Hartzell WBS Bound



Eric Hartzell Photo credit - Wikipedia

Eric Hartzell
Photo credit – Wikipedia

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced this afternoon that they have assigned goaltender Eric Hartzell to the WBS Penguins from the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL).

The 25-year old second-year pro went 10-8-1 last year for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a 2.48 goals against average, a .901 save percentage, three shutouts and was named AHL Goaltender of the Month for January.    In 14 appearances with Wheeling in 2013-14, Hartzell posted a record of 8-5-1 with a 3.13 GAA, a .900 save percentage and one shutout.

Hartzell was named USA Hockey College Player of the Year and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2013 after posting a 30-7-5 record and helping Quinnipiac University reach the school’s first-ever Frozen Four appearance and NCAA championship.

The Penguins return home this Friday evening to face the Springfield Falcons at 7:05pm, and will play host to the Binghamton Senators on Sunday afternoon at 4:05pm

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Penguins Get Roasted By Devils 4-0



Tonight was our Federally evaluated disaster drill for the Susquehanna Steam Plant at EMA so I didn’t get a chance to listen to the game. But through the magic of the Press release I can bring you the outcome, as for the drill it went well the Penguins not so good dropping to the Devils 4-0

Keith Kinkaid stopped all 22 shots he faced and Mike Sislo continued with his hot hand against the visitors, as the Albany Devils posted a 4-0 shutout win against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday night at the Times Union Center.

The Penguins (2-3-0-0, 4 pts) saw their two-game win streak come to an end, while the Devils (3-0-0-1, 6pts) won for the second time in a row.

The two teams matched up evenly in the first period, with neither club scoring in the frame and both putting six shots on the board.  But Sislo and the Devils power play opened things up in the second, as the fifth year pro tallied twice on the man advantage to give Albany the 2-0 lead.  Tonight’s performance gave Sislo six goals in his past four games against the Penguins dating back to November 8 of last season.

The Pens got a scare late in the second period when goaltender Jeff Zatkoff had to be helped off the ice after stretching to make a save.  Zatkoff made eight saves on 10 shots in 37:55 of playing time.

Matt Murray entered the game and held the home club scoreless through the first 18 minutes of the third period.  But, with Murray pulled for an extra attacker, one-time Penguins forward Tim Sestito found the empty net to make it a 3-0 contest, and Reid Boucher followed up with a tally off the ensuing faceoff to finish off the scoring.

The Penguins return home this Friday evening to face the Springfield Falcons at 7:05pm, and will play host to the Binghamton Senators on Sunday afternoon at 4:05pm.

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Riley Brace Wins ECHL Player of the Week



The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, are excited to announce that forward Riley Brace has been named Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week for the week of October 17-19.

Brace, 22, burst onto the scene with the Nailers, scoring three goals, while adding an assist in his first ever game with the team on Saturday night against the Reading Royals. The points were recorded on four consecutive Wheeling tallies, starting with the goal that gave the Nailers a 3-2 lead at the 12:24 mark of the second period. Seven minutes later, Riley banged in his second goal of the period, putting the home team ahead by a pair. After assisting on Ben Shutron’s first professional goal, the Ottawa, ON native completed his first pro hat trick with 1:08 left in the game. The hat trick was Brace’s first since February 10, 2012, when he completed that feat as a member of the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.

This is Brace’s second professional season, after playing for four different clubs at the AHL and ECHL levels in 2013-14. The majority of his time was spent in the AHL, as he recorded five points in 48 games with the Worcester Sharks and Iowa Wild. Riley also appeared in 13 games with the San Francisco Bulls and Ontario Reign, notching nine points. Prior to turning pro, the 5-foot-11 forward played five seasons of junior hockey in Mississauga with the St. Michael’s Majors and Steelheads. There, he accumulated 89 goals, 145 assists, and 234 points in 304 games.

On behalf of Riley, a case of pucks will be donated to the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA) by Sher-Wood Hockey, the exclusive puck supplier of the ECHL. Since beginning its sponsorship of the award in 2000-01, Sher-Wood Hockey has donated more than 31,000 pucks to youth hockey organizations in ECHL cities.

