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The Weekly Primer, Issue 18

Quick Hits:

Albany begins the month of February with a 24-12-7-0 record, 55 points, and a .640 percentage.  They remain in second place in the North Division, a staggering 22 points behind first place Toronto and 9 points ahead of 3rd place Utica.  Despite the recent struggles, they still sit in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.

As expected, Reid Boucher, Joe Blandisi, and Seth Helgeson were all recalled to New Jersey on Monday.  All three had an impact on Tuesday’s win over the Rangers at The Rock.

Injury update: Max Novak (hand/ankle) has been cleared to play after missing the last two weeks.  Only Blake Coleman (shoulder) and Scott Wedgewood (shoulder) remain on the injured list.

Friday, 2/5 at Providence

Where: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 20-15-8-1, 49 points, .557 pct, 4th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Seth Griffith, 46 points (14 G, 32 A); Alexander Khokhlachev, 36 points (12 G, 24 A); Austin Czarnik, 33 points (12 G, 21 A); Malcolm Subban, 14-8-4, 2.45 GAA; Zane McIntyre, 6-6-5, 3.04 GAA

Notes: The Bruins have a modest 2 game winning streak, but outscored their opponents 13-3 in those two games; Providence has not lost in regulation since a 4-3 defeat to Portland on New Years Eve; Seth Griffith is one point off the league lead in scoring; goaltender Malcolm Subban was summoned to Boston on Monday  after an injury to Jonas Gustavsson, but was returned to the P-Bruins and will be in net tonight.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

Saturday, 2/6 vs. Hartford

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 2.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 23-20-2-0, 48 points, .533 pct, 6th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chad Nehring, 31 points (15 G, 16 A); 2 tied with 24 points; Magnus Hellberg, 16-11-2, 2.48 GAA; Jeff Malcolm, 5-3-0, 2.14 GAA

Notes: The Wolfpack are on a run, winning 9 of 10 with a 4-1 loss to Bridgeport on January 29th the lone blemish; they host Portland on Friday before coming to the Capital Region; forward Jayson Megna was recalled on Wednesday by the Rangers; it’s the annual GE Kids in Free Day at the arena, as we celebrate Devil Dawg’s birthday.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @WolfpackAHL

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2016 AHL All Star Wrap

While everyone else was watching John Scott rub it in the NHL’s face in Nashville, the American Hockey League had their own All Star events to tend to.  And for the second straight year, I was able to make the trip…hey, it’s just a 2 hour ride west down the Thruway, you can’t pass that up.  And it was a very interesting and fun time, as a new format was introduced along with the traditional skills (no Jagr impressions or little kids though).

Sunday, 1/31 Skills Competition: West 19, East 14

Ready for the introductions...

Ready for the introductions…

To get things started, Sunday night the All Stars competed in the annual skills competition.

First, the Puck Control Relay…where the East dominated the team competition (Mike Sislo was part of the winning second heat) and split the individual heat (the middle round was won by the West Youth Star selections).

Mike Sislo learning the course...

Mike Sislo learning the course…

Second round saw the Fastest Skater contest, where Stockton’s Derek Grant took home the individual title with a time of 14.307 seconds.  The West also took home the fastest average time award.

In the Rapid Fire round, the West won out again, stopping 28 shots while the East managed 24 saves.  Yann Danis had 5 of those in his round.

The East would finally get back in the win column during the Hardest Shot round, as Hartford’s Ryan Graves won the individual title with a 103.4 mph shot.  St. John’s Morgan Ellis and Bakersfield’s Brad Hunt were the only other players to break triple digits.

All set for Accuracy Shooting!

All set for Accuracy Shooting!

In the Accuracy Shooting round, Chicago’s Pat Cannone took home the individual title with 4 hits in 5 shots.  But the East won team honors after hitting the targets 18 times in 34 attempts.

Both conferences split the Pass and Score competition, as Yann Danis stopped 2 of 3 shots faced during round 3.  Mike Sislo faced off against Ontario’s Peter Budaj in round 6.

