QUALIFICATION AND QUARTERFINALS SCHEDULES

Now the fun begins.

The second round of the men’s ice hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics gets underway this evening, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The qualification round features the bottom eight finishers from the opening round of play battling it out to make it to the quarterfinals. The first place teams from group play (Sweden, Czech Republic and Olympic Athletes from Russia), as well as the top second place finisher (Canada), all receive byes into the third round of play.

The United States and Slovakia, who finished with identical 1-2-0 marks in the first round, will face off in the first game of qualification on Monday night at 10:10pm Eastern Time. The Americans downed Slovakia by a 2-1 score earlier in the tourney.

The full schedule for the qualification and quarterfinals rounds is:

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUALIFICATION ROUND SCHEDULE

DATE TIME TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Monday, February 19 10:10pm USA Slovakia
Tuesday, February 20 2:40am Slovenia Norway
Tuesday, February 20 7:10am Finland Korea
Tuesday, February 20 7:10am Switzerland Germany

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUARTERFINALS SCHEDULE

DATE TIME TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Tuesday, February 20 10:10pm Czech Republic Winner of Slovenia vs Norway
Wednesday, February 21 2:40am OAR Winner of USA vs Slovakia
Wednesday, February 21 7:10am Canada Winner of Finland vs Korea
Wednesday, February 21 7:10am Sweden Winner of Switzerland vs Germany

ALUMNI UPDATE

Nine former and one current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins players are competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics:

CANADA
Andrew Ebbett – 2gp, 0-1-1
Chris Lee – 3gp, 0-3-3
Christian Thomas, 3gp, 1-0-1

CZECH REPUBLIC
Ondrej Nehmen – 3gp, 0-0-0

GERMANY
Matthias Plachta – 3gp, 0-0-0

SOUTH KOREA
Bryan Young – 3gp, 0-0-0

NORWAY
Patrick Thoresen – 3gp, 1-0-1

SLOVAKIA
Thomas Surovy – 3gp, 0-1-1

USA
Chad Kolarik – 2gp, 0-0-0
Noah Welch – 3gp, 0-0-0

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PAST PENS DOT 2018 OLYMPIC ROSTERS

The puck will drop at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games on Wednesday, February 14, with a pair of opening round games taking place at 7:10 am Eastern Time. And there will be no shortage of familiar faces for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans throughout the tournament.

In addition to current Penguins forward Christian Thomas, nine former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be pulling on jerseys for their national teams in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Here’s a quick look at theses blasts from the past with ties to our team.

CANADA

Andrew Ebbett (C) – The Canadian forward played parts of two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2013-15), recording 84 points (30+54) in 88 games. Ebbett also played in 29 playoff games over the two seasons, and scored 15 points (3+12).

Ebbett appeared in 33 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in parts of two seasons (2013-2015), recording seven points (1+6).

The Vernon, BC native also spent time with the Binghamton Senators (2006-2007), Portland Pirates (2007-2008), Iowa Chops (2008-2009), San Antonio Rampage (2010-2011) and Chicago Wolves (2012-2013) in the AHL.

While in the NHL Ebbett suited up for the Anaheim Ducks (2007-2010), Chicago Blackhawks (2009-2010), Minnesota Wild (2009-2010), Phoenix Coyotes (2010-2011) and the Vancouver Canucks (2011-2013). In his eight NHL seasons, Ebbett totaled 224 games and 71 points (26+45).

Ebbett has spent the past three seasons in Switzerland with Bern SC. He currently he has 46 points (13+33) in 47 games with the club this season.

Chris Lee (D) – A journeyman defenseman, Lee spent his final North American season (2009-10) with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, recording 39 points (9+30) in 79 regular season game.

Prior to his time with the Penguins, Lee saw action with the Albany River Rats, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and the Iowa Stars in the AHL.

He ventured overseas starting in 2010-11, and for the past five seasons has been a mainstay on the blueline for Magnitogrosk Metallurg in the KHL. He finished second on the team in scoring last season with 65 points (14+51) in 60 games.

 


CZECH REPUBLIC

Ondrej Nemec (D) – Drafted 35th overall in the 2002 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nemec played part of one season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2003-2004), appearing in seven games and scoring a total of three points (1+2).

After leaving the Penguins, the defenseman returned to Europe where he has played for 14 seasons in the Czech Extraleague and the Continental Hockey League. He currently plays for Brno Kometa in the Czech Republic, and has nine points (5+4) in 38 games.


GERMANY

Matthias Plachta (LW) – Plachta was acquired by the Penguins late in the 2015-16 season, and put up seven points (2+5) in 20 games with the club. He began his only AHL season with the Springfield Falcons, posting another seven points (2+5) in 46 contests.

Plachta returned to his native Germany after his brief foray into North American, and has suited up for the Mannheim Eagles for the past two seasons (as well as for six years before making the jump to the AHL). He currently ranks third on the team with 30 points (11+19) in 49 games.


