90 seconds of the game, and Hartford’s Gettinger took advantage by scoring a rare power-play empty-net goal at 19:52 of the third.
Domingue finished with 29 saves on 30 shots for the victory, his third for Hartford in six appearances. For WBS, Dustin Tokarski saved 20 of 22 shots in the losing effort.
O’Connor got third star for his goal. Pajuniemi got second star for his goal. Gettinger’s pair of goals were enough for top honors.
Tim Gettinger paced the @WolfPackAHL with two goals, as the visitors posted a 3-1 win over the #WBSPens at the @MoSunArenaPA on Friday night.— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) November 12, 2022
Postgame Highlights are courtesy of the @PALottery pic.twitter.com/TyghyT4bL5
Saturday, November 12: Springfield 3 @ WBS 2
The Penguins then welcomed the Springfield Thunderbirds back to town for their first game since their electrifying 7-6 playoff ouster last season. After a scoreless first period, Springfield struck twice in the middle 20 minutes through Will Bitten’s sixth goal of the season and Dmitrii Samorukov’s 2nd of the season.
The tenor of the game changed early in the third period, as Springfield’s captain Tommy Cross was whistled for a double-minor high sticking penalty at 3:07 of the third. WBS would proceed to convert on both halves of the power play to tie the game at 2-2.
First up was Sam Houde, scoring his first goal of the season at 4:03 of the third period, assisted by Mitch Reinke and Xavier Ouellet.
Houde draws the penalty then CAPITALIZES ON IT— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) November 13, 2022
That's show biz, baby. pic.twitter.com/pSvBbSV0hQ
Ty Smith followed it up at 4:41 of the third period, assisted by Valtteri Puustinen and Alex Nylander.
A former Penguin came calling three minutes later, though.
Forward Anthony Angello spent parts of five seasons with WBS, scoring 47 goals and 39 assists across 171 regular season games and 7 playoff games. Pittsburgh’s fifth round pick from the 2014 NHL Draft departed the Penguins in the offseason, signing with St. Louis in July and clearing waivers to join Springfield in mid-October. On his return to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he scored his first goal of the season at 7:43 of the third period to give Springfield back the lead.
On the heels of five power plays in the third period, WBS outshot Springfield 21-7 in the final 20 minutes and 41-24 overall on the night, but they could not get the equalizer. Springfield goaltender Vadim Zherenko took third star honors on the night by stopping 39 of 41 WBS shots for the win. Filip Lindberg, in net for WBS, stopped 21 of 24 shots in the losing effort.
Smith took second honors for his goal, while Angello’s game winner gave him top honors and sent WBS to a four-game losing streak. The WBS special teams excelled, converting 2 of 7 power plays for goals and dispatching all six Springfield power plays it faced.
Sam Houde and Ty Smith netted back-to-back power play goals to erase a 2-0 third period deficit, but former Penguin Anthony Angello tallied on an odd man break to give the @ThunderbirdsAHL a 3-2 win on Saturday night.— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) November 13, 2022
Postgame Highlights courtesy of @PALottery pic.twitter.com/nIO4VdfjhN
Atlantic Division Standings, through the games of November 13:
- Providence Bruins: 13 games played, 10-1-2, 22 points
- Hershey Bears: 12 games played, 8-2-2, 18 points
- Bridgeport Islanders: 12 games played, 7-2-3, 17 points
- Charlotte Checkers: 12 games played, 6-4-2, 14 points
- Springfield Thunderbirds: 13 games played, 6-5-2, 14 points
- WBS Penguins: 11 games played, 6-4-1, 13 points
- Lehigh Valley Phantoms: 11 games played, 5-5-1, 11 points
- Hartford Wolf Pack: 11 games played, 4-4-3, 11 points
Alex Nylander and the promoted Filip Hållander tie for the team lead in points with nine at the end of the week. Nylander has 5G+4A through 12 games, while Hållander has 4G+5A through 10 games. Valtteri Puustinen comes in third place with 8 points (3G+5A) in 12 games. Tying for fourth place are Drew O’Connor and Ty Smith with 7 points each (3G+4A each).
Dustin Tokarski ends the week with a 4-2-1 record in seven games, a 1.58 GAA that is best in the AHL, and a .941 save percentage that is third in the AHL. Filip Lindberg ends the week at 2-2-0 with a 2.76 GAA and a .895 save percentage.
The WBS power play ends the week with 10 conversions in 55 attempts after scoring three power play goals this weekend, a scoring percentage of 18.2% that is tied for 23rd in the AHL. The penalty kill has conceded 8 goals in 42 chances for a kill percentage of 81.0%, good for 15th in the AHL.
The Week Ahead
The second half of November is extremely busy for WBS, with 7 games in 12 days starting this Friday, November 18 as Hershey comes to town. Start time on Friday is 7:05 pm EST. The Penguins then hit the road for three before Thanksgiving, starting with a trip to Bridgeport Saturday, November 19, start time 7:00 pm EST.