The final event was the Breakaway Relay…and it wasn’t the greatest round for Danis, as he allowed 4 of 6 shooters to score.  Sislo did score on Budaj in his round, but the West would dominate 10-5.

Manitoba’s Eric Comrie would take home the top goaltender award after stopping 17 of 19 shots faced.

And now a few more images from Sunday…

image image image image

 

Day 2 Events:
-First on the agenda: the annual State of the League address.  Topics discussed included the imbalanced schedule between the 5 California teams and the rest of the league (still sticking to the plan, but at some point it could get to an even schedule for everyone); the ultimate goal of having 2 referees for every game (due to small pool of referees available it will take time, but the two referee system will be in place for every playoff game come spring); and playoff financing structure for teams (instead of the league receiving a percentage of ticket sales, each team will “purchase” playoff dates from the league, giving them more flexibility for selling and pricing tickets).  Wrong Side of the Red Line has your full wrapup here.
-Now for the games!  A round robin 7 game tournament between all 4 divisions commenced, lasting 9:00 each (except for the final game of 6:00).  Both teams would play 4 on 4 for the first half, then switch sides and play 3 on 3 for the second half.  The final would be all 3 on 3 for 6 minutes, switching sides halfway through.
In the opening round, it took nearly the entire game before the first goal was scored…then Toronto’s Josh Leivo would score with just 27 seconds remaining to clinch it for the North.  Yann Danis and Syracuse’s Kristers Gudlevskis would split the shutout, with Danis picking up the win.  He only needed to stop 3 shots in 4:30, while Gudlevskis stopped 4 shots.  Morgan Ellis (St. John’s) picked up the lone assist.  Mike Sislo managed one shot on goal.
The second game was another defensive battle that saw some late dramatics.  Chicago’s Pat Cannone would put Central on the board with 3:30 left to go.  Then just as time was about to expire, Hershey’s Chris Bourque would get one past Michael Leighton (Rockford) to tie it up, sending it to the shootout.  Leighton would stop all three Atlantic shooters, while Portland’s Mike McKenna would give up one to Cannone, giving the Central the win.  Leighton went the distance and stopped 4 of 5 shots before the shootout.  2 skaters on each side would have assists.
The offense finally started picking up as the Central and North each played their second game.  Yann Danis would draw the start and struggled a bit, giving up two goals in 4:30.  Pat Cannone would score his second of the day 1:41 in, followed by Jake Dowell (Rockford) 36 seconds later.  Dowell would strike again against Kristers Gudlevskis 5:03 in for a commanding 3-0 lead.  But the North would get on the board with two goals in 31 seconds…Josh Leivo would score his second of the day, followed by Michael McCarron (St. John’s) to cut the lead to 3-2.  But an empty netter by Ryan Hartman (Rockford) would clinch a second win for the Central.  Manitoba’s Eric Comrie would go the distance in picking up the win, stopping 11 of 13 North shots.
In another defensive battle, the Atlantic scored twice in the first 2:32 and never looked back.  Bridgeport’s Alan Quine, a last minute replacement, would score on Bakersfield’s Laurent Brossoit 54 seconds into the contest.  Seth Griffith (Providence) would double the lead with his first of the night.  Sean Backman (Pacific) would break up the combined shutout bid with 1:30 left, but no more.  Mike McKenna picked up the win with 3 saves, while Anthony Stolarz (Lehigh Valley) would follow up with 7 saves on 8 shots.  Four different Atlantic skaters would add helpers.
Finally, some offense!  And it only took 12 seconds and a Derek Grant (Stockton) goal to get things started.  Xavier Ouellet (Grand Rapids) and Nick Ritchie (San Diego) would trade goals 25 seconds apart for a 2-1 Pacific lead, then Mikko Rantanen (San Antonio) would extend the Pacific lead to 3-1.  But just as the teams switched over to 3 on 3, the Central would rally.  West Captain Jeff Hoggan (Grand Rapids) would cut the lead to 3-2, only to have Ritchie score his second 4o seconds later for a 4-2 Pacific advantage.  Then Andre Benoit (Chicago) and Jake Dowell would score 2 minutes apart to tie the game up at 4.  But with 4 seconds left, Grant would score his second and Brandon Montour (San Diego) would add an empty netter three seconds later to give the Pacific the win.  T.J. Tynan (Lake Erie) would have two assists for the Central, while three Pacific skaters had two helpers each.
An intradivisional battle to determine who was going to face the Central in the final round.  Rob Schremp (Portland) would start the scoring 2:02 in against Yann Danis.  After both sides switched to 3 on 3 play, Chris Bourque would pick up his second goal of the day for a 2-0 lead.  The North would get on the board 25 seconds later thanks to a Mike Sislo goal, but that was as close as they would get.  Alan Quine would score his second of the day for a 3-1 lead, then Schremp would score an empty netter to seal the Atlantic win.  Danis stopped 3 of 4 shots, wrapping up a solid evening for him in net.
The final battle for division supremacy in the AHL…and it was absolutely no contest.  Jeff Hoggan would score 24 seconds in and the rout was on from there.  Derek Ryan (Charlotte) and Pat Cannone would score 38 seconds apart for a 3-0 lead, then Xavier Ouellet would seal the title with an empty netter with 16 seconds remaining.  Michael Leighton would go the distance and stop all 9 Atlantic shots.  Frederick Gaudreau (Milwaukee) would pick up 3 assists.
Although there were quite a few candidates for the night’s Most Valuable Player, Cannone would take home the honors.
Thank you to the AHL, the Crunch, and everyone involved for a fun 2 days!  It’s always a great time to meet up with friends from around the league and interact with mascots I never get to see (I’m looking at you, Western Conference).
And now some photos from Day 2:
image image image image image image

