Tag Archives: Game Recap

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 27 Recap: On Life Support

A crucial three in three weekend, all on the road.  But with only two out of six points gained–and a little help from opponents–the Devils still find themselves mathematically alive for the final East playoff spot, but just barely hanging by a thread going into the final week of the regular season.

Friday: After making one appearance for New Jersey, Seth Helgeson and Raman Hrabarenka were reassigned to Albany.

4/10 at Binghamton: 6-3 L

The crucial road trip began in the Southern Tier on Friday evening, as Albany looked for a repeat performance of Saturday’s decisive win over the Senators.  The hosts got off to a good start, taking a 1-0 lead on a Cole Schneider goal.  Binghamton, much like the Devils last visit in November, would explode in the second period, scoring 4 times on Scott Wedgewood.  Aaron Johnson, Shane Prince, Schneider, and rookie Matthew Zay would all score in a 12:14 span (with the last two goals coming just 16 seconds apart) for a commanding 5-0 lead.  But the Devils were not quite ready to throw in the towel just yet.  Tim Sestito would break up the shutout just 35 seconds into the third period to make it 5-1.  Joe Faust, finally getting a chance to play with Helgeson and Hrabarenka still en route from Florida, would score his first as  a professional 2:08 later for a 5-2 lead.  Mike Sislo would then add his 18th with 7:32 to go to make it a two goal deficit.  But it was all they could muster, and Schneider would finish off the hat trick with an empty netter to seal the win, shrinking the Devils tragic number down to 5 (thanks to a shootout loss by Portland in Manchester).  Wedgewood stopped 22 of 27 shots in the loss.  Joe Whitney,  in his first game back since getting injured in Norfolk, had three assists, while Brandon Burlon added two helpers.  And not a good night defensively for the top line…Paul Thompson finished at a -4.

Highlights:

Lines:

Matt Lorito-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Graham Black, Ben Johnson, David Wohlberg, Brandon Baddock

Defense:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Joe Faust

Reece Scarlett/Mike Keenan

Saturday: Before New Jersey’s final game of the season, it was announced that Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau would be returned to Albany after the game, rejoining the team on Sunday.  Boucher played on the fourth line in the Devils 3-2 loss to Florida, while Matteau sat out.

4/11 at Hartford: 2-1 L

It was on to the capital of Connecticut on Saturday, as Albany tried to keep its fading playoff chances alive.  Much like the night before, the Devils found themselves down early in the first period, as Chad Nehring would give Hartford a 1-0 lead midway through the first.  Raman Hrabarenka, in his first game back since making his NHL debut on Thursday, scored his 9th early in the second period to tie things up at 1.  Oscar Lindberg would break the tie later in the second to put the Wolfpack ahead 2-1.  Despite outshooting the hosts 26-23, the Devils just could not get the equalizer past former Devils backup goaltender Yann Danis, and their playoff hopes are just about extinguished, but a Portland loss to the Penguins still keeps them mathematically in it.  Scott Clemmensen played very well but got stuck with the loss, stopping 21 of 23 shots.  Darcy Zajac and Seth Helgeson had the lone assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Matt Lorito-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-David Wohlberg

Chris McKelvie-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Graham Black, Ben Johnson, Brandon Baddock, Max Novak

Defense:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

4/12 at Worcester: 3-2 W

The weekend ended in central Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon, as Albany paid their last visit to Worcester for the foreseeable future, with the Sharks moving to San Jose next season.  Worcester began the day needing just one point to clinch the seventh playoff spot in the East, while Albany needed to avoid a third straight loss in order to keep their hopes intact.  On a late first period power play, Daniil Tarasov put the hosts on the board first.  But Albany would tie things up midway through the second period with a power play goal of their own off the stick of Reid Boucher, just back in town after finishing the season in New Jersey.  Paul Thompson would score his franchise record 33rd goal, coming on a power play, 7:32 into the third period to give Albany a 2-1 advantage.  With Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell pulled late for an extra skater, Stefan Matteau would come through and shoot it into the empty net for a 3-1 lead.  That goal became very important when Barclay Goodrow would score with just 23.3 seconds remaining to make it a 3-2 game.  But the Sharks were unable to tie it, and Albany salvaged their only win of the weekend, staying mathematically in it thanks to a Portland loss to the Penguins.  Scott Wedgewood rebounded nicely from his Friday disaster in Binghamton, stopping 25 or 27 shots in picking up win #13.  Five Devils would each have assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Matt Lorito-Joe Whitney-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Tim Sestito-Max Novak

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Graham Black, Brandon Baddock, Darcy Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Ben Johnson

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Mike Keenan

Extra: Joe Faust, Corbin McPherson

Conference Standings:

After Sunday’s action, here’s where the final playoff spot race stands:

8. Portland–83 points

9. Springfield–83

10. Albany–79

Portland and Albany each have 3 games left, Springfield 2.  The magic number falls to 11 to clinch (of course plenty of help still needed), while the tragic number sits at 3.

