Tag Archives: Game Recap

Week 20 Recap: Streak’s Over, But…

Another 3 in 3 weekend has come and gone, and the February struggles continue.  But at least there was finally a win, and maybe some signs of life, albeit too late, in another game.

Friday: With most everyone back healthy and in the lineup, Mike Keenan and Alexandre Carrier were reassigned to Orlando.  Keenan started out on a PTO in early December and played himself into an AHL deal.  In 20 games he had one assist and finished a -3.  Carrier appeared in 12 games and was scoreless, but did have two fights against former Devils (PL3 and Matt Corrente) under his belt.

2/20 at Syracuse: 3-1 L

The road trip began west down the New York State Thruway, as Albany made its third visit of the season to the Oncenter to take on the Crunch, who was also in the midst of a 5 game winless streak (but had three OT loss points to show for it).  Yanni Gourde would get the hosts on the board first with a tip in past Scott Wedgewood midway through the first period.  Jonathan Marchessault would double the lead early in the second period when he managed to drag the puck past Wedgewood and into the net.  But there was good news this period…an actual power play goal from Albany!  Kelly Zajac finally scores his first of the season to cut the lead in half.  But that would be as close as they would get, as Vladislav Namesntnikov would capitalize on a turnover and score alone on a breakaway to make it 3-1, pushing the losing streak to six games.  Wedgewood stopped 21 of 24 shots, including a few spectacular saves, but it was not enough as he took his 12th loss of the season.  Paul Thompson and Brandon Burlon had helpers, while Cam Janssen returned to the lineup for the first time since mid January.

Highlights:

Lines:

Paul Thompson-Tim Sestito-Stefan Matteau

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Chris McKelvie

Darcy Zajac-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg, Ben Thomson

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust

2/21 at Utica: 2-1 W

The middle game of the weekend saw the Devils make their only visit of the season to Utica to take on the Comets.  Utica got on the board first midway through the opening period on a Brandon DeFazio goal.  Albany caught a break later when a second Comets goal was disallowed due to an offsides call.  And that would be a game changer…Ben Thomson would tie the game up at 1 late in the second period with his 7th of the season.  Reece Scarlett would break the tie early in the third with his second of the season.  Despite being outshot 10-4 in the third, Albany would manage to hold on for the win, breaking a 6 game losing streak and extending their win streak against Utica to 6 games.  Scott Clemmensen picked up his 5th win and first since beating Bridgeport in Newark exactly one month earlier, stopping 31 of 32 shots.  Thomson and 3 other Devils each had assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Ben Thomson*

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen*

Extra: Scott Timmins, Stefan Matteau, Ben Johnson, Darcy Zajac

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust

*Since I was in New Jersey and didn’t see the game, the last two lines are at best a guess.

2/22 at Springfield: 4-2 L

17 hours and about 160 miles later, it was off to western Massachusetts to finish off the weekend against the Falcons.  And Springfield got things going in a hurry, as Thomas Larkin scored 42 seconds in for a 1-0 lead.  Then with Mike Sislo sitting 4 minutes on a questionable spearing call, Sean Collins would double the lead.  Brian Gibbons, just recently reassigned by Columbus to the Falcons, would score his second of the year on a power play early in the second for a 3-0 advantage.  But the Devils were not about to go away quietly, as they made an attempt to rally in the third.  Raman Hrabarenka and Kelly Zajac would score on back to back power plays 1:16 apart late in the third to get to within one goal.  But Gibbons would put an end to the comeback with his second power play goal of the game for a 2 goal lead.  Then at the final whistle…

A total of 80 combined penalty minutes were handed out as a result, mostly game misconducts from abuse of officials.  Albany reached two season highs: penalty minutes (77) and shots (41).  Scott Clemmensen started in back to back games and stopped 17 of 21 shots.  Four different Devils had assists.

Highlights:

(sadly the video cuts out just the end of game festivities were starting)

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Stefan Matteau

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen, Darcy Zajac, Ben Johnson

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Monday: With Keith Kinkaid getting injured halfway through Saturday’s win over Carolina at The Rock, Scott Clemmensen was recalled to New Jersey to play door man…er, back up Cory Schneider under emergency conditions.

Pop Quiz: Who holds the Albany AHL record for most penalty minutes in one season?  The answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

YouTube has seriously been dropping the ball lately.  Two good candidates but no video up.  You could always just review the Utica game tape for Dan Kelly avenging Raman Hrabarenka’s absence from the lineup…

My Player of the Week:

Very happy to finally see Kelly Zajac get on the board twice this weekend.  It’s been a lost season for the third Zajac brother, good to see him back and contributing.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (23)

Assists: Joe Whitney (24)

Points: Paul Thompson/Joe Whitney (41)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+10)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (94)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (7)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.75)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood/Scott Clemmensen (.900)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 33 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 Pts, -11, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 32 GP, 5 G, 8 A, 13 Pts, +6, 11 PIM

Alexandre Carrier (Orlando): 7 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pt, -2, 2 PIM

Mike Keenan (Orlando): 23 GP, 0 G, 6 A, 6 Pts, Even, 16 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 12 GP, 6-4-0, 3.63 GAA, .877 Save Pct.

