Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Monthly Report: November 2012

After a dismal start to the season in October, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rattled off the wins in November and have improved their position in the conference and division standings. In fact, when their December schedule started this past Saturday, the Penguins were winners of four straight games.

Before the Pens get further into the final month of 2012, let’s take one last look back at November. 

 

Current Record: 13-7 (26 points, fourth in Eastern Conference, second in East Division)

 

Team Leaders

Goals: Eric Tangradi (nine)

Assists: Beau Bennett and Benn Ferriero (tied with 11 each)

Points: Bennett (16)

Plus/minus: Robert Bortuzzo (plus-six)

Goaltending: Jeff Zatkoff, 10-5 with a 1.81 GAA and a .930 save percentage

 

Injuries

The Penguins currently have no players on the injured reserve, as Keven Veilleux and Zach Sill were recently activated.

 

Transactions

Denver Manderson returned to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. He will not be back in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, however, as he sustained a shoulder injury and is out for the season after having surgery.

Keven Veilleux and Dominik Uher were assigned to the Nailers for the team’s November 30 meeting with the Elmira Jackals. However, both returned to the Penguins following the game.

 

November Recap

Friday, November 2 at Manchester Monarchs: 3-0 Win

Saturday, November 4 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers: 5-3 Win

Wednesday, November 7 vs. Binghamton Senators: 1-0 Win (shootout)

Friday, November 9 vs. Hershey Bears: 3-1 Loss

Saturday, November 10 vs. Portland Pirates: 4-3 Win (shootout)

Wednesday, November 14 vs. Springfield Falcons: 2-1 Win

Friday, November 16 vs. Bridgeport: 3-1 Win

Saturday, November 17 at Hershey: 4-1 Loss

Wednesday, November 21 at Hershey: 4-0 Win

Saturday, November 24 vs. Toronto Marlies: 2-1 Win

Sunday, November 25 at Albany Devils: 5-4 Win (shootout)

Friday, November 30 vs. Syracuse Crunch: 5-3 Win

 

Game of the Month

November’s game of the month is a no-brainer.

On Wednesday, November 21, the Penguins beat the Bears, 4-0, for their first victory over their biggest rivals this season. The Bears had won the previous three meetings. Benn Ferriero had a goal and an assist, while Jeff Zatkoff made 15 saves for the shutout.

Benn Ferriero, who currently leads the Penguins with 11 assists, had two points on November 21 as the team beat Hershey for the first time this season (Alison Myers/THW)

 

Lowlights

It’s hard to find much to complain about after such a strong month. However, the Pens fell twice to Hershey this month, scoring just one goal in each loss. They lost 3-1 on Friday, November 9, with Riley Holzapfel getting a second-period tally.

On Saturday, November 17, Hershey defeated WBS 4-1, with Trevor Smith scoring for the Pens on the power play. Both losses to the Bears ended three-game winning streaks.

 

Player of the Month

Jeff Zatkoff, who is in his first year in Wilkes-Barre after spending the last four years with the Manchester Monarchs, has solidified his spot as the Penguins’ starter. He had three shutouts in November, first making 33 saves in the November 2 victory over his former team. Five days later, he made 32 saves and allowed just two goals on eight shootout attempts as the Pens beat the Senators, 1-0, in the shootout.

He wrapped up November with the above-mentioned 15-save shutout against the Bears.

Zatkoff is tied with Curtis McElhinney of the Springfield Falcons with 10 wins on the season to lead the league and is also in the top five in GAA and top 10 in save percentage. Furthermore, his three shutouts are tied with Barry Brust of the Abbotsford Heat for second in the AHL.

Jeff Zatkoff has earned his spot as both the Penguins’ starting goalie and one of the AHL’s top netminders after a strong November. (Alison Myers/THW)

 

December Schedule

Saturday, December 1 vs. St. John’s IceCaps (author’s note: WBS beat St. John’s, 5-3)

Friday, December 7 vs. Hershey

Saturday, December 8 vs. Portland

Wednesday, December 12 at Albany

Friday, December 14 vs. Binghamton

Saturday, December 15 at Syracuse

Wednesday, December 19 at Binghamton

Saturday, December 22 at Syracuse

Wednesday, December 26 at Hershey

Thursday, December 27 vs. Hershey

Saturday, December 29 vs. Norfolk Admirals

Monday, December 31 vs. Syracuse

 

December Schedule Facts

Saturday’s game against the IceCaps marked the team’s first two meetings since last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. St. John’s won the series in seven games.

The December 29 game against Norfolk is the first time the Pens will see the new-look Admirals this season. Last season, when the Admirals were affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Pens lost to them four times on their 28-game winning streak to end the regular season.

Current Penguin Trevor Smith was on the Admirals last year when they won the Calder Cup. He was one of the league’s top scorers last year with 69 points in 64 games and had 16 points in 18 playoff games.

Trevor Smith will face his former team for the first time this season in December. (Alison Myers/THW)

The Admirals, who are affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks this year, have former Penguins Luca Caputi and Nate Guenin on their current roster.

Alison Myers

Alison Myers

Alison is currently covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL for The Hockey Writers after writing about the NHL's New Jersey Devils from 2011-2012. She is currently employed for the fast growing sports website Bleacher Report as a quality editor and hopes to one day have a media relations career with a professional hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @AlisonM_110.
Alison Myers
@KellyKKRoberts Haha great pic! I went to the chiropractor today myself. - 16 hours ago

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