Pittsburgh isn’t the only team in this organization off to a strong start this season – their American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton improved to a perfect 6-0 on Sunday with a win against Manchester.
After top contributors Harry Zolnierczyk and Chris Conner were recalled to the NHL, other players stepped up to keep WBS’ streak going. Forward Brian Gibbons has been red hot, recording a career-best four points (2G-2A) in WBS’ 4-3 overtime win against the Monarchs. He is currently the team’s leading scorer with 11 points (4G-7A).
Jayson Megna and Tom Kuhnhackl are right behind Gibbons with three goals apiece.
Kuhnhackl scored twice in WBS’ fifth win while Megna netted a pair (including the shorthanded game-winner) in the team’s fourth victory.
Goalies Jeff Deslauriers and Peter Mannino, both with WBS on professional tryout agreements, have backstopped the team to its perfect record. Deslauriers has been the starter, winning all five of his games while Mannino made 28 saves in his start to keep the Penguins perfect.
IN THE SYSTEM: Goaltender Matt Murray, a third-round draft pick (83rd overall) of the Penguins in 2012, has also gotten off to an excellent start. He currently has a 6-1-1 record, a 1.86 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. Behind Murray, the Greyhounds are first in their division.
In the Western Hockey League, defenseman Derrick Pouliot – the eighth overall selection of that same draft – posted a plus-7 rating in the Portland Winterhawks’ 8-1 win over the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. Pouliot leads all Winterhawks defensemen with 11 points (2G-7A) in seven games played and has an overall plus-10 rating.
And finally, over in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Jean-Sebastien Dea seems ready to repeat his stellar performance from last season. The forward, signed to a three-year entry-level contract by the Penguins after impressing on free-agent invites to their prospect development camp and rookie tournament, has eight goals and 10 points in 12 games for Rouyn-Noranda. Last year Dea finished 11th in the league with 85 points (45G-40A) in 68 regular-season games.