|League:||American Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza|
|Colors:||Black, gold, red, white
|General Manager:||Ray Shero|
|Head Coach:||John Hynes|
|Media:||Wilkes-Barre Times Leader|
102.3 The Mountain WDMT-FM
|Affiliates:||Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)|
Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)
|Regular Season Titles:||1 (2010–11)|
|Division Championships:||3 (2005–06, 2007–08, 2010–11)|
|Conference Championships:||3 (2000–01, 2003–04, 2007–08)|
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. They play in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. They were the 2011 winners of the East Division and the Eastern Conference (in terms of regular season titles), winning their first Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy.
Official Website of W/B Penguins: http://www.wbspenguins.com/
History[edit | edit source]
The Pittsburgh Penguins' top minor league affiliate throughout the 1990s was the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL (in sharp contrast to the rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL). However, in the mid 1990s, the IHL began moving away from being a developmental league and more towards being a top independent minor league. For this reason, the Penguins wanted their top minor league affiliate in the AHL. The Penguins purchased the dormant Cornwall Aces AHL franchise from the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, but left the team inactive until the 1999–2000 season when it was placed in Wilkes-Barre. The team is affectionately referred to as "The Baby Penguins" by fans. The WBS Pens have gone to the Calder Cup Final three times in their twelve-year existence, most recently in 2008 by way of beating the Portland Pirates in a seven-game series in the Eastern Conference finals; the Penguins took game seven by a score of 3-2 after being down in the series three games to two. They went on to play the Chicago Wolves in the final, but lost the series 4-2.
Their mascot is Tux the penguin, who wears number #99 in reference to the team's first season in 1999. The team celebrated their 10th Anniversary Season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2008/2009 with the catch phrase of "Making Memories". The team qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2009 for the seventh year in a row and attempted to make the Calder Cup Final for the third time in six years to try and win the franchise's first Cup. The Pens fourth drive to the Calder Cup Final came to end against the Hershey Bears in the conference semifinals. The series went to seven games with Hershey taking the final two at home by identical scores of 3-0 after the Pens won three in a row in Wilkes-Barre.
The prelude to the 2009-2010 season was the inaugural Penguins Black and Gold Game held on September 17th, an intra-squad game which featured members of the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-barre/Scranton Penguins and was the first ever head-to-head meeting between Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The game was a complete sellout, where tickets never reached the general public. The Penguins organization will hold its second Black and Gold Game prior to the 2011-2012 season. The Penguins BLACK AND GOLD GAME II, featuring members of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Monday, September 19th, 2011. [http://wbspenguins.com )
They began their 11th season of play on October 3, 2009. Their slogan for this season was "Where Champions are Born", a reference to their parent Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the 2009 Stanley Cup. In 2009, they also spawned an affiliated junior team, the Wilkes-Barre Junior Pens. The team is based out of the Ice Rink at Coal Street Park, which will also serve as a practice facility for the Penguins.
The Penguins qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs for an eighth consecutive year in 2009-2010, but bowed out early, swept in 4 games by the Albany River Rats. It was the first time in club history that the team was swept in the first round of the playoffs. It was only the third time that the team got swept in a playoff series, first in 2004 against the Milwaukee Admirals in the Calder Cup Final and in 2006 against the Hershey Bears in the conference semifinals. The team is 15-10 in 25 playoff series all time in 12 seasons. They are also 69-66 in 135 playoff games in 12 seasons and 20-14 in Calder Cup playoff OT games.
They began their 12th season of AHL play at home on October 9, 2010 with a shootout win against their biggest rivals, the Hershey Bears. On November 5, 2010, the Pens matched the 2005-2006 team with 9 wins to start a season with a win against the Rochester Americans. The streak came to an end the following night at home with a 4-3 loss to the Syracuse Crunch.
At the start of the day of the All-Star Game, January 31, 2011, the Penguins had the most points in the AHL with 72, which have all come from wins (36-12-0-0). They also registered the most points in the American Hockey League. They had the 2nd best Goals Scored/Goals Against rating of +46 (163-117), only behind their rival the Hershey Bears, who, at the time, had a +51 rating (158-107). The Penguins remained the only AHL team unbeaten in overtime and shootouts until March 12, 2011, with a shootout loss against the Abbotsford Heat on the road. Their record after that was 46-18-0-1.
The club qualified for it's ninth consecutive playoff berth on March 19, 2011 in a sold-out home game against the Worcester Sharks by a score of 5-3. The Penguins won their third straight game and improved their league-leading record to 49-18-0-1 at the time.
On Saturday April 2nd, 2011, the Penguins captured the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, which is awarded annually to the AHL team that acquires the most points in the regular season, thus ensuring home-ice advantage throughout the 2010-11 playoffs. They accomplished this by beating the Rochester Americans in overtime by a score of 4-3. Geoff Walker scored the game winning goal 3:11 into the extra frame. The win mathematically ensured that no team could finish ahead of them in points. On April 4th, 2011, goaltender Brad Thiessen was named the recipient of the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Award, an annual award given to the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for each season, as voted by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities. He posted a record of 34-7-1 in 44 appearances to date, along with a 1.93 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage.
The club lost in the second round of the 2011 AHL playoffs to the Charlotte Checkers by a series score of 2-4. The last game of the series, played on May 7, was particularly bad for Pens fans, considering that the team was up 3-0 in the third period at home and allowed the Checkers to score 4 unanswered goals to end their season and Calder Cup hopes.
The Penguins' biggest rivals had been the Philadelphia Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of Pennsylvania's other NHL team, the Philadelphia Flyers. After that team moved to Glens Falls, New York, the Hershey Bears, also located in Pennsylvania, became the major rivals of the Penguins (they are currently the AHL affiliate of another developing rival of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals). The Adirondack Phantoms will temporarily remain in Glens Falls until 2013, after which the Flyers' AHL affiliate will move to a new arena under construction in Allentown, Pennsylvania, returning the team to Pennsylvania after a four-year absence.
The Pens qualified for the playoffs for the tenth consecutive season, this is currently the longest streak in the AHL. The Pens 13th season has been an up and down one and the club has a better road record than home record this season.
Season-by-Season Results[edit | edit source]
Regular Season[edit | edit source]
|1999–00||80||23||43||9||5||—||60||236||306||5th, Empire State|
Playoffs[edit | edit source]
|Season||Prelim||1st Round||2nd Round||3rd Round||Finals|
|1999–00||Out of Playoffs|
|2000–01||—||W, 3–2, SYR||W, 4–2, PHIL||W, 4–0, HER||L, 2–4, SJNB|
|2001–02||Out of Playoffs|
|2002–03||W, 2–0, UT||L, 1–3, GR||—||—||—|
|2003–04||—||W, 4–3, BRI||W, 4–2, PHIL||W, 4–3, HART||L, 0–4, MIL|
|2004–05||—||W, 4–2, BING||L, 1–4, PHIL||—||—|
|2005–06||—||W, 4–3, BRI||L, 0–4, HER||—||—|
|2006–07||—||W, 4–2, NOR||L, 1–4, HER||—||—|
|2007–08||—||W, 4–1, HER||W, 4–1, PHIL||W, 4-3 PORT||L, 2-4, CHI|
|2008–09||—||W, 4–1, BRI||L,3-4 HER||—||—|
|2009–10||—||L, 0–4, ALB||—||—||—|
|2010–11||—||W, 4–2, NOR||L, 2–4, CHA||—||—|
|2011–12||—||W, 3–2, HER||L, 3–4, SJNL||—||—|