Injury Update:

Last one standing is Scott Timmins (lower), he is expected to return this weekend.  Darcy Zajac did sit out Saturday and Sunday, not sure if injury related or not.

This Week’s Schedule:

As if the month of February wasn’t already punishing…another 3 in 3 weekend to close the month out is up next.  Friday it’s one last visit to Syracuse to take on the now league leading Crunch.  Saturday they travel south on Interstate 81 to pay Hershey one last visit.  Then the month of March kicks off on home ice, as Binghamton visits for the first time all season.

Also back next weekend: conference seeding updates!

Pop Quiz Answer: The man with the most penalty minutes in one season while wearing an Albany uniform?  It was Matt Ruchty, who set the record during the  River Rats Calder Cup winning 1994-95 season with 348 minutes.  Pierre-Luc Leblond holds the Lowell/Albany franchise record with 334 in the 2010-11 season, incase anyone was wondering.

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Week 19 Recap: Getting Frigid

The February flop continues.  3 games, 3 days, 3 straight losses.  But at least players are getting healthy…and someone other than Mike Sislo can score a goal.  Baby steps!

Friday: Albany is back down to two goaltenders on the roster as Maxime Clermont was reassigned to Orlando.  He did very well since his recall on Christmas Eve, going 4-0 with a 1.94 GAA and a .921 save percentage.  He is also the only goalie to win a shootout this season.

2/13 vs. Hershey: 1-0 L

After a 7 day layoff, it was back to work to start a 3 in 3 weekend, hosting the Bears on home ice.  The game marked the return of four players from injury: Raman Hrabarenka (out since late November), Graham Black (out since early January), Kelly Zajac, and Rod Pelley.  And Tim Sestito was back skating after a scary moment last Friday in Springfield.  It was a relatively uneventful first period…Albany outshot Hershey 12-8 and managed to kill off a 5 on 3 Bears power play chance.  Albany had a golden opportunity to get on the board early in the second thanks to a full 5 on 3 power play early in the second.  But the special teams continued their recent struggle, not getting anything past Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer.  Stanislav Galiev finally broke the scoreless tie 13 minutes into the second period for a 1-0 Bears lead.  Albany tried to get the equalizer, but simply could not get anything past Grubauer, and were shut out for the 5th time this season.  Scott Wedgewood was feeling like Cory Schneider in net, playing very well but getting stuck with the loss, stopping 26 of 27 shots.  The Devils also amassed a season low 4 penalty minutes, all in the first period.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Stefan Matteau

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

David Wohlberg-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Paul Thompson (personal), Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen, Ben Johnson, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

2/14 at Hartford: 5-2 L

It was off to Connecticut’s state capital for the first time since December as Albany kicked off a Valentine’s home and home weekend series with the Wolfpack.  Mike Sislo finally broke a cold spell for the special teams play, scoring on a power play in the first to get the Devils on the board.  With Joe Whitney serving a cross check call (one of 5 Devil penalties called in the first alone), Rod Pelley became the first Devil other than Sislo to score a goal in February, getting one shorthanded for a 2-0 lead.  But all those calls would catch up to Albany, as the Wolfpack got on the board late in the first with a Chris Mueller power play tally.  Hartford would tie the game up midway through the second on a Danny Kristo goal.  The game stayed tied and very tight…until 5 minutes left in the third period, when everything for the visitors would just fall apart.  During a full 4 on 4, Tyler Brown and Mueller would score 18 seconds apart to give the Wolfpack their first lead of the night.  Kristo would add an empty netter with 1:15 remaining for the exclamation point, giving Albany their fourth straight loss.  Up until that last 5 minutes, Scott Clemmensen played great in net, but would get tagged with the loss in stopping 26 of 30 shots.  Darcy Zajac had the lone helper.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen, Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

2/15 vs. Hartford: 4-3 L

Roughly 17 hours after the final horn in Hartford, the two teams resumed the home and home series, this time in the Capital Region.  Hartford got on the board twice in a 13 second span in the first, as Danny Kristo and Conor Allen each scored on Scott Wedgewood for a 2-0 lead.  Mike Sislo would continue his hot February with his 13th goal less than 3 minutes later to cut the lead in half.  But Ryan Bourque would restore the two goal lead just over a minute after that.  Paul Thompson would score his 23rd (and first goal since January 24th) to make it a 3-2 game.  Albany thought they tied the game early in the third, but after a video review it was believed the shot off Seth Helgeson’s stick hit the iron.  But Sislo would come through again, tying the game up with his second of the day.  Just as it looked like this game could go into overtime…not to be.  Chris Mueller would score the game winner with 3:47 remaining in regulation, giving Hartford the weekend sweep and extending Albany’s losing streak to 5 games.  Wedgewood stopped 19 of 23 shots in taking the loss.  Joe Whitney added two assists, while Kelly Zajac and David Wohlberg each had a helper.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Ben Johnson-Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Cam Janssen, Graham Black, Reid Boucher, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

