Feb. 20—The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins faced Hershey a little over a week ago and will look quite different for the rematch today at Giant Center.
The Penguins’ roster got a shakeup Friday when Pittsburgh recalled forwards Josh Currie and Jordy Bellerive and goaltender Emil Larmi to its taxi squad. In return, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton welcomed forwards Anthony Angello and Frederick Gaudreau and netminder Max Lagace for the first time this season.
While Bellerive, Currie and Larmi in particular have played well through three games, the moves serve the larger purpose of spreading around playing time for all of Pittsburgh’s potential call-ups. Angello, Gaudreau and Lagace haven’t appeared in a game this season while on the taxi squad.
“A few of the skates, it was just Freddy and I on the ice with two goalies (on the taxi squad),” Angello said Friday in a video call after practice. “You still have to go out there and get better, you still have to have the motivation. You still have to understand that it’s kind of a means to an end.
“I haven’t played a game since March 3. I’ve had a lot of time, almost a year, to do training and small-group stuff and skill work. So, I’m excited to get back on the ice and play a more physical game.
All three bring a wealth of experience to a rookie-heavy Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team and will boost the lineup immediately.
Angello led the Penguins last season with 16 goals, while Gaudreau is a two-time 20-plus goal scorer and played 55 games with the Nashville Predators in 2018-19.
Lagace, 28, was one of the top goaltenders in the AHL last season with Providence, going 22-7-3 with a 2.37 goals-against average.
“We haven’t been short on enthusiasm,” head coach J.D. Forrest said, “but for these three in particular having started and been there a while in Pittsburgh, I think they’re really excited to play. They’re going to come out with a lot of jump, and guys are really happy to have them in the locker room. They’re all good guys, so we’ll definitely get some energy from them.”
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is coming off its first win of the season, a 5-4 thriller last Saturday in Syracuse. Larmi picked up the win in net, while Bellerive scored the winning goal in the third period.
Injury updatesForrest said Friday that forward Sam Miletic is day-to-day in his recovery and revealed he is coming off a bout with mononucleosis.
“That can knock you out for a little bit, and it just takes some time to get your energy back,” Forrest said. “He really wants to play, and we just want to make sure we’re doing it the right way.”
This is the second season in a row a Penguin has dealt with the disease. Defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph had a weeks-long absence during his rookie season.
Defenseman Zach Trotman is being evaluated day-to-day as he recovers from knee surgery in January.
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: Giant Center
Season series: Hershey leads, 1-0.
About the Bears: Hershey has had its own turnover of late in net. Pheonix Copley, who beat the Penguins in their matchup at Mohegan Sun Arena, was recalled to Washington’s taxi squad on week ago. That leaves Zach Fucale and Alex Dubeau, neither of whom has played an AHL game this season. … However, the Bears remain deep at forward, with Mike Sgarbossa taking a five-game point streak against WBS into the game. … Former Binghamton Devil Blake Pietila made his team debut on Wednesday, and defenseman Cam Schilling had a two-point effort in his season debut on Valentine’s Day. … The Penguins have been hit or miss at Giant Center, with a pair of 5-1 losses last season mixed in with two victories and an overtime game.
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