Monthly Archives: March 2012

Game #70: Albany vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Albany leads 2-1.

Standings:

Albany: 30-28-6-5, 71 points, 4th place in Northeast Division, 11th place in Eastern Conference

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 40-22-2-5, 87 points, 2nd place in East Division, 4th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 40 points (13 G, 27 A); Steve Zalewski, 37 points (17 G, 20 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 37 points (15 G, 22 A)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: Ben Street, 52 points (26 G, 26 A); Bryan Lerg, 48 points (24 G, 24 A); Colin McDonald, 47 points (13 G, 34 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 11-17-2, 2.68 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 17-17-3, 2.84 GAA; Timo Pielmeier, 1-0-0, 2.31 GAA

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: Scott Munroe, 18-8-3, 2.60 GAA; Brad Thiessen, 20-14-2, 2.88 GAA

Miscellaneous:

Pucks and Paws Night ($5 tickets for dogs; proceeds to Mohawk Hudson Humane Society)

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); 102.3 The Mountain (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins, @MikeOBrienWBS (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)

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Game #69: Albany vs. Providence

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Albany leads 2-0.

Standings:

Albany: 29-28-6-5, 69 points, 4th place in Northeast Division, tied for 11th place in Eastern Conference

Providence: 31-30-3-4, 69 points, 4th place in Atlantic Division, tied for 11th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 40 points (13 G, 27 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 37 points (15 G, 22 A); Steve Zalewski, 36 points (17 G, 19 A)

Providence: Carter Camper, 43 points (15 G, 28 A); Josh Hennessy, 36 points (17 G, 19 A); Craig Cunningham, 34 points (18 G, 16 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 11-17-2, 2.68 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 16-17-3, 2.83 GAA

Providence: Michael Hutchinson, 9-13-1, 2.49 GAA; Anton Khudobin, 21-17-3, 2.57 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (both)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @AHLBruins (Providence)

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Game #68: Albany vs. Rochester

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 11:30 AM.

Season Series:

Rochester leads 2-1.

Standings:

Albany: 28-28-6-5, 67 points, 5th place in Northeast Division, tied for 13th place in Eastern Conference

Rochester: 32-23-7-4, 75 points, 2nd place in North Division, tied for 6th place in Western Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 40 points (13 G, 27 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 37 points (15 G, 22 A); Steve Zalewski, 36 points (16 G, 20 A)

Rochester: Phil Varone, 47 points (9 G, 38 A); Paul Szczechura, 38 points (17 G, 21 A); Derek Whitmore, 37 points (25 G, 12 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 11-17-2, 2.72 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-17-3, 2.85 GAA

Rochester: David Leggio, 24-18-2, 2.64 GAA; Drew MacIntyre, 8-12-2, 3.19 GAA

Miscellaneous:

School Day Matinee

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WBER 90.5 FM (Rochester)

Twitter: @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @AmerksHockey (Rochester)

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Monday Afternoon Moves…

Two entries in one day? Have to love when news breaks after the first entry goes out.

Two transactions to report:

-Earlier today New Jersey recalled Peter Harrold, presumably to fill in for Anton Volchenkov. Just a little bit of a blow to the defense corps here, already reduced due to injuries. If Matt Corrente is not good to go come Wednesday, only 6 healthy D are available unless one of the other injured (Leach, Banwell most likely) is ready to come back.

-Just announced this afternoon, the Devils plan to sign forward David Wohlberg to an amateur tryout with Albany. He is a 2008 6th round draft choice who just finished his final season at Michigan on Friday at the NCAA tournament, appearing in 40 games and registering 33 points (16 G, 17 A). Still waiting to see if his teammate and fellow draft pick Jonathan Merrill is next to arrive.

-A change for Wednesday: With an 11:30 AM start time, pregame will be out at 8:30 (read it over your coffee haha). I will not be tweeting or at the game due to work obligations, I’ll be more or less refreshing the box score at my desk for 2+ hours. Maybe throw in a comment or two as time permits.