Pop Quiz: With Sunday being the last visit to Worcester, what is Albany’s all time record at the Centrum/DCU Center?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

With the one good fight not up yet, let’s do some digging.  Here’s a bout from the newest ATO from February.

My Player of the Week:

This week it’s about two players who reached milestones this weekend.  Joe Whitney reached the 200 point mark for his professional career on Friday night, while Paul Thompson officially set the franchise single season mark for goals on Sunday with his 33rd.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (33)

Assists: Joe Whitney (33)

Points: Paul Thompson/Joe Whitney (53)

+/-: Graham Black (+9)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (130)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (13)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.35)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.914)

ECHL Update:

Regular season ended on Saturday for Evansville and Orlando.  The Solar Bears will face Florida in the first round of the playoffs.

Myles Bell (Evansville): 41 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts, -22, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 54 GP, 9 G, 12 A, 21 Pts, +8, 20 PIM

Alexandre Carrier (Orlando): 16 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pt, -1, 33 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 21 GP, 9-7-2-2, 3.11 GAA, .897 Save Pct.

Injury Update:

All are healthy with the exception of Kelly Zajac (lower) and Graham Black (lower), both have been shut down for the season.

This Week’s Schedule:

Three games remain on the 2014-15 slate.  Wednesday Albany plays host to Syracuse.  Friday night they travel to northeast Pennsylvania to take on the Penguins.  Finally on Saturday they close things out on home ice against Hartford.

Pop Quiz Answer: Since Worcester entered the league as the IceCats for the 1994-95 season, Albany teams have a lifetime record of 13 wins, 16 losses, 3 ties, 1 overtime loss, and 1 shootout loss.  The first win came on January 14, 1995, a 6-3 River Rat victory.

 

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Week 26 Recap: Not Going Away Quietly

A four out of six point week to start the month of April and the proverbial homestretch of the 2014-15 season.  But are these points going to be too little, too late?

4/1 vs. Manchester: 2-1 L

The April slate began on Wednesday with the final ever visit by the league leading Monarchs, fresh off clinching the first Calder Cup playoff spot the weekend before.  Even without the services of a few key players, the Devils held their own during the first…and got a gift goal towards the end of the period.  On a power play, Manchester goaltender J.F. Berube attempted the clear the puck, only to have rookie Matt Lorito steal it and score his second as a professional for a 1-0 Devil lead.  The Monarchs would take over in the second, outshooting the hosts 18-6 and tying the game up on a Nick Ebert tally.  Third period was literally all Monarchs, as it took Albany nearly 16 minutes to register a shot on goal.  Manchester would take the lead shorthanded on a Michael Mersch goal early in the period.  Albany could only manage 3 shots in the final period, all within the last 3:23, and lost ground to the Sharks and Falcons in the playoff chase.  Scott Clemmensen played well in taking the loss, stopping 27 of 29 shots.

Highlights:

Lines:

Matt Lorito-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Tim Sestito-Graham Black-Mike Sislo

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Joe Whitney, Kelly Zajac, David Wohlberg, Max Novak

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

Thursday: Stick taps go to defenseman Dan Kelly, who was named the Albany recipient of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award, given for “outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations.”  He is one of 30 players nominated for the league wide award, to be presented at a later date.

4/3 at Springfield: 1-0 W (SO)

In a scenario that affected not just the two teams involved, the Devils headed east for one last matchup against the Falcons, who were just barely on the outside looking in.  Much like the last time the two teams squared off, it became a scoreless duel between the goalies, as Scott Wedgewood and Scott Munroe were not allowing anything to get past them.  The only action at all during regulation?  A fight between Cam Janssen and Josh Anderson.  After a combined four play chances–3 for Albany, 1 for Springfield–didn’t produce anything, it was on to overtime.  Springfield had a huge opportunity to end the game on a 4 on 3 when Mike Sislo would get called for a hook with 2:16 to go, but the Devils would manage to kill it off and go to the shootout, where Springfield had a 5-0 record going into the night.  After Paul Thompson and Sislo were stopped, Wedgewood stopped T.J. Tynan and Sean Collins.  Then finally in round 3, it was the rookie again to the rescue…Matt Lorito would finally break the scoreless deadlock.  Wedgewood would stop Michael Chaput and earn his second shutout of the season, stopping all 32 shots in the first 65 minutes then 3 more in the bonus round.  The game also marked the pro debut for Max Novak, who managed 2 shots on goal while playing on the third line.  The Devils second shootout win of the season had an effect on the Eastern Conference playoff picture, as it enabled Syracuse to be the third East team to get an X next to their name, even after melting down in a 6-4 loss to the Wolfpack.

