As I get past Snowtober (too early to start my snow rants…but sorry, Halloween and snow DO NOT MIX), time to recap a very interesting last 2 days in Devil land:
10/28 at Binghamton: 4-2 L
The Devils started out strong against last year’s Calder Cup MVP Robin Lehner and the Senators. Things became physical early on with an early bout between Myles Stoesz and Francis Lessard after rookie Wacey Hamilton high sticked Stoesz near the benches. Matt Corrente got the visitors on the board with a goal during the ensuing power play. But Binghamton tied it up a short time later on a power play goal by Nikita Filatov. Second period things got very interesting…first came a second bout between Jay Leach and former River Rat captain Tim Conboy. Corey Cowick gave the B-Sens a 2-1 lead halfway through the period. Then with less than 5 minutes left in the period, things took an ugly turn. As Filatov was skating over center ice, he and Tim Sestito collided, with Sestito’s elbow nailing Filatov right in the back of the head. Next thing you know, everyone in white jumped onto Sestito, Lehner left the crease ready to rumble, and even Jeff Frazee sort of skated near the pile (but he went right back to the net). Sestito was given a match penalty for an illegal check to the head, and Lehner got 4 minutes for roughing and leaving the crease. Here’s a link via NewsChannel 34 in Binghamton if you want to check it out. Once peace was restored (well on ice anyway…fans started taking it out on the few Albany fans including myself. Stay classy), an extended 4 on 4 ensued, followed by an Albany 4 on 3 after Corey Locke took a slashing call. Just as the power play expired, Joe Whitney tied the game up at 2 all. Third period saw Filatov come back to the game and the B-Sens took over. Mike Hoffman scored the go ahead goal with about 5 minutes remaining and Pat Cannone scored an empty netter to seal the win for the defending champs. Despite the loss, Albany outshot Binghamton 44-37, including a 23-8 advantage in the second period.
10/29 vs. Hamilton: 3-2 W
First Canadian team to visit Albany in about 4 years…ironically on the same day a freak October snowstorm hits the area. For those that didn’t brave the elements to come downtown…you missed a pretty good game. Joe Whitney opened the scoring with less than 7 minutes left in the first, then fellow rookie Mike Sislo scored his 3rd of the season to give the hosts a 2-0 cushion. Hamilton’s Olivier Fortier broke up Jeff Frazee’s shutout bid with 11:42 left in the 3rd period, then Darcy Zajac scored what became a very important goal just under 6 minutes later. Garrett Stafford scored a power play tally with 2 and a half to go to come within 3-2 but the Devils shut the door after that (barely; with an empty net Hamilton had about 2-3 near misses). Frazee had another strong outing, stopping 21 of 23 shots and picking up his 3rd win since Keith Kinkaid’s recall to New Jersey.
A few leftovers from the week:
-On Wednesday Albany announced the signing of forward Steve Bernier to a contract. He had been in New Jersey’s camp on a tryout but did not sign when camp broke. A few weeks later here he is. He played in both games this weekend.
-Vladimir Zharkov returned to the lineup Saturday night after missing the last 4 games. Chad Wiseman and Mike Hoeffel remain out due to injury. And rookie Brandon Burlon is still a defensive numbers game victim along with Dan Kelly, both sat out the weekend while Alexander Urbom returned to the lineup after a 2 game hiatus. Tim Sestito sat out Saturday night with the automatic game suspension after taking the match penalty on Friday night, still waiting on word how much longer he’ll sit out.
3 more home games on the slate this week as the calendar turns to November. Wednesday the B-Sens come calling for the 3rd time this season (and this time without Lehner and Filatov possibly, both were recalled to Ottawa); Friday night Norfolk pays their first visit to Albany…the Admirals are off to a very good start, leading the East Division (and that division is no slouch either). Saturday night in comes Connecticut…and this time we may have Sean Avery in the house, he made his Whale debut Friday night against Adirondack.