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Week 17 Recap: Sliding into the Break

Good news this week: the Devils would receive reinforcements from New Jersey as the NHL started their All Star break.  Bad news: Only two would play.  And the month of January would end with a 3 out of 6 point week and a major injury as the AHL All Star break gets underway.

1/27 vs. Hershey: 3-2 W (OT)

Matt Lorito

Matt Lorito

The homestand continued on Wednesday, as the Bears made their only visit of the season to the Capital Region.  Among those in attendance: former Calder Cup winning Rat Bryan Helmer, now an assistant coach; former River Rat goalie Justin Peters, serving as backup to Dan Ellis (of escrow/#DanEllisProblems fame); and some guy named Gomez, I think he’s played in the NHL before?  Anyway…with Matt Lorito and Reid Boucher returning to the lineup, the Devils got off to a good start in the first period.  On the Devils first power play of the night, Mike Sislo would pick up his 17th goal (and league leading 12th power play goal) for a 1-0 lead.  Scott Wedgewood only had to face three Hershey shots…but on one of those shots he would dive and land on his right shoulder, shaking him up.  He would stay in after being checked out.  The Devils would continue to dominate in the shot department, outshooting the visitors 12-5 in the second, but on one of those 5 shots late in the period Erik Burgdoerfer would tie the game up (with an assist by that Gomez guy).  Midway through the third, Wedgewood would go down again on his right side, and this time he would have to leave the game, bringing Yann Danis in from the bullpen to finish things up.  The Bears would grab a lead late on a Riley Barber goal, and it looked like the Devils were on their way to a sixth straight loss, and the Bear domination would continue.  But not so fast.  With Danis pulled for an extra skater, Raman Hrabarenka would score his first of the season with just 1:16 to go in regulation to tie the game at 2.  It was on to overtime, where on the first shot taken by either side, Reid Boucher would knock it past Ellis for the winner, and a five game losing streak was over.  Danis picked up win #17 in relief, stopping 5 of 6 shots in about 10 minutes worth of work.  Wedgewood had stopped 12 of 13 before exiting.  Sislo and four other Devils each had assists.

Remember me?

Remember me?

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Jim O’Brien-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Ryan Kujawinski-Brian O’Neill

Corey Tropp-Graham Black-Blake Pietila

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Vojtech Mozik/Marc-Andre Gragnani

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Joe Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Paul Thompson, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 24.  Shots Allowed: 19.