Highlights:

Lines:

Matt Lorito-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Mike Sislo

Max Novak-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Chris McKelvie-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Joe Whitney, Kelly Zajac, Tim Sestito, David Wohlberg

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Mike Keenan

Extra: Joe Faust, Corbin McPherson

4/4 vs. Binghamton: 4-1 W

It was back to home ice to wrap up the week, as the Devils played host to the Senators on what has become an annual event, Military Appreciation Day.  Everyone was thinking a physical beginning was coming, when both Cam Janssen and Binghamton’s Darren Kramer (who leads the league in penalty minutes with 240) were lined up next to each other…and were seen talking…prior to puck drop.  But no Devils-Rangers triple feature type activities went down, and the game went on as normal.  Binghamton would grab a 1-0 lead with under 6 minutes to go in the first thanks to former Devil Brad Mills.  But Albany…well, really the top line…would take over in the second period and not look back.  Paul Thompson would reach the 30 goal mark with a power play goal midway through the second period to tie it up, then follow it up with an encore power play tally just 2:25 later for a 2-1 lead.  He would then complete the hat trick, his second in the last 8 days, with 5 minutes to go in regulation for a 2 goal cushion.  The goal also tied him with Chris Minard for the Lowell/Albany season record, set in 2006-07. Linemate Scott Timmins would put the cherry on top late with an empty netter to seal Albany’s second straight win and keep pace in the playoff race.  Scott Clemmensen had another strong day in net, stopping 26 of 27 shots.  Matt Lorito, who stepped into Joe Whitney’s spot on the top line after he was injured in Norfolk, had a career day assisting all 3 Thompson goals, while Timmins and Mike Sislo added helpers.

Highlights:

Lines:

Matt Lorito-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Mike Sislo-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Max Novak-Rod Pelley-Ben Johnson

Chris McKelvie-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Joe Whitney, Kelly Zajac, David Wohlberg, Tim Sestito

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust, Mike Keenan

Conference Standings:

Where everyone stands after Saturday’s action:

8. Portland–81 points

9. Springfield–81

10. Albany–77

11. St. John’s–70 (eliminated)

The magic number to clinch is at 19, while the tragic number remains 9.  So yes, I’m saying there’s still a chance.

Pop Quiz: On Saturday, Paul Thompson reached the 30 goal mark (and then 31 and 32).  Who is the last Albany player to reach the 30 goal plateau for a season?  The answer is coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

So not much was going on Wednesday evening…then Cam and Josh Gratton happened.  Or as I call it, fights from 2005.

My Player of the Week:

This one was a very easy choice…have to give it to Matt Lorito.  He gets to play on the top line, and ends up producing…1 goal, 3 assists, and the shootout winner on Friday.  Not bad for someone who a month ago was still playing for Brown.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (32)

Assists: Joe Whitney (29)

Points: Paul Thompson (61)

+/-: Paul Thompson/Graham Black (+9)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (130)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (12)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.37)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.914)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 41 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts, -22, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 52 GP, 9 G, 12 A, 21 Pts, +8, 20 PIM

Alexandre Carrier (Orlando): 14 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pt, -1, 26 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 20 GP, 9-6-2-2, 3.01 GAA, .900 Save Pct.

Injury Update:

Joe Whitney and David Wohlberg missed the weekend due to injuries sustained on the Norfolk trip, no time table given for return.  Tim Sestito missed both Friday and Saturday, no reason given.

This Week’s Schedule:

One last 3 in 3 weekend looms, and it’s all away from the Capital Region.  Friday the Devils head west to Binghamton for a rematch with the Senators.  Saturday it’s due east to Hartford to take on the Wolfpack, then on Sunday the final visit for what could be awhile to Worcester to take on the Sharks.  Also this week, the annual STH party on Tuesday, including team awards.  I should have that annual post up by Wednesday.

Pop Quiz Answer:

Prior to Paul Thompson on Saturday, the last Albany player to reach 30 goals in a season was Jerome Samson, who potted 37 for the 2009-10 River Rats.

 

 

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Week 25 Recap: A Sweep, But At A Price

It was a quick two game road trip for the Devils to close out the month of March…okay, so 10 hours to Virginia isn’t exactly quick.  But it was a successful trip on the scoresheet, as Albany swept both games and stayed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.  But it may have taken the loss of three forwards to injury to do so.

3/27 at Norfolk: 4-3 W (OT)

Round 1 came Friday night, and featured a rematch of last Saturday’s 4-3 win in the Capital Region in net, Scott Wedgewood vs. Jason Labarbera.  Joe Whitney would get things started on the right foot…er, skate…with his 19th goal 4 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead.  Former Devil Dave Steckel, now Norfolk’s captain, would tie things up with his 5th later in the period.  The special teams play would continue its resurgence as of late, with another power play goal, this one off the stick of Raman Hrabarenka, as the second period was coming to an end, literally (the clock read .2 seconds).  Scott Timmins would give the Devils an insurance goal with just under 8 minutes remaining for a 3-1 lead…or so we thought.  Norfolk was not about to go away quietly, however…Max Friberg would cut the lead to 1 with under 4 minutes to go in regulation.  Then with Labarbera pulled and a successful 6 on 4 penalty kill, Kevin Gagne managed to get the puck past Clemmensen with 1.8 seconds left to force overtime.  Albany would get a test with Whitney off for a hooking call just as the 3 on 3 portion was set to begin.  Not only did the Devils manage to kill it…Rod Pelley would pass the puck to Whitney as he was exiting the box, he broke away and scored the game winner with 21 seconds remaining in the extra frame to give Albany their third straight win.  Wedgewood would pick up his 11th win with 29 saves.  Whitney, Timmins, Pelley, and Seth Helgeson all contributed assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Tim Sestito-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Darcy Zajac-Graham Black-Chris McKelvie