Pop Quiz: What is the Albany AHL record for most times shut out in a season?  Stay tuned for the answer.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

One fight, but no video proof.  Stay tuned…

My Player of the Week:

Apparently again Mike Sislo seems to be the only goal scorer this month, adding three more to his season total and moving up the franchise career list.  He is now tied with Tim Sestito for second with 59, but it may take awhile to catch Joe Whitney, with 80 and counting.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (23)

Assists: Joe Whitney (23)

Points: Joe Whitney (40)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+12)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (89)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (7)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.79)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.900)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 33 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 Pts, -11, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 28 GP, 5 G, 8 A, 13 Pts, +8, 11 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 10 GP, 5-4-0, 3.69 GAA, .874 Save Pct.

Injury Update: After the weekend, only two remain on the indefinitely list: Scott Timmins (lower) and Cam Janssen (upper).

This Week’s Schedule:

The month of February is not going to get any easier for this group, as they begin a 5 game road trip, starting with another 3 in 3 weekend.  Friday night they travel to Syracuse to take on the suddenly slumping Crunch.  Saturday night they make their one visit on the season to Utica to face the Comets.  Then a quick turnaround and back east to Springfield on Sunday afternoon to face the Falcons.

And I will be making my return to New Jersey for the Carolina game on Saturday!

Pop Quiz Answer: The record for most times shutout in a season?  It’s the 2003-04 River Rats, who were shut out 13 times.  The top 5 leading scorers that year, incase you’re wondering: Craig Darby (69 points), Steve Kariya (48), Joe Hulbig (45), Jiri Bicek (30) and Tuomas Pihlman (29).  Remember them?  The Lowell/Albany franchise record stands at 8, the 08-09 Lowell Devils and in 2012-13.  Fun fact: the 09-10, 98-99, and the Calder Cup winning 94-95 teams were only shut out once the entire regular season.

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Week 18 Recap: February Flop

Not the way you want to start a tough February schedule…two games, two three goal losses.  And only one goal scorer.

2/4 at Manchester: 4-1 L

The Devils kicked off February with their only…and last…trip to New Hampshire to take on the Monarchs.  And it was the home team who got off to a fast start.  Mike Richards, in his second game since being sent down by Los Angeles, would score just 1:16 into the contest for a 1-0 lead.  The Monarchs would add a late power play goal to double the lead.  Meanwhile, Albany could only manage 3 shots on goal during the first 20 minutes of play, while giving up 14 to the hosts.  Brian O’Neill would add a shorthanded goal midway through the second period to put the Devils in a 3-0 hole.  Mike Sislo would finally get Albany on the board late in the period with his 10th of the season, but that was the only offense on the evening.  Colin Miller would add a goal late in the third to seal the victory for the Monarchs.  Scott Wedgewood stopped 29 of 33 shots in picking up the loss.  The Devils could only manage 17 shots all night, with Sislo’s 3 leading the way.  Paul Thompson and Reece Scarlett were the only other Devils with points.

Highlights:

*Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Chris McKelvie-Ben Johnson-Alexandre Carrier

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Extra: Rod Pelley, Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

*I was not around to watch, the last two lines are at best a guess.

2/6 at Springfield: 4-1 L

The Devils finished the brief week with a trip east to Springfield to take on the slumping Falcons.  On just their third shot of the game, Springfield got one past Scott Clemmensen late in the first period to get the early lead.  Mike Sislo would tie it up just as the second period began, only to have Adam Cracknell break the tie just over two minutes later.  Things got very physical as the game progressed, culminating in a end of period fight behind Clemmensen’s net, putting the Devils on a 5 on 3 to begin the third period (Joe Whitney was already off for an earlier call).  The Falcons would take advantage and take a two goal lead as the third period got underway.  Springfield would add an empty netter with less than a minute remaining to seal the victory, their first since beating the Devils at home January 11th.  Clemmensen stopped 24 of 27 shots, and Brandon Burlon had the lone helper.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Paul Thompson

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Ben Johnson-Alexandre Carrier

Extra: Rod Pelley, Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Brandon Burlon

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Wednesday marked the last visit to Manchester for the Devils, a city the team has not seen much success since the move from Lowell.  When was the Devils last victory at Verizon Wireless Arena?  The answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

As usual, video proof has yet to surface.  So stay tuned.