Brace becomes the first Nailer to win Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week in 2014-15, after Cody Sylvester (2) and Zack Torquato won the honor last season.

Riley Brace and the Nailers will play their first road games of 2014-15 over the weekend, starting at Gwinnett on Friday night at 7:35. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on November 1st, when it battles the Reading Royals at 7:35.

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Pens Heat Melts IceCaps 4-1



It was the WBS Penguins taking on the St. John’s IceCaps tonight  as the WBS Penguins look to go 2 for 2  in the win  column for the weekend. No the boys are not home they are on the road trying to better last night’s win and make it two. The IceCaps were looking to go 1 for 2 and redeem their home loss with a win.

The WBS Penguins were the first on the board tonight as Scott Wilson earned his first pro goal putting the Penguins ahead 1-0 at 2:59 of the first period Wilson’s goal came  off of nice assists from Philip Samuelsson and Barry Goers.

It was just over 2 minutes later the Penguins would strike again as Nick Drazenovic would light the lamp for his first goal of the 14-15 season putting the WBS Penguins up 2-0. That is where the first period would end the Penguins looking at a two goal lead heading to the dressing room for the first intermission, but everyone knows that a two goal lead is a dangerous one.

The IceCaps J.C. Lipon would light the lamp just 4:09 into the second frame cutting the Penguins lead in half, putting a little pressure on the Penguins (remember what I said about a 2 goal lead being a dangerous lead), and giving his team a lift trying to turn the mojo in the IceCaps favor.

But as fate would have it that is where the second frame would end the WBS Penguins head off the ice for the second intermission just one goal ahead of the IceCaps and looking at 20 more minutes of hockey.

Third period action, the IceCaps were looking to even things up but just couldn’t find the right mix. The Penguins Bryan Rust netted the Penguins third goal beating Peter Budaj at 7:00 of the third period giving the Penguins that two goal buffer once again.

Then late in the third Penguins Zack Torquato who is on PTO here in WBS put the lid on the jar as he netted the Penguins fourth of the night with only 1:57 to play, an empty net goal at 18:03  insured the win for WBS.

WBS now finishes up its first road trip of the season on Tuesday night as they visit the Albany Devils at 7:00pm.  Next WBS Pens home game is on Friday night, when they will meet the Springfield Falcons at 7:05pm.

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Penguins Squeak By IceCaps In OT Victory



Sorry fans for the late entry but it was a family night last night, something that comes before hockey so I am going to leave you with the press release for last night’s game.

Reid McNeill’s goal at 2:56 of overtime snapped a two-game losing streak, as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins battled back to post a 2-1 win over the St. John’s IceCaps on Friday night at the Mile One Centre.  The victory was the first of the year for the Penguins (1-2-0-0, 2 pts), who spoiled the IceCaps’ (1-1-2-0, 4pts) home opener.

McNeill, who tallied just one goal while appearing in 55 games with the Penguins last season, made the most of an offensive zone faceoff win by Jean-Sebastien Dea.  The rookie forward won the draw back to the Pens’ blueliner, who snapped a shot that beat netminder Peter Budaj for the win.

The game was a battle of veteran goaltenders for the first 37 minutes, as both Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff held the opposition at bay.  But Scott Kosmachuk took a centering feed from Kris Fredheim with under three minutes to play in the second to give the home squad a 1-0 lead.

Jayson Megna tied the game at 8:54 of the third period with a shot that banged off of Budaj and trickled over the goal line, giving the third-year pro his first goal of the season.

Zatkoff, who spent all of last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, picked up his first win with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since posting an 18 save shutout against the IceCaps in St. John’s on April 13, 2013. The two teams will face off once again on Saturday night at 6:00pm Eastern Time.

NOTES:  Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held a 30-22 shot advantage in the game…Dea’s helper on McNeill’s goal made him the first Penguins player to pick up a goal and an assist on the season…Defenseman Alex Boak made his AHL debut in the game…The Penguins are now 6-1-0-0 all-time in regular season games played in St. John’s.