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One Goal Short

Back at home after a 3 day trip to Virginia Beach and Norfolk. I was hoping to see a little history made at the Scope on either Friday or Saturday night, and I did…but not the kind of history I had hoped for, as the Devils became victims #19 and #20 on the Admirals epic winning streak. But after the weekend sweep I think Norfolk is starting to crack a little. Read on and you’ll see what I mean:

3/23: 2-1 L

In the first game, it looked like the Devils were still carrying momentum over from Wednesday night’s win over the Sharks. An apparent short handed goal early on was waved off thanks to our favorite referee Jamie Koharski (yes the #BlameKoharski hashtag made a comeback…quite a few times over the weekend). But with just under 6 minutes left in the first Eric Gelinas notched his league leading 15th goal (for defensemen) on the power play for a 1-0 lead. Sadly, that lead only lasted a total of 18 seconds, as J.P. Cote quickly tied it up at 1. The Devils definitely had an advantage in the first, outshooting the hosts 15-11. Second period the Devils thought they had taken a 2-1 lead, but again Koharski waved it off. It would be Norfolk super rookie Tyler Johnson who would end up with the go ahead goal, getting it past Jeff Frazee with just under 8 minutes left in the second for the 2-1 advantage. Despite four more power play chances after that goal, the Devils could not get that tying goal past Jaroslav Janus, and Norfolk won for the 19th straight time. Despite the setback, Frazee played extremely well, stopping 26 of 28 shots against a powerhouse team, earning a #3 star of the game (Janus naturally was #1). The Virginian Daily Pilot called this the most hard fought game the winning streak has seen so far. Did the Devils have the Admirals right where they wanted them for the rematch?

3/24: 4-3 L

For game 2, a goalie switch up: Keith Kinkaid against the recently returned from Tampa Bay Dustin Tokarski. Ondrej Palat got things started in a hurry, scoring exactly 1 minute into the game. But the Devils had an answer for that…while short handed (thanks to a questionable Peter Harrold roughing call), Vladimir Zharkov broke in alone and shot it past Tokarski to tie the game at 1. Second period the Devils took a 2-1 lead on a Mattias Tedenby power play goal. At this point I’m thinking, if Keith can hold on to the lead and maybe one more goal, no number 20. But then newcomer Alex Killorn (I believe it was his second pro game after finishing a four year run at Harvard) scored with less than 5 minutes left in the period to tie it at 2. In the third, Norfolk pulled away, as Tyler Johnson (on a power play) and Alex Picard scored for a 4-2 advantage. Albany decided to pull Kinkaid with over 2 minutes left in the third for the extra attacker, and the risk paid off. They weren’t done yet, however…Matt Anderson scored with 1:21 left on the clock to pull within 4-3. But Tokarski shut the Devils down after that and there’s win #20 in a row. Kinkaid didn’t fare too badly despite the loss, stopping 35 of 39 shots.

Notes:

-Playoff Update: Not a good one. When the trip began, the Devils were tied for 9th in the conference. Three days and two losses later, they now sit in a tie for 13th with Worcester, four points behind the current 8th place holder, Syracuse. Thanks to a perfect 3 for 3 weekend for Adirondack, they also find themselves in last place in the division, two points behind the Phantoms. Including Albany, 6 teams are separated by 4 points for that last playoff spot.

-Now for the walking wounded: Matt Corrente made the trip down but did not play (talked with him on Friday night, he wasn’t happy about not getting in). Nathan Perkovich got in Friday night, but then re-injured himself and did not play on Saturday. I’ll have to wait and see on what his status is for the week.

Looking Ahead:

Three games on tap this week, all at home and against teams the Devils have had some success against this season. Wednesday morning (yes you read that right, morning) the Amerks come in for a school day matinee (the only home game I will miss this season…for a variety of reasons). Friday night they host Providence for the first time all season (they are a perfect 2-0 in Rhode Island, however), followed on Saturday with a matchup against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (a team the Devils have fared well against this year, going 2-1 after never beating them ever before the season began). Six huge points on the line, hopefully a little home cooking is what the team needs to get back on track.

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Game #67: Albany at Norfolk

Location: Scope Arena, Norfolk, VA. Time: 7:15 PM.

Season Series:

Albany leads 4-2.