My Player of the Week:

Well…it was a fairly easy decision…with the only offense all week Mike Sislo is pretty much your default winner.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (22)

Assists: Joe Whitney (21)

Points: Joe Whitney/Paul Thompson (38)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (89)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (7)

GAA: Maxime Clermont (1.94)

Save Percentage: Maxime Clermont (.921)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 32 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 Pts, -11, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 25 GP, 5 G, 7 A, 12 Pts, +7, 11 PIM

Injury Update:

No timetables for returns for Kelly Zajac (upper), Scott Timmins (lower), Graham Black (wrist), Cam Janssen (shoulder), or Raman Hrabarenka (upper).  Rod Pelley (hand) missed the week, and you can possibly add Tim Sestito to the list after he left Friday’s game during the third, having to be helped off the ice.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s a 3 in 3 weekend for Valentine’s Day!  Friday night the Devils return home to face Hershey.  Saturday begins a home and home with the Wolfpack, with Saturday night in Hartford and back in Albany Sunday afternoon.  Sunday marks the last home game for Albany until March 1st.  Also this week: the rescheduled from December STH skate on Wednesday, I’ll possibly have a few photos from that.

Pop Quiz Answer: The last Devil victory in Manchester?  You have to go back to February 25, 2012, a 3-1 win.  Jeff Frazee stopped 38 of 39 shots, while Steve Zalewski, Vladimir Zharkov, and Eric Gelinas all contributed goals.

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Week 17 Recap: Post Break Roller Coaster

On paper, it looks like a decent week for the Devils, as they went 2-1.  But how they got there?  A sweep, falling asleep, then pulling off something they haven’t done all season long.  It was one of those weeks where you got just a little bit of everything.

1/29 at Lehigh Valley: 4-1 W

It was back to work after the All Star break, as Albany hit the road to take on the Phantoms for the final time this season.  Things got started in a hurry for the visitors, as Joe Whitney scored his 17th of the season for a 1-0 advantage.  The Devils carried that momentum into the second as Mike Sislo and Ben Thomson scored just 1:22 apart for a 3-0 advantage.  The Phantoms would get on the board thanks to a Zack Stortini (?!?) 5 on 3 power play goal midway through the third, but it was too little, too late.  Brandon Burlon would get an empty netter late to seal the victory, and a 4 game series sweep of their former Adirondack neighbors.  Scott Wedgewood had a strong game, stopping 35 of 36 shots, picking up his 7th win and #1 star of the game honors.  Tim Sestito had two assists in his return to the Albany lineup, being reunited with Whitney and Paul Thompson on the top line.  Five other Devils had one assist each.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Alexandre Carrier

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg, Ben Johnson

Defense:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Reece Scarlett/Mike Keenan

Extra: Seth Helgeson (susp), Raman Hrabarenka

1/30 vs. St. John’s: 4-1 L

It was back home for the beginning of a two game set against the team that ended the Devils Calder Cup hopes last season, St. John’s.  While the Devils were taking care of things in Allentown, the IceCaps got plenty of rest waiting for them to come home, and it showed.  On the first shot of the game on either side, Carl Klingberg would give the visitors a 1-0 lead.  Tim Sestito would tie it up on an unassisted goal midway through the first.  Chase Balisy would add a power play goal late in the period for a 2-1 advantage.  All that despite Albany outshooting the IceCaps 9-5.  Second period, shots were at a premium…seven combined on both sides.  But the IceCaps would go up 3-1 on a John Albert shorthanded goal, the 4th allowed by the Devils this season.  Keaton Ellerby would seal it with a goal late in the third, giving St. John’s the win and ending the Devils point streak at 7 games.  Scott Clemmensen only had to face 15 shots, but he could only stop 11 of them, while Sestito was the only Devil to get any point.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Rod Pelley-Chris McKelvie

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Kelly Zajac, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Brandon Burlon

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

1/31 vs. St. John’s: 2-1 W (SO)

Less than 24 hours later, it was time for a rematch.  And much like Friday night, it was the IceCaps getting off to a good start.  John Albert would score on a power play late in the first period for a 1-0 advantage.  Second period, the Devils took over and bunkered down, only allowing St. John’s one shot the entire period.  And they also managed to tie the game up on a great Reid Boucher breakaway power play shot, his 12th of the season.  After a very uneventful third period, it was on to overtime, where Albany found themselves in a huge hole thanks to a questionable Tim Sestito slashing call, which turned into the ever popular Sestito penalty: extra two minutes and a 10 minute misconduct for arguing.  (Side note: it was almost surprising to see Sestito at all after a shot to the face in the third period.  But he’s a Sestito, he was back out there in 5 minutes.)  A 4 on 3 for a majority of overtime looked very daunting, but the Devils and goaltender Maxime Clermont were up to the challenge, killing off the entire 4 minutes.  It was almost a letdown to have to see the game go into a shootout after that, considering the 0-5 record Albany has in the bonus round.  But not on this day, as Clermont stopped all three St. John’s shooters and Reid Boucher scored in round 3 to pull out the victory, the first bonus round win of the season for the Devils.  Clermont was outstanding in net, stopping 23 of 24 in 67 minutes and 3 more stopped shootout attempts, improving his record to 4-0 and earning #1 star honors.  He even picked up an assist on Boucher’s goal.  Brandon Burlon had the other assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Chris McKelvie-Alexandre Carrier

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, David Wohlberg

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Brandon Burlon

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Prior to Reid Boucher, who was the last Devil to win a shootout with a goal?  The answer upcoming.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

A few close calls, but nothing to see here.