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Cam Janssen, Max Novak, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Brandon Burlon

Raman Hrabarenka/Mike Keenan

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

3/28 at Norfolk: 3-1 W

A couple of lineup changes for the rematch on Saturday, as Scott Clemmensen drew the start in net and Alexandre Carrier took Graham Black’s place on the fourth line due to an apparent injury to the rookie.  Things got off to a very chippy start as a hit on David Wohlberg would set the tone.  After Ben Thomson stepped in and fought John Kurtz (who delivered the hit), Paul Thompson would score on the ensuing power play (only interference was called on Kurtz; Wohlberg would not return to the game) for a 1-0 Devil lead.  As the second period was getting underway, Dan Kelly would put a clean hit on Stefan Noesen…and had to answer to Mike Sgarbossa with a bout of his own.  The power play came through yet again a short time later, as Thompson would score his second with the man advantage for a 2-0 lead.  Louis Leblanc would break up Clemmensen’s shutout bid and cut the lead in half a short time later.  Then another hit, this time on Joe Whitney, courtesy of Josh Manson would leave the Devils without two more forwards: Whitney would leave the game favoring a leg, while Rod Pelley had to sit out most of the rest of the contest after fighting Manson.  Two more near fight incidents involving Raman Hrabarenka and Tim Sestito would break out, but peace was finally restored for the third period.  And Thompson would come through again, completing the hat trick (his second of the season) with 2:30 to go and finishing off a perfect road trip for the Devils.  Clemmensen stopped 37 of 38 shots and picked up his 8th win.  Mike Sislo would add two assists, while Whitney and Hrabarenka each had a helper.  Matt Lorito would get his second pro point, assisting on Thompson’s third goal.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Tim Sestito-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Darcy Zajac-Chris McKelvie-Alexandre Carrier

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Graham Black, Cam Janssen, Max Novak

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Brandon Burlon

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Raman Hrabarenka/Mike Keenan

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

Conference Standings:

As of Sunday morning, here’s how the East stands:

8. Worcester–78 points

9. Springfield–76

10. Albany–73

11. St. John’s–70

12. Lehigh Valley–67

The magic number to clinch a playoff spot stands at 25.  Elimination number stands at 14.  With 9 games left, this is going to go right to the end.

Pop Quiz: With the final game in Norfolk on Saturday…what is Albany’s all time record in Virginia?  The answer is upcoming.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Well…all three fights from Saturday are in the second highlight package.  So let’s go into the vault.  From December 2010, back when Darcy Zajac was just an ECHL callup wearing #24…

My Player of the Week:

Or, line of the week.  The top line of Joe Whitney (4 points before injury), Paul Thompson (hat trick) and Scott Timmins (2 points) came through once again.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (29)

Assists: Joe Whitney (29)

Points: Paul Thompson/Joe Whitney (49)

+/-: Graham Black (+10)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (130)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (11)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.45)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.911)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 41 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts, -22, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 48 GP, 8 G, 12 A, 20 Pts, +7, 20 PIM

Ben Johnson (Orlando): 11 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 Pts, +9, 0 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 19 GP, 9-6-14, 3.01 GAA, .899 Save Pct.

Injury Update: We’ll have to wait and see on the statuses of Graham Black, David Wohlberg, and Joe Whitney after all 3 were injured in Norfolk.  Reece Scarlett missed the weekend due to illness.  Cam Janssen will be eligible to return Wednesday after serving his two game suspension.

This Week’s Schedule:

We have made it to April.  The homestretch begins on Wednesday night at home against Manchester, who became the first AHL team to clinch a playoff spot on Saturday.  Friday Albany travels east to Springfield for the final matchup of the season against the Falcons.  Then Saturday Binghamton comes to visit, and it’s also the annual Military Appreciation Day at the arena.

Pop Quiz Answer: Since Norfolk entered the American Hockey League for the 2000-01 season, the River Rats and Devils have an all time record of 16-19-3-4 and one tie.  It took 9 tries for Albany to finally get a win at the Scope, on April 8, 2005, a 4-1 River Rat win.

Note: No photo gallery this week.

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Week 24 Recap: Climbing the Ladder

Don’t count the Devils out just yet.  After a slow start to the week, the team has got their offensive touch back, taking two out of three wins on the week and staying in the race for the final playoff spot.

