A Welcomed Change For The Penguins

By pbadmin

They say “Home is where the heart is.” For the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a homecoming was long overdue, but well worth the wait. After starting the season off in a slump, and starting the season on the road, the “Jr. Pens” finally had their chance to embrace a town which had been anxiously awaiting their arrival. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. The home opening game against Kentucky was sold out within an hour after tickets went on sale (Oct. 22nd). Wilkes-Barre had high hopes for this new team, and the Penguins were not about to disappoint them. Victory was inevitable.

Greg Crozier started off the scoring with a power play goal (assisted by Morozov & Bonvie) at 3:24 of the first period. From that moment forward it seemed as though the hockey gods were playing for the Penguins. At one point Kentucky tried to rally back, tying the game 2-2, but failed to keep Pomichter and Slaney from joining their determined teammate, Crozier, on the scoreboard. What better way to say, “Thank you,” and “Welcome Home,” to the fans, than with a 4-2 victory dance.

While the “Jr. Pens” celebrated in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Penguins were doing some celebrating of their own down south. They too pulled off a remarkable victory. In their case it was a win over the Nashville Predators. Rookie Andrew Ference recorded his first NHL goal, and young Jean-Sebastien Aubin stood strong as his team was out shot 40-16. This is when they say it’s quality that matters, not quantity. Five of the Penguins first ten shots managed to light the lamp and bring on the brilliant flash of red. While the Predators complained of poor goaltending, the Pittsburgh Penguins had no complaints about theirs. From the rookies, to the veterans, to the man between the pipes, this particular win was truly a team effort.

Perhaps it was a little bit of magic that helped both teams win that night … or perhaps it was just coincidence. In either case, the Penguins organization had many reasons to feel good about the evening of November 13th.

Since then, Pittsburgh has skated away with a 3-2 home victory over the Buffalo Sabres (Nov. 16th), and Wilkes-Barre has recorded a 3-3 tie while hosting the Albany River Rats (NJ Devils affiliate). The Wheeling Nailers, the Penguins ECHL affiliate, captured a 4-3 home win over the Huntington Blizzard on November 14th, making them the final members of the Penguins organization to join the party.

Team Stats:
GP W L T PTS
Pittsburgh Penguins 16 5 8 2 15
Wlk-Br/Scrant Penguins (AHL) 15 2 9 4 8
Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) 12 2 10 0 4
News:
- Pittsburgh recalled goaltender *Craig Hillier on 11/10/99 from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League to replace G Peter Skudra (injured foot), but has since been sent him back down. It appears as though Skudra is ready to back up Aubin.

*Craig Hillier-
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 183lbs
Catches: Left
Born: Feb. 28, 1978
Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
Acquired by the Penguins in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft (1st pick, 23rd overall). In 1998-99, Craig appeared in 36 games for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) with a record of 9-18-6.
1999-2000 Stats w/ Wilkes-Barre:

GP MINS AVG W L T SO GA SA SPCTG
7 335 3.58 0 3 2 0 20 182 .890
-In other news… Dennis Bonvie, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins key enforcer, is starting to draw attention for his efforts at both ends of the ice. Besides leading his team in points (10 assists), he has also managed to lead his team in penalty minutes (64). Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh on September 20, 1999, Dennis has become a welcomed addition to the roster. To prove that point, Coach Glenn Patrick has named this 26 year old, Nova Scotia native, as an alternate captain.
Junior Prospects statistical update:
C Milan Kraft (Prince Albert -WHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
19 11 18 29 5 16
The Prince Albert Raiders are 2nd in their division (East) with a record of: 11-9-1. Milan
continues to lead his team in goals and assists.

C Jan Fadnry (Brandon -WHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
17 6 9 15 -8 14
The Wheat Kings are currently at the bottom of their division (East) with a record of: 7-12-1

C David Cameron (Saskatoon -WHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
22 7 10 17 6 14
The Saskatoon Blades are 3rd in their division (East) with a record of: 10-9-3

D Jeremy Van Hoof (Ottawa -OHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
20 1 5 6 8 12
The Ottawa 67′s lead their division (East) with a record of: 15-4-1 … best record in the OHL

G Scott Myers (Prince George -WHL)
GP MINS GA SO AVG W L T SA SVS SV%
12 628 28 0 2.68 6 4 2 345 317 .919
The Prince George Cougars lead their division (West) with a record of: 11-9-2

C Joel Scherban (London -OHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
18 6 7 13 -4 4
The London Knights rest at the bottom of their division (West) with a record of: 5-8-5

C Tomas Skvaridlo (Kingston -OHL)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
18 6 14 20 7 4
The Kingston Frontenacs sit at the bottom of their division (East) with a record of: 9-8-1

Upcoming games:
11/18 -Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30pm ET)
11/20 -Pittsburgh Penguins at Florida Panthers (7:30pm ET)

11/20 Wilkes-Barre Penguins at Albany River Rats (7:30pm ET)
11/21 Wilkes-Barre Penguins host Hamilton Bulldogs (5pm ET)

11/19 Wheeling Nailers at Hampton Roads Admirals (7:30pm ET)
11/20 Wheeling Nailers at Roanoke Express (7:30pm ET)