NORWAY

Patrick Thoresen (LW) – An Edmonton Oilers signee, Thoresen appeared in five games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2006-07, posting six points (1+5) in his short stay with the team. He went on to appear in 29 AHL games with Springfield the following year, recording 26 points (13+13) with the club.

In the NHL, Thoresen combined for 24 points (6+18) in 106 games with the Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers (2006-08), before returning to Europe for the 2008-09 season.

He has spent the majority of the past 10 years with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL, with whom he currently plays.

The 2018 Games will be the third time Thoresen has represented his country at the Olympics (2010, 2014).


SLOVAKIA

Tomas Surovy (LW) – A fourth round selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Surovy spent parts of five seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2001-06), appearing in 239 regular season games with the club.  The left wing currently ranks second on the Penguins’ all-time lists in goals (89) and points (187); is tied for second in game-winning goals (14); and is fourth in power play goals (27).

Surovy appeared in 126 gams with the Pittsburgh Penguins between 2002-2006, posting 59 points (27+32) and 71 penalty minutes.  He has been playing professionally in Europe since the start of the 2006-07 season, and currently suits up for his hometown team, Banská Bystrica HC 05, in the Slovakian Extraleague.

Surovy has previously represented Slovakia at the 2006 Turin and 2014 Sochi Games, recording two points (1+1) in 10 Olympic contests.  He is the seventh former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skater to be named to his national team for the 2018 Winter Olympics.


SOUTH KOREA

Bryan Young (D) – A fifth round draft pick (2004) of the Edmoton Oilers, Young appeared in 10 games with the Penguins in 2006-07, recording one assist. He spent the majority of his time in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons (2007-10), and also appeared in 22 games with the Milwaukee Admirals (2006-07).

Young appeared in 17 games with Edmonton over two seasons (2006-08), going scoreless with 10 penalty minutes.

Following the 2009-10 season, Young took his game to South Korea, and has recorded 192 points (39+153) in 283 games with Gangwon High1 and the Daemyung Killer Whales, with whom he currently plays. He became a naturalized citizen of South Korea in 2014, allowing him to represent the country this year.


TEAM USA

Chad Kolarik (C) – The Abington, PA native spent one season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2012-13), in which he appeared in 35 regular season games, recording 33 points. He also suited up in 15 playoff games, scoring 11 points.

Before joining the Penguins, Kolarik spent time with the San Antonio Rampage (2007-10), the Syracuse Crunch (2009-10), the Springfield Falcons (2010-11) and the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale (2010-11, 2012-13) in the AHL.  He also appeared in six NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers, recording one assist.

The former seventh round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004 has spent the past five season playing in Europe. He currently plays in Germany with the Mannheim Eagles, and has 44 points in 44 games this season.

Noah Welch (D) – The Boston, MA native was drafted 54th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001. Welch spent parts of two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2005-2007) during which he appeared in 104 games, scoring 50 points. An AHL All-Star in 2007, Welch also saw action with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2005-2007), playing in 27 games and recording six points.

The former second round pick also suited up with the Rochester Americans (2006-2007, 2008-2009) and Chicago Wolves (2009-2011) in the AHL, as well as the Florida Panthers (2006-2009), Tampa Bay Lightning (2008-2009) and the Atlanta Thrashers (2010-2011) in the NHL. Welch totaled 75 games in the NHL and nine points

Welch has been playing in Europe for the past seven seasons. He currently plays in Sweden with the Vaxjo HC and has appeared in 26 games this season.


 The schedule for the preliminary round, which features all 12 nations participating in round robin play within their three groups, is listed below.  For a full explanation of the remaining schedule, seeding and rules, visit the International Ice Hockey Federation website.

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUALIFYING PRELIMINARY ROUND SCHEDULE

DATE TIME GROUP TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B Slovakia OAR*
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B USA Slovenia
Wednesday, February 14 10:10pm C Finland Germany
Thursday, February 15 2:40am C Norway Sweden
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Czech Republic South Korea
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Switzerland Canada
Thursday, February 15 10:10pm B USA Slovakia
Friday, February 16 2:40am B Slovenia OAR*
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Norway Finland
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Sweden Germany
Friday, February 16 10:10pm A Czech Republic Canada
Saturday, February 17 2:40am A Switzerland South Korea
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B USA OAR*
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B Slovakin Slovenia
Saturday, February 17 10:10pm C Norway Germany
Sunday, February 18 2:40am A Switzerland Czech Republic
Sunday, February 18 7:10am A Canada South Korea
Sunday, February 18 7:10am C Finland Sweden

* = Olympic Athletes from Russia

PENGUINS TIES IN PAST OLYMPICS

Konstantin Koltsov represented Belarus at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.