3/18 vs. Norfolk: 1-0 L

Game #4 of the homestand came Wednesday, as Albany hosted the Admirals for the first time all season.  And much like Sunday, it was another struggle on both sides to get a goal.  The Devils did outshoot Norfolk 14-7 in the first, but couldn’t get anything into the net.  Second period was more of the same defensive struggle, with the only action being two fights breaking out within 1:24 of each other.  But with 3:06 to go in the period, Norfolk struck first, or did they?  About 3 Ads were surrounding Scott Clemmensen’s net, and one of them was able to bat the puck in behind him.  It looked like goaltender interference, so the referees went to the video…and it was called a good goal (of course they did).  Stefan Noesen was given credit for the tally.  Albany had a golden opportunity to tie things up with a late period/early third period 5 on 3 opportunity, but could not get the job done.  Two more power play opportunities and an empty net situation followed, but still no offense.  And the Devils were shutout for a second straight game, extending the scoreless drought to 125 minutes and 3 seconds.  Clemmensen played outstanding in the loss, stopping 25 of 26 shots.

Highlights:

Lines:

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Darcy Zajac

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Cam Janssen

Extra: Joe Whitney, Kelly Zajac, David Wohlberg, Matt Lorito

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Joe Faust

Friday: The second ATO of the season has arrived–and the Devils didn’t have to go very far to find him.  Union College forward Max Novak, a native of New Jersey, becomes the third UC alum to suit up for the Devils (Keith Kinkaid and Kelly Zajac the other two).  In 35 games this season, he notched 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and had a +3 rating.  His most memorable goal came last season, as he scored the game winner in Union’s 7-4 national championship win over Minnesota in Philadelphia.  For his four year career, he has a total of 96 points (43 goals, 53 assists) in 141 games.

Saturday: With Mike Cammalleri out due to the flu and Patrik Elias suffering from back spasms, both Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau were recalled under emergency conditions to New Jersey…only to both be scratched for the Devils 3-0 shutout loss to the Islanders.  They were both returned to Albany then recalled under regular conditions.

3/21 vs. Norfolk: 4-3 W

After Norfolk made a quick journey west to Binghamton on Friday (and lost 4-3 to the Senators), it was back to the Capital Region on Saturday for the rematch.  And finally, the Devils sleeping offense came to life.  Brandon Burlon finally broke Albany’s long scoreless drought early in the first period with his sixth goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.  It was the first goal for Albany in a span of 127 minutes and 40 seconds.  But Chris Wagner would tie it up midway through the period with a power play goal.  Then the Devils were forced to play shorthanded yet again as Dan Kelly took a 5 minute major and game misconduct for boarding Norfolk’s Mike Sgarbossa…but Wagner was called for roughing (and also fighting Kelly) on the same incident, creating a 4 on 3/4 on 4/Norfolk major power play situation.  And they would capitalize on that, taking a 2-1 lead on a Jaycob Megna goal.  The Devils would kill off the rest and mount a rally in the second period.  Raman Hrabarenka (6th) and Chris McKelvie (3rd) would score 3:04 apart midway through for a 3-2 Devil lead.  But John Kurtz would re-tie the game up just before the second ended.  The game remained deadlocked late…until another long drought was broken.  Matt Lorito, finally making his pro debut, scored on a power play with 5:21 remaining in regulation to put the Devils ahead 4-3.  It was their first power play goal since March 1st, snapping an 0-for-27 drought.  Albany survived an extra attacker late and held on for the win, breaking a 3 game winless skid and jumping from 12th to 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.  Scott Wedgewood picked up win #10, stopping 24 of 27 shots.  It was a balanced offensive attack for the Devils on this day: Burlon and Graham Black added two assists, while McKelvie, Hrabarenka, Seth Helgeson, and Rod Pelley each had helpers.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Tim Sestito-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Ben Thomson, Max Novak

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Extra: Joe Faust

Sunday: As a result of his major/game misconduct penalty on Saturday, Dan Kelly was given a one game suspension and had to sit out Sunday’s home game against Hartford.

3/22 vs. Hartford: 5-3 W

The long homestand finally came to an end on Sunday afternoon, as the Devils played host to the Wolfpack.  After a physical start, the visitors got on the board late in the first on a very lucky bounce off the stick of Joey Crabb for a 1-0 lead.  Carl Klingberg would double the lead late in the second period, and the way things were going for Albany it looked like another blow to their fading playoff hopes.  But then the third period happened.  Paul Thompson would get Albany on the board just 1:02 in with a power play tally (yes another one!), then exactly one minute later Mike Sislo would tie it up.  On another power play opportunity later, Scott Timmins would put the Devils ahead with his 8th goal.  Just 1:04 later, Raman Hrabarenka would add another power play goal for a 4-2 lead.  Oscar Lindberg would make things interesting late with a goal to put Hartford within one, but Tim Sestito would finish it off with an empty netter.  Lost in the comeback and tying a franchise record with 5 goals in a period was another good outing from Scott Clemmensen, who only needed to stop 15 of 18 shots to pick up the win.  10 Devil skaters had at least one point, with Sislo’s one goal/two assist performance leading the way.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Tim Sestito-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

David Wohlberg-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Graham Black-Cam Janssen

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Darcy Zajac, Max Novak

Defense:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Joe Faust

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Dan Kelly

Conference Standings:

After Sunday’s action, here’s where everything stands in the East:

8. Springfield–75 points

9. Worcester–74

10. Albany–69

11. St. John’s–69

12. Lehigh Valley–65

13. Binghamton–64

The magic number to clinch stands at 32, while the tragic number is 17.

