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Devils Season 5 in Review, Part 3: My Favorite Things

Welcome once again to the annual Season in Review.  As I have done the past four years, the review will be broken down into three parts: statistics, fun with numbers, and my favorite things from the season gone by.

Here it is, the final part, my favorite things (formerly called What I Learned).  There is always more to this hockey thing than tweeting, photo taking, recapping, etc.

While I was driving to Wilkes-Barre last weekend for my last road trip of the season, I started thinking about just how I wanted to look back on the last few months (and when you have 3 hours in the car you have a lot of time to think).  People, moments, things that happened on and off the ice.  Then it came to me…taking a page from In Lou We Trust I came up with some superlative awards to sum up the year for me.  So without further delay:

You’re Not Allowed to Leave. Ever.

Given to Graham Black for probably being the most well rounded Devil I have probably ever met in 5 years.  I felt sorry for the rookie, who played quite well for his first pro season despite injuries and illness limiting him to 46 games.

You’re Also Not Allowed to Leave. Ever.

Given to Matt Lorito who showed up on an amateur tryout in March, got a chance to play when Joe Whitney got hurt in Norfolk, and immediately made an impact playing on the top line.  Game winning goal in his pro debut, a shootout winner in Springfield in early April, and a record tying 5 points in his last game on April 15th.  He is already under an AHL contract for next season, and I hope the New Jersey brass was paying attention.

Best 1 Game Cameo Performance

Remember when Adam Larsson showed up for one game in December after getting over the mumps?  Not really?  It was because it was on the road in Wilkes-Barre on December 19th.  He contributed two assists in a 4-2 Devil win.

Best Multi Game Cameo Performance

Remember earlier in the season when Steve Bernier and Peter Harrold were here?  That lasted oh, about a month or so before both were summoned back to New Jersey.

Where Did This Guy Come From?

When I first saw Paul Thompson’s name on the training camp roster, I didn’t know much about him, so I asked my friends in Wilkes-Barre and Springfield for a scouting report.  Nowhere in that was just how much offense he would create.  Who would have guessed he would score 4 times in the season opener and go on to set the season franchise record for goals with 33?  And he will be re-signed in July to a 2 way deal, a well deserved one at that.

Best Player Performance That Ticked Off An Opposing Fanbase

Mark Fraser fighting J.P. Cote in Syracuse on December 20th…well the fight wasn’t the problem.  It was Fraser raising the roof as he skated to the penalty box after the fight.  He had his own “fan club” upon returning to the Salt City the day after Christmas (and had to answer to Eric Neilson in the first period).

Tough Building Award

The Broome County/Floyd Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton has been a house of horrors for the Devils in recent years.  This year alone, they were outscored 13-3 in two games.  But when the Senators came to Albany, no issues in sweeping them.

Most Overused Hashtag

Of course it involved trying to get someone playing time.  This year’s campaign? #FreeFaust for rookie Joe Faust, who was stuck in the #7 defenseman slot, but filled in nicely when he actually did get to play.  Here’s to more playing time for him next season so I don’t have to wave to him from the concourse in Springfield.

Obligatory Fight of the Year, Bronze Medal

April 17th in Wilkes-Barre, Cam vs. PL3.

Obligatory Fight of the Year, Silver Medal

December 7th against Adirondack, Cam vs. Trevor Gillies.

Obligatory Fight of the Year, Gold Medal

November 28th in Atlantic City, Mark Fraser vs. Jay Rosehill.

Smartass Little Brother Award:

A few of us have been calling Dan Kelly this for awhile.  Battles for you on ice, has a sarcastic answer for everything off of it.  From the bobblehead reveal in January to bowling with him in February, we could always count on the 5 time voted Defensive Player of the Year (by the Booster Club) and the Albany choice for the AHL Man of the Year. (If you happen to read this, I mean it as a term of endearment.  Seriously. I do.)

Most Likely to be Found at a Thruway Rest Stop:

Given to Tim Sestito for being called up and sent down more times than necessary in a span of a week and a half.

Best Road Trip, Bronze Medal

February 27th in Syracuse, where the offense finally came alive in a much needed 7-6 win, only their second win in the month of February.

Best Road Trip, Silver Medal

April 17th in Wilkes-Barre.  All they did was put a four-spot on the league’s Rookie and Goaltender of the Year and shut out the Penguins in another tough building.