Highlights:

Thursday: It appears that Wedgewood will be out at least a month with a shoulder injury, so…Ken Appleby to the white courtesy phone, please.

1/29 vs. Utica: 4-3 L (OT)

Welcome aboard Ken Appleby!

Welcome aboard Ken Appleby!

The five game homestand came to a close on Friday, as the Comets came calling.  After killing off an early 5 on 3 (that really never should have been called in the first place, but that’s just me), Albany was on the board first thanks to a Reid Boucher power play goal, his 16th tally of the season.  The Comets would tie it early in the second with a power play goal of their own off the stick of Mike Zalewski (if the name sounds familiar…he is an RPI alum and the younger brother of Steve).  In the third, while killing off another questionable call, a shot from the corner from Jordan Subban found its way past Yann Danis to put Utica ahead 2-1.  But just as fast, Boucher would strike again with his second of the night to tie it up at 2.  Then again, just as fast, an all alone Andrey Pedan would put the Comets ahead 3-2.  Then for the second straight game, late heroics would come through again for the home team.  With 1:59 to go and Yann Danis ready to exit for the extra attacker, Brian O’Neill would score his 4th to tie it up at 3, sending the Devils to their second straight overtime.  But this time around wouldn’t end so well, as Zalewski would strip the puck from Marc Andre Gragnani and score the game winner just 46 seconds in to give the Comets their second straight all time win over the Devils, and in turn end a somewhat mediocre 1-2-2 homestand.  Danis would stop 25 of 29 shots.  Birthday boy Jim O’Brien had two assists while O’Neill and three others had helpers.

Vojtech Mozik

Vojtech Mozik

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Corey Tropp-Graham Black-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Ryan Kujawinski

Vojtech Mozik/Marc-Andre Gragnani

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Seth Helgeson, Joe Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Scott Wedgewood, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 5.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 25.  Shots Allowed: 29.

Highlights:

1/30 at Bridgeport: 4-1 L

It was off to southern Connecticut to finish out the weekend, as the Devils made their first visit of the season to Bridgeport.  Another first on this night–Ken Appleby drew his first AHL starting assignment.  And it would be a learning experience for the young netminder.  Mike Halmo would open the scoring for the hosts midway through the first.  Carter Verhaeghe would double the lead late in the period.  Halmo would strike again early in the second for a 3 goal deficit.  It would take till late in the third period for any signs of life from the offense…and even then it came from Dan Kelly.  He would complete 2/3rds of the Gordie Howe with his third goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-1.  But Halmo would finish off the hat trick with an empty netter to seal the victory for the Sound Tigers.  It wasn’t the greatest of debuts for Appleby, who got no support in stopping 18 of 21 shots.  Ben Thomson and Paul Thompson had the lone assists.  As for special teams?  Good: Perfect 4 for 4 on the kill.  Bad: 0 for 8 on the power play.  If it was the power play of, say, late November/early December, this game could have ended a lot differently.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski-Chris McKelvie

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Joe Blandisi, Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Reid Boucher, Raman Hrabarenka, Scott Wedgewood, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 0 for 8.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 17.  Shots on Goal: 25.  Shots Allowed: 21.

Highlights:

At press time, no video was available anywhere.  Not that there was anything to see here…

My Player of the Week:

I had the winner pegged before Saturday’s game even got started.  Hope everyone enjoyed seeing Reid Boucher light it up Wednesday and Friday, because come next week you’ll likely only see him wearing the NJ on his chest the rest of the season.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Reid Boucher/Mike Sislo (17)

Assists: Matt Lorito (25)

Points: Matt Lorito (35)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+21)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (67)

Wins: Yann Danis (17)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

Oh do I have a good one this week.  Since we have reached All Star weekend, let’s revisit the 2007 classic in Toronto.  You may know quite a few names.

Up North with the Thunder:

After a 3-2 OT loss in Manchester on Sunday, Adirondack returned home on Friday sans Ken Appleby and split a 2 game series with Reading.   On Friday the Thunder shut out the Royals 3-0, with Greg Wolfe scoring twice and Joe Faust contributing an assist.  Reading returned the favor on Saturday with a 3-2 win.  The Thunder return to action on Friday, as they start a two game home series against Norfolk.