Pop Quiz: It’s a 2 part question this week.  Who holds the Albany AHL record for the best plus/minus rating for one season? And who has the worst?  Both answers are coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Two for the price of one this week, because finally there’s video proof!  First up, Dan Kelly from Wednesday evening’s festivities:

Not long after that, it was Chris McKelvie’s turn in the ring, so to speak.

My Player of the Week:

The last two days have given quite a few candidates to choose from, so this week it’s being split.  Good to see Chris McKelvie break out with a goal and two assists, and both Brandon Burlon and Raman Hrabarenka had good offensive showings from the blue line.  Honorable mention to Matt Lorito for producing the game winner in his pro debut, hopefully the first of many goals to come.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (26)

Assists: Joe Whitney (27)

Points: Paul Thompson (46)

+/-: Graham Black (+11)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (123)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (10)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.53)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.906)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 41 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts, -22, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 45 GP, 7 G, 11 A, 18 Pts, +8, 20 PIM

Mike Keenan (Orlando): 36 GP, 0 G, 10 A, 10 Pts, +4, 30 PIM

Ben Johnson (Orlando): 8 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 Pts, +7, 0 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 18 GP, 9-6-0, 2.96 GAA, .900 Save Pct.

Injury Update: The only questions right now are the brothers Zajac, as Kelly is still nursing a nagging lower body injury.  Darcy sat out Sunday’s win and was the only player not in attendance for the team postgame autograph session, so not sure of his status.

This Week’s Schedule: A quick two game schedule for the Devils this week.  Just a ten hour bus ride to Norfolk awaits them, that’s all.  Friday and Saturday evening they close out their March slate by making their last trip ever to Virginia to take on the Admirals.  And if the two games this week were any indication…buckle up boys and girls.

Pop Quiz Answer: This week we’re looking at plus/minus ratings in Albany history.  The best belongs to Scott Pellerin, who was a +43 for the 1995-96 River Rats.  The worst is actually a tie: Jiri Bicek and Joel Bouchard both finished a -30 for the 2001-02 River Rats.

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Week 23 Recap: The Defense Takes Over

After a good trip to Newfoundland, Albany started a season long six game homestand with a 3 in 3 weekend against teams all in the playoff picture, hoping to scrape away at their deficit to get back into the playoff picture.  But three goals and three out of six points later…nothing much gained.  And time is starting to run out.

Friday: Much earlier than I expected, but the first amateur tryout of the season has arrived, in the form of Brown University forward Matt Lorito.  He just completed his senior season with the Bears, scoring 11 goals and 12 assists in 23 games while serving as team captain.  For his four year collegiate career, he has a total of 106 points (47 goals, 59 assists).  He was also a 2014 New Jersey rookie camp invitee.

3/13 vs. Worcester: 3-2 W

The homestand kicked off Friday evening with a visit from the Sharks, who began the evening just inside the playoff picture.  Albany got off to a great start in the first period, not allowing a shot on goal for nearly 9 minutes and taking a 1-0 lead on Paul Thompson’s 25th goal of the season.  Captain Rod Pelley would double the lead just after a power play opportunity ended.  But Worcester would mount a rally in the second period.  Just as their third power play would expire, Taylor Fedun cut the lead in half.  Later in the period, during a 4 on 4 opportunity that should not have been (what many in house thought was a dive was called a tripping penalty on Joe Whitney), Karl Stollery would tie the game up at 2.  But Albany took the lead back for good in the third thanks to Darcy Zajac’s 7th goal of the season, picking up their second straight win and extending their March point streak to 3 games.  Yes, it took just 3 games for Albany to match their entire win total for the month of February.  Scott Clemmensen played well in net, stopping 27 of 29 shots (you could probably credit 2 or 3 of those to Raman Hrabarenka, he was swatting pucks near the crease away quite a bit) and picking up win #6.  Zajac and Pelley also added assists, and Tim Sestito and Corbin McPherson had one helper each.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Stefan Matteau

David Wohlberg-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Cam Janssen, Matt Lorito, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Joe Faust