My Player of the Week:

Before Saturday, I had no idea who would get the nod.  But after Saturday, it became quite clear.  When Maxime Clermont is in net, it’s almost a guaranteed win now.  He’s really the unsung hero of this year’s team, being stuck at #3 on the depth chart behind Scott Wedgewood and Scott Clemmensen.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (22)

Assists: Joe Whitney (21)

Points: Joe Whitney (38)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (82)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (7)

GAA: Maxime Clermont (1.94)

Save Percentage: Maxime Clermont (.921)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 30 GP, 8 G, 9 A, 17 Pts, -11, 23 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 21 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 Pts, +8, 11 PIM

Injury Update:

Kelly Zajac sat out Friday and Saturday after taking a hit Thursday night in Allentown, but is expected to return shortly.  No time tables for Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, or Raman Hrabarenka.

This Week’s Schedule:

The month of February kicks off with a short two game road trip.  Wednesday the Devils make their only (and final) visit to Manchester to face the Monarchs.  Then Friday night it’s off to Springfield to take on the suddenly slumping Falcons.  Then on Saturday it’s the annual attempt by me to beat them at bowling (all for a good cause), so stay tuned.

Pop Quiz Answer: The last Devil before Reid Boucher to score a shootout winning goal?  It was Mike Sislo, back on April 16 in Portland (well, Lewiston at the time).  He scored in round 4 to help seal a 3-2 Devil win, one that clinched them a Calder Cup playoff spot.

 

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2015 All Star Wrap

Hard to believe, but the All Star weekend in Utica is over.

This was my first time going to any All Star event at any level, and it was an awesome experience.  Always fun to visit with friends from around the league and see players I never get to see live (translation: anyone in the Western Conference not a Comet or a Flame).  Without further delay, let’s recap the last two days!

Getting ready for the intros!

Getting ready for the intros!

1/25, All Star Skills: East 15, West 11

The slate of events began on Sunday evening, as both teams took to the ice at The Aud for the Skills Competition.

Both teams split the four rounds of the Puck Control Relay.  Joe Whitney was part of the second heat, which the West won.

In the second event for Fastest Skater, Manchester’s Colin Miller won the individual title with a time of 13.805 seconds.  The West won the team average title at 13.9 seconds.

The West goaltending dominated during the Rapid Fire competition, as goaltenders Richard Bachman (Oklahoma City), Jacob Markstrom (Utica) and Magnus Hellberg (Milwaukee) combined for 23 saves over 30 chances.  In the final heat, Utica’s Bobby Sanguinetti owned St. John’s goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, burying 4 out of 5 shots on net to the delight of the hometown crowd.

The East took the Hardest Shot round, thanks to a new AHL All Star record off the stick of Miller, who registered a shot of 105.5 MPH.  His three shots on net all broke 103 easily.

Paul Thompson took part in the Accuracy Shooting, getting all 4 targets on 8 attempts.  Hartford’s Chris Bourque and Texas’s Maxime Fortunus tied with 4 targets out of 6 attempts.  The West took the team point by hitting 14 targets out of 30 chances.

In the Pass and Score Competition, Whitney and Thompson teamed up with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Derrick Pouliot, but were unable to get the puck past Bachman.  The East took the round by scoring 4 times over 6 heats.

The East clinched the competition during the Breakaway Relay, scoring 5 goals over three rounds.  Thompson and Whitney were shut out on their attempts.  Hellebuyck and Manchester’s J.F. Berube stopped all 6 of their attempts to clinch the win.

Colin Miller (Manchester) receiving his awards.

Colin Miller (Manchester) receiving his awards.

Post Skills, everyone was signing by the boards.  Nice touch.

Post Skills, everyone was signing by the boards. Nice touch.

Before the actual game on Monday, the State of the League address took place at Turning Stone.  Full audio from the Power Play Post Show can be found here.  The Times Union has a brief summary of topics, such as the rumored Pacific Division and schedule adjustments.

1/26, All Star Classic: West 14, East 12

And now, for the actual game.

More intros...

More intros…

Things got off to a good start for the East, as Portland’s Brendan Shinnimin got the first goal of the evening.  But the West would rattle off three straight tallies, off the sticks of Rockford’s Mark McNeill, Milwaukee’s Brendan Leipsic, and Hamilton’s Charles Hudon.  Shinnimin would add his second to get back to within one, only to have Chicago’s Ty Rattie restore the two goal lead as the period ended.  But the star was the hometown goalie, Jacob Markstrom, as he stopped 16 of 18 shots, with some just point blank robbery.

First intermission entertainment: mascot broomball!

First intermission entertainment: mascot broomball!

 

Second period was all about the offense, as both teams combined for 12 goals.  The East would score the first four to take a 6-4 lead, as Springfield’s Austin Madaisky, Joe Whitney, Providence’s Alexander Khokhlachev, and Bourque all connected.  But not to be outdone, the West would score six straight to go up 10-6.  Hudon would get the hat trick, McNeill and Leipsic each had their second, and Rockford’s T.J. Brennan and Grand Rapids’ Teemu Pulkkinen scored one each.  But the East wasn’t done quite yet, as Binghamton’s Shane Prince and Manchester’s Jordan Weal got on the board to make it a 2 goal West lead going into the third.  Rochester’s Phil Varone was awarded a penalty shot late, but was denied.