This Week’s Schedule:

While Mike Sislo and Yann Danis are in Syracuse, everyone else gets a nice five day breather.  But it’s back to work with a pair of games starting on Friday night in Providence, then back home to face Hartford Saturday afternoon.

And guess who else will be in Syracuse…me!  Making my second consecutive trip to AHL All Stars, I will be on hand both nights, so stay tuned for photos and other fun stuff, with a full recap coming either Tuesday or Wednesday.

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The Weekly Primer, Issue 17

Quick Hits:

-Albany begins the week on a 5 game losing streak (0-3-2-0), their record 23-11-6-0…good for 52 points and a .650 percentage.  They remain in second place in the North Division, 18 points behind first place Toronto.

-With two defensemen out sick, Marc Andre Gragnani was recalled under emergency conditions on Tuesday, and Sergey Kalinin was sent down as a paper transaction to make room.  But Gragnani never got in to New Jersey’s 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh, as both Adam Larsson and David Schlemko were able to play.

-And with New Jersey starting its All Star break last night…Gragnani, Seth Helgeson, Reid Boucher and Joe Blandisi were all sent down Wednesday morning, with Kalinin being recalled.

-Injury update: Matt Lorito (ankle) is expected back in the lineup this week after sitting out both St. John’s games on Friday and Saturday.  Max Novak (hand/ankle) is doubtful.

Wednesday, 1/27 vs. Hershey

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 2.  Future matchup: March 26th @ Hershey

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 22-13-2-6, 52 points, .605 pct, 3rd place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chris Bourque, 42 points (20 G, 22 A); Paul Carey, 29 points (13 G, 16 A); 2 with 26 points; Dan Ellis, 13-6-3, 2.59 GAA; Justin Peters, 9-6-5, 2.99 GAA

Notes: The Bears spent the weekend snowed in, as 30 inches of snow in the area postponed games on Saturday (rescheduled for Monday) against the Phantoms and Sunday vs. the Sound Tigers; Hershey has won 4 of their last 6, including a shutout against Binghamton on Friday; former Devil Scott Gomez signed a pro tryout on January 15th and has a goal and 4 assists in 4 games; defenseman Connor Carrick and forward Chris Bourque are the Bears All Star representatives; the Bears lead the league in shootouts with 8, going 2-6 with the most recent loss to Lehigh Valley on Monday in the makeup game from Saturday.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1460

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheHersheyBears

Friday, 1/29 vs. Utica

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 18-17-3-3, 42 points, .512 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Hunter Shinkaruk, 31 points (16 G, 15 A); 2 tied with 21 points; Richard Bachman, 7-7-3, 2.54 GAA; Joe Cannata, 10-9-2, 2.65 GAA

Notes: The Comets have dropped their last two after being swept by the Marlies in Toronto over the weekend, being outscored 11-3 in the process; forward Darren Archibald will miss Friday’s matchup after being suspended one game by the AHL on Monday for a boarding call in Sunday’s game; the Comets host Rochester on Saturday before starting the All Star break.

Listen: AHL Live, K-Rock 94.9 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @UticaComets, @CometsInGame

Saturday, 1/30 @ Bridgeport

Where: Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Tied at 1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 20-19-2-1, 43 points, .512 pct, 6th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Joe Whitney, 33 points (14 G, 19 A); Bracken Kearns, 32 points (13 G, 19 A); Taylor Beck, 19 points (11 G, 8 A); Christopher Gibson, 11-8-3, 2.36 GAA; Jean-Francois Berube, 1-1-0, 2.30 GAA; Parker Milner, 1-2-0, 3.05 GAA

Notes: Like the Bears, the Sound Tigers full weekend slate was snowed out, their last game an overtime victory over St. John’s at home on Wednesday; they host Springfield on Wednesday and travel north to Hartford on Friday; Joe Whitney is out for the remainder of the season after getting injured on January 15th, yet still leads the team in scoring and is still in the league top 20…he had been selected as one of two Bridgeport All Star representatives (the other defenseman Ryan Pulock).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @TheSoundTigers, @fornabaioctp

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Week 16 Recap: Halted at Home

When you’re on an 11 game winning streak at home and about to start an extended homestand, one would think only more good things are to come.