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Nailers Announce Season Opening Roster



Active Roster Consists of 22 Players, With Four Additions on the Way

The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have announced their season opening roster. The roster consists of 22 players – 14 forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders. There is also one player on Injured Reserve, as well as four additions pending.

At the goaltending position, the Nailers have a pair of affiliated players. Pittsburgh prospect Eric Hartzell returns to Wheeling for his second professional season, after going 18-13-2 as a rookie between the AHL and ECHL levels. He is joined in the crease by rookie Franky Palazzese, who recently signed with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Palazzese is coming off of a four-year career in the OHL, which included 27 wins as a 20-year old last season.

The Nailers’ blueline features two returning players, as 2013-14 Players Player Award winner Paul Cianfrini and second-year player Myles Harvey make their way back to the Ohio Valley. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rookie Clark Seymour and Hamilton rookie David Makowski are the two affiliated players on defense, while Brendan Rempel and Zach Yuen will both suit up for their sophomore seasons in the ECHL.

Ten of the 14 forwards on the opening roster have called Wheeling home in the past, as Derek Army, Shane Bakker, Jarrett Burton, Tyler Fernandez, Sahir Gill, Chaz Johnson, Max MacKay, Patrick McGrath, Tyler Murovich, and Carter Rowney will all don the Nailers jersey in 2014-15. Joining those ten will be second-year players Riley Brace and Jeremie Malouin, as well as rookies Troy Barss and Stefano Momesso.

Wheeling will open the season with one player on Injured Reserve, as 2013-14 All-ECHL Second Team member Mike Ratchuk looks to battle his way back into the lineup when healthy.

There will be more shuffling taking place prior to Saturday’s opener, as the Nailers made two trades, while agreeing to terms with another player. Wheeling acquired forward David Gilbert, as well as defensemen Justin Sefton and Ben Shutron from the Orlando Solar Bears for future considerations. They then swapped defenseman Justin Baker and newly acquired blueliner Dylan King to the Allen Americans for future considerations. Finally, the Nailers agreed to terms with defenseman Ben Blood, expecting to sign him to a contract within the next two days.

Uniform numbers will be available once all transactions have been completed.

The Wheeling Nailers will open the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday night, when they play host to the Reading Royals at 7:35. Tickets are available, but selling quickly. Get yours by calling (304) 234-GOAL.

2014-15 WHEELING NAILERS

Goalies
Eric Hartzell
Franky Palazzese

Defensemen
Paul Cianfrini
Myles Harvey
David Makowski
Brendan Rempel
Clark Seymour
Zach Yuen

Forwards
Derek Army
Shane Bakker
Troy Barss
Riley Brace
Jarrett Burton
Tyler Fernandez
Sahir Gill
Chaz Johnson
Max MacKay
Jeremie Malouin
Patrick McGrath
Stefano Momesso
Tyler Murovich
Carter Rowney

Injured Reserve
Mike Ratchuk

Trade Acquisitions
David Gilbert
Justin Sefton
Ben Shutron

Agreed to Terms
Ben Blood

Traded to Allen
Justin Baker
Dylan King

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Zack Torquato Gets PTO With WBS



It was announced this morning that the WBS Penguins have signed forward Zack Torquato to a professional tryout agreement (PTO).

Torquato, 25, recorded two goals, five assists and 22 penalty minutes in 18 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario-native also appeared in 44 games for the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers during the 2013-14 season, ranking second on the squad with 52 points (14G-38A) and 38 assists.

A former sixth-round selection (178th overall) of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Torquato has skated in 44 American Hockey League games, posting eight points (3G-5A) and 34 PIM with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Rockford IceHogs and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The fifth-year pro has totaled 46 goals, 117 assists and 216 penalty minutes in 205 ECHL contests with Idaho, Toledo and Wheeling.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins battle the St. John’s IceCaps in the first match of a two-game set in Newfoundland on Friday, Oct. 17 at 6:00pm EDT. Listen to all of the action on WILK Newradio or AHL Live.

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