Standings:

Albany: 28-27-6-5, 67 points, 4th place in Northeast Division, tied for 10th place in Eastern Conference

Norfolk: 46-18-1-2, 95 points, 1st place in East Division, 1st place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 39 points (13 G, 26 A); Steve Zalewski, 36 points (16 G, 20 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 36 points (14 G, 22 A)

Norfolk: Cory Conacher, 71 points (34 G, 37 A); Tyler Johnson, 60 points (28 G, 32 A); Mark Barberio, 54 points (11 G, 43 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 11-17-2, 2.72 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-16-3, 2.81 GAA

Norfolk: Dustin Tokarski, 27-11-0, 2.34 GAA; Jaroslav Janus, 19-8-2, 2.51GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); 102.1 FM The Game (Norfolk)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @NorfolkAdmirals, @AdsGameUpdates (Norfolk)

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Game #66: Albany at Norfolk

Location: Scope Arena, Norfolk, VA. Time: 7:30 PM.

Season Series:

Albany leads 4-1.

Standings:

Albany: 28-26-6-5, 67 points, 3rd place in Northeast Division, tied for 9th place in Eastern Conference

Norfolk: 45-18-1-2, 93 points, 1st place in East Division, 1st place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 39 points (13 G, 26 A); Steve Zalewski, 36 points (16 G, 20 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 36 points (14 G, 22 A)

Norfolk: Cory Conacher, 71 points (34 G, 37 A); Tyler Johnson, 59 points (27 G, 32 A); Mark Barberio, 54 points (11 G, 43 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 11-16-2, 2.75 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 15-16-3, 2.81 GAA

Norfolk: Dustin Tokarski, 27-11-0, 2.34 GAA; Jaroslav Janus, 18-8-2, 2.56 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); 102.1 FM The Game (Norfolk)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @NorfolkAdmirals, @AdsGameUpdates (Norfolk)

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Shark Tales

With the upcoming road trip to Norfolk kicking off in about 10 hours (for me; the Devils are en route as I write this), I decided to do the weekly recap a little differently this week, splitting it into two entries. One with last night’s game and some injuries/transactions of note. The other will cover the weekend down in Virginia (and maybe a bonus entry depending on what happens to Norfolk’s streak). So let’s begin with last night’s fun:

3/21 vs. Worcester: 6-5 W

Before setting off for Norfolk, the Devils had a home game to tend to, battling a team that they had issues with early in the season in the Sharks. First period was probably the best the Devils have played all season. The scoring started early with a Brad Mills power play marker just three minutes into the game. Stephen Gionta followed that with a goal of his own just under four minutes later for a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later it became a 3-0 Devil lead thanks to Myles Stoesz’s (yes he has been playing folks) first goal of the season. He celebrated by taking on Worcester heavyweight Frazer McLaren just 8 seconds later in a pretty good bout. For Round 2 (which didn’t look like much of a fight to me but the referees thought so), Eric Gelinas (not a fighter) and Brandon Mashinter (who is one) battled in the corner. Matt Irwin then put the visitors on the board about a minute later for a 3-1 game. Tim Sestito gave the Devils another 3 goal cushion with a power play goal three minutes later. Then to top off the first, Harry Young had a nice bout with the Sharks’ Matt Pelech (who was seen fixing his hair pre-bout…yeah buddy got to look good before getting your face smashed in). The Devils outshot the Sharks 16-7 for the period.

Now on to the second…27 seconds into the period Mills scored his second power play goal of the evening for a commanding 5-1 Devil lead. Or so we thought. Brian O’Hanley cut the deficit to 5-2 three minutes after the Devils 5th goal. About 10 minutes and more pushing and shoving later (including a nice takedown of Taylor Doherty by Stoesz), it became a 5-3 game thanks to a Tim Kennedy power play marker. Jack Combs made it 5-4 with less than a minute left in the second. Despite the Shark rally, Albany continued to throw shots at Worcester goalie Harri Sateri, outshooting their visitors 17-11 for the period.