Best Road Trip, Gold Medal

I had maintained for years that I would never, ever set foot in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for a “home” game.  Well…this year things were different.  I had the time to actually make the trip there, and ended up witnessing the first OT win by a Devil team in nearly three years (a 4-3 overtime win over Lehigh Valley on December 14th).  And got a mini vacation on the Boardwalk as a nice bonus prize.  Heck, I may even do it again next year if the opportunity arises…well, at least this time I’ll pick a hotel that’s not next to an abandoned casino.

And now time for my favorite Game Break!  (The Rock as Darcy Zajac?  Nope.  But Channing Tatum as Corbin McPherson…where do I sign up as an extra?)

Now for a few thank yous:

-To my AHL friends, for the support and therapy sessions during the year (and for also making my first AHL All Star experience in Utica a lot of fun).

-To my New Jersey friends, for the support, the endless laughs, and also for the many therapy sessions during coaching changes, questionable callups, and goal droughts.

-To my friends at home for the help and keeping up with gameday habits like Moose calling and Instagramming certain announcers, among other things.

-Finally, to you the reader for following along and making me want to continue doing what I do!

Only a few months before Season 6 begins…that is, when the lease is finally signed.

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Devils Season 5 in Review, Part 2: Fun with Numbers

Welcome once again to the annual Season in Review.  As I have done the past four years, the review will be broken down into three parts: statistics, fun with numbers, and my favorite things from the season gone by.

Here we go with Part 2 and some random numbers from the season:

4,011: Attendance for the home opener, a 3-2 win on October 18th.

4: Goals by Paul Thompson in the season opener October 11 at Adirondack.

6: Shootout losses.

37: Players to appear in at least one game.

2: Players who made their NHL debut (Seth Helgeson & Raman Hrabarenka).

4: Goaltenders to appear in at least one game.

7,012: Season high attendance on January 24th, a 2-1 overtime loss to Worcester.

13: Players who appeared in at least one game for both Albany and New Jersey.

77: Most penalty minutes in one game, on February 22nd at Springfield (a 4-2 loss).

10: Different cities I saw at least one game (Albany, Atlantic City, Newark, Binghamton, Syracuse, Springfield, Worcester, Hartford, Bridgeport, Wilkes-Barre).

2: Penalty minutes in a 2-1 overtime loss at St. John’s on March 6th.

8: Number of times Tim Sestito was either called up or sent back from New Jersey between December 15th and January 27th.

3: Devils to earn their first NHL points (Seth Helgeson & Mike Sislo with assists, Joe Whitney with a goal)

1: Penalty shots awarded (Mike Sislo on 11/26) and also faced (Scott Wedgewood on 12/26).

3: Hat tricks, all by Paul Thompson.

10: Rounds for the longest shootout of the season, a loss to Syracuse on January 2nd.

7: Most goals allowed in one game, on November 8th in Bridgeport and November 22nd in Binghamton.

4: Wins against Lehigh Valley in a series sweep.

5: Total goals scored in 8 shootouts.

33: Times Albany scored the first goal.

6: Power play goals allowed in a 7-2 loss to Bridgeport on November 8th.

5: Wins against Bridgeport, the most against any opponent.

0: Wins against Hershey and Manchester.

33: Goals for Paul Thompson, a new franchise record.

79: Goals scored in the third period.

17: 1-goal victories.

10: Home point scoring streak for Scott Timmins, between October 18th and November 28th.

6: Road goal scoring streak for Stefan Matteau, starting from February 27th through the end of the season.

-5: Plus/minus rating for Raman Hrabarenka on November 22nd in Binghamton.

1: Shot allowed in the second period on January 31st vs. St. John’s.

0: Players to appear in all 76 games (Paul Thompson was the closest with 73).

7: Most goals scored in one game, on October 24th in Hartford (7-3 win), January 3rd in Bridgeport (7-4 win), and February 27th in Syracuse (7-6 win).

6: Shutouts by Devil goaltending.

26: Most penalty minutes by one player…Mike Sislo on February 22nd at Springfield (two abuse of official misconducts for arguing did the trick).

3: Shootout losses for Scott Wedgewood.

13: Majors for Ben Thomson (tied for first in the league among rookies).

42: Most saves in one game, by Scott Wedgewood on 12/30 vs. Providence.

5: Points for Matt Lorito, tying a franchise record, in a 6-2 win over Syracuse on April 15th.