3/14 vs. Syracuse: 2-1 L

21 hours later, Albany was back on ice, this time taking on the first place Crunch.  It appeared the Devils would get a break when former RPI goaltender Allen York drew the start instead of Kristers Gudlevskis (the Crunch are in the midst of a 3 in 3 weekend of their own).  After a relatively quiet first period, things would shift in favor of the Crunch in a big way in the second period.  Joe Whitney was called for a match penalty for cross checking Syracuse’s Luke Witkowski (I had my complaints about the call, but honestly from my angle in the corner it was hard to see the actual incident), giving the visitors a 5 minute power play.  And they would capitalize just 30 seconds in, as Jonathan Marchessault would score to break up the scoreless duel between York and Scott Wedgewood.  Albany just could not seem to get any breaks offensively, seeing at least 3 good scoring chances just miss the net or hit off the post.  Carter Ashton would score an empty netter with 18 seconds remaining to seal the win…and it was very fortunate that happened, because Raman Hrabarenka would break up York’s shutout bid with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock.  But it came too little, too late, as Syracuse won it’s 6th out of 7 matchups against Albany this season.  Wedgewood played very well in the loss, stopping 21 of 22.  David Wohlberg and Ben Thomson had the lone assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Stefan Matteau

David Wohlberg-Tim Sestito-Paul Thompson

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Cam Janssen, Matt Lorito, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Joe Faust

3/15 vs. Springfield: 1-0 L (SO)

Without Whitney in the lineup due to automatic suspension from Saturday’s penalty, the Devils had to shake up the lines for their final game of the weekend against the Falcons, who began the day holding the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.  Kelly Zajac returned and was back on second line duty, while Chris McKelvie made his first appearance of the weekend, going in for Ben Thomson.  And even Joe Faust made an appearance, going in for Brandon Burlon.  Other than another mini scrum, nothing across in the first, as Albany outshot the visitors 11-4.  The Falcons woke up in the second and had 15 shots, but Scott Wedgewood stopped all of them.  The only thing stopping anyone?  A glass delay.  More scoreless hockey in the third, including some very good saves from Wedgewood.  But despite 14 shots, the Devils could not get anything at all past Falcons goaltender Scott Munroe.  It was on to overtime, where Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau had good shots at ending things, but still, nothing was getting by Munroe.  So finally things went to a shootout, where someone had to score to finish this epic goaltending duel.  Unfortunately only two Falcons, T.J. Tynan and Sean Collins were able to get the puck in net.  Paul Thompson and Mike Sislo had their chances, but couldn’t get the puck in, and Springfield earned the extra point.  It was the Devils sixth shootout loss and the sixth shutout of the season.  Wedgewood was the very hard luck but deserved much better loser in net, stopping all 33 shots in 65 minutes, but couldn’t finish it in the bonus round.

Highlights:

Lines:

Stefan Matteau-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac-Mike Sislo

David Wohlberg-Graham Black-Tim Sestito

Tim Sestito-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Joe Whitney, Cam Janssen, Ben Thomson, Matt Lorito, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Joe Faust

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Brandon Burlon

Conference Standings:

After Sunday’s action, here’s how everything stands in the East:

8. Springfield–73 points

9. Worcester–70

10. St. John’s–66

11. Lehigh Valley–65

12. Albany–65

13. Binghamton–60

The magic number to clinch a postseason spot stands at 38, while the tragic number now sits at 24.  Again, this is if I did the math right.

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

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Well…since no video has surfaced as of yet from Sunday’s festivities…let’s go to the Devils vault.  Found this classic double feature from 5 years ago.

My Player of the Week: Tip of the cap to Scott Wedgewood, who despite going 0-1-0-1 on the weekend played brilliantly in net, stopping a total of 54 out of 56 shots.  If only his teammates could have scored more than one goal for him over those two games…

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (25)

Assists: Joe Whitney (26)

Points: Paul Thompson/Joe Whitney (44)

+/-: Graham Black (+9)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (98)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (9)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.58)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.906)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 39 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts, -17, 25 PIM

Eric Baier (Orlando): 42 GP, 6 G, 11 A, 17 Pts, +7, 18 PIM

Mike Keenan (Orlando): 33 GP, 0 G, 9 A, 9 Pts, +3, 26 PIM

Ben Johnson (Orlando): 5 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts, +3, 0 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando): 17 GP, 8-5-0, 2.78 GAA, .904 Save Pct.

Injury Update: Since there’s no injuries to report…this will be more like a suspension update.  Cam Janssen finished serving his sentence on Sunday and is eligible to return on Wednesday.  Joe Whitney served one game after getting a match penalty on Saturday, but it is yet to be determined if he will have to sit out any longer.

This Week’s Schedule: The homestand continues with 3 more games.  Wednesday and Saturday the Devils play host to Norfolk, the last opponent Albany has yet to face this season.  Then Sunday afternoon they take on Hartford.

Pop Quiz Answer: The Albany goalie with the most wins in one season?  It was Peter Sidorkiewicz, who went 31-23-6 in 62 games played during the 1996-97 season.

 

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Week 22 Recap: Split on the Rock

Only two games on the docket this week, but it took the Devils awhile to travel there…it was back to a familiar place, St. John’s.  The last time they were on that rink, the 2013-14 season came to an end.  This time around, it was a much better trip, capturing 3 out of 4 points and staying within striking distance of the final playoff spot in the East.