Second intermission: Mascot danceoff, aka the Tux invitational.

Second intermission: Mascot danceoff, aka the Tux invitational.

In the third, Prince (with his second) and Adirondack’s Emile Poirier traded goals early on.  Then, a second penalty shot was called, and Norfolk’s Chris Wagner connected to bring the East back to within one goal.  But Leipsic and McNeill would each complete their hat tricks to make it a 13-10 contest.  The other Adirondack representative, Drew Shore, would score the 14th goal for the West.  Prince would complete the hat trick late in the period and Syracuse’s Jonathan Marchessault would get the final goal to finish off a very offensive game (but aren’t all All Star games like that?).  The East outshot the West by an astonishing 59-40 margin.

Your co-MVPs: Utica's Jacob Markstrom and Hamilton's Charles Hudon.

Your co-MVPs: Utica’s Jacob Markstrom and Hamilton’s Charles Hudon.

Whitney finished with a goal on one shot and a -3.  Thompson had one assist, two shots and a -3 rating, as both he and Whitney were on the same line (why break up a good thing?).  Shinnimin lead all skaters with 10 shots on goal, he just could not get that third goal after a strong first period.  The 26 combined goals were an All Star record.

Thanks to the Utica Comets, the AHL, and everyone else involved for an awesome two days and a great first time experience for me!  Even got in my first ever visit to Turning Stone (on Sunday night for the Post Skills party).  Hopefully it’s a close location next season so I can travel there and do it again.

And a few more photos from the two days:

East Captain Tom Kostopoulos (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) being interviewed on ice during Monday's game

East Captain Tom Kostopoulos (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) being interviewed on ice during Monday’s game

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The captains and AHL president Dave Andrews with the ceremonial puck drop.

Thompson, Whitney, and Chris Bourque

Thompson, Whitney, and Chris Bourque

 

 

 

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Week 16 Recap: Going Streaking

No, not THAT kind of streaking.

But a streak did continue for the Devils this week leading up to the All Star break…a 2-0-1 week extended their point streak to 6 games, keeping them in the playoff race.

Wednesday: A wrong was made right, as Paul Thompson was named as a last minute replacement to the AHL All Star team.

1/21 vs. Bridgeport: 5-3 W

It was off to The Rock, otherwise known as Prudential Center, in Newark as the Devils played host to Bridgeport.  And the home team got off to a fast start, as Ben Thomson and Paul Thompson (on a power play) scored 1:02 apart midway through the first period for a 2-0 advantage.  John Persson would cut the lead in half with a power play tally of his own, the first Albany penalty of the night.  The Devils turned it up in the second, as Stefan Matteau (power play) and Thompson would get his second of the game to make it a 4-1 lead, chasing Kevin Poulin out of the Bridgeport net in favor of David Leggio.  The switch gave Bridgeport a little momentum, as Persson would score his second of the game 30 seconds later to make it 4-2.  Colin McDonald would add a shorthanded goal late in the period to make things interesting.  But Joe Whitney, in his first game back after being sent down by New Jersey, would get an insurance goal, the third power play goal of the evening, early in the third to seal the win.  Scott Clemmensen stopped 31 of 34 shots in net and picked up his 4th win.  Reece Scarlett had his second straight career game, picking up 3 assists and earning first star honors.  Mike Sislo and Kelly Zajac had two helpers each, while Darcy Zajac, Seth Helgeson, and Whitney each had one assist.

Highlights via AHL Live can be found here.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

1/23 at Worcester: 3-2 W

It was due east to Worcester on Friday night, as the Devils visited the Sharks for the first time this season.  And it was going to be a challenge: Worcester was working on an 8 game winning streak, and also just received the services of Tomas Hertl from San Jose with the NHL on All Star Break.  Well, challenge accepted.  Joe Whitney would get Albany on the board first with his 16th goal of the season.  David Wohlberg would follow up late with a laser shot of his own, his fourth.  All that on just five shots against Sharks goaltender J.P. Anderson.  Albany locked it down in the second, only allowing two shots and adding to the lead on a Brandon Burlon goal.  But Worcester was not about to go away quietly…on one of those shots Mirco Mueller would score on a power play to break up the shutout.  Things nearly got out of hand in the third defensively for Albany…Worcester doubled up their entire shot goal for the game (13 compared to 7 over the first two periods), and Evan Trupp would score to make it 3-2.  But at the end of it all, the Devils would hang on for dear life and escape with the win, extending their point streak to 5 games and ending Worcester’s winning streak.  Maxime Clermont earned his third win in net, stopping 18 of 20 shots.  Burlon and 5 other Devils each had assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Thomson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

1/24 vs. Worcester: 2-1 L (OT)