Third period there was a secret goalie switch, Jeff Frazee suddenly appeared in net to take over for Keith Kinkaid (no injuries involved…just to switch things up). With Tim Sestito in the box for an apparent slashing call (and a 10 minute misconduct for opening his mouth to the refs AGAIN…apparently while Tom’s the fighter of the family Tim’s the talker), John McCarthy completed the Worcester rally with a power play goal to tie it at 5. But Vladmir Zharkov made things right, scoring the game winner with 5 and a half minutes to go to seal a much, much needed Devils win. Outside of the blown lead, it was a pretty good night all around…the Devils went 3 for 5 on the power play (but 1 for 3 penalty kill) and outshot Worcester 46-28 (I believe that’s their most shots on goal all season). Frazee earned the win in relief, stopping 9 of 10 shots. Kinkaid was fine till the Shark rally got going, managing to stop 14 of 18. All but 5 Devil skaters registered at least one point, with Joe Whitney’s 3 assists leading the way.

Notes:

-Two roster moves announced on Tuesday…first was the signing of 2007 3rd round draft pick Corbin McPherson to an amateur tryout agreement. He is a defenseman (something the Devils really need right now) who just finished his collegiate career at Colgate (teammate of former Devil David McIntyre), where he contributed 10 points (4 G, 6 A) in 39 games and served as team captain. He warmed up last night but ended up scratched in favor of Alexander Urbom’s return. Forward Bryan Haczyk was also recalled from Kalamazoo, his second trip up of the season (he was recalled for a weekend in November but did not dress). He did not warm up and was a healthy scratch, so I wonder if he’s insurance on the Norfolk swing.

-Now for the injury update: As I just mentioned earlier, Urbom returned to the lineup after sitting out almost a month. Jay Leach is back in town and is starting up skating again, he may actually be back earlier than expected. Matt Corrente and Nathan Perkovich sat out last night, but both may play this weekend. Dan Kelly is walking in a boot after taking a shot off his foot (much like what happened to Mike Banwell in Bridgeport), he thinks he’ll be back in a week or so. Chad Wiseman, Darcy Zajac, Mike Sislo and Mike Banwell are still out, definitely not playing this weekend.

Now to set up the weekend: I will still have game previews on Friday and Saturday, Friday at 4:30 and Saturday at 4:15. I’ll be mostly commuting via bus back and forth between Virginia Beach (where the Booster Club is staying) and Norfolk, so expect a lot of travel related tweets. And the possible return of the #BlameKoharski Twitter hashtag…we found out last night that Jamie Koharski is reffing both weekend games (groan).

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Game #65: Albany vs. Worcester

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Worcester leads 2-0.

Standings:

Albany: 27-26-6-5, 65 points, 4th place in Northeast Division, tied for 11th place in Eastern Conference

Worcester: 28-24-4-7, 67 points, 3rd place in Atlantic Division, 8th place in Eastern Conference

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 36 points (13 G, 23 A); Steve Zalewski, 35 points (16 G, 19 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 34 points (13 G, 21 A)

Worcester: John McCarthy, 39 points (16 G, 23 A); Matt Irwin, 34 points (8 G, 26 A); Brandon Mashinter, 31 points (16 G, 15 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Keith Kinkaid, 15-16-3, 2.75 GAA; Jeff Frazee, 10-16-2, 2.75 GAA

Worcester: Tyson Sexsmith, 13-12-7, 2.25 GAA; Harri Sateri, 12-12-0, 2.71 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WTAG 580 AM (Worcester)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @WorcesterSharks, @SharksAHLInGame (Worcester)

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Falling Out Of Position

Another 3 in 3 weekend is in the books, and it’s not getting any easier for the Devils. They started out in playoff position, but 1 out of 6 points and three more losses later, they’re now on the outside looking in. Time to review:

3/16 at Binghamton: 4-2 L

The weekend began in a city that the Devils had yet to taste victory in all season, Binghamton. At first it looked like fortunes were about to change as both Jeff Frazee and former teammate Mike McKenna held both sides scoreless during the first period, with the Senators outshooting its guests 10-8. Second period Binghamton got on the board early thanks to a Andre Petersson goal. But the Devils would mount a late rally to take the lead thanks to goals by Tim Sestito (on the power play) and Eric Gelinas. But the Senators quickly tied it back up at 2 to start the 3rd period, and with that the momentum shifted. Petersson added his second goal of the night 4 and a half minutes later to give Binghamton the lead, then David Dziurzynski added an insurance marker with about 5 minutes left in the game to extend the Devils winless streak to 6 games. Despite the loss, Frazee had an okay night in net, stopping 32 of 36 shots (including a beautiful stop on a shorthanded breakaway, with a little help from the post), while Peter Harrold contributed two assists.

