Friday, November 5, 2010

WBS Weekend Games Preview

by Maureen L.

This weekend, the Baby Pens will play 3 consecutive games. They’ll start the weekend in Rochester against the Rochester Americans tonight (Friday, 11/5), return home tomorrow to host the Syracuse Crunch, and then head back to Rochester on Sunday for another matchup with the Americans. Let’s take a look at what’s on ice for the Baby Pens this weekend.

The Rochester Americans:
The Americans (Amerks) currently sit in fifth in the Western Conference. With 11 games played, they hold a record of 6-4-1. Some big contributors to their success:
  • RW Michal Repik is currently the 8th leading scorer in the AHL and leads his teammates with 13 points in 11 games (3G/10). His great start isn’t a huge surprise for Amerks fans, Repik was recalled a total of 8 times last year by the Florida Panthers for a total of 19 games in which he had 5 points. 
  • Powerplay - The Amerk’s power play has been gaining steam and is 9th in the league 
  • Veteran Christ Taylor returned to the lineup during their recent road trip bringing with him a scoring touch (2 goals in 3 games).
What the Baby Pens need to do:
  • Shut down Repik and Co.: Similar to the Pens, the Amerks rely on scoring from numerous team members. Shutting down Repik is a good place to start, but a strong backcheck will be important to help minimize scoring opportunities for other guys like Clay Wilson (D) and Chris Taylor (C)
  • Strong PK: The Baby Pens have been on a great streak with their penalty kill and they will need it against the Amerks. Avoiding bad penalties and a strong penalty kill will be important since the Amerks do a good job of cashing in on their power play chances.
  • Take the shots: Goaltender Jacob Markstrom has started 9 of the Amerks 11 games and is 4-5. He isn’t off to the best start with a 3.34 GAA and a save percentage of .89. The fact that the Penguins goals are coming from so many different players could prove to be a challenge for Markstrom.
The Syracuse Crunch:
The Crunch currently sit at 8th in the conference with a record of 4-3-1-1 but have been getting some big contributions from a few players that could move them up in the standings. With already suffering a shoot out loss and an OT loss they could easily be 6-3 and in a different spot in the conference.

Key Factors:
  • New Faces and Fresh skates: Rookies Nick Bonino (2G/7A) and Nicolas Deschamps (4G/3A) are both on six game scoring streaks. Luca Sbisa made his debut with the Crunch on October 22 and quickly jumped into the scoring race with 4 points in his first 2 games. He has a point in all 5 games he has played with the Crunch.
  • Powerful Kill: The Crunch has a stellar penalty kill, ranked second in the AHL. The only team with a better PK, the WBS Pens.

What the Baby Pens need to do:
  • Stay Strong and Even: With the top two PK units going up against each other, it will be a challenge for both power plays. Taking advantage of even strength scoring chances and rebounds will be key for the Pens to get the goals they need.
  • Back and Forecheck: With the hot streaks some of the Crunch players are on, the backcheck will be critical to prevent the Crunch from getting too many chances. If the Baby Pens can get the forecheck going, they can create and possibly cash in on some scoring opportunities.
  • With some offensively hot players in the Crunch lineup, goaltending will be extra important. Defensive positioning will be key in this game.
The Baby Pens are 8-0 right now. Here’s hoping that on Monday morning they are 11-0. Good Luck guys!

As always, you can listen to the radio broadcast of the game at:

You can watch a webcast of the games at:

The games in Rochester on Friday and Sunday will be broadcast on TWC 26/98 (Rochester). Saturday’s game at home will be shown on WQMY-TV (W-B/Scranton).


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