October 21, 2013

AHL Journal: Gibbons starting to shine for WBS Penguins

By Mike Miccoli

The 2012-13 AHL season was probably a campaign that Brian Gibbons (Braintree, Mass.) would like to forget. This season, however, has started off a bit more memorably.

In six games, Gibbons has started off on fire with four goals and seven assists for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, good enough for third in the AHL in scoring. The former Boston College Eagle is playing a huge role as an offensive contributor in the Penguins' success to start off the year. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton carries a perfect 6-0-0-0 record, sitting atop of the Eastern Conference with 12 points.

It was quite the weekend for Gibbons, exploding offensively after having two multi-point games in three contests with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton including a two goal and two assist night in Sunday's 4-3 overtime win over the Manchester Monarchs. On Friday, Gibbons was instrumental in the Penguins 6-3 win over Adirondack Phantoms with a goal and two assists.

While at BC, Gibbons was named the MVP for the Beanpot Tournament in 2007-08 as a freshman after a four-point campaign in two games helped the Eagles clinch the victory. He finished his senior season in 2010-11 with 18 goals and 33 assists in 39 games.

Gibbons signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins this past summer, extending his tenure with the team after being signed as an undrafted free agent late in the 2010-11 season. Gibbons has yet to play a game in Pittsburgh but with this hot start, he’s certain to garner attention.

News and Notes

The Manchester Monarchs named their new captain this past weekend, awarding the "C" to Andrew Campbell on Friday. Campbell is in his sixth season with the Monarchs and has two assists in seven games so far this year. The Monarchs also named Andrew Bodnarchuk and Linden Vey alternate captains.

It was a good week for the Springfield Falcons and Hartford Wolfpack, with both teams going 2-0-0 against their opponents. Of course, neither team’s undefeated path came easily. It took a come-from-behind victory for the Wolfpack to edge out the Manchester Monarchs on Friday night, while the Falcons needed a shootout to beat the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday. With a shootout-loss game-in-hand, the Wolfpack are first in the Northeast Division with 11 points, one ahead of the 5-0-0-0 Falcons.

Players from the Providence Bruins have been struggling defensively and after only picking up one point in four games, it’s been more evident. Out of the 22 Bruins who have skated for Providence this season, eight are in the minus category. This includes top forwards Ryan Spooner (-2), Matt Fraser (-3), and Craig Cunningham (-6), with defensemen Tommy Cross (-4) and Mike Moore (-2) near the bottom as well. It has been a slow start for a Providence team (2-2-2) that dominated Eastern Conference opponents last season.

The Portland Pirates got an offensive boost and goal from Gilbert Brule in his first game of the season on Friday night. A former NHLer, Brule has had some off-ice obstacles to overcome on his track back to professional hockey. After spending a season with the ZSC Lions in the National League A in Switzerland, Brule earned an invitation to the Phoenix Coyotes training camp but was later released. One month later, the Pirates signed him to a PTO.

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, October 23:

Portland Pirates @ Hartford Wolfpack (7pm)

Manchester Monarchs @ Worcester Sharks (7pm)

Friday, October 25:

Hartford Wolfpack @ Albany Devils (7pm)

St. John's Ice Caps @ Manchester Monarchs (7pm)

Springfield Falcons @ Providence Bruins (7:05pm)

Saturday, October 26:

St. John's Ice Caps@ Manchester Monarchs (3pm)

Portland Pirates @ Albany Devils (5pm)

Hartford Wolfpack @ Hershey Bears (7pm)

Worcester Sharks @ Springfield Falcons (7pm)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Syracuse Crunch (7pm)

Sunday, October 27:

St. John's Ice Caps @ Providence Bruins (3:05pm)

Twitter: @MikeMiccoli
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