Penguins Fall Flat Against Devils



It was the WBS Penguins taking on the Albany Devils tonight for the next to last home game for the 2015 WBS Penguins season.

The first period seemed to be a slow one not much in the way of offense on either side just over fourteen minutes in there was still only 4 shots on net for both sides. LeBlond and Janssen did a little dance during the first few minutes of the first trying to set the tone.

The Devils would tally two goals during the first period the first was an extra effort goal for the Devils the second tally was a shot in the dark that Murray never saw as he was screened by Wohlbergh. At the end of one the WBS Penguins were looking at a 2 goal hole to climb out of with forty more minutes of hockey to play.

There was no change in score for the second period but the Penguins picked up their shots on goal. Albany seemed to be on a mission looking to keep their season rolling. According to one of the Devils players we spoke to they need this win tonight and all the rest of their games to make it to post season.

WBS left the ice for the second intermission trailing still 2-0 now with only twenty more minutes of regulation left.

Albany would score two more goals on WBS in the third period taking a commanding 4-0 lead in the third period and the WBS Penguins just would never recover. Albany was clearly out to get things done from the very beginning and did what they set out to do tonight beating the Penguins 4-0.

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Gilbert’s Pair Gives Nailers Series Opening Win



The Wheeling Nailers experienced their struggles at Huntington Center during the 2014-15 regular season, but Thursday night’s playoff opener resulted in a different tune. Former Toledo Walleye forward David Gilbert scored two goals, including the game winner with 8:50 left in regulation, as Wheeling rallied twice, defeating Toledo, 3-2.

Both teams came out hitting in the first period, which also saw two goals get scored 21 seconds apart from each other. Toledo got on the scoreboard first, utilizing its league-leading power play. Shane Berschbach dropped a pass off to Cody Lampl, who wired in a one-timer from the middle of the blueline. The Nailers rebounded with the tying so, doing so from a much closer location. Mike Slowikowski swung the puck around the back wall to Sahir Gill, who immediately centered a pass to David Gilbert at the top of the crease. Gilbert kept his stick on the ice, redirecting in the equalizer.

The second period followed a similar script to the first, with the Walleye scoring on the power play, and Wheeling answering at even strength. The power play marker came with 6:25 left in the frame, when Troy Schwab fed Shane Berschbach in the right circle. Berschbach spun with a shot that found its way through. The tying tally came during the final minute, when Derek Army flicked a puck through the slot to Sahir Gill, who lunged into the right side of the slot, willing a shot into the vacant side of the goal.

The Nailers took their first lead of the evening with 8:50 remaining in the third period. David Makowski batted the puck out through neutral ice, leading to a race between Gilbert and Kevin Clare. Gilbert got a step on the defender, skated in alone, then dragged the puck from his forehand to his backhand, slipping a shot through Jeff Lerg’s legs. Toledo mustered eight shots during the last stanza, as Wheeling went on to the 3-2 win.

Franky Palazzese was the victorious netminder for Wheeling, making 26 saves on 28 shots in his postseason debut. Jeff Lerg took the loss for Toledo, turning away 27 of the 30 shots he faced.

The Nailers and Walleye will play game two of their series on Saturday night in Toledo at 7:35, before going to Wheeling for game three on Wednesday night at 7:05.



The Nailers will play a maximum of three home games during their opening round playoff series against Toledo. Fans can get a free kids ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket at the Nailers office for game three on April 22nd. McDonald’s Friends & Family Tickets will be available for games four and five (if necessary) on April 24th and 25th, giving fans the opportunity to receive four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald’s Value Meal coupons for $39.99. April 24th will also be a Frosty Friday.
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WLUTV-14 to Televise All Nailers Road Games During Playoffs



The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, are thrilled to announce that thanks to the fantastic support of their generous sponsors, playoff road games will be televised on WLUTV-14.

Wheeling opens the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs on Thursday night with an 8:15 game against the Toledo Walleye at Huntington Center. Game will take place in Toledo on Saturday night at 7:35, before the series shifts to WesBanco Arena for games three, four, and five next Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (if necessary). If games six and seven are necessary, they will be played on the road April 28th and 29th, with both tilts taking place at 7:35.

The Nailers would like to thank Bordas and Bordas, DeNoon Lumber, Project BEST, Northwood Health Systems, Ohio Valley Medical Center & East Ohio Regional Hospital, Main Street Bank, Paull Associates, Oglebay Park & Resort, and the McLure Hotel.

As was the case during the regular season, the games will be broadcast on radio and television by 2015 ECHL All-Star DJ Abisalih. The video shot from Toledo will be courtesy of the Buckeye Sports Cable Network, and the production in Wheeling will be done by West Liberty University.