But when you can only support your goaltending with just 5 goals in 3 games…it can end up disastrous.  The only good thing the Devils can take out of a 1 out of 6 point week is not losing their position in the division.

1/20 vs. Hartford: 3-2 L (OT)

Ben Thomson

Ben Thomson

It was back home on Wednesday as Albany kicked off a 5 game homestand against the Wolfpack, looking to extend their home winning streak to 12 games.  After a relatively quiet first period that saw Albany outshoot their visitors 12-5 (significant considering what happened Saturday in Utica…it took more than two-thirds of the game for the Devils to even get that many shots), the Wolfpack got on the board twice in a 5:18 span against Scott Wedgewood.  Nicklas Jensen would score just 31 seconds into the period, followed by Ryan Bourque.  Those two goals came on just three Wolfpack shots for the period (ouch).  But the Devils fourth line would get the home team back in the game late…a pair of goals by Ben Thomson 3:01 apart would tie things up heading into the third.  Despite Albany outshooting Hartford 12-4, nothing would come across on either side, and it was off to overtime for the second straight game and third time in four games.  Just as it looked like the Devils would finally be going to their first shootout of the season…Chad Nehring would get the puck past Wedgewood with just 32.6 seconds to go in overtime, stopping Albany’s home win streak at 11 (but to put a positive spin on it, extending the point streak to 12).  Outside of the second period, it wasn’t all bad for Wedgewood, as he stopped 14 of 17 shots.  Three different Devils each had helpers.

Matt Lorito

Matt Lorito

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Paul Thompson

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka, Pierre-Luc Leblond

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 4.  Shots on Goal: 34.  Shots Allowed: 17.

Highlights:

Friday: Just before morning skate, forward Ben Johnson was recalled from Adirondack.  In 12 games with the Thunder he scored 3 goals and assisted on 3 others.  And with New Jersey down to 5 defensemen before heading to Winnipeg and Pittsburgh, Seth Helgeson was recalled under emergency conditions.

1/22 vs. St. John’s: 4-2 L

Scott Wedgewood

Scott Wedgewood

Without Helgeson or Matt Lorito in the lineup (due to an ankle injury suffered on Wednesday) the Devils pressed on, starting a two game set with John Scott and the IceCaps.  Things looked back to normal for the Devils in the first, as they outshot the visitors 11-4 and Jim O’Brien, who took Lorito’s first line spot, picked up his 8th goal of the season.  But St. John’s would turn the tide in the second…in a span of 40 seconds, they would tie it, only to lose the lead to O’Brien’s second goal, then tie the game up once again.  But while on a 5 on 3 penalty kill, Charles Hudon would find the back of the net for a 3-2 IceCaps lead.  In the third, Albany only allowed one shot on goal to St. John’s…but that shot would take an extremely lucky bounce off of Sven Andrighetto and cross the goal line, giving the IceCaps an insurance goal.  Albany would put up just seven shots in the third but could not make the comeback, extending the winless streak to four games.  Yann Danis had one of those unlucky/want those back nights, stopping 13 of 17.  Mike Sislo, who was questionable after leaving Wednesday’s game, did play and managed the lone assist.

Corbin McPherson

Corbin McPherson

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Corey Tropp-Ryan Kujawinski-Blake Pietila

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Ben Johnson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Vojtech Mozik/Marc-Andre Gragnani

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Reece Scarlett/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Brandon Burlon, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Paul Thompson (vet), Matt Lorito

1/23 vs. St. John’s: 2-1 L

Mike Sislo

Mike Sislo

About 17 hours later, time for the rematch.  This time Scott Wedgewood would man the net, and he got off to a good start, stopping all 11 IceCap shots in the first period.  But he would run into trouble in the second, as Gabriel Dumont would put the visitors on the board first.  A late power play goal by Sven Andrighetto would double the deficit.  But early in the third Albany would show some sign of life, as Vojtech Mozik would score on a power play to cut the lead to 2-1.  Despite a rush of shots late in the game, the Devils just could not get the equalizer, and the IceCaps would sweep the two game series, pushing the Devils losing streak to 5.  Wedgewood took a hard luck loss in net, stopping 20 of 22 shots.  Reece Scarlett and Ryan Kujawinski had the lone helpers.