When Team Canada hits the ice against Switzerland on Thursday morning, Christian Thomas will become the first active member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to take part in the Winter Olympic Games.

But he’s far from the first player with ties to the team to represent his country at the tournament.

One-time Penguins have suited up for their national teams in each of the past three Olympics. Here’s a quick look at those past Pens and their performances.

2006 – TURIN, ITALY

Tomas Surovy – Slovakia
A member of the Penguins from 2001-2006, Surovy made his first (but not his last) Olympic appearance for Slovakia at the 2006 Games. He chipped in with one assist during group play, helping his country to a perfect 5-0 mark. The Slovaks’ quarterfinal meeting with the Czech Republic resulted in a 3-1 loss, leading to a fifth place finish for Surovy and his countrymen.

2010 – VANCOUVER, CANADA

Marc-Andre Fleury – Canada
Fleury spent the entire 2004-05 campaign with Wilkes-Barre, as well as parts of two other regular seasons (2005-06, 2007-08). He didn’t see any action in the tournament, serving as Team Canada’s emergency netminder behind Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo, but still laid claim to a gold medal.

Ryan Whitney won a silve medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

Ryan Malone , Brooks Orpik, Ryan Whitney – United States
Malone made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, outing up in three games at the end of the 2002-03 season. He appeared in all six games with the Silver Medal squad in Vancouver, posting three goals and two assists.

Orpik appeared in 152 regular season games with the Pens in parts of three seasons, and was a solid defensive presence for the Americans in 2010. He went scoreless in the six games, but finished plus-1 for the tournament.

Whitney spent the entire 2004-05 season, and shorts stints in two others, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, before representing his country at the Olympics. He went scoreless during the tournament.

Miroslav Satan – Slovakia
Satan spent 10 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton late in the 2008-09 season, posting nine points (3+6) for the club. He posted a goal and an assist in five games during the 2010 tournament – his fourth Olympics appearance – as Slovakia finished fourth overall.

Konstantin Koltsov – Belarus
Koltsov had three stints with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06), posting 46 points (16+30) in 86 games. He picked up two assists in Belarus’ opening game, a 5-3 win over Germany, but went scoreless in the three ensuing match, as his country finished ninth out of 12 teams.  This was Koltsov’s second trip to the Olympics (2002 Salt Lake City).

Patrick Thoresen – Norway
Thoresen appeared in five games with the Penguins during the 2006-07 season, recording six points (1+5) on assignment from the Edmonton Oilers. He picked up three assists in a 5-4 OT loss to the Swiss, and notched another two helpers in a 4-3 loss to Slovakia in the qualification round.

Sven Butenschon – Germany
Butenschon spent two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (1999-01) posting 75 points (26+49) from the team’s blueline. The Germans dropped all four games they played in the tournament, and Butenschon recorded two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.

2014 – SOCHI, RUSSIA

Olli Maatta – Finland
Maatta made his pro debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, suiting up in three postseason games in 2013. The second-youngest member of Team Finland posted five points (3+2) in six games, including a goal in the bronze medal game against the United States.

Brooks Orpik – United States
Orpik helped the US to a perfect record (3-0-0) in group play, and advanced to the medal round with a 5-2 win over the Czechs. The Americans fell in a hard-fought 1-0 decision to Canada in the semifinals, then dropped a 5-0 decision to the Finns.

Michal Rozsival – Czech Republic
Rozsival appeared in 29 games with the Penguins in 2000-01, posting 16 points (8+8). He went scoreless in four games with the Czechs in 2014, who placed sixth out of 12 teams.

Tomas Surovy – Slovakia
Slovakia suffered through group play, posting an 0-2-1 mark before falling to the Czech Republic, 5-3, in qualification play. Surovy netted his lone Olympic goal in that game.

Patrick Thoresen – Norway
Thoresen picked up the lone goal for his country in a 3-1 loss to Canada, and notched an assist in a 3-1 loss to Austria. The Norwegians finished 12th overall in the tournament.

* = former Penguins coaches Dan Bylsma and Todd Richards were behind the bench for Team USA (Bylsma – head coach; Richards – assistant coach)

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The schedule for the preliminary round, which features all 12 nations participating in round robin play within their three groups, is listed below.  For a full explanation of the remaining schedule, seeding and rules, visit the International Ice Hockey Federation website.