I may add more to this list as I think of them…

 

 

 

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Monday Night Updates

It may be Day 2 of the offseason, but there’s quite a few news items to pass along:

-Congratulations to Joe Whitney, who was named the final AHL Player of the Week for his seven point performance in 3 games this week.  This is the second time this season he was given the honor…he also won for the week ending January 4th.

-Mike Keenan and Ben Johnson were sent to Orlando to help the Solar Bears with their Kelly Cup playoff run, which resumes Tuesday night at home against Florida.

-Stefan Matteau will be joining Team USA for the World Championships, which will take place in the Czech Republic from May 1st-15th.  Raman Hrabarenka is expected to join Team Belarus in the coming days.

-And finally if you’re interested, the full first round Calder Cup playoff schedule can be found here.  The postseason gets underway Wednesday night.

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Devils Season 5 In Review, Part 1: The Stats

Welcome once again to the annual Season in Review.  As I have done the past four years, the review will be broken down into three parts: statistics, fun with numbers, and my favorite things from the season gone by.

Here are the final numbers for the Devils for the 2014-15 season:

Record: 37-28-5-6, 85 points.  Home: 20-12-2-4.  Road: 17-16-3-2.

Leading Point Scorers (Top 5): Joe Whitney (60), Paul Thompson (55), Mike Sislo (40), Brandon Burlon (36), Reid Boucher (30)

Goals: Paul Thompson (33)

Assists: Joe Whitney (37)

Plus/Minus: Stefan Matteau/Graham Black (+9)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (130)

Power Play Goals: Paul Thompson (13)

Short Handed Goals: 6 tied with 1

Game Winning Goals: Joe Whitney/Paul Thompson (5)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (13)

Shutouts: Scott Wedgewood/Scott Clemmensen (2)–both share a shutout

Minutes: Scott Wedgewood (2014:15)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.923)

Goals Against Average: Keith Kinkaid (2.19)

Full listings of individual stats: Skaters. Goalies.

League Rankings:

Record: 37-28-5-6, 4th in Northeast Division, 10th in Eastern Conference, 18th overall.

Attendance: 3,323 average, 27th.

Penalty Minutes: 1,368 for an average of 18.00 per game. 8th.

Power Play: 19.2%, 5th.

Penalty Kill: 82.3%, 20th.

Shorthanded Goals: 6, tied for 8th.

Goals For/Game: 2.62, 24th.

Goals Against/Game: 2.64, 11th.

Shots For/Game: 28.93, 24th.

Shots Against/Game: 28.25, 5th.

Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, coming up later this week!

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Week 28 Recap: Fighting to the End

It was the perfect ending to a regular season, winning out the week.  But unfortunately destiny and an 8th place finish was just not in the cards for Albany, as just after they finished their end of the job, the season would officially come to an end.

4/15 vs. Syracuse: 6-2 W

First up, a visit from the suddenly reeling Crunch, who were fighting to just stay in the Northeast Division lead.  The Crunch took an early lead in the first period on Yanni Gourde’s 28th goal, but Joe Whitney would answer later with his 21st to tie things up.  Second period saw no goals, no penalties, not much of anything going on for either side.  Then came the third…and the Devils exploded.  Seth Helgeson would break the tie just 1:03 into the third with his second, then Ben Thomson would follow that 54 seconds later with an unassisted tally, his 8th.  Whitney would pad the lead with his second of the night on a rare power play (only 3 combined were called the entire game).  Matt Lorito would continue his stellar play with his third goal (also on a power play) for a 5-1 lead.  Stefan Matteau would make it a 6-1 advantage late with his 11th.  Somehow (and no one by the net other than the Crunch and Geno Binda saw this) the Crunch would score on a late power play to cut the lead to 4.  But it was too little too late, and the Devils pulled out a win to cut their magic number down to single digits and move to within two points of the 8th spot.  Scott Clemmensen had another great night in net, stopping 26 of 28 and picking up his 10th win.  Lorito tied a franchise record with 5 points, adding 4 assists to go along with his power play tally.  Reece Scarlett had two helpers, while Whitney and two others added one assist each.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Joe Whitney-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-David Wohlberg

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Graham Black (injured), Ben Johnson, Max Novak, Brandon Baddock, Chris McKelvie

