WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Bears

WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Bears
By: Ali Myers

Penguins Last Game Recap:
Joe Vitale got the Penguins on the board first, but former Penguin Jeff Taffe gave his former team some problems as he scored two goals and assisted on a Jamie Johnson goal to lead Rochester to a 5-3 victory. Luca Caputi and Chris Conner also scored in the losing effort. The Pens went 0/4 on the power play while giving up a power play goal to Rochester.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Eric Tangradi (WBS): one assist
2. Jeff Taffe (Rochestser): two goals, one assist; +1
1. Jamie Johnson (Rochester): one goal, one assist; +1

WBS Latest News:
Chris Conner and Nick Johnson have had an up and down week within the organization. Conner went up for Monday's game against Pittsburgh and scored two goals in the Penguins' victory over the Rangers. He was sent back and along with Johnson, was brought up for last night's game against Ottawa. Johnson assisted on Evgeni Malkin's goal in the loss to the Senators. Both have once again been sent back to WBS.

John Curry returned to Wilkes-Barre last Saturday, but did not arrive in time for the matchup with Rochester. He is expected to start this weekend against Hershey. The Penguins continue to carry three goalies; mainly to get Brad Thiessen some practice time before sending him back to Wheeling at a time to be determined.

Joe Vitale signed a two-year contract extension on Tuesday.

Although not strictly Penguins related, the Penguins home is now known as the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. It is the fourth name for the arena in its 10-year existence.

Injury Update:
Wade Brookbank is dealing with an elbow injury. His status is unknown for tonight.

Robert Bortuzzo did not practice on Monday due to some swelling in his foot, but no further updates have been provided on his status.

Next Matchup:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Hershey Bears
When: Friday, January 29, 2010 at 7:05 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Last Meeting Recap:
Hershey came off a 10-4 victory over Albany on January 15 by making the Penguins their next victim on the 16th. Four different Bears players scored in the first period to take a commanding 4-1 lead over the Penguins at the end of the period. Mark Letestu chipped in during the opening frame, but the damage had been done. In the second period, Alexandre Giroux added his second goal of the game to take a 5-1 lead and the Bears padded the score in the third with tallies by Steve Pinizotto and Kyle Wilson to win 7-2. Chris Lee had the other Penguins goal, and Letestu finished with a two point night.

About the Bears:

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

The Bears just keep rolling through the rest of the AHL. Their last two games were the 22nd and 23rd against Manitoba and they put up a total of 16 goals in both games; winning 8-3 and 8-2. The Bears swept their season series with the Moose; who they defeated to win the 2009 Calder Cup. Currently they are 34-9-0-2 with 70 points and lead the East Division by a mile. The Albany River Rats remain 15 points back. Hershey has leaders in nearly every statistical category of the AHL. They also have the top ranked penalty killing unit; which has a 91% success rate.

The Pens have only won once against the Bears this season. They have lost all other matchups; including two prior blowouts. The Pens will have to bring out all the stops tonight. The Bears have traumatized a lot of teams this season, but can the Pens stop the bleeding?

Bear Hunting:

Andrew Gordon is only in his third professional season, but has put up huge numbers each year. He currently has 21 goals and 23 assists and is a +15. Eleven of his 21 goals are on the power play; good enough for second in the AHL in power play goals scored.

Keith Aucoin/Alexandre Giroux: Yes, these two pesky players again. Aucoin leads the AHL with 61 points this season. His 25 goals lead the league in goals scored and he boasts a +21 rating. Giroux has 55 points (20+35) and is the second top scorer in the AHL; only behind his teammate.

WBS Projected Line Combinations:




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