16 hours after the final whistle in Worcester, the two teams met again in Albany to complete the home and home and kick off a Capital Region hockey doubleheader at the TU Center.  Things got hairy very early on…as in during pregame warmup:

But, peace was soon restored, and pregame continued on.  Unlike the night before, it was the Sharks who came out flying in the first, outshooting Albany 16-7.  But nothing was getting by Scott Wedgewood, or his counterpart J.P. Anderson for that matter.  The scoreless trend continued into the second…until Gus Young broke the tie with less than a minute remaining in the period.  Albany would finally get on the board with just over four minutes remaining in regulation, thanks to a power play goal by Paul Thompson, his 22nd.  The game carried into overtime, where during the three on three portion Dylan DeMelo would get the game winner past Wedgewood, giving the Sharks the extra point and another Albany overtime disappointment.  Wedgewood played extremely well in taking the hard luck loss, stopping 38 of 40 shots.  The top line of Thompson, Joe Whitney, and Kelly Zajac had all the Albany offense.  And it was a good day at the gate, as a season high 7012 fans were in attendance thanks to Kids in Free Day.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Ben Johnson

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Since the AHL brought back the All Star Classic in the 1994-95 season, which year did Albany have the most representation?  The answer upcoming.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

There was one fight, but video proof has yet to surface.  Stay tuned…

My Player of the Week:

A very good week for Paul Thompson, as he gets a better late than never All Star nod and scores three times, taking over the league goal scoring lead.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (22)

Assists: Joe Whitney (21)

Points: Joe Whitney (37)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+14)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (78)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (6)

GAA: Maxime Clermont (2.34)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.912)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 26 GP, 8 G, 7 A, 15 Pts, -9, 17 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 19 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 Pts, +5, 11 PIM

On Wednesday, Bell scored twice, including the eventual game winner, as the ECHL All Stars defeated Orlando 8-4 in Florida.  He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.  Baier registered a first period assist for Orlando.

Injury Update: No timetable for Scott Timmins (ankle), Graham Black (wrist), Cam Janssen (upper body).  Raman Hrabarenka (cheekbone) is still practicing, but no word on his return.

This Week’s Schedule:

While Joe Whitney and Paul Thompson head to Utica for All Star festivities, the rest of the Devils get a 4 day break.  But it’s back to work Thursday, as Albany travels to Allentown to take on the Phantoms for the last time this season.  Then it’s back to home ice on Friday and Saturday for a two game set with St. John’s, a rematch of last year’s first round Calder Cup playoff series.

And I’ll be in Utica for both All Star events as well, my first time ever going!  I do plan on a post midweek wrapping up the skills competition on Sunday night and the game on Monday.

Pop Quiz Answer: A total of 5 players represented the River Rats at the 1998 All Star Classic in Syracuse, when Canadian-born players were pitted against those born in the US and Europe: Brendan Morrison, Peter Zezel, and Geordie Kinnear represented the Canadian All Stars, while Jay Pandolfo and Vlastimil Kroupa represented PlanetUSA.  The Canadian All Stars defeated PlanetUSA 11-10.

 

 

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Week 15 Recap: An Almost Perfect Rally

The way things had started in all three games for the Devils this week, this potentially could have been a disastrous recap.

But finally doing something that hadn’t happened all season–coming back when trailing after two periods–in back to back games helped springboard Albany to a 5 out of 6 point week, a very nice recovery, getting them out of the Northeast Division basement and back in the playoff race.

1/14 vs. Springfield: 2-1 W (OT)

The week began with the back end of a home and home series against the first place Falcons.  A rematch in net between Scott Wedgewood and All Star Anton Forsberg started out the same way as Sunday in Massachusetts, keeping both teams off the scoreboard in the first period.  Kerby Rychel put the visitors on the board with just over three minutes remaining in the second.  And that looked like all Forsberg would need, as he cruised into the third period.  But then something miraculous happened.  With Wedgewood pulled for the extra attacker, Paul Thompson would find the back of the net with just 56.8 seconds to go in regulation, tying the game up and getting Albany at least one very important standings point.  Just as both teams switched over to 3 on 3 during overtime, Dan Kelly (originally credited to Darcy Zajac) managed to poke the puck past Forsberg, giving Albany an improbable come from behind win, their first all season when trailing after two periods.  Wedgewood played well in net, stopping 29 of 30 shots and picking up his sixth win.  Four Devils added assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-David Wohlberg-Chris McKelvie

Ben Johnson-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Myles Bell, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Eric Baier, Mike Keenan

Friday: Good news and bad news for Eric Baier.  Good: His PTO turned into an AHL contract for the remainder of the season.  Bad: With Seth Helgeson back on the roster, he was reassigned to Orlando.  In 12 games he had one goal (in his season debut on November 23rd) and two assists, finishing at a -3.