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Mike Keenan

Extra: Joe Faust, Corbin McPherson

4/17 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 4-0 W

It was on the road to northeast Pennsylvania, where the Devils had a daunting task if they wanted to continue their playoff run…take on Rookie and Goaltender of the Year Matt Murray and the Penguins, who were fighting Hershey for the East Division title.  And it was the visitors who got off to a running start, as Stefan Matteau (12th) and Joe Whitney (23rd) would score just 2:28 apart late in the first period for a 2-0 advantage.  After a relatively uneventful second period, Albany turned on the jets in the third and was not about to look back.  Brandon Burlon would score his 7th goal early in the period for a 3 goal cushion.  Just 2:06 later, Darcy Zajac would add his 8th for a 4-0 lead.  And that was all Scott Clemmensen would need, as he would stop all 22 Penguin shots in picking up his second shutout of the season and his 11th win.  Zajac, Whitney, and 4 other Devils would all have one assist each.  And not a lot of penalties in this one either…only two minors were called all evening.  And, well, you’ll see later on the others.

And with a Portland regulation loss and a Springfield shootout loss…Albany reduced their magic number to 5 and pulled even with Portland, both teams one point behind the Falcons going into Saturday.

Highlights:

AHL Live highlights can be found here.

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Joe Whitney-David Wohlberg-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Ben Johnson, Brandon Baddock, Max Novak, Matt Lorito (illness)

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

4/18 vs. Hartford: 4-2 W

With one more win needed to control their destiny, Albany took to the ice for their season finale against the Wolfpack, who were looking to wrap up the Northeast Division title.  On the first power play chance of the game, it only took 12 seconds for Oscar Lindberg to connect and put Hartford up 1-0.  Brandon Burlon would tie things up with his 8th midway through the period.  Just as the first was ending, Seth Helgeson was called for slashing, putting the Devils on the penalty kill to start the second period.  And it only took Chris Bourque 52 seconds to score, giving the Wolfpack a 2-1 advantage.  But Albany would take over the game from there, as Mike Sislo would score his 19th just 7 seconds into a double minor to tie it up.  Sislo would come through again in the third, scoring his 20th on another power play with just under 6 minutes remaining in regulation for a 3-2 lead.  Reid Boucher would seal the deal with an empty netter late, giving the Devils a 4 game winning streak to close out the regular season and a temporary hold of the 8th playoff spot.  Another strong performance in net from Scott Clemmensen, who stopped 26 of 28 shots in net and picking up his third win of the week.  Joe Whitney reached the 60 point mark for the season with two assists, while Reece Scarlett also had two helpers.  Four other Devils each had assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Joe Whitney-David Wohlberg-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Ben Johnson, Matt Lorito, Brandon Baddock, Max Novak

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

Unfortunately, about an hour and a half after the final whistle, Springfield defeated St. John’s 4-3 in overtime, officially eliminating Albany from playoff contention.  Sad trombone.

Conference Standings:

When the smoke finally cleared on Sunday afternoon, here is the final Eastern Conference standing:

1. Manchester–109 points

2. Hershey–100

3. Hartford–95

4. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton–97

5. Syracuse–92

6. Providence–91

7. Worcester–88

8. Portland–87

9. Springfield–86

10.Albany–85

11. Binghamton–76

12. St. John’s–75

13. Lehigh Valley–74

14. Bridgeport–64

15. Norfolk–64

Pop Quiz: On Wednesday, Matt Lorito tied a franchise record with 5 points.  Can you name the other Lowell/Albany Devils that also got 5 points in a game?  The answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

So Cam and PL3 hit the ice at the same time Friday evening and…well…I think you know what happens next.

My Player of the Week:

If not for Matt Lorito missing the final two games due to illness, he may have had a shot at getting the final award.  But I’m giving it to our elder statesman of the team Scott Clemmensen, who went 3-0 on the week with one shutout and helped Albany stay in it.

Team Leaders:

Look for the final leaders tomorrow in the first part of my season review, where I’ll have all the final numbers.

ECHL Update:

Orlando is down 2-0 to Florida in their first round best of 7 series, with Game 3 coming up at home on Tuesday night.  Eric Baier has appeared in both games and is scoreless with a -3.  Maxime Clermont appeared in relief in Game 2, stopping all 10 shots faced in 24:38.

What’s Next?

With the season officially in the books, time for my annual 3 part season in review.  Monday will have all final player stats and league rankings.  Wednesday I have some fun with numbers.  Finally on Friday, my favorite things about the season, featuring some superlatives!  So stay tuned for all of that.  I’ll keep this updated as news comes in during the playoffs for both AHL and Orlando and any signings for next year.