3/6 at St. John’s: 2-1 L (OT)

For round 1, Scott Clemmensen drew the start against All Star Connor Hellebuyck.  With Seth Helgeson in the penalty box, Chase Balisy would score on the ensuing power play to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.  And that was all the action…until early in the third period.  On a turnover, Stefan Matteau would break away alone and score his 8th of the season to tie the game up.  With literally nothing across for the rest of regulation, it was off to overtime, where on an odd man rush John Albert would finish it off just 1:42 into the extra frame to give the IceCaps the win.  Clemmensen played well in his first start since returning from his latest New Jersey backup stint, stopping 20 of 22 shots.  Darcy Zajac had the lone assist, and as for Helgeson’s penalty?  It was the only one called all game (kudos to lone referee T.J. Luxmore for letting the teams play).

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Graham Black-Darcy Zajac

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Extra: Cam Janssen (susp), Kelly Zajac (inj), David Wohlberg, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Extra: Joe Faust

3/7 at St. John’s: 2-0 W

A few lineup changes before the rematch on Saturday evening: David Wohlberg went in while Chris McKelvie went out.  And Scott Wedgewood drew the start in net.  Stefan Matteau continued his hot play as of late, scoring his 9th of the season and second in as many days late in the first period for a 1-0 lead.  A scary moment for Albany came midway through the second, as Wedgewood was forced to leave the game with an apparent hand injury.  Scott Clemmensen was summoned from the bullpen and only had to stop 4 IceCap shots for the remainder of the period.  Just after the goalie switch, Reid Boucher scored his 13th off a turnover to double the Albany lead.  And that was all Clemmensen would need, as he stopped all 13 St. John’s shots the rest of the way to earn the combined shutout and a split of the two game series.  Wedgewood stopped 11 of 11 shots before exiting, while Boucher had the lone assist.

Highlights:

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Mike Sislo

Stefan Matteau-Graham Black-Reid Boucher

Paul Thompson-Tim Sestito-David Wohlberg

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Darcy Zajac

Extra: Kelly Zajac, Chris McKelvie, Cam Janssen, Alexandre Carrier

Defense:

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Conference Standings:

After Saturday’s action, here’s the updated standings:

8. Portland–68 points

9. Hartford–68

10. St. John’s–64

11. Albany–62

12. Lehigh Valley–59

Only six points separate the Devils from getting into the top 8.  The magic number to clinch is at 43, but the tragic number (meaning elimination…if I’m doing the math right) is 29.

Pop Quiz: Prior to Stefan Matteau, who was the last Devil to get a game winning goal at Mile One?  The answer coming up.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

Two very good bouts during Saturday’s rematch…but no video proof.  Again.

So for this week…we’re going old school.  Since everyone in New Jersey is reminiscing about 1995 this weekend, there’s another event that happened 20 years ago as well…the lone Albany Calder Cup championship.  I did some digging on YouTube and found this from January 1995:

My Player of the Week:

This was a fairly easy decision…Stefan Matteau has been on a tear as of late.  He scores 2 out of the 3 Albany goals on the weekend, and is currently on a 6 game point streak (4 goals, 2 assists).

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (24)

Assists: Joe Whitney (26)

Points: Joe Whitney (44)

+/-: Graham Black (+10)

Penalty Minutes: Dan Kelly (96)

Wins: Scott Wedgewood (9)

GAA: Scott Clemmensen (2.62)

Save Percentage: Scott Clemmensen (.904)

ECHL Update:

Myles Bell (Evansville): 34 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 Pts, -11, 25 PIM (returned to the lineup for the first time since 2/6)

Eric Baier (Orlando): 37 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 Pts, +5, 11 PIM

Ben Johnson (Orlando): 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, Even, 0 PIM

Mike Keenan (Orlando): 28 G, 0 G, 6 A, 6 Pts, +1, 18 PIM

Maxime Clermont (Orlando):  13 GP, 6-5-0, 3.43 GAA, .883 Save Pct. (took the loss 3/3 vs. Cincinnati, 27 saves/28 shots)

Injury Update:

Just as I thought everyone was healthy, Kelly Zajac (lower) misses the St. John’s trip.  Not expected to be out for long.  And we will wait and see on what happens with Scott Wedgewood.

This Week’s Schedule: Another 3 in 3 weekend looms, but the good news is it starts a season long 6 game homestand.  Friday night Worcester makes its final visit before moving to San Jose next season.  Saturday afternoon a suddenly struggling Syracuse team visits for the first time since January.  Finally on Sunday afternoon the Falcons make their last visit of the season.

Pop Quiz Answer: The last Devil to score a game winner in St. John’s before Saturday?  It was Bobby Butler, in a 5-3 Devil win on November 17, 2012.  Other goal scorers for Albany that night? Jacob Josefson, Darcy Zajac (who scored twice), and Adam Larsson.

Note: Photo Gallery is taking the week off.

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