OLYMPIC MEN’S ICE HOCKEY QUALIFYING PRELIMINARY ROUND SCHEDULE

DATE TIME GROUP TEAM 1 TEAM 2
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B Slovakia OAR*
Wednesday, February 14 7:10am B USA Slovenia
Wednesday, February 14 10:10pm C Finland Germany
Thursday, February 15 2:40am C Norway Sweden
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Czech Republic South Korea
Thursday, February 15 7:10am A Switzerland Canada
Thursday, February 15 10:10pm B USA Slovakia
Friday, February 16 2:40am B Slovenia OAR*
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Norway Finland
Friday, February 16 7:10am C Sweden Germany
Friday, February 16 10:10pm A Czech Republic Canada
Saturday, February 17 2:40am A Switzerland South Korea
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B USA OAR*
Saturday, February 17 7:10am B Slovakin Slovenia
Saturday, February 17 10:10pm C Norway Germany
Sunday, February 18 2:40am A Switzerland Czech Republic
Sunday, February 18 7:10am A Canada South Korea
Sunday, February 18 7:10am C Finland Sweden

* = Olympic Athletes from Russia

Penguins Podcast w/ Zach-Aston Reese

Penguins Podcast

Mike O’Brien and Nick Hart are back on the WBS Penguins Podcast with their first episode of the 2017-18 season. Zach Aston-Reese sits down with the duo to discuss how he passes the time on football Sundays, assists the guys with their new 3-on-3 segment and who he’s going to form a band with on the Penguins.

BELLERIVE MAKING WAVES AS PENGUINS NAB FIRST WIN OF 2017 PROSPECTS SHOWCASE

800_Bellerive

Pick after pick went by at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago back in June, 86, 87, 89… it kept going. 154, 155, 156… and so on and so on until 215, 216, 217. The draft was over.

Jordy Bellerive never heard his name.

After an impressive year with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, not one of the 31 NHL clubs felt that Bellerive could help their team advance in the future. Even though he was at first understandably rocked by going undrafted, he’s looking on the brighter side.

“It’s something you look forward to your whole life,” Bellerive said. “You try and battle throughout the whole year trying to get that opportunity for a team to take you, then to not get drafted, obviously that was disappointing. But some things happens for a reason. I really think it turned out well for me. It really motivated me for the summer. I put a lot of hard work in, which I think is paying off. So I’m okay with it now.”

With the chip still freshly engraved on his shoulder, Bellerive is using it to leave a big time impression as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2017 Prospects Showcase. The 18-year-old forward now leads the tournament with four goals on the heels of tallying a hat trick in the Penguins first win of the weekend, a 6-2 triumph over the New Jersey Devils.

Just over one minutes into the contest, Bellerive notched slid a rebound across the goal line. As the Devils caught fire early in the third period and started forging a comeback, Bellerive poured cold water on them with yet another tally, and later added a third score to complete the hat trick.

Bellerive gave partial credit to his offensive outburst to the confidence he gained by scrounging up a goal in the Pittsburgh prospects’ first game on Friday.

“To get that first one out of the way quick, it showed, hey, I can play. I belong here. I got some confidence and tried to do it again today. It worked out for me again, I guess.”

Bellerive isn’t the only one believing in himself at this point either. His performance has coach Clark Donatelli singing his praises, as well.

“I don’t know his whole body of work and what he’s done before this, but so far so good,” Donatelli said. “If you’re going off this, then yes he definitely should have been drafted.”

bellerive tweet

What’s particularly impressed Donatelli and other Penguins brass has been Bellerive’s ability to contribute in this fashion offensively despite limited ice time. Most of the minutes through two games have been dedicated to Penguins prospects already under contract, like Zach Aston-Reese, Daniel Sprong, Teddy Blueger, Thomas Di Pauli, etc. But every time Bellerive has stepped onto the ice, one can’t help but notice.

“Coming in being a fourth line guy, I expected to not get the most ice time. So I told myself whatever ice time I got, that was an opportunity to do something special.”

He’s been exactly that so far. Special. Now there’s more than enough reason for him to hope this weekend is just the start to a lengthy pro career.

“Hockey’s a long run. I’m not too worried about [going undrafted] anymore.”

 

OTHER NOTES:

In addition to Bellerive’s hat trick, the Penguins got their fair share of puck luck in their victory over the Devils prospects, too. First period goals by Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli both redirecting off of Devils defensemen and in.

Much like Friday, Sprong continued to be snakebitten despite a bevy of scoring chances. When the puck finally fell right for him, it was on a one-timer that left his stick with such velocity, it went rocketing right through the equipment of Devils goalie Ken Appleby and across the goal line. It was quite a shot, but the kind of delivery we’ve come to expect from Sprong.

The Devils’ two goals that beat Penguins goalie Alex D’Orio both went bar-down. Otherwise, it was an impressive showing from the 18-year-old tender when New Jersey had its chances.

Zach Aston-Reese dropped the gloves and fought Devils D-man Steve Santini late in the third period. Aston-Reese got into a scuffle by the Devs’ bench and Santini stepped in with less than diplomatic intentions to solve the conflict. Both players got good punches in, but Aston-Reese ended up with the takedown.

The Penguins have a practice scheduled for Sunday afternoon, then they face the host Buffalo Sabres in the final game of the tourney at 7:35 p.m. on Monday.