It's not everyday you get to see the captain of the NHL Pacific Division All-Stars...

It’s not everyday you get to see the captain of the NHL Pacific Division All-Stars…

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Corey Tropp-Ryan Kujawinski-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Blake Pietila

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Vojtech Mozik/Marc-Andre Gragnani

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Matt Lorito, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Corbin McPherson

Power Play: 1 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 2 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 23.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 22.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

With two goals each this week, I’ll split the award between Ben Thomson and Jim O’Brien.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (16)

Assists: Matt Lorito (23)

Points: Matt Lorito (33)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+19)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (62)

Wins: Yann Danis (16)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.72)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.933)

The Vault:

Back to 2011, when Brian O’Neill was the captain at Yale…and that hair…

Up North with the Thunder:

It was a record setting beginning of the week for the Thunder…but then things went downhill after that.  The goaltending tandem of Ken Appleby and Kent Simpson set a new ECHL record on Monday, going 251:51 without giving up a goal.  After a 1-0 shutout in Elmira Sunday, Adirondack would defeat Reading 3-1 as Appleby stopped 43 of 44 shots.  Ben Johnson would score his third goal of the season.  Friday in Glens Falls Greg Wolfe would score his seventh, but the Thunder would drop a wild 6-5 shootout to Manchester and former Devil PTO Doug Carr.  On Saturday in New Hampshire, Appleby would drop a 2-1 decision, stopping 34 of 36 shots, while Wolfe assisted on the lone Thunder tally.  After one more matchup in Manchester Sunday afternoon, Adirondack starts a six game homestand, starting with a pair against Reading on Friday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

A busy three game week heading up to the end of January and the All Star break.  Wednesday, Hershey (and Scott Gomez) will be making their lone visit to the Capital Region this season.  Friday the 5 game homestand wraps up with a visit from Utica.  Then it’s southeast to Bridgeport on Saturday evening to face the Sound Tigers.

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2015-16 First Half: By The Numbers

With the overtime loss to Hartford on Wednesday, we have officially reached the halfway point for the 2015-16 season.  Before starting the second half on Friday, let’s take a look back at the progress made by the Devils over games 1-38:

Record: 23-9-6-0, 52 points, .684 percentage.  2nd place in North Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference, 3rd overall in AHL (but slotted 5th behind division leaders).

Home: 15-2-2-0

Away: 8-7-4-0

 

Team Leaders:

(top 3 skaters; x-inactive)

Goals: Mike Sislo (16), x-Reid Boucher (14), Corey Tropp/Matt Lorito (10)

Assists: Matt Lorito (23), Mike Sislo/Marc-Andre Gragnani (15), x-Joe Blandisi (14)

Points: Matt Lorito (33), Mike Sislo (31), x-Reid Boucher (26)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+20), Seth Helgeson (+11), x-Reid Boucher/Dan Kelly (+9)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond/Ben Thomson (60), Dan Kelly (53), x-Joe Blandisi (47)

Power Play Goals: Mike Sislo (11), x-Reid Boucher (6), x-Joe Blandisi (5)

Power Play Assists: Matt Lorito (15), Marc-Andre Gragnani (11), Brandon Burlon/Mike Sislo/x-Joe Blandisi (7)

Shorthanded Goals: Mike Sislo/Jim O’Brien (1)

Shorthanded Assists: Dan Kelly (2), Blake Pietila (1)

Game Winning Goals: Mike Sislo (4), x-Reid Boucher/Paul Thompson (3), Matt Lorito/Jim O’Brien/Blake Pietila/Brian O’Neill (2)

Shots on Goal: x-Reid Boucher (116), Mike Sislo (108), Paul Thompson (70)

Wins: Yann Danis (16)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.68)

