Versatility Key to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Success

By the time the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play their next game, it will be November.  The team ended October with a loss, but are still in first place in the East Division, leading the Norfolk Admirals by one point.

Even with recent injuries to the Pittsburgh Penguins that have been enough for call-ups from Wilkes Barre, the AHL affiliate played like nothing changed.  Forwards Chris Conner, Harry Zolnierczyk and most recently Jayson Megna have been up with Pittsburgh for parts of the season.

But that has not seemed to shake up the Pens offense.

Forward Brian Gibbons was easily the Penguins player of the month with 5 goals, 9 assists, and a plus 11 through eight games, even though he played with different line mates almost every night.  Head Coach John Hynes has successfully rotated players on the first line in the midst of call-ups and send downs.

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Practice Update

This afternoon, the Penguins announced they had sent down Goalie Eric Hartzell to the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.  Since Hartzell has not played since training camp due to an injury, he will get an opportunity to prove himself in Wheeling.

Injured defensemen Harrison Ruopp and Peter Merth continue to skate after team practices, while Captain Tom Kostopolous rejoined the team after missing the last three games with a lower body injury.

Weekend Series

The Pens look to bounce back from their loss when they take the ice again this weekend against the Hershey Bears in a home and home series.

It’s no secret that the Pens and Bears have had an intense rivalry, and this weekend’s games will be no exception.  The Bears are currently in last place in the division with a 2-3-1 record, but that does not mean that it will be an easy game for the Pens.

The two teams played each other earlier in October where the Pens came away with a 3-1 victory thanks to a third period goal from forward Chris Conner at 17:22 which broke the tie.  Goaltender Jeff Deslauriers brought home the win for the Pens with 18 saves on the night.

Although the game was low scoring, it didn’t come without its chances.  The Pens ended the game with seven power plays while the Bears finished with five.  Neither team capitalized on those chances.

Expect Friday and Saturday’s games to be more of the same, as both teams always seem to come ready to give their all against their hated rival.  The Pens host the Bears Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena at 7:05 pm before traveling to Hershey Saturday night.