Pop Quiz Answer: Before Matt Lorito on Wednesday, three others in Lowell/Albany have notched 5 points in one game: David Clarkson on January 12, 2007 (4 G, 1 A); Matt Halischuk on October 11, 2008 (4 G, 1 A); and Bobby Butler on December 12, 2012 (4 G, 1 A).

 

 

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Week 28 Photo Gallery

Scott Wedgewood

Scott Wedgewood

Joe Whitney

Joe Whitney

Reid Boucher

Reid Boucher

Scott Clemmensen

Scott Clemmensen

Stefan Matteau

Stefan Matteau

Dan Kelly

Dan Kelly

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Week 28 Primer

Devils Quick Hits:

-Albany begins the final week of the regular season with a 34-28-5-6 record, good for 79 points.  They sit in 4th place in the Northeast Division, 4 points behind third place Springfield, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, trailing 8th place Portland and 9th place Springfield by the same margin.  The magic number to clinch a playoff spot stands at 11, with an elimination number of 3.

4/15, Game #74 vs. Syracuse

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Syracuse leads 6-1.

Standings:

Syracuse: 41-23-9-0, 2nd place in Northeast Division, 5th in Eastern Conference

Crunch Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Jonathan Marchessault, 64 points (23 G, 41 A); Yanni Gourde, 55 points (27 G, 28 A); Mike Angelidis, 38 points (20 G, 18 A)

Kristers Gudlevskis, 13-3-2, 2.68 GAA; Adam Wilcox, 0-1-0, 3.12 GAA

Notes:

-The Crunch have dropped 6 of their last 7 games, dropping them behind Hartford for the Northeast Division lead.  After coming to the Capital Region on Wednesday, they finish the season with a pair of home games against Adirondack and Bridgeport.

-Syracuse has been hit  by the injury bug, as they are missing captain Mike Angelidis and assistant captain Joey Mormina (coincidentally both former River Rats) due to assorted ailments.

-With the NHL regular season ending, Jonathan Marchessault and Slater Koekkoek have returned from Tampa Bay, while AHL All Star Vladislav Namestnikov remains with the Lightning.

Listen: AHL Live, ESPN Radio Syracuse

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SyracuseCrunch

4/17, Game #75 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-1.

Standings:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 43-23-3-4, 93 points, 2nd place in East Division, 4th in Eastern Conference

Penguins Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Tom Kostopoulos, 44 points (16 G, 28 A); Andrew Ebbett, 43 points (17 G, 26 A); 2 tied with 41

Matt Murray, 25-9-3, 1.51 GAA; Jeff Zatkoff, 16-14-4, 2.45 GAA

Notes:

-With a win over Lehigh Valley last Wednesday, the Pens locked up their 13th consecutive playoff appearance.  They stand 3 points behind Hershey for the division lead with 3 games remaining.

-After hosting Albany on Friday, they host Norfolk on Saturday and visit Lehigh Valley on Sunday to close out the regular season.

-Rookie goaltender Matt Murray has had an amazing season.  He was recently named to both the AHL’s First All Star Team and the All-Rookie Team.  He currently has 12 shutouts, one short of the AHL record set in 2003-04 by Jason LaBarbera.

Listen: AHL Live, WILK 103.1 FM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins, @WBSGameDay

4/18, Game #76 vs. Hartford

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Hartford leads 6-3.

Standings:

Hartford: 41-23-5-4, 91 points, 1st place in Northeast Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference

Wolfpack Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Chris Bourque, 63 points (28 G, 35 A); Oscar Lindberg, 53 points (26 G, 27 A); Danny Kristo, 44 points (22 G, 22 A)

Mackenzie Skapski, 15-8-3, 2.40 GAA; Yann Danis, 16-12-4, 2.46 GAA

Notes:

-The Wolfpack climbed into the top spot in the Northeast Division thanks to a slumping Crunch team and winning six out of their last seven, including their last 5 straight.

-Hartford finishes with a 3 in 3 weekend, hosting Bridgeport in their home finale on Friday before traveling to Albany on Saturday and Bridgeport on Sunday.

-Forward Chris Bourque, fifth in the league in scoring and leading all Hartford scorers, was named to the AHL’s First All Star Team last week.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1410 Hartford

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @WolfpackAHL

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