North Division Semi-Final
Wheeling Nailers vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 1 – Thu. Apr. 16th at Toledo, 8:15
Game 2 – Sat. Apr. 18th at Toledo, 7:35
Game 3 – Wed. Apr. 22nd AT WHEELING, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri. Apr. 24th AT WHEELING, 7:35
Game 5 – Sat. Apr. 25th AT WHEELING, 7:35 (if necessary)
Game 6 – Tue. Apr. 28th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wed. Apr. 29th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)

The Nailers will play a maximum of three home games during their opening round playoff series against Toledo. Fans can get a free kids ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket at the Nailers office for game three on April 22nd. McDonald’s Friends & Family Tickets will be available for games four and five (if necessary) on April 24th and 25th, giving fans the opportunity to receive four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald’s Value Meal coupons for $39.99. April 24th will also be a Frosty Friday.

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Murray Named Winner of Baz Bastien Award As AHL’s Outstanding Goaltender

If you are a WBS Penguins fan and didn’t see this coming then you must have had blinders on all season. With the Season that Matt Murray has been having he deserves every bit of this award and then some.

The WBS Penguins, in conjunction with American Hockey League, announced today that goaltender Matt Murray has been voted the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2014-15 season. The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

A 20-year-old rookie, Murray has helped the Penguins clinch their 13th consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs, and is a big reason why Wilkes-Barre/Scranton leads the league in team defense (2.11 goals per game). Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Murray owns a record of 25-9-3 in 39 appearances, and his 1.51 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and 12 shutouts not only lead the league in 2014-15, they also all represent the second-best marks in the 79-year history of the AHL.

Murray set an AHL record for longest shutout streak by a goaltender when he held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opponents off the scoreboard for 304 minutes and 11 seconds between Feb. 8 and Mar. 8, a stretch that included four consecutive shutout victories. Murray is an impressive 13-3-3 on the road this season, and since the All-Star break overall, he is 15-2-1 with 17 goals allowed and nine shutouts in 18 starts.

Murray, a native of Thunder Bay, Ont., was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was named a First Team AHL All-Star and the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie, and becomes just the second rookie in the last 20 years to win the Baz Bastien Award.  Murray also joins Dany Sabourin (2006) and Brad Thiessen (2011) as the third Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender to earn this honor.

The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Corey Hirsch (1993), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Michael Leighton (2008), Cory Schneider (2009), Jonathan Bernier (2010), Niklas Svedberg (2013) and Jake Allen (2014).

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Franky Palazzese Wins ECHL Goaltender of the Month

The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, are excited to announce that goaltender Franky Palazzese has been named Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month for April.

Palazzese, 21, completed a fantastic turnaround during his rookie season, winning ten of his final 16 starts to turn a 10-14-0 mark at the end of January into a 20-19-1 final record. Despite a loss in his first game of April at Kalamazoo on April 4th, Franky stepped up even bigger during the final week of the campaign, winning three straight games, as the Nailers rallied from three points down, to pass the Cincinnati Cyclones for the final playoff spot in the North Division. The first year netminder turned in a career-high 46 saves in a 2-1 triumph in Reading on April 8th, before making 18 and 25 saves respectively in back-to-back victories over Elmira, including the April 11th clincher. Palazzese finished the regular season portion of April with a 3-1-0 record, a 2.26 goals against average, and .932 save percentage.

Prior to turning pro, the Toronto, ON native played parts of five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, with the Kingston Frontenacs, Kitchener Rangers, and Sudbury Wolves. There, he compiled a 71-69-26 record, while appearing in playoff action in each of his last four seasons.

Palazzese becomes the first Nailer to win a monthly award in 2014-15, and becomes the first player to win ECHL Goaltender of the Month for Wheeling since Mike Condon last April.

Franky Palazzese and the Nailers will begin their North Division Semi-Final Series against the Toledo Walleye on Thursday night at 8:15 at Huntington Center. Games three, four, and five will take place at WesBanco Arena on April 22nd, 24th, and 25th (if necessary).

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Escobedo Signs PTO with Penguins

It was announced this morning that the WBS Pengujns have signed defenseman Sean Escobedo to a professional tryout agreement (PTO). 

Escobedo spent the majority of the 2014-15 season with the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL, recording three goals in 61 games, along with career highs in assists (16) and points (19).  The 24-year-old from Bayside, N.Y. also made two appearances for the Hartford Wolf Pack.  

Escobedo began his pro career last season with the Stockton Thunder (ECHL), playing 50 games and registering six goals, nine assists and 57 PIM.  He made his AHL debut with Bridgeport on Nov. 16, 2014, skating in one game for the Sound Tigers.  

Now a second-year pro, Escobedo played four years of collegiate hockey at Boston University from 2009-13, amassing six goals, 27 assists and 208 penalty minutes in 154 games. 