3/17 at Hershey: 3-2 L (SO)

The road trip continued south on Interstate 81 for a St. Patrick’s Day matchup against Hershey, a team the Devils hadn’t seen since mid November. Albany killed off a very early power play chance and seemed to be holding their own against the Bears, then Tomas Kundratek scored midway through for a 1-0 Bear lead. The Devils rallied in the second period and took the lead thanks to goals by Matt Anderson and Brad Mills (Mills’s goal was a shorthanded tally, the 6th of the season for the Devils). During the third, the game was looking good for Albany as Keith Kinkaid made the lead stand up, and as time ticked down it looked as if the losing streak was going to end. But thanks to a delayed penalty call by referee Terry Koharski (there’s that last name again…ugh), and not calling a play dead, Kundratek was able to tie things up at 2 with just 4 minutes left in regulation. The Devils did have a late power play chance but could not capitalize, and the game went to overtime. Mills had a very good chance to win the game during the extra session, but couldn’t get it past Bears goalie Dany Sabourin. It was on the shootout, where only Mattias Tedenby was able to score. Kinkaid gave up back to back goals to Cody Eakin and Boyd Kane to seal the extra point for Hershey. It was only the Devils third standings point in the last seven games. Despite that, the team played a much improved game, killing all 4 Bears power play chances (not bad against a team with the #1 overall power play), and Kinkaid was outstanding in a hard luck loss, stopping 37 of 39 shots and taking #2 star of the game honors.

3/18 vs. Hershey: 4-1 L

About 18 hours (and a long bus ride for both) later, the second half of the home and home series with Hershey. Other than a heavyweight bout between former River Rat Joel Rechlicz and Myles Stoesz, not much action during the first half of the first period. Then Patrick McNeill got the visitors on the board with a shot past Jeff Frazee for a 1-0 advantage. Maxime Lacroix would pad the lead to 2 just under 5 minutes later. Just over a minute later, Vladimir Zharkov scored unassisted to cut the lead to 2-1. Sadly, the Devils would not get any closer than that. Boyd Kane would score twice, on a power play very late in the second and an empty netter to seal it in the third period. Not a lot went on, unless you count the several missed calls both referees had on Hershey (mostly). Frazee did stop 19 of 22 shots in a losing cause, the 8th straight loss of any kind for Albany.

Notes:

-Conference standings: With the latest defeat, Albany fell into an 11th place tie with Portland with 65 points each. They are only two points behind the 8th place slot, currently occupied by Worcester. They are two points ahead of both Adirondack and Providence and 10 points ahead of last place Binghamton. The 7th through 14th place teams are all separated by just 6 points, so it’s still really anyone’s playoff spots for the taking.

-Add a few names to the walking wounded this week. Mike Sislo was the latest casualty, sitting out the weekend. Dan Kelly and Nathan Perkovich both sat out the last two games, while Darcy Zajac was out for today’s contest. Jay Leach, Chad Wiseman, Alexander Urbom, and Mike Banwell all remain sidelined.

-No new transactions to report, but I’m thinking we may start seeing a few amateur tryouts on their way. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood officially signed an entry level deal on Friday, so it would not surprise me if he did come here in some capacity. Another player I heard may be close to arriving is defenseman Corbin McPherson, a 2007 3rd rounder who just completed his collegiate career at Colgate. Both Michigan and Union are playing in the NCAAs, so it may be awhile before prospects from those teams (David Wohlberg, Kelly Zajac) arrive on the scene.

Looking Ahead:

If the Devils thought last weekend was hard opponent-wise, well…they better be ready for this week. Wednesday night they host Worcester, a team they have had trouble with during the first two meetings this season (the Sharks have outscored the Devils 11-2). Then Friday and Saturday they travel south to Norfolk to take on the Admirals. Good news: Albany has taken 4 out of 5 meetings between the two teams. Bad news: The Admirals are currently on a record smashing 18 game winning streak. But the boys will have a little help on their side…myself and 42 Booster Club members will be making the trip down there to support them, whether the streak is broken up or if it gets to 19 or 20. But one thing is for sure…they need to get back on the winning track soon, or it’ll be another early offseason around these parts.

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