Shutouts: Yann Danis (4)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.935)

 

Individual/League Leaders:

Points: Matt Lorito tied for 6th (33), Mike Sislo tied for 8th (31)

Power Play Goals: Mike Sislo 1st (11)

Power Play Assists: Matt Lorito 2nd (15)

Power Play Points: Matt Lorito 3rd (19), Mike Sislo 4th (18)

Shots: x-Reid Boucher 2nd (116)

Plus/Minus: Vojtech Mozik 5th (+20)

GAA: Yann Danis 5th (2.24)

Wins: Yann Danis tied for 5th (16)

Minutes: Yann Danis 5th (1580:20)

Shutouts: Yann Danis tied for 2nd (4)

Points, Rookie: Matt Lorito 1st (33)

Assists, Rookie: Matt Lorito 2nd (23)

Power Play Goals, Rookie: x-Joe Blandisi tied for 3rd (5)

Power Play Assists, Rookie: Matt Lorito 2nd (15)

Power Play Points, Rookie: Matt Lorito 2nd (19)

Shooting Percentage, Rookie: x-Joe Blandisi 3rd (24.1%)

Power Play Assists, Defensemen: Marc-Andre Gragnani 3rd (11)

Plus/Minus, Defensemen: Vojtech Mozik 4th (+20)

 

TEAM STATS (with league rankings)

Attendance: 3,016/game (29th)

Penalty Minutes: 594, avg 15.63/game (10th)

Power Play: 23.0% (2nd)

Penalty Kill: 88.6% (1st)

Goals For: 2.87 (tied for 14th)

Goals Against: 2.21 (3rd)

Shots For: 29.63 (17th)

Shots Against: 25.29 (2nd)

 

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The Weekly Primer, Issue 16

Quick Hits:

The Devils begin the week with a 23-9-5-0 mark, good for 51 points and a percentage of .689.  They remain in second place in the North Division, 13 points behind first place Toronto.

The injury list is growing smaller, with Brandon Burlon (lower) expected to return to the lineup this week.  Max Novak was forced to return earlier than expected due to callups.

Just announced: After sitting as a healthy scratch since his recall on Friday, Brian O’Neill has been sent down by New Jersey.

Wednesday, 1/20 vs. Hartford

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 19-19-2-0, 40 points, .500 pct, 6th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chad Nehring, 25 points (12 G, 13 A); Marek Hrivik, 21 points (6 G, 15 A); Ryan Bourque, 20 points (8 G, 12 A); Magnus Hellberg, 13-10-2, 2.57 GAA; Jeff Malcolm, 4-3-0, 2.28 GAA

Notes: The Wolfpack come in on a 5 game winning streak, including a 3-2 overtime win in Providence on Monday; this is the 4th of a 5 game road trip that ends on Saturday in Bridgeport; this is the Wolfpack’s first visit to the Capital Region this season, the final two games of the series are all in Albany.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @WolfpackAHL

Friday & Saturday, 1/22 & 1/23 vs. St. John’s

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM Friday, 2:00 PM Saturday.

Season Series: St. John’s leads 2-1.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 17-14-5-3, 42 points, .538 pct, 4th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bud Holloway, 35 points (11 G, 24 A); Michael McCarron, 27 points (13 G, 14 A); Charles Hudon, 26 points (12 G, 14 A); Eddie Pasquale, 5-3-2, 3.09 GAA; Zachary Fucale, 9-8-2, 3.19 GAA

Notes: After finishing a 1-5 homestand, the IceCaps are on the road for their next 6 games, starting in Bridgeport on Wednesday; their lone victory last weekend was Sunday afternoon against Toronto; forward John Scott, who was famously voted an NHL All Star captain (and will be allowed to do so in Nashville next weekend), was acquired by Montreal from Arizona and assigned to St. John’s on Saturday; defenseman Mark Barberio, who has been on recall to Montreal since December 27th, was named an AHL All-Star, along with rookie Michael McCarron; busy Saturday downtown: it’s Rod Pelley bobblehead day and a hockey doubleheader, with RPI-Union playing in the nightcap.

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL

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