1/16 at Lehigh Valley: 3-2 W

It was off to Allentown to start a two game Pennsylvania road swing, as the Devils visited the Phantoms for the first time in the regular season (if you recall, they traveled there in the preseason, skating away with a victory on October 4th).  Albany was lucky to escape the first period without giving up a goal, getting outshot 10-5 and having to kill off 3 separate power plays.  During a 4 on 4 early in the second, Nick Cousins would get a goal just over the glove of Scott Clemmensen to put the hosts up 1-0.  Albany did wake up a little in the second with 19 shots on goal, but nothing got past rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz.  But the rally began in the third, thanks to more whistles.  Just after a power play expired, Rod Pelley would tie the game up at 1.  Midway through the period, just 23 seconds into another power play, Paul Thompson would put the visitors ahead with his 19th of the season.  But Andrew Gordon would re-tie the game just over a minute later.  Then on power play #9 of the night, Stefan Matteau would score the go ahead goal for a 3-2 win.  Scott Clemmensen stopped 32 of 34 shots in picking up his third win, his first since returning from the mumps, and even got an assist.  Albany went 2 for 10 on the power play and killed off all 7 shorthanded situations.  Matteau, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett, Seth Helgeson, and David Wohlberg all had helpers.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Alexandre Carrier-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-David Wohlberg-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Ben Johnson, Myles Bell

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Mike Keenan

1/17 at Hershey: 5-4 L (OT)

It was off to Chocolatetown for the first time this season as Albany faced off against the Bears.  And things didn’t get off to a great start–Casey Wellman scored just 10 seconds into the contest.  Tomas Kundratek would add a power play goal three minutes later, putting the visitors in a very early hole.  But Albany would rally to tie it up on a Stefan Matteau power play goal (his second in two games) and Reece Scarlett’s first goal of the season (doing his best Eric Gelinas impression in the process).  The Bears would retake the lead on a Stanislav Galiev goal.  Did I mention this was all during the first period?  The back and forth continued during the second period, as the Devils rallied yet again.  Darcy Zajac would score his 4th on a power play to re-tie the game, only to have Chris Conner take the lead back on a power play breakaway chance.  But on a 5 on 3 opportunity, Reid Boucher would tie things up again with his 11th.  Things would get quite physical after that, as both Chris McKelvie (two fighting majors) and Dan Kelly (elbowing major) all were tossed from the game, while Seth Helgeson (continuing altercation) spent most of the third in the penalty box.  Albany did manage to kill off the five minute major midway through the third, and made it to overtime.  But a perfect week was not in the cards.  With Rod Pelley in the penalty box on a questionable slashing call, Galiev (on his birthday no less) would score the game winner in a 4 on 3 situation with 3:14 remaining in overtime to give the Bears the extra point.  Scott Wedgewood recovered from a shaky first to stop 24 of 29 shots.  Scarlett added two assists, while Matteau and three others each had helpers.  Both teams combined for 113 penalty minutes, with Albany amassing a season high of 65.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Darcy Zajac-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Paul Thompson

Ben Johnson-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-David Wohlberg-Cam Janssen

Extra: Scott Timmins, Graham Black, Myles Bell, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Corbin McPherson/Mike Keenan

Brandon Burlon/Dan Kelly

Extra: Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: In the Albany Devil era, what is the biggest deficit the team has faced before coming from behind to win?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Darcy Zajac reminding everyone of the old Albany-Adirondack days with this one.

My Player of the Week:

Nice to finally see Stefan Matteau have a breakout week.  Assist on the game winning goal on Wednesday, followed up by multi point efforts in both road contests, including two power play goals.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (19)

Assists: Paul Thompson (14)

Points: Paul Thompson (33)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (73)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (6)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.45)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen/Maxime Clermont (.912)

ECHL Update:

Eric Baier (Orlando): 17 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 points, 11 PIM, +7

Injury Report: Raman Hrabarenka (facial) is practicing, but no word on when he will return.  Graham Black (upper) and Scott Timmins (lower) remain out.

This Week’s Schedule: Three games leading up to the AHL All Star Break.  Wednesday the Devils finish up their season series against Bridgeport on home ice.  New Jersey’s home ice, that is, as the game is at Prudential Center (and I will be in attendance!).  Friday and Saturday sees a home and home against Worcester, with Friday night in central Massachusetts and a quick turnaround at home early Saturday afternoon, as the front end of a local hockey doubleheader (RPI and Union will play the nightcap in the annual Mayor’s Cup matchup).

Pop Quiz Answer: The biggest deficit overcome by an A-Devils team?  Four goals.  On January 6, 2012, Albany entered the third period trailing Norfolk 4-0.  But in a span of 11 minutes and 47 seconds, Nick Palmieri, Mike Hoeffel, Matt Anderson, and Eric Gelinas would all score, forcing overtime.  And Joe Whitney finished off the comeback 3 and a half minutes in, giving Albany a 5-4 win.  Back in 2011, they overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third on two different occasions, winning 5-4 against Worcester on February 18 (no one remind coach David Cunniff about that night, his pen throwing incident late in the third lead up to the winning goal), and a 5-4 win against Bridgeport on March 9 (the Chad Wiseman 4 goal game).

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