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are back at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza this Friday April 17 as they host the Albany Devils at 7:05

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Nailers Announce Playoff Roster, First Round Schedule

20 Players Named to Roster, Which Opens Postseason on Thursday in Toledo 

The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have announced the schedule for their opening round playoff series against the Toledo Walleye, in addition to their playoff roster. The best-of-seven North Division Semi-Final Series will begin on Thursday night at Huntington Center.

Wheeling and Toledo will meet in postseason play for the fifth time in ECHL history, and the first time since the Walleye joined the league in the fall of 2009. The four prior series took place in 1993, 1994, 1998, and 2006, all while Toledo was known as the Storm, and the first two while Wheeling was known as the Thunderbirds. Wheeling’s lone series victory out of the four came in 1998, while two of the three Toledo series wins (1993, 1994) came during championship seasons.

This is the 13th postseason appearance for Wheeling, as well as the fifth in the last seven years. 2014-15 was a roller coaster season for the Nailers, who never saw a winning streak or losing streak reach five games. The team entered the regular season’s final week with a 33-33-2 mark, before grabbing four straight victories to edge Cincinnati and Indy for the North Division’s fourth and final playoff position. On the other side of the ice, the Walleye produced the largest turnaround in ECHL history, rebounding from 49 points a season ago to earn a league-leading 107 in the current campaign. Toledo also accumulated 50 wins, becoming the first team since 2007-08 to reach that plateau. This is Toledo’s second postseason appearance in six seasons as the Walleye, and its first with home ice advantage.

During the regular season, the Walleye came out on top in six of seven meetings, including all three of the games at Huntington Center. The lone triumph for the Nailers was a 4-1 final score at WesBanco Arena on February 6th. Riley Brace and Derek Army of Wheeling and Kyle Bonis of Toledo all had seven points during the season, with Bonis’ five goals leading the way in that category.

The Nailers also named 20 players to their playoff roster – 12 forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders, in addition to another ten, who made their way onto the playoff eligible list. Nine of the 20 players named to the starting roster were members of the 2013-14 postseason squad, which reached the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Mike Ratchuk is the lone former Kelly Cup Champion on the team, as he took home the trophy with the Florida Everblades in 2012. His 49 professional playoff games rank second on the club to Chaz Johnson, who has suited up in 62. Zack Torquato will appear in his third postseason with the Nailers, while David Gilbert reaches the playoffs for the first time in his four-year pro career. Adam Krause and Evan Wardley will be getting their second tastes of postseason play in the last month, as Krause’s University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs were one of the last eight teams left in the NCAA, while Wardley’s Seattle Thunderbirds won a pair of games in the WHL Playoffs.

The 2015 North Division Semi-Final Series between the Wheeling Nailers and Toledo Walleye will begin at Huntington Center on Thursday and Saturday, before heading to WesBanco Arena on April 22nd, 24th, and 25th (if necessary), with games six and seven scheduled in Toledo on April 28th and 29th (both if necessary).

North Division Semi-Final
Wheeling Nailers vs. Toledo Walleye
Game 1 – Thu. Apr. 16th at Toledo, 8:15
Game 2 – Sat. Apr. 18th at Toledo, 7:35
Game 3 – Wed. Apr. 22nd AT WHEELING, 7:05Buy Tickets
Game 4 – Fri. Apr. 24th AT WHEELING, 7:35Buy Tickets
Game 5 – Sat. Apr. 25th AT WHEELING, 7:35 (if necessary)Buy Tickets
Game 6 – Tue. Apr. 28th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wed. Apr. 29th at Toledo, 7:35 (if necessary)

Roster
2 D Mike Ratchuk
4 D Paul Cianfrini
9 D David Makowski
10 F Tyler Fernandez
11 F Adam Krause
12 F David Gilbert
13 F Patrick McGrath
15 F Zack Torquato
16 F Derek Army
17 F Cody Wydo
18 D Mike Slowikowski
19 F Shane Bakker
20 F Jarrett Burton
21 F Sahir Gill
22 D Clark Seymour
23 F Riley Brace
24 D Evan Wardley
29 G Franky Palazzese
30 G Eric Hartzell
98 F Chaz Johnson

Eligible Players in the AHL (maximum of three can be added)
F Josh Archibald
D Alex Boak
D Nick D’Agostino
F Jean-Sebastien Dea
D Morgan Ellis
F Stefan Fournier
F Matia Marcantuoni
F Carter Rowney
D Harrison Ruopp
D Bobby Shea

The Nailers will play a maximum of three home games during their opening round playoff series against Toledo. Fans can get a free kids ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket at the Nailers office for game three on April 22nd. McDonald’s Friends & Family Tickets will be available for games four and five (if necessary) on April 24th and 25th, giving fans the opportunity to receive four tickets, four hats, and four McDonald’s Value Meal coupons for $39.99. April 24th will also be a Frosty Friday.

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